English Language Feeds

Chronicle of Higher Education: Professor Accused of Sexual Misconduct Retires and Is Barred From Some Campus Buildings

University of Georgia investigators recommended that he be fired for violating anti-harassment policies, but the university accepted his resignation instead.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Wisconsin’s Search for a New President Has Just Begun. Faculty Already Fear the Worst.

Leadership searches can be a moment for a university to come together around a shared vision for the future. But their increasingly tight management stirs anxiety and uncertainty.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Fixing the Courses Everyone Loves to Hate

Large introductory courses are notorious for being tedious, confusing, and even harmful. The University of Michigan is betting it can change all that.

Chronicle of Higher Education: ProPublica’s Dollars for Profs Database

Dig into university researchers’ outside income and conflicts of interest with this unique database, which allows you to search records from multiple state universities and the National Institutes o

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Ireland: JLC established for ELE sector

The PIE News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 07:28

Following recommendations made earlier this year, the Irish government has established a Joint Labour Committee to address many of the employment-related issues that have harmed the reputation of the English language education sector in recent times.

Minister for trade, employment, business, EU digital single market and data protection, Pat Breen, said he had formally accepted the recommendation of the Labour Court and signed an establishment order to come into effect as of December 2, 2019.

JLCs provide a wage-setting mechanism that determines terms and conditions of employment, as well as setting minimum rates of pay for workers in certain sectors.

“I would encourage bodies…  in this sector to engage with the JLC process”

According to Unite – the union which represents English language teachers throughout Ireland – the announcement follows a sustained campaign following several high-profile college closures and concerns about the sustainability of a sector “characterised by poor working conditions”.

“Unite looks forward to engaging within the framework of the JLC process… and ensuring that Ireland’s reputation as a quality learning destination for international students is not undermined by poor employment practices,” Unite regional officer Brendan Byrne said in a statement.

Minister of state for higher education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said she is “extremely supportive” of the establishment of a JLC, with a view to the issuing of an Employment Regulation Order for the sector.

“The relationship between strengthening employment standards for teachers and staff working in this sector and enhancing Ireland’s considerable reputation as a quality learning destination for international students was strongly highlighted in the debates… on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019.

“I would encourage bodies representing both employers and employees in this sector to engage with the JLC process. This can guarantee Ireland as a premier destination for English language education,” Mitchell O’Connor added.

However, in an email to The PIE News, a spokesperson for Marketing English in Ireland said its board regard this as a “particularly disingenuous exhortation” from the junior minister as each of three letters sent to her requesting engagement on the JLC proposition remains “unacknowledged and unanswered”.

“The Board of MEI is disappointed to have learned of minister of state Breen’s decision through contact from a journalist,” the spokesperson wrote.

 “The MEI Board will consult with its members… before adopting a definite position”

“This is against the background of a promise in a letter of October 24 from minister Breen advising that his department officials would meet with MEI representatives in advance of him progressing legislation in respect of the proposal to establish a Joint Labour Committee in the English language teaching sector.

“It is also in the context of MEI having made a comprehensive submission to the Labour Court inquiry re the proposal for a JLC on October 4, 2019,” the email continued.

“The MEI Board will consult with its members, who are the largest representative group of employers in the ELT sector, at a general meeting scheduled for December 18 next before adopting a definite position in respect of the Establishment Order in respect of a JLC,” it concluded.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Many Public Universities Refuse to Reveal Professors’ Conflicts of Interest

ProPublica has assembled the first state-by-state database of professors’ outside income and employment. But it’s far from complete.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Even Many Public Universities Refuse to Reveal Professors’ Conflicts of Interest

ProPublica has assembled the first state-by-state database of professors’ outside income and employment. But it’s far from complete.

US: UBridge partners with SMC on pathways

The PIE News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 05:05

Elite pathway provider University Bridge has announced an expansion in Southern California via a partnership with Santa Monica College. The company’s fourth location in the US will welcome its first cohort in spring 2020.

With two campuses in California – at the College of Marin and College of San Mateo – and Piedmont Virginia Community College, Virginia, the University Bridge location at Santa Monica College will be the provider’s third in California.

“We expect UBridge at Santa Monica College to be our largest campus”

Boasting 82% of transferring students in the past three years attending a top 40 US university, the UBridge model provides a potential transfer path to every US university, according to the company.

Despite falls in new starting international students in the US, UBridge has been expanding and growing student recruitment numbers since its inception in 2013.

“We are proud of our growth given the overall declining US numbers and tough political climate over the past few years,” UBridge co-founder Andrew Ullman told The PIE News.

“We believe we have done that because the US is a great place to study and our program is extremely compelling – you don’t have to give up your dream school when you attend UBridge.

