Northeastern at AACRAO
The AACRAO Annual Meeting is an opportunity to learn, network, and advance higher education. Professionals from a variety of higher education disciplines gather together at AACRAO’s Annual Meeting to engage and discuss the ever-changing landscape of higher-ed.
Collaborate with a worldwide, higher education network as it comes together to explore, engage, and learn. Each year higher education professionals face new and unique challenges in their work and AACRAO’s Annual Meeting is the place to find solutions to those challenges.
Baseball Player Sidelined by Disability Hits Home Run With Education
After a sudden and serious medical condition ended his baseball career, Ryan Westmoreland, CPS bachelor’s student in liberal studies with a focus on leadership and business management, is reinventing himself in the sport he loves.
Curriculum Plus Experiential Learning Equal an Innovative Education
Northeastern University Toronto’s experiential learning model has greatly impressed Ontario’s minister of colleges and universities on her first visit to the campus.
Several faculty, administrators, alumni and students, including CPS master’s student Emmanuel Nsamu, met with the minister to discuss how experiential learning helps students gain necessary skills to succeed and often leads to opportunities for full time jobs, all while contributing to the economy throughout the province.
Biotech Students Move From Associate to Master’s to Employment
Linde Foundation award will ease challenges faced by learners in the final year of their studies
Amid a national workforce shortage, Northeastern’s unique Biotech A2M Scholars Program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), offers accelerated pathways for students from their associate to their master’s degree in biotechnology. The NSF grant supports students in the Biotech A2M program who start at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA, where they earn an associate degree with courses designed to map onto the Biotechnology bachelor’s degree at Northeastern. Students then go on to earn their MS in Biotechnology within the College of Science with one additional year of coursework. An additional philanthropic gift from the Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation offers tuition assistance during their master’s studies at the Northeastern University College of Science. These robust scholarships bring the out-of-pocket cost to zero for these learners with demonstrated financial need, and who are eligible for federal Pell grants.
Bridging the Gap
While the Biotech A2M program has been extraordinarily successful in terms of retention and graduation rates, evidence has emerged that learners face unique challenges in their final year of studies as they seek to finish their degree and start a career.
A new grant from the Linde Foundation is set to help these students connect with employers, bridging the gap between school and jobs. The Linde Foundation grant funds the new “Degree to Career” program, helping learners finish their degrees and transition to employment in their chosen fields while also teaching soft skills essential to career advancement. Additionally, the Linde Foundation provides scholarship support for students in their last year of study, ensuring learners are able to complete their degrees without the cost of tuition as a barrier.
“The A2M programs create accessible pathways to in-demand fields with high-paying jobs,” says Dr. Liz Zulick, Director of the Lowell Institute School and Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, Discovery and Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. “This new grant will help biotech students stay on track in their crucial final year, supporting their transition from academia to industry.”
Path to a Career
The Biotech A2M is designed for full-time, domestic students, so far serving 154 learners. Over 66% identify as underrepresented minorities in STEM, 61% as first-generation learners and 66% as female. The average age is 29.
Zulick notes that many students must work full-time while attending classes and completing coursework online and at night. Nevertheless, the Biotech A2M program boasts impressively high rates of retention and job placement. While the retention rate nationally for a Bachelor of Science degree for STEM students is 56%, according to STEM Education Data and Trends 2014 the A2M degree pathway so far has retention rates that exceed 82% at all three degree levels. And 97% of those who have earned bachelor’s degrees are now working full-time in the biotech industry or have continued on to the next degree in the pathway.
Building on the success of the Biotech A2M program, the A2M4Tech program, with support from by the Akamai Foundation, was established in 2022 to serve the same function for students seeking careers in information technology and computer science.
More Than Degrees
“Education not only provides a pathway to high-paying jobs, but also provides access to social mobility to our learners and their communities,” Zulick says. “Thanks to the National Science Foundation, the Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation, the Akamai Foundation, and now the Linde Foundation, we can create pathways designed for adult learners and their needs, allowing those who otherwise might not be able to afford the cost or time investment of a degree to enter the biotech and tech sectors.”
