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University faces uproar over recording showing how teaching assistant was questioned over video debate on pronouns

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

A recording of the way professors at Wilfrid Laurier University questioned a teaching assistant about her use of a debate video in class has set off a major dispute about academic freedom in Canada.

The teaching assistant had shown her class a recording in which two professors -- one of them of late a polarizing figure in Canadian academe -- debated the use of nontraditional pronouns for transgender people. The course was in communications, and the video was part of a discussion on the significance of grammar and language generally. Lindsay Shepherd, the teaching assistant, did not endorse a position in the debate, but told students that this was a subject being discussed in society today.

The recording now getting attention is one made by Shepherd as she was grilled days later by academics at the university who received a complaint about Shepherd showing the video.

In the audio recording, Shepherd's superiors are heard asking her repeatedly why she showed the video and why she didn't condemn the professor in the video who opposes nontraditional pronouns. Shepherd was told that her actions were hurtful and "transphobic," and she was told that her actions were the equivalent of refusing to take a stand against Hitler or white supremacists. She was also told that she might have violated Canada's antibias laws.

Shepherd tried to defend herself.

"I don't see how someone would rationally think it was threatening," she said of the class. Students might be challenged in their thinking, she said, "but for me that's the spirit of the university."

Shepherd asked those questioning her to show her the complaint so she could learn how she offended someone, and she asked to know the number of students who had complained, saying, "Was it one?" After being told that confidentiality requirements made it impossible to share the complaint, she asked whether confidentiality would be violated by her being told how many students complained. She was told that it would, and that the complaint came from one or more students.

As the discussion went on, Shepherd said that she did not agree with the person who argued against the use of the pronouns many transgender people prefer. But she said her obligation to her students was to show them ideas that are in the world. "Can you shield people from those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them?" Of her students, she said, "when they leave the university, they are going to be exposed to these ideas."

Shepherd apologized for crying during her questioning but said that she couldn't believe she was being asked these questions at a university.

Those who questioned her included two faculty members (one of whom supervised her work as a teaching assistant) and the university's equity officer.

As Canadian press outlets covered the recording in the last 48 hours, many academics and others have demanded to know how Shepherd could have been treated as she was.

Apology From the President

On Tuesday, Deborah MacLatchy, the president of the university, issued an apology to Shepherd.

"After listening to this recording, an apology is in order. The conversation I heard does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires. I am sorry it occurred in the way that it did and I regret the impact it had on Lindsay Shepherd," MacLatchy wrote.

She vowed that an independent review would be conducted into what happened. Further, she said that freedom of expression is essential in higher education.

"Let me be clear by stating that Laurier is committed to the abiding principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression," she said. "Giving life to these principles while respecting fundamentally important human rights and our institutional values of diversity and inclusion, is not a simple matter. The intense media interest points to a highly polarizing and very complicated set of issues that is affecting universities across the democratic world. The polarizing nature of the current debate does not do justice to the complexity of issues."

David Robinson, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said in an interview that Shepherd had been "treated very badly" by the administration. While Shepherd was questioned by faculty members and an administrator, Robinson said that the administrator should have seen that the discussion was going off track and that any suggestion that Shepherd violated the law couldn't be true.

Robinson noted that the video she shared in class came from Canadian public television, and so had arguably been produced by the government. He also said that Shepherd outlined a sound pedagogy that should not have been doubted.

The Jordan Peterson Impact

Robinson said that, generally, the culture wars that are a major force in American higher education have not been as present in Canadian higher education. But he said a few figures have been "quite polarizing," and that one of them is Jordan Peterson, who was the debate participant who opposed the use of alternative pronouns. Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has said that his position isn't so much against the pronouns, but against efforts to persuade people to use them even if they don't want to.

In March, protesters shouted down a talk of his at McMaster University, in Ontario.

Then this month, Peterson announced a plan to create a website to list courses nationwide containing “postmodern neo-Marxist course content,” in an effort to decrease enrollment in those courses. Amid criticism, he abandoned the plan.

"These kinds of issues seem to come up daily in the U.S., but they are still rare in Canada," Robinson said of the controversies surrounding Peterson.

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Punishments for shouting down college speakers run the gamut

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

One member of a student group that disrupted the University of Oregon president’s State of the University address last month has been punished.

The student -- Charlie Landeros -- has been assigned an essay.

Landeros, who prefers the pronouns they and them, also has had a letter reprimanding them added to their record.

But those consequences pale compared to those levied on students found guilty of the same offense one state over, at California's Claremont McKenna College. There, five students were suspended -- three of them for a year -- for shouting down the controversial conservative figure Heather Mac Donald.

The penalties for students who interrupt speakers vary drastically among institutions, in part because each case is so specific, but also because campus leaders remain reluctant and a little unsure of how hard to come down on these protesters, experts say.

Campus officials prefer to educate rather than punish students, especially when the students are engaging in a fundamental and long-standing tradition of higher education -- exercising free speech, albeit in an imprudent way. Administrators increasingly must respond to lawmakers and other outside forces to more harshly discipline these students.

“I don’t think campuses are anxious to adjudicate student protesters, but they’re feeling under the gun to create environments where speech can occur,” said Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Early examples of protests gone awry demonstrate institutions’ unfamiliarity with handling such events. Notably, at Middlebury College in early March, a visit by the divisive scholar Charles Murray devolved from a shouting down into violence -- a total of 74 students were punished. Even then, most received probation and none were suspended, as at Claremont McKenna.

Middlebury, whose representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this article, have refused to disclose details about the penalties, which it labeled “official college discipline.” An earlier statement from the college said the more serious “college discipline” was a notice placed in students' records that they are sometimes required to disclose to potential graduate programs and employers.

Administrators have been disinclined to discipline students for shutting down speakers, though in interviews experts characterized this hesitancy in different ways.

Ari Cohn, from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that administrators recognized that penalizing students was an “unpopular political move,” but that that tendency showed students they could escape punishments. Cohn is director of the individual rights defense program at FIRE, a civil rights watchdog group.

Now, college leaders are “flailing” as they try to clamp down on a problem they helped create, Cohn said. Students across the country have tuned in to social media and can observe campus protests, which will spawn others, he said.

But such demonstrations are cyclical and not nascent on college campuses, said Jill Creighton, president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration. While higher education hasn’t often grappled with speakers being shouted down in the last decade, 30 years ago it did, she said.

Conduct officials never approach cases with a punitive lens, but rather they try to “repair” behavior, Creighton said -- so colleges punish only as a last resort.

“We’ve really seen civil rights concerns as a part of our profession since the beginning; it’s iterative -- it comes around in different forms,” she said.

At the University of Oregon, which failed to provide a comment for this article, students were initially extended a deal in which their student conduct violations could be wiped away simply by meeting with administrators.

Members of one student group, the University of Oregon Student Collective, which organized the protest against the president, refused. The Student Collective, described by Landeros in an interview, has called for the administration to make the institution more accessible to and safe for marginalized students. Landeros cited a proliferation of white nationalist propaganda on campus, which they said can lead to violence.

Landeros, a founding member of the Student Collective, met behind closed doors with an administrator recently and argued that the group did not disrupt the university environment. The university can’t function without students and thus the collective’s protest was more “university business” than the president’s speech, Landeros argued.

“A speech by an executive administrator is not essential to a school,” they said.

The university also told Landeros that the group had ignored an order to end the protest. Landeros did not dispute that in the interview, but said that the members were being told to be “less effective” in their protest, rendering the demand to stop as unreasonable.

They intend to appeal the punishment. The Student Collective also introduced a resolution to the University of Oregon Senate asking the Senate to call for dropping the conduct violations against the protesters.

President Michael H. Schill, in an opinion piece in The New York Times, likened the language used by one protester to fascism, which the students had accused him of promoting. Schill said the use of the term to describe him and the institution offended him, because members of his extended family were thrown into concentration campus and murdered in the Holocaust.

Schill wrote that he respected the right to protest, but not the silencing of others.

“From what I can tell, much of what students are protesting, both at the University of Oregon and elsewhere, is the expression of viewpoints or ideologies that offend them and make them feel marginalized. They are fed up with what they see as a blanket protection of free speech that, at its extreme, permits the expression of views by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. I am opposed to all these groups stand for, but offensive speech can never be the sole criterion for shutting down a speaker.”

