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Below is the most recent Higher Ed Issues Landscape Report, which uses Canary listening technology to analyze the top conversation trends in higher education and highlights qualitative and quantitative insights on the topics and universities that drove coverage.


What We’re Watching:

College Transparency Act and Carnegie Classifications

This week, a federal amendment and a merging of higher education systems were announced that are expected to have a shockwave impact on the college and university landscape in the coming years.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to add the College Transparency Act to another bill, requiring that colleges collect and submit data regarding enrollment and completion measures for all programs and degrees. Five days later, The Carnegie Foundation, in partnership with the American Council on Education, vowed to create a more “inclusive” classification system to reflect the diversity of institutions.

Implications and Themes:

College Transparency Act

    • Universities will face pressure to supplement and justify the value of their degrees as the bill enables more informed decision-making from parents and students (National Skills Coalition)
    • The amendment being attached to the COMPETES Act suggests that data collected will be used to measure institutional success against international research initiatives, particularly China’s (The Hill)
    • Economic output from universities, specifically workforce development, is under increased scrutiny as the U.S. recovers from the economic crisis (U.S. Representative Paul Mitchell)


Carnegie Classifications

    • The announcement reflects a growing pushback on university rankings and the focus placed on them by university leaders (Timothy Knowles, President of the Carnegie Foundation)
    • This evolution of classifications has been reinforced by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s commitment to improving equity in higher education, indicating future focuses and initiatives could likely extend beyond research (Department of Education)
    • As the exact metrics that will be tracked around mobility and equity remain unknown, it will be important for university research leaders to be agile and proactive in communicating their university’s key differentiators in these areas (Inside Higher Ed)

COVID-19 in Higher Ed:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact university campuses, we will continue to monitor coverage around emerging trends
    • The University of Minnesota announced it will not extend its temporary proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement beyond Feb. 9th. The school’s face covering policy will remain in place. 
      • Gopher Sports – 677 Engagements
    • American University reported that it unknowingly distributed counterfeit KN95 masks on campus. AU replaced the masks with a new batch on the same day. 
      • The Washington Post – 594 Engagements
    • Several hundred students and faculty signed a petition calling for Clemson University’s president to end the school’s campus mask mandate. 
      • Greenville News – 264 Engagements

Trending topics by % increase

Buildings & Monuments: 

  • Feb 08 | USA Today | 804 Engagements:The University of Alabama’s board of trustees announced Thursday that a campus building called Graves Hall would be renamed to honor Lucy Foster. But beside her name, the name “Graves” will also remain, honoring former Alabama Gov. Bibb Graves, who was once a Ku Klux Klan officer.”


Title IX: 

  • Feb 08 | Twitter | Rachel JSA | 496 Retweets: “I don’t know the extent to which Harvard engages in these egregious violations of medical & therapist ethics. I do know that I sadly was not *that* surprised to hear that Harvard stole a student’s therapy records to use against her in a Title IX complaint. 4/”
  • Feb 09 | Twitter | Alexandra Brodsky | 44 Retweets: “Seeing a lot of not-quite-right info about Harvard accessing a student’s therapy records without her consent. Much seems to conflate pursuing an internal grievance within a school against a harasser with filing a lawsuit against a school under Title IX


Sexual Misconduct: 

  • Feb 08 | The New York Times | 9.2K Engagements: “On Tuesday, Ms. Kilburn and two other female graduate students filed a lawsuit in Boston federal court against Harvard University, accusing the university of both ignoring allegations that Dr. Comaroff had sexually harassed students for years, and of allowing him to intimidate students by threatening their academic careers if they reported him.”


Free Speech: 

  • Feb 07 | Twitter | B.Allen-Ebrahumian | 261 Retweets: “New: The president of George Washington University has reversed his earlier decision to remove campus posters protesting the Beijing Olympics, which Chinese student groups had said “incited racial hatred and ethnic tensions.””


Trending topics by total volume


  • Feb 04 | Fox News |  72K Engagements: “There has been a full-on media blackout of the new study outlining the ineffectiveness of lockdowns to prevent COVID deaths. According to a Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of several studies, lockdowns during the first COVID wave in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVID mortality by .2% in the U.S. and Europe. ”
  • Feb 04 | Twitter | El American | 729 Retweets: “ #BREAKING: | Press Secretary Psaki responds to Johns Hopkins Study that says lockdowns had little to no effect on curving Covid mortality. “We are not pushing lockdowns, we’ve not been pro-lockdown — most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous President.””