Biotechnology manufacturing is a rapidly growing industry that offers excellent career growth, but the sector faces both a shortage of skilled employees and a lack of racial and social diversity. In light of these factors, Zulick points out, the program is also a boon to employers.
“Importantly, these pathways also offer industry partners a talent pipeline that is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and income,” Zulick says, “which is an increasingly high priority for many employers. So, these programs are truly win-win.”
A Gift Across Generations
In funding a named scholarship, Jean A. Kovacs pays forward a debt of gratitude for the life-altering education she received at Northeastern
When Jean A. Kovacs, who graduated from Northeastern’s University College in 1983, left foster care in Wilmington, MA, at age 18, the career paths for a woman of her background looked extremely limited.
“As a female,” she told students and families at the 2022 CPS Undergraduate Scholarship Celebration, “you were either going to be a nurse or a teacher, or maybe you’d get a job as a clerk, typist, or a secretary.”
Kovacs started as a clerk-typist at a small company near Wilmington, and soon fell in love with the world of business. She knew she would need an education to rise in the field, and she started taking evening classes—marketing, computer science, accounting—at Northeastern’s Burlington campus. A few years later, thanks to the availability of evening and weekend classes, she finished her degree.
“I was learning things in class that I could then bring and apply at work, so it made the learning process so much more real for me,” Kovacs said. “My job got better, my work performance got better, but also the effort that I put into my classes got better, because I could see the application.”
“That,” she said, “is what I love about the College of Professional Studies.”
Decades later, the entrepreneur, venture capitalist, angel investor, and onetime finance major was present at the Scholarship Celebration to present the inaugural Jean A. Kovacs Scholarship, an endowment she established in 2020 to support female students interested in pursuing careers in business or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). She has come a long way from those early days, and now she wants to pay it forward.
“My head and my heart go out to you and all the work you’ve done,” she told students. “My story is probably very similar to a lot of you.”
Among those in the room was Cynthia Thin, ’23, a finance and accounting management major and the first recipient of the Kovacs Scholarship. The daughter of Cambodian immigrants, Thin worked from a young age to support herself and her family. At 16, she recalled in the speech she gave at the reception, she was working seven days a week, even as she maintained her studies in high school.
One reason Northeastern has been such a good fit, Thin says, is that it has offered the flexibility her family needs. On a typical day, she’ll help her partner with his bakery until 7 a.m., arrive at the office by 8 a.m., work until 5 p.m. and then attend class in the evening. When she completes her degree next spring, Thin plans to enter Northeastern’s accelerated nursing program so that she can combine skills in business and healthcare to start her own beauty and wellness salon.
“I still have a lot of work to do before I can achieve that goal,” Cynthia said. “But I’m grateful to have mentors and role models to motivate me. As a recipient of the Jean A. Kovacs Scholarship, I have Jean as a role model now. It’s exactly the kind of encouragement I need. Thank you [Jean] for your generosity and example.”
Reflecting on her scholarship in her remarks at the reception, Kovacs said she was thrilled to meet Thin, and that the experience “sort of brings everything back full circle.” As she introduced Thin, she also offered her an invitation to continue the circle of giving.
“I’d also like to challenge you that in 20 or 30 years you’re up here because you’ve established the Cynthia Thin scholarship,” she said with a smile. “Congratulations.”
Gifts to support scholarships for CPS undergraduate students in any amount can be made by clicking here .
Northeastern and Code Fellows Partner to Provide New Pathways to Bachelor’s Degrees in Information Technology
Code Fellows is partnering with Northeastern University College of Professional Studies to provide learners from any background a pathway to obtain their Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
Through this partnership, students and alumni who finish one of Code Fellows’ rigorous programs are able to transfer up to 24 credits of coursework toward completion of a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, giving them college credit for their learning through Code Fellows’ courses.
Code Fellows and Northeastern University believe tech careers should be open to everyone. Through the power of partnership, they are leveraging their collective strengths to ensure learners not only have the opportunity to gain rewarding new careers in tech, but also have the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science from a top tier university.
“We believe everyone should be given the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Historically, this has not been the case and many learners have been systemically prevented from attending prestigious colleges and universities. Now that we are partnering with Northeastern University, we can ensure that everyone regardless of background, finances, or life challenges has a pathway to getting a bachelor’s degree from a top tier university,” said Mitchell Robertson, Code Fellows’ VP of Business.