“You can transfer into any university when you are done, from small, regional schools all the way up to Harvard.”

The company’s recruiting staff has long been asking for a southern California location, Ullman explained, adding that the launch is a “no-brainer”.

“We expect UBridge at Santa Monica College to be our largest campus over the next few years,” he said, taking into account the demand for study in California.

“Santa Monica College transferred over 600 students to UCLA alone last year and have sent more students to the UC system than any other community college for 28 straight years.”

Community colleges – previously lauded as USA’s secret weapon – is the “best path” for students to get settled into the US higher education system, Ullman added.

“The more desirable a US university is, the less likely that school is willing to allow a traditional pathway provider to operate on campus,” he said.

“[Community colleges] are a natural fit for a transfer-based program because community college students are expected to transfer out.”

With fewer students in a class, students can get their English language skills up to speed, while UBridge’s CollegeCare® offer provides concierge services to students, giving access to student counsellors in-person every weekday, Ullman explained.

The company also provides student housing, transportation, events and activities in order to help create a community for students.

With experience at CEG and INTO pathway programs, Jonathan Whitehouse will be leading on global recruiting for UBridge.

The spring term begins February 18, 2020, and UBridge is able to accept overseas students until January 5 for the initial cohort.

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Canada removes biometrics exemption for in-country int’l students

The PIE News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 04:00

The biometrics requirement exemption for students already in Canada ended this week, the latest change in a series of updates from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada government agency.

International students, including those wishing to extend their permit, will now have to travel to one of the country’s 56 Service Canada locations to have their photo and fingerprints taken as part of the application process unless they have already had their biometrics taken by the IRCC in the last 10 years.

“It is another expense for international students on top of what they pay now”

“Fingerprints and photo collection are recognised as one of the most reliable ways to identify people and are used by more than 70 countries worldwide,” said Marco Mendicino, the Canadian minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

“We will enhance the efficiency and integrity of the immigration system in Canada.”

But for students in more remote areas, the need to travel may be an issue.

“Although I do understand the importance of it… it is another expense for international students on the top of what they pay now,” Makhbuba Ergasheva, international student advisor at Vancouver Island University, told The PIE News.

“It is a time-consuming process for international students and costs C$85 on the top of the existing $150 processing fees for study permits.

“VIU students now have to travel to long distances to have biometrics done since there is no biometrics service listed for Nanaimo,” Ergasheva added.

Similar concerns were raised when the IRCC rolled out biometrics requirements for international students outside Canada.

The increasing prevalence of collecting biometrics globally for visas is also creating issues for outbound students who attend colleges outside of major cities that host visa application centres.

“One thing that we struggle with are the barriers to having to travel to get to Montreal or Ottawa. Our students have to go there several times to get their visas for certain countries,” said one education abroad advisor during a session at the recent CBIE conference.

“One thing that we struggle with are the barriers to having to travel to get to Montreal or Ottawa”

Since June 2019, international students already in Canada have also needed to file permit applications and renewals online, with a few exceptions for post-graduation work permits.

Additionally, study permits for pre-requisite studies will be issued for the length of the program plus one year. Students can’t work off-campus while studying these types of courses.

“Probably the best part of the study permit’s assessment updates is that students no longer need a new study permit between levels of education,” added Ergasheva.

Aside from Quebec, which will still require students to get a new Quebec Acceptance Certificate, students are no longer required to obtain a new permit if the current one is still valid.

They also don’t need to do so if switching between designated learning institutions, although they must inform the IRCC of this.

“The new policy saves a lot of trouble for students who complete their high school studies and plan to pursue their studies in college or university,” Jing Yao, international advising and articulation specialist at Douglas College International told The PIE.

“It was not uncommon for some of them not to extend their study permits as they thought they could keep using the same study permits, which were still valid, or they started to extend their study permits too late.

“For this group of students, we felt very sorry for them as they could not start their college studies as planned because they did not have a study permit for post-secondary level,” Yao added.

“With the new policy, this group of student have more time to extend their study permits and, for most of them, they can still study in college even though their extensions are still in process.”

“With the new policy, this group of student have more time to extend their study permits”

Also announced this week was a new immigration pathway for international graduates of eligible post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan who want to start a business in the west Canadian province.

Those who are approved will have to operate and manage a business in Saskatchewan for at least one year and own at least one-third of the equity in a qualified business in order to be eligible for a provincial nomination for permanent residence.

“This new category will help encourage international students to make Saskatchewan their home once they complete their studies,” said the province’s Advanced Education minister, Tina Beaudry-Mellor.