Officials do not want to “criminalize” this behavior, but they do want to prevent free speech from being restricted, said Kruger of NASPA. He described a scenario: What if right-wing speakers, the kind college students have typically tried to block, were excluded from campus? That could lead to someone discussing sexual or reproductive health also being drowned out, simply because someone in the audience was insulted.

Lawmakers and university systems have stepped in to address this, either legislatively or through policy, sometimes to the chagrin of campus officials. Alumni and the “greater community” of these colleges also pressure the institutions to act, Kruger said.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, for instance, approved a policy last month mandating that students who disrupt protests be suspended if they do it twice, and after three times, expelled. Legislation had been floated in Wisconsin that would have forced similar punishments.

Both NASPA and FIRE oppose such minimum sentencing, because it does not permit officials to consider context.

“This has always been the purview of colleges and universities to manage their own disciplinary matters,” Kruger said. “This doesn’t account for nuance at individual institutions.”

Also among the more recent incidents were students at the College of William & Mary associated with the Black Lives Matter movement interrupting the speech of Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Virginia chapter.

The protesters accused the ACLU of protecting white supremacists, linked to the ACLU's backing a white nationalist's lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville, Va., related to their right to hold a protest in August, which ultimately turned violent.

Those students violated the William & Mary conduct code, the institution confirmed, but it would not disclose if the students would face consequences. Spokesman Brian Whitson, citing federal privacy laws, again refused to discuss possible sanctions for this article.

Whitson said via email that the institution intends to work more closely with event organizers in advance of an event that might be protested. The college had practices for large and high-profile events before, but Whitson said it is formalizing this planning process for all events.

"Candidly, we were not expecting a protest like we had during the student event on Sept. 27, and we want to do everything we can to prevent that from happening again," Whitson wrote in his email.

William & Mary President Taylor Reveley published a statement in October that touched on the First Amendment and the student protest of ACLU.

"This is my 12th year at William & Mary. Along the way I have come to know our magnificent institution very well. Among its myriad virtues, one that I've especially cherished is the civility and mutual respect with which we wage our disagreements, even when they are passionately felt. This way of living and working together has served us well. Let's not lose it."

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Inside a failed race against the clock at SUNY Buffalo

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

When a vote to censure the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning failed to pass the Faculty Senate this month at the University at Buffalo, of the State University of New York system, it was only the latest development in a dispute that has been brewing for more than a year. And while the dean avoided censure, and his decision not to renew a professor’s contract -- which was the impetus for the dispute -- still stands, some faculty and union representatives say they’re just getting started in seeking more policy changes.

What was a simple nonrenewal of a contract in 2016 has turned into a winding dispute, leaving the professor in question with a life-threatening illness and now -- after failed back-channel negotiations between faculty members and administrators -- no health-insurance support from SUNY Buffalo. The consequences are likely to go beyond the professor, as well, as faculty and union leaders lead a charge to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

In 2014, a professor was offered a tenure-track position -- with a six-year probationary period and an opportunity for renewal at three years -- at SUNY Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. Since she was let go in August 2017, her name hasn’t been released by the university, which cited privacy policies regarding personnel. But when the faculty member accepted the position, her understanding was that faculty input would help decide whether her three-year contract for the first half of her pre-tenure-vote employment would be renewed.

While that might be the typical procedure for SUNY Buffalo faculty members, however, it’s not in their contract. In June 2016, the professor was told that after finishing her contract in August 2017, she would no longer be employed by the university. A reasoning has not been announced -- nor is a reason required by the faculty contract.

The decision was made June 15, 2016, and came from Robert Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, as well as the interim department chair, Despina Stratigakos, and the department chair, Omar Khan, who was on sabbatical at the time. It was signed off by Provost Charles Zukoski.

A report from the professor’s mentoring committee -- composed of her colleagues -- wouldn’t arrive until a week later.

When outlining the narrative, Philip Glick, chair of the Faculty Senate, expressed frustration with what he said was a lack of support for pretenure faculty members, whose dismissal could come without reason, and -- as this case showed -- without adequate faculty input.

“Her process was violated,” Glick said. “It was very clear from all the information that was presented to us … in the future we need some sort of independent ombudsman, where disputes between the administration and the faculty can be resolved.”

Paul Zarembka, grievance officer for SUNY Buffalo's union, the United University Professionals North Campus chapter, said the process under which the professor was dismissed wasn't in violation of union standards, but it exposed a bad policy.

"The report itself did not in any way suggest she be dismissed or anything like that," Zarembka said. "But whatever it was, it didn't even arrive to the dean's office until the next week."

In May 2016, Glick said, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate formed an ad hoc grievance committee to look into the dismissal of the professor. They called her to testify, as well as Shibley, the chairs of the mentoring committee and the department, and the interim chairs of both the mentoring committee and the department.

The only one who showed up was the professor.

Speaking on behalf of Stratigakos and himself, Khan said via email that a draft of the mentoring report was used in "part of our deliberation" regarding the professor, and contested the characterization that any due process was breached. In a letter to the Faculty Senate ahead of the censure vote, he criticized the ad hoc grievance committee for making a decision without all the evidence, but at the same time admitted that he declined to testify to the committee, citing the privacy policy surrounding personnel matters.

Khan said it was not uncommon to use a draft of a report rather than the report itself if the report had been delayed. He did not answer a follow-up question as to whether or not this report was delayed.

SUNY Buffalo contends that the committee was out of line in investigating the dismissal, since the contract was never breached.

“Within this context, the dean of a school or college, the provost and the president have the clear authority to make these judgments,” that is, dismissing a professor, university spokesman John Della Contrada said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed. “The Faculty Senate, as an inseparable and vital part of [SUNY Buffalo], has no role in individual faculty personnel actions.”

The Faculty Senate, Della Contrada said, had “no standing” in the matter, per the union contract. Others agreed, writing in support of Shibley when the Faculty Senate eventually moved to censure him for his role in the dismissal in November 2017.

“The nonrenewal was based upon the recommendation of the Department of Architecture and then of the school,” Shibley wrote in a letter to the Faculty Senate shortly before the vote to censure him. “This action by [Faculty Senate chair] Glick is an unprecedented intrusion into the ability of the department to chart its destiny and review its colleagues on term appointments with recommendations to the provost in accordance with [the union], Employee Relations and [SUNY] Board of Trustees policies and procedures.”

Since the university didn’t violate the professor’s contract, Zarembka, the union's grievance officer, told Inside Higher Ed the professor wasn’t able to file a complaint with the union. He lamented the circumstances under which she was dismissed, and that the dismissal was allowed to occur the way it did. That’s why the Faculty Senate stepped in, Glick said, to carry out its duty to look into grievances, although he had his detractors in the Executive Committee as well, especially after the membership of the Executive Committee changed in August.

“She had every right to come to the Faculty Senate,” Glick said.

Illness and Negotiations

During the time that the ad hoc grievance committee was investigating the professor’s dismissal, the professor developed a life-threatening illness, Glick said. And come Aug. 15, she would be removed from SUNY Buffalo’s health insurance.

Glick’s solution was to ask the provost to reappoint her temporarily and have faculty members donate their sick pay so she could continue to receive a paycheck and benefits for six months, with the thinking that she would then transition to state disability services.

The university, however, found that would constitute an illegal use of public funds. The union countered with a legal opinion that the arrangement could have been legal.

The back-and-forth, however, never amounted to any sort of agreement. The professor was let go in August as scheduled and lost her health insurance.

A Vote to Censure

With the ad hoc grievance committee’s efforts to challenge the nonrenewal unsuccessful, the Executive Committee moved to introduce a resolution that would censure Shibley. While the censure of Shibley would be approved as a matter of public record, there would be no actual consequences.

By then, however, the makeup of the Executive Committee had changed. Although the resolution was approved, so was another resolution, which, if passed by the full Senate, would have the original censure be rescinded if it were to pass.

In the two months before the vote, Glick said he continued to press Zukoski, the provost, to reinstate the professor who was let go, in order to get her benefits back. He pledged to try to lobby the Faculty Senate to vote against the censure of Shibley as part of his bargain, he said.

No deal was reached. And after more than an hour of debate, the motion to censure Shibley failed anyway, by close to a three-to-one margin.

“The dean is a wonderful man; he’s done great things for the community and the university. But he was the person responsible,” Glick said. “And he didn’t really care whether policies and procedures were followed.”

The provost applauded the vote.

