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ICYMI: Cardona sounds off on college rankings

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona had tough words last week for the lists of rankings that colleges and universities often tout, saying that they encourage schools use their resources on clout-chasing, rather than to improve metrics that actually tell whether students are being served well. “There’s a whole science behind climbing the rankings,” Cardona said, accusing schools of juicing their standings by chasing after wealthy donors and lavishing peers with expensive dinners. "That system of ranking is a joke!" he said. See what else he said.

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UMass leans on hybrid orientation to fuel student success

Chris Misra, chief information officer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, joins the Cutting EDge podcast to talk about how the school’s new hybrid student orientation program is driving data and information to help students even before they get to campus. Misra says UMass uses a customer relationship management tool to visualize and analyze data about how students are interacting with campus programs like new student orientation. If, for example, university leaders can see an example where a student may not have engaged with any orientation programing — online or in person — it prompts a “last chance” for advisers to check in and help students avoid challenges like melt and stopping out. Listen to the podcast.

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