“It will also help create new businesses and jobs, as well as keep Saskatchewan competitive in attracting and retaining international students and investment,” added Immigration and Career Training minister, Jeremy Harrison.

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US unis dominate in world’s first MOOC rankings

The PIE News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 02:19

The first-ever world university rankings based on the performance of massive open online courses was released this November, with US universities taking seven of the top 10 spots. 

The rankings were compiled by online learning resource website MoocLab, who evaluated institutions on the basis of the number of MOOCs provided, the provision of learning pathways, micro-credentials, degrees and the institution’s average world ranking.

“This is testament to the hard work of our colleagues across the business and broader university”

Over 200 universities across the world were assessed, all of which offer courses on the three leading MOOC platforms – Coursera, edX and FutureLearn.

“The World University Rankings by MOOC Performance aim to provide performance information and comparisons to potential students across the core areas of university MOOC activity,” said Carolyn McIntyre, founder of MoocLab.

“With the increasing number of higher education institutions delivering MOOCs and MOOC-based credentials and degrees, I am excited about the opportunities these rankings will provide in supporting universities to evaluate their MOOC performance, set strategic goals and enhance their MOOC-based offering,” she added.

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The top spot was taken by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, followed by the University of Pennsylvania, which was one of seven US universities in the top ten.

Others include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While the rankings were largely dominated by the US institutions, Coventry University in the UK and Deakin University in Australia, also made the top 10. 

“We are hugely proud to have been ranked fourth,” said professor John Latham, vice-chancellor of Coventry University.

“Having only been in the market for two years, we have outperformed many other well-established brands both within the UK and internationally, and this is testament to the hard work of our colleagues across the business and broader university.

“We are still in our infancy, but we will grow our proposition significantly, leading the transformation of the global online education market,” he added

A total of 20 countries featured in the top 100, but US universities dominated with 38 institutions listed. The UK and Australia both accounted for 11% respectively.

After North America (42%) and Europe (31%), Asia was the third strongest region for universities providing MOOCs, representing 14% of all universities listed in the top 100 with Latin America tailing the league table with just two universities.

Since 2015, the number of universities across the world delivering MOOCs has increased by over 85% and there are over 70 million people taking courses across Coursera, edX and FutureLearn.

FutureLearn currently partners with 18 universities listed in the top 100 including 2 in the top 20 and 2 in the top 5.

“I’m delighted to see so many of our partners in the top 100,” said Simon Nelson, chief executive of FutureLearn.

“We are extremely proud to partner with universities that share the same commitment and passion for providing exceptional and invaluable online courses that enable people to learn for the love of learning, as a pathway to further education, or to develop skills to further their careers.”


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Tufts will remove Sackler name from medical campus, drawing rebuke from Purdue Pharma's owners

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 01:00

Tufts University will erase the name of major donors, the Sackler family, from all programs and buildings at its Boston medical campus because of the name’s close association with the opioid epidemic, university officials announced Thursday.

The university does not plan to return any donations to the Sacklers or the drug maker they own, Purdue Pharma, Tufts leaders said. Instead they plan to spend the donated funds for their intended purposes, like health science research.

Members of the Sackler family were not consulted as Tufts weighed what to do about buildings and funds carrying their name, but they were told before the university publicly announced its decision. A lawyer for the family blasted the move as an improper decision presented in an “intellectually dishonest” way, pledging to seek to have it reversed.

Tensions between universities and donors who have given money to name buildings, endowed funds and programs arise from time to time in higher education. But the Tufts situation has been closely watched because of its association with the opioid crisis ravaging the country and because it is playing out publicly. It also exposes two potentially competing interests hotly debated in philanthropic circles: an institution’s fundraising needs versus its stated mission and values.

Thursday’s decision comes after Tufts has been under pressure for months over its long-standing association with the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, maker of the well-known drug OxyContin, which has been accused of fueling the opioid crisis with marketing tactics and influence campaigns.

Purdue Pharma filed for a controversial bankruptcy restructuring earlier this year as it faced thousands of federal and state lawsuits. The company has said it has been vilified even though it is just one of several opioid manufacturers, and it has described the opioid epidemic as a complex public health crisis.

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey filed allegations in court at the beginning of this year claiming that Purdue Pharma funded a program at Tufts to “influence Massachusetts doctors to use its drugs.”

The university responded by reviewing its ties to the drug maker and hiring a former U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Donald K. Stern, to conduct an outside review of Tufts programs receiving funding from the Sackler family, their foundations and Purdue Pharma. Tufts released that outside review Thursday.