“I am pleased that the Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly to support the dean and to recognize the established governing policies and procedures of the university and the SUNY Board of Trustees,” he said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed.

‘Just Getting Started’

Glick said he learned valuable lessons from his unsuccessful campaign, and, with his position on the SUNY-wide Faculty Senate, he hopes to implement changes to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.

Glick hopes to guarantee legal representation for faculty senates in the SUNY system, he said, so that when administrations get legal representation, the faculty is entitled to similar counsel. While the union was able to assist in this case, he said, that doesn’t mean they can always be there, especially at smaller institutions.

Another change he’s seeking has to do with the actual contract, and the ability of the university to dismiss professors without giving cause.

“It seems ludicrous to me that in a higher education environment, where we’re dealing with really smart people … that pretenure and nonpermanent faculty can be dismissed without any reason or cause,” he said. The changes he’s seeking, he said, wouldn’t undercut the university’s authority to dismiss those professors, but would at least give them notice for why that decision was made.

In pushing back on the motion to censure Shibley, the university took issue with how much attention was being paid to that part of the contract, which falls under Article 32.

“If the Senate leadership’s goal was to pursue the prospects of amending Article 32 and other proposals, it should have done so in a more transparent and straightforward manner rather than the ill-advised censure resolution,” Della Contrada said. “This would have been more consistent with the values of the university and its faculty, and far more thoughtful than the attempt to discredit colleagues by censuring them for their compliance with existing policies.”

Glick, however, “has no trouble going to bed at night,” and hopes that he can continue fighting for what he says is more justice and representation for nontenured and nonpermanent faculty.

“The access to legal representation is just getting started, the Article 32 adjustments are just getting started, helping pretenure faculty is just getting started,” he said.

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A university gets personal with its students about cybersecurity

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

Today’s students may be digital natives, but that doesn't mean institutions can count on them to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

A recent survey by the technology firm CDW-G found that the No. 1 cybersecurity challenge facing IT professionals on campus is educating users about security policies and practices. Among students surveyed, just 25 percent dubbed the cybersecurity training or education efforts on their campus as very effective.

One institution, however, may have found a way to reach students -- by making them, and their pets, the stars of a cybersecurity-awareness campaign.

Speaking at the annual meeting of Educause in Philadelphia this month, representatives from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst shared how they leveraged students’ love of social media and personalized content to encourage them to up their cybersecurity game.

“There was a recognition that we needed to do something different, something fun,” said Iris Chelaru, web communications manager at UMass. While previous awareness campaigns had been informative, they failed to connect with students on a personal level, said Chelaru. Cybersecurity awareness is a bit like public health awareness, she said -- “things that we have to do but that we don’t want to.”

As students are both creators and curators of content online, who better than them to advise and help design an awareness campaign, Chelaru said. She and her team worked with the student government and other campus organizations to design an approach that was both informative and “warm and fuzzy,” said Chelaru.

Rather than presenting information on multiple security risks, as the university had previously, UMass officials decided to pick just one issue -- weak passwords -- as the center of their campaign. Pet names emerged as something that students regularly use as passwords, but that can be easily guessed, said Chelaru. With this in mind, the team created a website where students can create posters with pictures of their pets, underneath the tagline “My name is not a good password.”

“We were thinking about things that are familiar to students and that they know, maybe something from home that they miss,” said Chelaru. The posters, which could be easily shared on social media, saw much more engagement from students than previous campaigns did, said Matthew Dalton, chief information security officer at UMass Amherst.

Though the campaign started with posters of student pets, it quickly broadened, said Dalton. To make the campaign even more interactive, the team created giant photo frames that students could pose with in real life, under the same “My name is not a good password” banner. The team set up tables in areas with high student traffic at lunchtimes in October as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and offered prizes to encourage engagement. Soon the football team's mascot, Sam the Minuteman, and the university administration were in on the campaign.

While Dalton and colleagues hailed the campaign as a success, evaluating its impact has been tricky, he acknowledged. They have seen a decrease in student account breaches, but Dalton said he can’t be sure this campaign is responsible, as opposed to other security work the team has done. It would be difficult to track whether the campaign had actually resulted in behavior change without cracking student passwords to check if they contain pet names, said Dalton. But he is planning to look at whether password change activity has risen, he said.

Dalton said that the password campaign, now entering its third year, continues to have an impact because it doesn’t overload students with information. Where previously students might have been referred to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s guidelines on how to create a good password (make them complicated, change them regularly, include numbers and special characters, etc.), now students are just being made to think about what makes a bad password. The details come later, when the students actually log in to change their passwords, said Dalton.

Though the impact on student behavior is not yet known, the institution views the campaign as a success for other reasons, said Dalton. First, all the posters and photos shared on social media had strong institutional branding. Second, the campaign had support and engagement from the university administration, including backing from the vice chancellor for information services. Third, students were able to take ownership of the campaign. “People were willing to become part of the message,” said Dalton. “With any participation event, that’s key -- especially with security awareness.”

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Election victors in Czech Republic seek shift in priorities in higher education

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

The antiestablishment political party that swept to victory in the Czech Republic’s recent elections is likely to want the country’s universities to redirect teaching and research towards the needs of the economy, observers say.

ANO, led by the billionaire Andrej Babiš, won almost 30 percent of the vote in elections last month, limiting the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats -- who normally dominate government -- to single figures. Negotiations are underway to form a new government.

Tomas Dumbrovsky, assistant professor of law at Charles University in Prague, who has written on Czech higher education, said that the party’s approach was “market oriented, which might fit natural science and technical [subjects] … but hardly takes into account the needs of humanities and social science.”

ANO’s program commits to increase the stability of university funding so that institutions can supply “qualified experts in line with strategic decisions of the state.”

It also wants more “practical experience” in university education, as well as a system of “quality evaluation” to make sure that graduates meet “labor market needs.”

ANO also believes that Czech research spending is not achieving results and thinks that it should be focused more toward helping to deliver economic growth, Dumbrovsky added.

The party also wants more international involvement in Czech universities. Institutional assessments should be based on peer review by researchers, preferably international ones, and students should have to take a course either in English or abroad, the program says.

Michal Lošťák, vice rector for international relations at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, said that ANO also pledged not to introduce tuition on the basis that “the education of young people will be beneficial for all of us.”

However, tuition has become a political issue in another way: Babiš recently criticized the former Czech government for waiving the fees of 10 Nigerian medical students whose home country funding had been cut off, arguing that “they should work as any other student to get the needed sum,” Lošťák explained.

ANO’s program in part echoes some of the utilitarian themes seen elsewhere in Central Europe, such as Hungary, where the ruling Fidesz Party has reduced the number of university places and said that higher education should serve the labor market.

But whether it will be carried out is another matter. “ANO’s focus on … university education is minimal in reality,” Dumbrovsky said. Its program is “modern and appealing,” and it has “nice phrases,” he said, but it lacks “any real plan how to achieve the pledged state of things.”

Declaring that “ANO’s electorate has little interest in the area” of higher education, he predicted that the same would be true of an ANO government.

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New presidents or provosts: Cedarville Colgate Heritage Huntingdon Kansas McNeese Missouri Nottingham St. Thomas Scott UAB

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00
  • Pam Benoit, executive vice president and provost at Ohio University, has been chosen as senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Daryl Burckel, professor of accounting at McNeese State University, in Louisiana, has been named president there.
  • Alexander Cartwright, provost and vice president of the State University of New York System, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Missouri at Columbia.
  • Lyn Brodersen Cochran, assistant vice president for organizational development at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, has been selected as president of Scott Community College, in Iowa.
  • Douglas A. Girod, executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, has been chosen as chancellor of the University of Kansas.
  • Tracey Hucks, James D. Vail III Professor at Davidson College, in North Carolina, has been selected as provost and dean of the faculty at Colgate University, in New York.
  • Richard L. Ludwick, president of Independent Colleges of Indiana, has been appointed president of the University of St. Thomas, in Texas.
  • Thomas Mach, assistant vice president for academics at Cedarville University, in Ohio, has been promoted to vice president for academics there.
  • Anna McEwan, dean of the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, in Alabama, has been chosen as provost and dean of the college at Huntingdon College, also in Alabama.
  • Andrew C. Sund, president of St. Augustine College, in Illinois, has been selected as president of Heritage University, in Washington.
  • Shearer West, professor of art history and provost and deputy vice chancellor at the University of Sheffield, in Britain, has appointed as president and vice chancellor of the University of Nottingham, also in Britain.
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Chamber of the Americas is proud to introduce our new member, GMBA & CPA Alfredo Zaldivar Sanchez, Mexico City, Mexico and Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico

Chamber of the Americas (English) - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:24

Mario Alfredo Zaldivar Sanchez
GMBA & CPA Mario Alfredo Zaldivar Sanchez
Auditing, Accounting, Taxes, Taxes Strategy, Finance and Business Development. Bi-lingual: Spanish and English
Hacienda la Escalera 49
Col. Prados Coapa 2A, Secc.
Del. Tlalpan
Ciudad de Mexico, 14350, Mexico

Calle Batalla Casa de Mata No. 195 Interior 100
Colonia Chapultepec
Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico 58260
Skype: zaldivar00

Study Hawai’i reveals plan to boost international recruitment

The PIE News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:53

Study Hawai’i, a consortium of education providers in the state, has published an updated strategic plan to develop the Pacific islands as a study destination over the next nine years.