Code Fellows and Northeastern College of Professional Studies share a common goal of building diverse and inclusive communities where individuals are valued for their uniqueness and are provided opportunities to succeed. Both see diversity of thought, culture, and viewpoint as essential to learning and growth, and by focusing on this they can provide learners with technology skills for a better life, for a better community, and for a better world.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Code Fellows to provide a pathway for their learners to complete their Bachelor’s Degree at Northeastern CPS. By valuing the skills and knowledge they gained at Code Fellows, learners will start CPS with 24 credits towards their Bachelor’s Degree. This lowers the cost of learning and speeds time to degree. That’s a value to learners that the partnership makes possible,” said Molly Smith, PhD, Associate Dean, Opportunity Pathway Programs, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies.
The rigorous academics and focus on experience-based learning of Northeastern’s bachelor’s degree completion programs aligns with Code Fellow’s “learn-do-learn-do” style of education: both are focused on imparting product sensibilities, the most relevant practical skills, and the ability to work in technical teams to give graduates a competitive career advantage. The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program offers students flexible program formats to allow them to complete their coursework when and where it is most convenient for them. Additionally, with scholarships available for qualifying applicants worth up to $15,000, Northeastern helps put earning a bachelor’s degree within reach.
Northeastern University has a long-held reputation as a leader in education that supports career aspirations. The knowledge earned at Code Fellows and Northeastern will help equip students for some of the highest demand jobs. Five of the 10 “best jobs in 2022” are in the IT sector, according to Burning Glass, the job market analytics firm, and federal data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that employment of computer and information technology occupations will grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than average for all occupations.
About Northeastern University College of Professional Studies
The College of Professional Studies is the largest of the nine colleges of Northeastern University, a nationally ranked private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1960, the College provides lifelong experiential learning that unleashes the capacities of aspiring individuals in all stages and walks of life. The College teaches undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students on campus and online in more than 90 programs.
About Code Fellows
Code Fellows is an internationally recognized technical skills training academy, delivering high-quality live instruction both online and in-person to people from all backgrounds. Learners are guided toward vocational change and life transformation through software development, technical operations, cybersecurity, and career training. Code Fellows provides people from all backgrounds the opportunity to change their lives through fast-paced, career-focused education. They shape passionate learners with immersive training to meet industry needs and improve diversity in tech employment. They are more than honored to announce that their recently audited employment results show that their alumni have achieved an outstanding 93% In-field Employment Rate. According to this study conducted by Switchup, Code Fellows was the number one ranked program for landing a job at a major tech company.
Annual Undergraduate Scholarship Reception Honors Students, Benefactors
Supporting scholarships is all about giving back. Dozens of Huskies who received scholarships to support their education—dating back to the time of University College in the 1960s—have made the choice to establish named scholarships to support future generations of students following in their footsteps. Paying it forward is a long-standing tradition at the College of Professional Studies; so, it’s no surprise that in her speech at the annual undergraduate scholarship reception on August 23, 2022, Jean Kovacs, UC’83, challenged her own named scholarship recipient to do just that in the future when she is able.
Cynthia Thin, Class of 2023, is the inaugural recipient of the Jean A. Kovacs Scholarship, an endowment that Jean established in 2020 to support female students interested in pursuing careers in business or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Cynthia happens to be interested in both. Once she completes her degree in Finance and Accounting Management next spring, Cynthia intends to enter Northeastern’s accelerated nursing program so that she can combine skills in business and healthcare to start her own beauty and wellness salon.
“I still have a lot of work to do before I can achieve that goal,” Cynthia said in the speech she gave at the reception. “But I’m grateful to have mentors and role models to motivate me. As a recipient of the Jean A. Kovacs Scholarship, I have Jean as a role model now. It’s exactly the kind of encouragement I need. Thank you [Jean] for your generosity and example.”
The financial benefit of a scholarship is most often compounded by the human connection and encouragement of a benefactor. “There is no doubt in my mind that Cynthia has the passion and drive to achieve the lofty goals she has set for herself, just as Jean did before her,” added Dean Radhika Seshan as she closed the annual reception.
