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For Black borrowers, student loan debt had reached a crisis level before COVID-19. The same racist structures that make Black people more likely to die from COVID-19 or experience financial hardship from the pandemic are the same structures that created the Black student debt crisis.

In the field of global learning, we often focus on the international aspects of our work. Yet the current fury against racial injustice in the United States demands that we acknowledge that the local is global and that we face complex problems in our own communities that are our own responsibility.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, “resilience” had emerged as a catchall term for a big bucket of concepts including everything from grit, persistence, and coping to mindset, emotional intelligence, and academic achievement. In recent months, of course, the coronavirus pandemic has been sorely testing the resilience of our students, staff, faculty, and institutions. So, what are we learning about resilience?

Thousands of institutions of higher education have transitioned abruptly to digital modalities in order to sustain instruction and student engagement through the coronavirus pandemic; however, great concern has been expressed throughout the academy about the quality of online instruction and the assessment techniques used to evaluate student learning. “Next-Gen Assessment,” an ongoing series of blog posts complemented by brief video discussions, is designed to help meet this need and provide a platform for assessment specialists, educators, and other professionals to discuss timely topics, identify best practices, and share new approaches to digital delivery.

Six months before George Floyd was murdered, I discovered this quote from Alexis de Tocqueville: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” But de Tocqueville was wrong. We have yet to fully recognize our nation’s four-hundred-year-old racism, let alone repair it. And key indicators on poverty have also moved in the wrong direction. I hope this is the moment when we begin to live up to de Tocqueville’s observations of democracy in America.

What Liberal Education Looks Like, AAC&U’s new vision of excellence in undergraduate education, calls on higher education to pay more attention to issues of affordability. But when it comes to undergraduate education, don’t improvements in affordability (e.g., budget cuts, tuition reductions) necessarily debase quality? Is it possible to maintain or enhance the quality of learning, equitable access, and affordability simultaneously?

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