The publication of the new plan coincided with International Education Week in the US, and at a ceremony in Honolulu’s State Capitol, Governor David Ige signed a proclamation recognising the value and contributions of international students.

“[Using] this opportunity of International Education Week [we want to] broadcast to the world that Hawaii is an outstanding place – not just for fun in the sun, not just for ecotourism and sustainability – but it’s a perfect place to come and get a degree,” said Study Hawai’i president Joel Weaver.

The plan hopes to reverse the decline in international student enrolments, not only in the state of Hawai’i, but across the US.

The consortium of Hawaiian educators hopes to double the number of international students in just one decade. It will focus on HE and school students, as well as short-term language and exchange program students.

The goal is to attract at least 24,000 international students to the state each year by 2026. This is an increase of 10,000 students per annum, over the entire sector.

Gov. Ige pointed out Hawai’i’s diverse population is embracing of international students

Governor Ige highlighted that although the natural diverse beauty of the state is well known, and a draw that makes Hawai’i one of the most popular tourist destinations, it is not the only thing on offer.

“We welcome students from around the world to enjoy the beauty of our Islands and stay for the quality education which will transform their future,” he said.

“Whether it be astronomy, or ocean and marine sciences, marine biology, where the classroom is the natural environment here in Hawaii… we have a strategic advantage,” Ige added.

Gov. Ige also pointed out Hawai’i’s diverse population (it is the only state of the union without a majority ethnic population) is embracing of international students.

A Japanese international student performs a Hula after the Governor’s address. Photo: The PIE News

“We recognise the richness that the diverse students bring, that we are strengthened and empowered by their diversity,” Ige said.

Working in conjunction with StudentMarketing, Study Hawai’i’s new strategy sets out lessons to learn from organisations such as EduNova in Canada, and English Australia to recruit students successfully from around the globe.

A key point to the new strategy is communication and state-wide marketing.

“One of the target areas in our strategic plan is China, with a close second being India”

“Successful study destination marketing and student recruitment can no longer be an outcome of unsystematic or stand-alone individual initiatives,” the report says.

Instead, it is planned that Study Hawai’i will be able to transform from a coalition of education providers to an organised NGO or even a state-government agency. An initial investment of $430,000 is expected to be found through government funding and private capital.

Both Study Hawai’i and StudentMarketing understand that this growth and funding hopes are not easy. However, with more engagement with education agents planned, and an understanding of target markets, both parties are positive that the goal is achievable.

To do so, Study Hawai’i are clear in its target markets. As the bridge between east and west, Asia is an obvious choice. Japan is currently the largest market for Hawai’ian institutions, but other nations such as China are also being targeted.

“We do have an office in Beijing that is strictly there to help students attend Hawaii schools, including with marketing, so Chinese students know about Hawaii as a place to study,” said Dennis Ling of the Hawai’i state department of business, economic development and tourism.

“One of the target areas in our strategic plan is China, with a close second being India, because those are the largest growing areas for international education in the US as a whole,” Weaver said.

“We’re also looking at second and tertiary markets as well, like Brazil,” he added.

Answering a question on the potential impact of the Trump administration on the targets of Study Hawai’i, Dennis Ling distanced the island state from the realities of life on the mainland.

“My opinion is it’s because of a lot of the perception that the US is not a very safe place to study… Hawaii is different. We are ranked as one of the top states for being the safest in the US,” Ling said.

“And we’re a long way from Washington DC! As far as you can get,” added Weaver.

The post Study Hawai’i reveals plan to boost international recruitment appeared first on The PIE News.

Singapore: MoE announces school fee increase

The PIE News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:15

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has announced it will increase school fees for permanent residents and international students at government schools.

However, one commentator has suggested that most expat students in Singapore enrol in private high schools instead of government-run schools, so the change might not affect a large number of international students.

International students at all school levels will see an average increase in fees of around 35% over three years between 2017 and 2020, whereas students from the Association of South East Asian Nations will see an average increase of around 23%.

Currently, international students pay $600 per month for primary school, $950 per month at secondary school and $1300 at pre-university schools. These fees for international students will increase by $25-$150 per month.

The biggest hike in relative prices is for permanent residents, who will see their fees at secondary school level rise by 90%, from $200 in 2017 to $380 in 2020.

“Demand for international school places in Singapore remains high, although when considered as a year-on-year performance, is lower than previous years”

“The government invests significantly in education to improve the quality of education and provide every child the opportunity to develop to his fullest potential,” a spokesperson from the MOE told The PIE News.

“MOE conducts regular review of the school fees and makes adjustments when necessary,” they added.

According to the MOE spokesperson, around 5% of students in government schools over recent years were international students and predominantly from ASEAN and Asian countries.

International students from ASEAN countries will also see school fees rise by around 20% at primary level and pre-university level and 30% at secondary school level. However, their rates rise less than the fees for permanent residents and other international students.

In 2017, international students paid on average 54% more in school fees than their ASEAN classmates. By 2020, this will increase to an average 70% more.

Sam Fraser, South East Asia research consultant for ISC Research, told The PIE News that the tuition fee increase applied only to local schools and would not affect most expatriate students who often attend international private schools.

“This won’t affect most expatriate students as they generally attend the international private schools, which typically charge much higher fees.

“Demand for international school places in Singapore remains high, although when considered as a year-on-year performance, is lower than previous years,” he said.

“This is due to the reduction in human capital within the oil and gas sector which has reduced the number of western expats in Singapore. However other markets, including artificial intelligence and fintech, are now emerging to redress this.”

The price hikes will not affect citizens from Singapore. Earlier this year, The PIE News reported a rise in school fees in Hong Kong.

The post Singapore: MoE announces school fee increase appeared first on The PIE News.

University reopens as army calls for end to unrest

University World News Global Edition - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 07:00
A semblance of normality has been restored at the University of Zimbabwe and examinations are scheduled to go ahead on Thursday this week after the military on Monday night called on students to e ...

Over 40% of international students underpaid in Australia

The PIE News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 02:58

International students are underpaid when working in Australia on a significant scale: according to a landmark Migrant Worker Justice Initiative report on the scope of workplace exploitation, temporary migrant workers are the victims of endemic wage theft, underpayment, bullying and overworking.

The Wage Theft in Australia report, which surveyed over 4,300 international students and working holiday makers, found 43% of all students within workplaces were paid $15 per hour or less; significantly below the minimum wage of $18.29 per hour.

“It’s clear that at some point, probably everyone in this country has enjoyed food or services that involve serious underpayment of an international student or backpacker”

A first of its kind for Australia, the report’s co-author, University of Technology Sydney law lecturer Laurie Berg, said that while the results were not altogether surprising, it was concerning to see the degree to which the problem of workplace exploitation had spread.

“I think we’ve known about a lot of media reports on exploitation of overseas workers in a couple of 7-Eleven stores or farms around the country, but we haven’t known how far it goes,” she said.

“It’s striking that we now have hard data that shows that we’ve got a large, silent underclass of invisible temporary workers in this country and they’re made up of international students and backpackers who are being paid well below minimum wage.”

Speaking with The PIE News, Berg said the report also went a long way toward dispelling several assumptions around the exploitation of migrant workers.

“It wasn’t just one industry, it wasn’t just a region and it wasn’t just a nationality. Severe underpayment was experienced by every major nationality of backpackers and international students,” she said.