Cost of Attendance: 

  • Feb 09 | Twitter | Goodable | 9.1K Retweets: “Breaking Good News Alert: Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Parks & Resorts has announced it will pay all tuition costs, fees, and books for employees who pursue higher education. It includes all part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees from day one on the job. ”



  • Feb 03 | Twitter | Isabel Mavrides-Calderón | 2.1K Retweets: “The ADA is in danger of being gutted by the largest community college district. After blind students brought LACCD to federal court asking for their basic school materials to be accessible, LACCD appealed arguing that the ADA should not protect “unintentional discrimination” (1)”
  • Feb 03 | Twitter | Fifty Shades of Whey | 932 Retweets: “Six juveniles called in bomb threats to over a dozen historically Black colleges and universities, at the same time that racist parents across America are fighting school boards to remove racial education from the curriculum, and the irony isn’t lost on me.”


Campus Safety: 

  • Feb 08 | The Blaze | 2.2K Engagements: “A black college student who last month claimed she was a hate crime victim — which resulted in protests on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — has been accused of making up the whole thing.”
  • Feb 05 | WUSA 9 | 1.1K Engagements: “The Blacksburg Police Department said officers responded to reports of shots fired at Melody Hookah Lounge in downtown Blacksburg on Friday just before midnight. One person was killed and another four people, including a Virginia Tech student, were injured during the shooting.”


Trending universities/colleges by % increase

Johns Hopkins University: COVID-19 Research

  • Feb 05 | Fox News | 11.4K Engagements: “A recent controversial Johns Hopkins meta-analysis reignites a discussion about the adverse consequences of lockdowns after finding they had no significant mortality benefit during the first wave of the 2020 pandemic in the United States and Europe, according to a recent report.”
  • Feb 03 | Twitter | Steve Hilton | 1.5K Retweets:Johns Hopkins: “No evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortalitylockdowns “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument” Fauci, Cuomo, Newsom…all of you: APOLOGIZE”


Gonzaga University: Athletics

  • Feb 07 | USA Today | 980 Engagements: “Neither the Bulldogs nor the Tigers lost during the week, but Gonzaga’s decisive victories and Auburn’s narrow escape against unranked Georgia prompted a few panelists to switch their first-place votes. Gonzaga moves ahead by four points, claiming 18 of 32 No. 1 nods, with the remaining 14 going to the Tigers.”
  • Feb 09 | Twitter | Ken Pomeroy | 113 Retweets:Gonzaga is dominating a conference this season like no other team has in decades. And over the last 6 years, they are also dominating power conference teams like no other power conference team has. (Content comes with a trigger warning)”


Auburn University: Athletics Athletics

  • Feb 09 | On3 | 11.7K Engagements: “The Arkansas Razorbacks pulled off a historic upset Tuesday night, knocking off Auburn 80-76 in Bud Walton Arena in front of a record-setting crowd. The overtime win is the first home victory over a No. 1 team in the AP Poll in school history, and it extends the win streak to nine.”
  • Feb 06 | Huff Post | 6.7K Engagements: “Gold-medal-winning gymnast Suni Lee scored her first perfect 10 for Auburn University on Saturday ― and celebrated like a college kid should.”
  • Feb 04 | Alabama | 3.4K Engagements: “Amid an offseason that has seen 18 players depart the program through the transfer portal, an overhaul of the coaching staff and a fall-off in recruiting, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin addressed the tumult surrounding his program as pressure mounts and speculation about his job status intensifies.”


Duke University: Athletics


Trending universities/colleges by total volume

Johns Hopkins University: COVID-19 Research

  • Feb 05 | The Daily Wire | 25.9K Engagements: “On Friday, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about a recent meta study from Johns Hopkins, which suggested that lockdowns only appeared to reduce “COVID mortality by 0.2 percent in the U.S. and Europe.””


Harvard University: Title IX Sexual Misconduct

  • Feb 08 | Twitter | Moira Donegan | 6.6K Retweets: “A Harvard graduate student filed a sexual harassment complaint against a tenured professor. In the aftermath, Harvard acquired that student’s therapist’s notes and then gave them to the professor who allegedly harassed her.”


Louisiana State University: Athletics

  • Feb 09 | Twitter | Brett McMurphy | 385 Retweets: “Most players invited to NFL Scouting Combine: Georgia 14 Alabama, Oklahoma 11 LSU, Texas A&M 9 Arizona St, Cincinnati, Michigan, Ole Miss, Penn St 8 Baylor, Kentucky, Ohio St 7 Iowa St, Oregon, San Diego St, Virginia Tech 6 Arkansas, UNC, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC 5”


Texas A&M: Athletics


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