Stern’s team found that Purdue Pharma intended to use its relationship with Tufts to further its own interest and that in some cases “there is some evidence that it was successful in exercising influence, whether directly or indirectly.” It also concluded that “there was an appearance of too close a relationship between Purdue, the Sacklers, and Tufts.”

But investigators concluded funds received from the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma were not primarily used in areas related to opioids and pain management. In cases where funds in question were used in such areas, investigators found no evidence academic programs were “materially affected or skewed.”

“There was no influence, direct or indirect, on the academic program,” said Anthony P. Monaco, Tufts president, in an interview. “There was the appearance of and opportunity to, but no one acted in such a way that it actually materially influenced the curriculum.”

Tufts leaders did not base their decision to strip the Sackler name from campus on the Stern report, but they did wait to have the report in hand before making an announcement. As the report was being researched and drafted, university leaders solicited input from students, faculty members, alumni and leaders in the medical school, said Peter Dolan, chair of the Tufts Board of Trustees.

“We didn’t want to act prematurely before we had all the information in hand, but once we had that information in hand, that was background and context for us to then address the question of the Sackler name,” Dolan said.

A lawyer for members of the Sackler family, Daniel S. Connolly, issued a statement criticizing the university and promising to try to restore the Sackler name.

“Tufts acknowledges their extraordinary decision about removal of the family name from campus is not based on the findings of their report, but rather is based on unproven allegations about the Sackler family and Purdue,” the statement said. “There is something particularly disturbing and intellectually dishonest when juxtaposing the results of the Stern investigation with the decision to remove the name of a donor who made gifts in good faith starting almost forty years ago. We will be seeking to have this improper decision reversed and are currently reviewing all options available to us.”

The statement also described Stern’s report as finding no wrongdoing and no threat to academic integrity and concluding that Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family conducted themselves properly. It described the investigation as emblematic of negative stories surrounding the Sackler family, saying a careful look at facts finds negative stories to be “false and sensational.”

In another statement, a representative for Arthur Sackler's widow argued that he died before OxyContin was introduced and said she was saddened to see her late husband associated with actions taken by his relatives, The Guardian reported.

Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, cheered Tufts.

“We applaud Tufts for this thoughtful and transparent review of its relationship with the Sackler family, for its recognition of the implications that relationship had on the mission and values of the university, and for listening to the voices of its students,” she said in a statement.

The president of the Faculty Senate at Tufts supported the university’s actions as well.

“The Tufts University Faculty Senate is proud of and strongly supports the decision made by the trustees, and we feel that it is an appropriate statement of the university's values,” said the Senate president, Melissa R. Mazan, who is a professor of large animal internal medicine. “The decision is in alignment with a resolution that the Senate passed unanimously last spring.”

Future Plans and Report Findings for Tufts

Tufts will strip the Sackler name from five different entities: the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education; the Sackler Laboratory for the Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences; the Sackler Families Fund for Collaborative Cancer Biology Research; and the Richard S. Sackler, M.D., Endowed Research Fund. Changes to signs and websites are beginning immediately, but the university acknowledged that it will take some time to remove the name completely from all programs.

The university will establish a $3 million endowment dedicated to supporting education, research and civic engagement programs intended to prevent or treat substance abuse and addiction. And it will create an exhibit inside its medical school describing the Sacklers’ involvement with Tufts.

That exhibit will aim to teach lessons that should be learned from the opioid epidemic.

“We’re not trying to erase Tufts history by taking the names off the buildings and programs today,” Monaco said. “We want to make sure our community learns as we have.”

The outside review Tufts commissioned details a relationship between the university and the Sackler family dating to 1980, when three brothers, Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, donated under a naming agreement for the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. The agreement, made years before OxyContin’s introduction to the market in 1996, came when the brothers owned a precursor company to Purdue Pharma.

The agreement didn’t specify how Tufts needed to spend the money, but some faculty members questioned the size of the donation and the “ethics of the Sacklers’ business practices which, though not specified in faculty meeting minutes, may have related to certain marketing practices employed by Purdue, even prior to OxyContin,” the report says.

Over the years, Sackler family members, their foundations and Purdue Pharma gave about $15 million to Tufts. Donations in the names of family members were for research but not related to opioids or pain research, the report says. Richard Sackler served on the school of medicine’s Board of Advisors for almost 20 years through 2017, but investigators found no evidence he discussed opioids or attempted to advance Purdue Pharma’s business interests as a board member. Tufts leaders traveled to Purdue Pharma's headquarters in May 2013 to give an honorary Ph.D. to Raymond Sackler. Tufts solicited donations from the family through early 2018.