Concerningly, however, the report also dispelled another common myth that international students were being taken advantage of because of their naivety, with 73% indicating they were aware of the minimum wage.

Rather than prove international students are intentionally gaming the system, however, Berg said their level of awareness revealed a more disturbing problem.

“It wasn’t just one industry, it wasn’t just a region and it wasn’t just a nationality”

“The reason why many of them are getting these low paying jobs and staying in these illegally low paying jobs is that they believe everyone else on their visa is also being paid less than the minimum wage, too,” she said.

“They don’t see much chance of getting a better paying job.”

The report also found that 13% of international students were working above 21 hours per week and therefore likely to be working above the 40 hours a fortnight allowed on their visa, but this figure jumped to almost a third for those who indicated they received below minimum wage.

IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood said rising costs, such as accommodation in major cities, could be contributing to students compromising wages for more hours.

“Unfortunately, if they believe that they need to work for more than the legal limit of 20 hours per week they will sometimes enter into a ‘devil’s compact’ with their employer,” he said.

“This creates an imbalance in the work relationship with students being afraid that they will be reported to [DIBP].”

Adelaide University law professor Alex Reilly, who earlier this year co-authored the International Students and the Fair Work Ombudsman report with Berg, agreed with Honeywood’s observations, adding it provided additional fodder for an ongoing debate around work rights and exploitation.

“One recommendation a lot of academics have been suggesting is that [students] can work an unlimited number of hours,” he told The PIE.

“We’ve got a large, silent underclass of invisible temporary workers in this country”

“This report partly supports that but it also partly raises concerns about that… There’s a huge number of students who are being exploited when they’re working under 20 hours a week, so taking the limit on work rights away just means you’ve got more international students doing work and therefore a higher level of exploitation overall.

“That’s a really interesting policy dilemma we need to grapple with.”

Berg said she hoped the report would help empower international students and backpackers to demand better conditions from employers, as well as open a dialogue with the general public.

“It’s clear that at some point, probably everyone in this country has enjoyed food or services that involve serious underpayment of an international student or backpacker,” she said.

“We need to really take a look at the implications of ever-increasing consumer demand for cheaper and cheaper goods and services and food,” she continued, adding larger businesses needed to look at their supply chains to ensure wage theft was not occurring down the line.

Earlier this year, Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman entered an agreement with DIBP to prevent international students from automatic deportation if they had violated their visa conditions in a bid to encourage more to report employers for exploitation.

The post Over 40% of international students underpaid in Australia appeared first on The PIE News.

At Middle East studies conference, panelists consider how Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out in classroom

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00

WASHINGTON -- At the Middle East Studies Association’s annual meeting, several panels focused on the tensions scholars of the region are navigating in the classroom in these intensely polarized times, with perhaps few issues as contentious as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A roundtable session Monday afternoon focused on navigating Jewish campus and community debates on Israel. Speakers at the session raised a number of issues, ranging from the ways in which the Jewish campus organization Hillel International has defined the terms of debate to the influence of external groups that promote a certain view about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the growth of donor-funded Israel studies chairs on U.S. campuses and the uneasy relationship between Israel studies and the broader field of Middle East studies.

Also on Monday, MESA’s board approved a resolution condemning what it described as “intimidation of students and faculty” by groups like the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Canary Mission, organizations that have coordinated poster or social media campaigns that single out individual students and scholars who are identified by the groups as being anti-Israel or supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The David Horowitz Freedom Center is behind poster campaigns on campuses that link faculty or students involved in Palestinian activism to Hamas and terrorism. Canary Mission’s website, which includes profiles and photos of individual students who are affiliated with groups like Students for Justice in Palestine as well as professors, has a stated aim of exposing “those who promote lies and attacks on Israel and the Jewish people.”

“We urge academic administrations to repudiate and condemn in no uncertain terms these efforts to defame, intimidate and silence members of their communities,” MESA’s board said in a statement. “We also call upon administrators to reaffirm unequivocal support for the principles of academic freedom and free speech, and to take prompt action to fulfill their responsibility for establishing and maintaining a safe, inclusive and diverse campus environment.”

David Horowitz said the activists identified by his group should stand behind their beliefs. “What these people don’t want is to be held accountable,” he said. “What is the big deal about identifying people who are standing up for terrorists?”

“The MESA statement is the height of hypocrisy,” Horowitz added. Referring to tactics by Palestinian activists to establish mock checkpoints or “apartheid walls” on campuses or distribute mock eviction notices meant to draw attention to the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, Horowitz asked, “Posters are 'intimidation' but checkpoints and apartheid walls and eviction notices and chants of 'Zionists off campus' are not?”

Panelists at the Monday afternoon MESA session on navigating campus debates on Israel described an increasing polarization, and ways in which what happens outside the classroom can affect what goes on inside the classroom.

Benjamin Schreier, a literary scholar who directs the Jewish studies program at Pennsylvania State University, argued that Hillel International, the largest student group that supports Jewish student life, seeks to simplify the discourse on Israel, with opinions being divided into two spheres, those that are more or less critical of Israeli policies and those that are more or less supportive -- and to overlay onto this difference of opinion a characterization of being anti-Israel or Israel friendly. “A difference of opinion becomes a difference of what kind of person you are,” Schreier said.

As Schreier wrote in the abstract for the presentation, “Claims of position are increasingly legible as -- and only as -- claims of identity. It’s getting too easy to see in a scene of discursive antagonism conflicting kinds of irreconcilable people rather than conflicting sets of arguable claims.”

Hillel did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon. The organization, which has been criticized for its policies that preclude partnering with groups that support BDS, says on its website that it "welcomes a diversity of student perspectives on Israel" and that its “goal is to inspire every Jewish college student to develop a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel and to Israelis.”

Another panelist at the session, a professor of history and Jewish studies at Vassar College, Joshua Schreier, described the pressure on the college that came from a group of pro-Israel alumni who alleged a lack of balance in campus discussions of the topic. He suggested that outside groups are using professors' publicly stated political opinions as proof that Jewish students are being cowed without having knowledge of what goes on inside the classroom.

As such, Joshua Schreier raised the question of how faculty members can take positions on contentious political issues while at the same time making “it very clear to students from a wide variety of groups that we’re their professor too. There’s not one group of students that claims a particular monopoly on us. What I’ve been thinking about is how we present ourselves as professors to everyone but [also] very clearly as people of conscience who are not afraid to speak out.”

Much of the session focused on the growth of positions in Israel studies funded by donors and the relationship of positions funded by Israel advocacy groups to the broader Middle East Studies field. One audience member spoke of a case at Case Western Reserve University where a local Jewish community organization was represented on the search committee. (The case was recently covered by The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

“There’s been some pretty insidious activity on some of our campuses with regard to donor intervention,” said Shira Robinson, a panelist and an associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University. "In other institutions, and I’m not naming names here, where there were failed searches [for Israel studies chairs], not only have the searches failed once, the searches have failed multiple times because of either donor intervention or the refusal of the faculty to accept the candidates that the donors wanted."

Robinson, who teaches on the modern Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also discussed a trend after the establishment of an Israel studies chair at her university for Jewish students to migrate toward courses under the Israel studies umbrella, while other students who see themselves in solidarity with Palestinians migrate to her classes. Robinson described this as a kind of "Balkanization" that she thinks is very unfortunate.

The discussion was at times quite contentious, as when panelists clashed with an audience member who represented an external organization that promotes U.S.-Israeli cooperation and funds visiting faculty and graduate students over who it funds and whether they’re expected to hold certain views on Israel.

Ilan Troen, an Israel studies professor at Brandeis University, said there is a great demand for Israel studies and for the study of subjects other than the conflict and that the influence of donors was much exaggerated. "The good universities, the Jewish donors might try and shove and push, but they’re not on promotion committees," Troen said from the audience.

“Efforts to constrain searches ideologically come from the right and the left across campus. They come from a dozen or more different disciplines; they really are an equal opportunity effort to bias search procedures,” Cary Nelson, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has written extensively opposing the BDS campaign, said, also from the audience. "You put yourself at risk if you assume that you are always and only the better angel of our nature, that you are interested in objective critique and that there are other folks out there who are ideologically motivated." He suggested there was "no lack of ideological motivation" to go around.

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Full-time jobs in English and languages reach new low, MLA report finds

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00

Job ads published with the Modern Language Association declined for a fifth straight year in 2016-17, reaching another new low, according to a preliminary report from the MLA.