The College of Professional Studies celebrates 224 undergraduate students who received scholarships totaling $421,000 for the 2022-2023 academic year, thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends of Northeastern.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Try Microdosing Bravery
To overcome anxiety and cultivate resilience, CPS behavioral science professor and psychotherapist Kristen Lee recommends taking small, strategic risks on a day-to-day basis that align with our values.
In her new book, Worth the Risk: How to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More and Offer Yourself to the World, Lee offers a practical toolkit designed to help readers build confidence and invite a deeper level of satisfaction into their lives.
What Freedom of Religion Should Look Like in Public Schools After a Recent Supreme Court Decision?
As students are set to return to classrooms for a new school year, the Supreme Court’s recent 6-3 decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District is raising fears that the ruling undermines the traditional separation of church and state in public education.
Karen Reiss-Medwed and Noor Ali, professors in the Graduate School of Education at CPS, argue that K-12 schools need to do better in recognizing and honoring the identities of students who belong to religious minorities.
Dr. Priscilla H. Douglas Spoke of Interconnectivity, Perseverance, and the Power of ‘Not Yet’ to the Class of 2022
Douglas is author of Woke Leadership: Profits, Prophets and Purpose
Dr. Priscilla H. Douglas shared the wisdom she has earned in decades of government and business leadership with the bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates of the College of Professional Studies at the graduation ceremony on the Boston campus at Matthews Arena, on May 20, 2022. She spoke with a distinct focus on the experience that students have gained through tumultuous times. The business leader, executive coach, author, speaker, and Double Husky who held executive roles at General Motors, Xerox, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, drew upon her life experiences at Northeastern, and urged the graduates to change their perspective of the future by harnessing the power of the term “NOT YET.”
“The mindful answer is ‘not yet,’” Douglas said. “Keep your future open by answering ‘not yet.’ Keep your dreams alive and don’t fall back on the automatic ‘no.’”
While Douglas has over 30 years of experience in business and government, she took this opportunity to share her times at Northeastern and her worldly experiences using the power of ‘not yet’. “Don’t be too quick to answer no. I didn’t. I raced motorcycles, I competed in bodybuilding, [and] rode my bike from Boston to New York three times. I’m a scuba diver and get this, while earning my doctorate at Harvard. I was a cheerleader for the New England Patriots,” Douglas said as the graduates cheered.
Douglas also spoke about the power of her network that started at Northeastern University, “Network for Life. Consider that success,” she proclaimed. “Reciprocity and love will hold your network together.” She challenged the graduates to “surround yourself with the most eclectic bunch of folks that you can find. They are your pathway, your portal, and your gateway to the future.“
She reminded the graduates that we live in an interconnected global economy in which “relationships are our most valuable resources.”
“We are so grateful to have Dr. Douglas speak to our graduates,” David Fields, Interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies added, expressing his gratitude for Douglas’ ability to galvanize and excite the CPS graduates. Dr. Fields added, “Dr. Douglas spoke to the value of the power of the Northeastern network and the perseverance our alumni will need as they transform the fast-paced, diverse, global business landscape and society.”
“Hold fast to your dreams,” Douglas said as she ended her remarks, “They feel the purpose and passion and they got you here today. But you know what? That passion and purpose—it’s not finished with you. It is not through with you. Not yet!”
Douglas has worked extensively in state and federal government on both sides of the aisle. In her role as Commonwealth of Massachusetts Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Douglas launched the Domestic Violence Commission and Hate Crimes Task Force, publishing the state’s first hate crimes report in 1991. She was also the first Black woman to serve in the Massachusetts Cabinet when she was named Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Douglas has deep roots at Northeastern. She is a Northeastern University Corporator Emeritus and played a key role in the founding of the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute at Northeastern University. Douglas is the Chair of the Boston Public Library’s Board of Trustees and serves as a member of distinguished boards — American Repertory Theater, the Boston Museum of Science, Leader Bank, and the International Womens’ Forum Massachusetts.
Douglas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and History, and a Master of Education, both from Northeastern University, and a Doctor of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.