The association’s Job Information List -- a proxy for the tenure-track (or otherwise full-time) job market in English and foreign languages -- included 851 jobs last year in English, 11 percent (102 jobs) fewer than the year before. The foreign language edition list included 808 jobs, or 12 percent (110 jobs) fewer than the year before.

The declines of the past five years bring the number of total jobs advertised to another new low, according to MLA, below the dip seen between 2007-08 and 2009-10.

Source: Modern Language Association

MLA notes that the share of all job ads in English that are tenure-line has fallen to under 65 percent, from about 75 percent in 2008-09.

In foreign languages, the share of all jobs ads that are tenure-line has fallen from about 60 percent to just over 45 percent over the same period.

A more detailed report from the MLA is expected later this year. In the interim, the association shared a breakdown of jobs ads for positions in languages other than English. The number of ads for jobs in Arabic, Chinese, French, Germanic and Scandinavian languages, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish continued their multiyear declines.

Available positions in Russian and Slavic languages increased year over year, from 31 in 2015-16 to 40 in 2016-17.

Robert Townsend, director of the Washington office of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, said MLA’s data seem “quite consistent” with other data on jobs in the humanities, such as a recent, sobering jobs report from the American Historical Association and a jobs snapshot from the academy.

The academy report, for example, says that the number of jobs advertised with disciplinary associations in the humanities linger “substantially below pre-recession levels.”

As to precisely what’s driving the continued decline of available full-time positions, Townsend said he thought it was still “an open question.” Possible factors include changes in the ways jobs are advertised, a decline in faculty retirements, a drop in enrollments or a shift toward more adjunct instructors.

“Unfortunately, we lack the data we need to really tease out the underlying variables at work here,” he said. “There is still more work to be done there.”

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Q&A with author of book on the unequal higher ed landscape

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00

Although university leaders speak frequently about college as a driver of social mobility, opining on the need to expand access to poor and underserved populations, inequality permeates American higher education.

A new book attempts to quantify just how different top colleges are from their less selective peers -- and how institutions’ fortunes have changed since the 1970s. That book, Unequal Colleges in the Age of Disparity (Harvard University Press), by economist Charles Clotfelter, shows American undergraduate education is less equal today than it was half a century ago. It also explores the many forces contributing to that change.

Clotfelter, a professor of public policy studies at Duke University, examines higher education as an industry, setting aside idealized portraits in lieu of economic terminology in order to demystify the market and scrutinize it in depth. He argues that no one who works at a top institution like Duke sets out to create an increasingly unequal higher education landscape. Yet a competitive market and rising income inequality have contributed to top universities growing even more powerful and elite than they were in the past, even as many of their smaller and lesser-known peers struggle.

“When we examine the market for baccalaureate education in the United States, we behold a scene of spectacular disparities,” Clotfelter writes. “They reveal themselves as differences across colleges in tangible resources, academic qualifications of entering students, and outcomes for graduates.”

Clotfelter answered questions by email about his new book. The following exchange has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Q: You pick out three themes in the book: diversity, competition and inequality. Were you surprised at what you found?

A: Regarding inequality, the surprise was in the extent, not the existence of it. Comparing the less selective half of public colleges and universities (so classified in 1970) with the most selective private ones, for example, the difference in assets per student by 2013 was astounding: $29,000 for the former group of colleges, compared to $1.2 million for the latter group. Another aspect where inequality showed up was in qualifications of students, and these disparities grew larger over time. In 1972, for example, the percentage of students whose average grades in high school were A or A-plus was 7 percent in the less selective public colleges, compared to 39 percent in the most selective private ones, for a gap of 32 percentage points. By 2010 that large gap had grown even bigger, to 43 points.

The extent of the diversity in colleges’ missions is also striking. Colleges differ from each other, sometimes radically, along a host of dimensions, most noticeably by age, location, architecture and size. Going beneath the easily observed, they differ in elusive but more significant ways -- religious mission, research intensity and emphasis on practical skills, to name a few. But there is a connection back to inequality, since the extent to which a college’s courses teach “useful” skills is often a good predictor of where the college resides along the elusive dimension of prestige. Prestige in turn is correlated with the average SAT scores of students and the difficulty of gaining admission.

Most of these differences have roots in history. For example, many if not most private colleges were founded by religious bodies or for religious reasons. Although for many colleges these religious ties have weakened over time, as the society at large has become more secular, the vestiges of these religious origins remain. Historical roots are evident as well in the most secular of colleges, the country’s public universities, including the great land-grant institutions established by the Morrill Acts of the 19th century. They are evident as well in the historically black colleges and universities, originally designed to serve black students in the states where Jim Crow segregation was the law. Other dimensions of diversity can be seen in universities that began as colleges for women or for Native Americans, or as urban commuter colleges, or two-year colleges. And if you really want to see diversity in mission, just look at the military academies.

One final reason for diversity is that every student’s college experience is different. Unlike many goods and services that require little from the purchaser except money, the service being bought and sold in the college marketplace requires as one indispensable “input” attention and exertion by the student herself. Like any paying customer who visits the supermarket or joins a gym, the college student must also be a partner in the production process. What students get out of college depends on the effort they expend. Owing to the marvelous variety among students and the multitude of classes and activities available at most colleges, the ultimate product -- a baccalaureate education -- is by its nature an idiosyncratic thing.

Q: How do you go about analyzing such a range of institutions?

A: To reflect this diversity, I adopted an approach to the empirical analysis that would accentuate differences across various types of colleges. I divided colleges into 17 categories. I first separated public and private HBCUs from the rest, owing to their unique history. I divided the remaining colleges between public and private and according to the average SATs of their students in 1970. Once a college had been classified, it remained in the same category over time and in each of three waves of data from the Freshman Survey, 1972, 1989-90, and 2008-09. This permanent assignment facilitated the objective of making apples-to-apples comparisons over time. For every one of my calculations of changes over time, the categories I compare contain exactly the same colleges or students from exactly the same colleges.

Q: How much do the choices made by the handful of elite, highly desirable colleges drive all of this?

A: In a very real sense these elite colleges are the “industry leaders.” Historians of higher education have demonstrated the myriad ways in which colleges across the land have attempted to emulate Harvard and the rest of this handful of institutions. For the developments I document, however, the importance of the choices made by the elite colleges lies not in their effect on other colleges, but rather on their own situations.

The most selective private colleges, already seemingly secure, left no stone unturned in their efforts to improve the quality of their programs, to recruit the very best faculty, to admit the brightest possible entering classes and, of course, to raise the maximum amount of donations and grants. The venerable law enunciated by Howard Bowen several decades ago remains true: colleges raise all the money they can and spend all the money they raise. To be sure, it is not spending for spending’s sake, but spending for the aim of being the best, of coming out ahead of one’s rivals.

This meant raising tuition at rates consistently above the rate of inflation. It meant gathering as many dollars of donations into their endowments and seeking out financial expertise that would achieve above-average rates of return. It also meant continuing the age-old practice of giving preferential consideration to the sons and daughters of alumni.

To offset the rather obvious class bias wrapped up in such as policy, the top colleges also maintained or enhanced their financial aid to low-income students. But at the end of the day, very few of these elite colleges enroll all that many students from the bottom one-fifth of the income distribution.

Q: What built-in advantages allowed those elite colleges to expand their resources in a time of increasing competition?

A: This is an industry where history’s hand is very heavy, and the advantages of a great faculty combine with the advantages of fame, reputation and architecture to produce barriers to entry of awesome proportions. But this advantage bestowed by inertia was enhanced by the increasing inequality in incomes throughout the economy, having the ironic effect of enriching the very institutions that needed help the least.

I call this the inequality dividend. In a perfect illustration of the enigmatic Matthew effect (the tendency for the rich to get richer, so named by the sociologist Robert Merton for a New Testament parable), the rising incomes of the most affluent households in the country led to large jumps in donations to higher education. Because donors tended to give to their own alma maters, much of this new giving gravitated to the very institutions that were already well-off.

Q: How has growing inequality affected faculty members?

A: No resource is more important to a college’s teaching and research missions than the faculty. Thanks to annual surveys carried out by the American Association of University Professors, it is not hard to trace the pay of faculty by college. Among the 17 categories of colleges I followed over time, the most selective private colleges increased the pay for their faculty members by the most. Pay differences that were significant in 1970 became bigger over time.

The difference in average faculty compensation between the least selective public colleges and the most selective private ones was some 37 percent in 1972. By 2012, the inflation-corrected difference had reached 44 percent.

These disparities have taken on an ominous public-private dimension, due in part to lagging state appropriations for public higher education. A recent study compared average salaries at public and private research universities. In 1971, it showed, the average salary in the public universities was 5 percent less than the average in the private ones. By 2015, that gap had reached 24 percent. Given the importance of public research universities to the growth and well-being of the American economy, this trend is a troubling one.

Q: What does it mean for students?

A: If you combine these findings with those related to the larger question of resources, what you come up with is a picture of a well-financed, highly efficient set of colleges at one end and a large number of struggling colleges at the other. Combined with other information I present in the book, which shows that students enrolling in the most selective colleges, in comparison to those who enrolled in less selective colleges, spent more time in high school studying and with other research showing a general decline in study time among college students, these indications of a bifurcation in college quality are disquieting.

Q: What choices do colleges face now?

A: The richer the college, the more choices it has. The richest and most exclusive, which have the luxury of choosing among scores of talented applicants, have the power to increase or decrease the share of their students who come from modest backgrounds. If colleges, singly or as a whole, want to reduce the degree of economic stratification that exists across the spectrum of colleges, they must act accordingly.

There is no shortage of possible remedies. As economists Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner have demonstrated, there are hundreds of low-income, highly able high school seniors across the country, many of them outside metropolitan areas, who are there to be contacted and informed that colleges want them and that financial aid is available. To identify some of these students, colleges’ admissions offices could redirect a few of their visits each year from affluent suburbs to nontraditional recruitment areas. In evaluating applications, they could do more to neutralize the advantages of affluence, such as by giving less weight to experiences, like unpaid internships, that are more accessible to affluent applicants. And, in making financial aid offers, they could take steps to lessen or eliminate the debt burden on the neediest students.

Lastly, they could reduce the preference they give to legacies. That most of the selective colleges continue to favor legacies reveals that “excellence” must not be the sole institutional objective.

If any college wishes to take steps to increase its share of low-income students, it will require a willingness to sacrifice other objectives. It might mean scrimping on renovations, professors’ salaries or additions to the endowment, or it might mean turning in less impressive statistics to U.S. News.

It is unreasonable, however, to expect colleges to do much redistribution beyond what is in their own private best interest. This would require concerted action by selective colleges as a group, but this approach will inevitably raise antitrust concerns.

Q: Do you have hope that the trajectory of American higher education can change?

A: At the moment, all the trajectories seem locked in place. The incentives of colleges to engage in practices that enhance their financial strength and competitive position do not show signs of changing. Public policies designed to open opportunities to lower-income students, such as an enhancement of Pell Grants, do not appear politically likely. More grandly, policies that might slow the seemingly unstoppable increase in inequality do not appear likely. About the only policy proposal I have seen that would have the effect of reducing the inequality of colleges is the proposal, contained in the current House tax bill, that would tax large university endowments and pay to top employees over $1 million.

In a word, no.

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Jury awards more than $1 million to trans academic who sued over tenure denial

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00

A federal jury on Monday found that Southeastern Oklahoma State University discriminated against Rachel Tudor in denying her tenure, and ordered the university to pay her $1.165 million.

The case has become a pivotal one in the area of transgender rights. Tudor, who is transgender, sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars gender discrimination, among other forms of bias, in employment. Tudor and her supporters argued that the discrimination she faced as a transgender woman was a form of discrimination barred by Title VII. In a move that was hailed at the time by advocates for transgender people, the Obama administration backed her claim in 2015 and said that she had been a victim of bias under Title VII. But the Trump administration has reversed that policy and stated that discrimination against trans people is not covered by Title VII.

The Justice Department under Obama said that the case demonstrated clear evidence of anti-transgender bias. Among the facts stated by the Justice Department at the time:

  • Tudor was hired in 2004, at the time identifying as male. In 2007, she started to present herself as a woman. And it was in 2007 and later that she experienced discrimination.
  • A vice president of the university asked a human resources employee whether Tudor could be fired because her gender identity offended his religious beliefs. (The human resources official answered in the negative, but the vice president played a role in Tudor's tenure review.)
  • A dean, in a meeting with Tudor about her tenure bid, repeatedly used the wrong pronouns to refer to Tudor, despite being told of her status and despite her being in the room.
  • A tenure review committee in her department (English) and her chair recommended her for tenure and found she met all the university's criteria.
  • The dean and vice president referenced above reversed that decision without offering an explanation.
  • Both the dean and the vice president refused to meet with Tudor to discuss her case so she could appeal to the president for tenure. In refusing to meet her, they broke with practice at the university of holding such meetings, which have resulted in cisgender people winning tenure.

Sean Burrage, president of Southeastern Oklahoma State, issued a statement Monday that made no reference to whether discrimination had taken place. "Southeastern Oklahoma State University places great trust in the judicial system and respects the verdict rendered today by the jury. It has been our position throughout this process that the legal system would handle this matter, while the university continues to focus its time and energy on educating students," said the statement.

Jillian Weiss, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said via email that the case was significant for transgender professors. "This ruling is very important for the rights of transgender professors because it shows that protection is granted under federal law, and it does not matter where in the country you are located," Weiss said. "A fair-minded jury in Oklahoma found that the actions of the university were impermissible under federal law."

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Counterprotesters at North Florida outnumber those supporting white nationalist

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00

Ken Parker was suspended from the University of North Florida Nov. 14, but the swastika-tattooed former KKK leader was back on campus Monday to appeal the institution’s decision, bringing with him fears of protesters rallying around his cause.

Only four protesters showed up, outnumbered by some 50 to 80 counterprotesters, as estimated by the university and local media.

Parker, 37, is a student at UNF. He posted a photo of himself on social media last week, holding a gun, expressing in the caption that if anyone from the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society chapter aimed to challenge him, he would “shut them down.” Many white supremacists attending public institutions have had the expression of their views protected under the First Amendment, though UNF officials said that the combination of the gun and the caption constituted a threat, which was why Parker was suspended.

He also made comments against the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, writing, "It's OK to be white!" and "WHITE and PROUD."

Although the university expressed confidence last week that the number of protesters would be small, the appeal hearing was moved to a building farther from the center of campus as a precaution, and announced it was cooperating with the Jacksonville sheriff’s office for increased security.

There was talk of canceling classes for the day, but it was ultimately decided that they would continue as previously scheduled.

“The University Police Department did a terrific job in coordinating with the Jacksonville sheriff’s office in a display of police presence, including police patrols in the core of campus,” President John Delaney said in a statement Monday. “I would like to thank both departments for their professionalism.”

The appeal hearing was held Monday morning, though a decision on whether Parker would remain suspended did not come about by that evening. A decision is expected sometime today.

In a statement issued Friday, Delaney sympathized with students and faculty who found the situation upsetting.

“I understand the situation is upsetting and frightening to many students, faculty, staff and parents,” he said. “In fact, all of the vice presidents and I have been responding to students, parents, staff and faculty, and the pain as well as the fear is palpable and actually emotionally draining to witness. I wish I had a magic wand that could address all of that and could solve the historic problems of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. I really wish that we could take away the pain and fear.”

Delaney echoed that law enforcement asked him to request that there wouldn’t be a counterprotest -- a strategy that many colleges have tried, though not always successfully, in an effort to keep students safe and avoid physical altercations -- though he acknowledged that there were plans underway for just that. The counterprotests Monday were peaceful.

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New presidents or provosts: Arkansas State Barnard Bloomsburg Carroll Emory Holy Cross Pierce Raritan San Diego Shippensburg UALR

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:00
  • Sian Leah Beilock, executive vice provost of the University of Chicago, will become the eighth president of Barnard College.
  • Velmer Burton Jr., dean of the University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences, has been chosen as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • Laurie A. Carter, executive vice president and university counsel for Eastern Kentucky University, has been chosen as president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
  • Kelly Damphousse, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, has been selected as chancellor of Arkansas State University.
  • James DuMond Jr., dean of the School of Science at Marist College, in New York, has been appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at Franklin Pierce University, in New Hampshire.
  • Cindy Gnadinger, executive consultant for Bellarmine University, in Kentucky, has been named president of Carroll University, in Wisconsin.
  • Bashar W. Hanna, professor of biology and former vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Delaware Valley University, in Pennsylvania, has been appointed president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
  • Dwight A. McBride, dean of the graduate school and associate provost for graduate education and Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African-American Studies, English and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, has been selected as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Emory University, in Georgia.
  • Deborah E. Preston, dean for visual, performing and media arts at Montgomery College, in Maryland, has been chosen as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Raritan Valley Community College, in New Jersey.
  • Ricky Shabazz, vice president of student services at San Bernardino Valley College, in California, has been appointed president of San Diego City College, also in California.
  • Justin Watson, vice president for academic affairs at Holy Cross College, in Indiana, has been promoted to provost there.
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Intn’l students don’t see value in two-year degrees

The PIE News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:13

A new survey from QS Enrolment Solutions has revealed that international students don’t see value in two-year degrees, with 52% saying they would expect annual tuition fees for a two-year program to be lower than for an equivalent three-year degree.

European students were the least likely to recognise the value, with 61% of respondents saying that two-year degrees should cost less each year in tuition fees.

The QS research surveyed over 2,700 international students who are considering or already studying in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

QS findings suggest that there is a remarkably low level of understanding among prospective and current international students of the concept of two-year degrees, with only 26% of respondents say they would be willing to pay more each year for such a program.

“In most cases, the student receives more teaching time each year, in order to attain the exact same degree”

There are several UK universities that offer two-year fast-track degrees which provide the same level of academic content as traditional three-year degree programs.

These include Angela Ruskin University, which has been named one of the top 40 institutions in the UK. In Australia, Bond University was the first to start offering a two-year fast-track program.

The idea behind accelerated degree programs is that students save money on fees and accommodation while also getting a head start on entering employment.

But, just 21% of respondents to this survey said a fast-tracked degree program should cost the same.

When comparing by subject, creative arts and social studies had the highest percentage of students who felt a two-year degree programme should be less expensive, with 65% saying they would be less expensive.

Director of UK & Europe at QS Enrolment Solutions, Patrick Whitfield, said: “Whilst some see the value in two- year degrees and find them compelling, it is clear that there is confusion in the international student market about what two-year degrees offer.

“It could be the case that there is a lack of knowledge about the fact that – in most cases – the student receives more teaching time each year, in order to attain the exact same degree but in a shorter period of time.”

He added, “Higher education institutions need to think carefully about how to explain them with clarity and in a way that makes their value clear.”

According to QS marketing director Paul Raybould, the wording of the questionnaire was intentionally neutral as not to risk leading respondents in a particular way by ‘selling’ the value of a two-year program.

Raybould said it could be the case that many of the respondents who answered that a two-year degree should cost less than a three-year degree did not understand that both options lead to an undergraduate degree.

“There is the possibility that some respondents simply misunderstood and answered based not on the annual cost but on the total cost of studying, in which case it would be reasonable to assume that two years would be less expensive than three,” he added.

“There is much here that universities can learn from when thinking about marketing two-year degrees”

“If teaching and facilities are the same in a two-year degree as in a three-year degree then it’s fair to pay slightly more for time saved.

“In my opinion, reducing the years of studying is good but if they focus on what is needed for a student to acquire the required knowledge, I agree that is worth to charge a bit more for a shorter time.”

“As our first, relatively small piece of research on two-year degrees, it’s clear that these results should be viewed as provisional rather than conclusive, but even so there is much here that universities can learn from when thinking about marketing two-year degrees.”

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US: Survey of admissions staff shows enrolment outlook varies widely

The PIE News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:01

Almost two-thirds of admissions officers in the US – of nearly 400 canvassed – are concerned about a decline in international student applicants becoming a nationwide trend. However, only 32% of those canvassed believe a downturn would impact their own institution.

The findings, taken from a survey of 392 admissions officers undertaken by Kaplan Test Prep, reveal a more bullish outlook held by admissions officers for their own institution that they have for the country as a whole.

To some extent, the survey also reflects the see-saw situation of new international enrolments detailed in last week’s Open Doors data release and separate IIE-led survey.

The latest Open Doors data showed an overall drop of 3% for new starts in autumn 2016. New enrolment numbers declined by nearly 10,000 students to 291,000 – a 3% decrease on the previous year.

In a separate survey that IIE conducted in September/ October, an average decrease of 6.9% was predicted by nearly 500 colleges and universities for the 2017/18 academic year.

But of the 500 or so HEIs which reported this, while just under half (45%) reported declines in new enrolments, 31% of campuses reported increases and 24% reported no change from last year.

In fact, over half of institutions reported steady or improving numbers

So in fact, over half of institutions reported steady or improving numbers: there is clearly a very different experience across various institutions of anticipated future demand.

Kaplan Test Prep also shared some of the anecdotes given by admissions officers taking part in the survey and this reveals very different attitudes.

One officer “unconcerned” about fewer international students in the future said, “Not concerned. I think there are a lot of colleges who utilise international students just for full paying tuition and not for the right reasons.”

Another noted that the safety of the US was “more important than international students coming to get an education.”

On the other hand, one “concerned” officer nodded to the political climate and said, “It’s something we worry about. We want students to come without barriers.”

Yariv Alpher, executive director of market research at Kaplan Test Prep, commented, “Notably, there is a broad range of opinions across schools nationwide, which represent the diversity of views that most colleges seek to cultivate on their own campuses.”

While no further data was immediately available to suggest why certain colleges might be more confident around their recruitment potential, Open Doors data did reveal that much of the growth reflected in overall numbers is due to foreign students on programs that allow them to take Optional Practical Training courses.

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Africa: Ghanaian entrepreneur wins WISE prize 2017

The PIE News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 02:56

The founder of a private not-for-profit institution that has become one of Ghana’s premier universities has won the World Innovation Summit for Education prize 2017, worth $500,000.

The WISE Prize for education is the first distinction of its kind to recognise an individual or a team of up to six people for a world-class contribution to education.

President of Ashesi University College Patrick Awuah was presented with the award at the WISE opening plenary session in Qatar.

Awuah first opened the doors of the university in 2002 to a class of 30 students.

Today, Ashesi University College has a campus of 100 acres with almost 900 students, offering degrees in engineering, business administration, computer science and management information systems.

The degrees are based upon an interdisciplinary curriculum with a continual emphasis on leadership, ethics, and entrepreneurship. Before graduating, all students engage in community service.

Every graduate has found quality employment, and almost all have remained in Africa, where many have started much-needed businesses.

Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation Sheikha Moza bint Nasser presented the prize to Awuah before an audience of 2,000 participants from 100 countries.

Speaking at the ceremony, CEO of WISE Stavros Yiannouka said Awuah joins a distinguished group of individuals who share a passion for empowerment through education.

“The WISE Prize Laureates have recognized needs that challenged them to action. Each has blazed a path in engaging and enrolling others in a vision. Patrick Awuah’s story is unique in his awakening to the role of renewed ethical leadership in social transformation, particularly in Africa.

“He recognized that the tools for acquiring and interpreting knowledge are at least as important as the knowledge itself. In placing leadership at the core of his commitment, Patrick Awuah stands as a model for all of us who are dedicated to empowerment through education.”

Awuah is known for his dedication to supporting education in Ghana and across Africa.

He left Ghana in 1985 with $50 in his pocket and a full scholarship to Swarthmore College in the US.

After graduating, Awuah had a successful career at Microsoft before returning to Ghana to start a software company.

Once there, Awuah quickly understood that fostering ethical leadership would be key to building a generation that is able to bring positive change in Africa.

“I decided to open a university that would offer young Ghanaians and Africans the opportunity to excel and become problem solvers – the next leaders of Africa”

“I decided to create a new university in Ghana not because of a lack of universities in my country, but a lack of universities teaching 21st century skills,” Awuah said.

“There was too much emphasis on rote learning and much less on critical or independent thinking, ethics or collaboration.

“I decided to open a university that would offer young Ghanaians and Africans the opportunity to excel and become problem solvers – the next leaders of Africa.”

On receiving the WISE Prize, Patrick Awuah said: “I am honored…this is a crucial moment for Africa. One out of six people on earth live in Africa, and this is set to rise to one in four by 2050.

“We urgently need to boost the education system in Africa to ensure we can tap into this shift to strengthen the continent. Winning the WISE prize will support the work we are already doing at Ashesi University College to inspire and educate, and build a community of people who can navigate the complexities of Africa’s growth and set an example for the rest of the world.”

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