Purdue Pharma made two sets of donations to the school of medicine -- to the Pain Research, Education and Policy program and to the Center for the Study of Drug Development. The report did not focus on the latter, finding no evidence of anything unusual or improper regarding its sponsored research. It found Purdue Pharma had the potential for direct influence over the Pain Research, Education and Policy program because of a 1999 funding contract that gave the company “far too much potential influence,” but it did not find evidence that the influence was ever exercised.

The report also described how a senior Purdue Pharma executive regularly lectured in two required program courses and eventually rose to adjunct associate clinical professor at the medical school, although he wasn’t compensated and disclosed his Purdue Pharma affiliation when lecturing. In 2017, three students felt he was sweeping the opioid crisis under the rug, but the report said it “does not appear that he exercised material influence with respect to the curriculum.”

Still, there appear to have been instances where the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma “exercised influence simply by virtue of the fact that they were donors,” the report said. It pointed to Raymond Sackler’s honorary degree and a committee in the school of medicine deciding in 2015-16 not to assign a book on the opioid crisis, Dreamland, that was critical of Purdue Pharma and mentioned the Sacklers. That selection was due in part “to the existence of the donor relationship with the Sacklers and Purdue and the desire to avoid controversy regarding that relationship,” the report said.

In addition the report cataloged situations that created the “appearance of an alignment between Purdue” and the Tufts Pain Research, Education and Policy program. They included the program’s co-founder appearing without pay in a 2002 Purdue Pharma print advertisement on fighting prescription abuse.

The report’s authors didn’t find any clear violation of university policies, but said the Pain Research, Education and Policy program funding agreement from 1999 “would not pass muster today under Tufts’ Gift Agreement policy” because of control allowed to Purdue Pharma. It also found no evidence of individual wrongdoing.

“Our overriding theme is that there is a greater need for specific guidelines, due diligence, careful review, and transparency,” the report’s authors wrote.

They recommended Tufts create stronger screening for donors, bolster conflict-of-interest policies, develop and make public guiding principles for gift acceptance, strengthen compliance practices and leadership, and take additional steps to keep “undue influence” out of academic and research programs.

Tufts leaders promised to follow those recommendations.

Questions for the Fundraising Field

The situation at Tufts invites a number of questions for the university’s philanthropic future as well as the field at large.

Tufts will have to examine the relationships it has with future donors as it follows the report’s recommendations. And when courting big gifts to name buildings or programs, it will have to contend with the fact that it pulled the name of long-standing donors from view in a very public process.

“We certainly looked at it from every possible angle as we made this decision,” said Dolan, the university’s board chair. “We considered the impact it might have on donors. Ultimately, we believe we’re doing the right thing and that our donor base will recognize this is the right thing for the university to do.”

But Tufts is not alone, fundraising experts said. Many universities and other nonprofit organizations are facing their past ties to controversial donors and reviewing the reputational risk of continuing to be associated with them.

“There is a growing scrutiny and worry about these things,” said Amir Pasic, dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “Sackler and [Jeffrey] Epstein have created a lot of salience for these kinds of reputational issues, and I think the constituencies are increasingly demanding and skeptical of prominent donors and their impact on communities. Students are much more worried and faculty are much more worried than in the past what it means for their institutions to have these powerful donors.”

Multiple constituencies on campus should be involved in developing policies to address the issues raised by controversial donors, said Deni Elliott, a University of South Florida media ethics professor and co-chair of the National Ethics Project. It’s a moment that can be used to teach students how to be active citizens and community members, and higher education leadership doesn’t capitalize on such moments enough, she said.

Not being open about the situation brings many types of risk.

"If students are taught ethics in the classroom and they don’t see ethics being practiced by leadership in higher education," Elliott said, "it makes the student cynical and not morally developed."

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Medical amnesty policies encourage students to call 911

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 01:00

When fraternity members at the Kappa Sigma chapter house at Louisiana State University thought their brothers were experiencing drug overdoses last March, they called 911. The following day, a Louisiana State Police detective arrived at the house with a search warrant in hand.

The detective’s warrant referenced the reported drug use -- the two members suspected they overdosed on fentanyl and an unknown substance -- and police confiscated drug paraphernalia in the three-story house, the local newspaper, The Advocate, reported.

The call to 911 might have saved the lives of the two students, who recovered after being stabilized at the hospital, said Allison Smith, the program administrator for the Louisiana Center Addressing Substance Use in Collegiate Communities, or LaCASU, a statewide coalition of institutions that research and address student drug and alcohol use. But the call and the police response also raised important questions.

“What happens when a call for help is made, but then subsequently followed up by law enforcement action?” Smith wrote in an email. “Would that deter students from calling for help?”

Though the raid did not result in charges against the students, the incident led Smith to consider whether university policy and state law can prevent students from seeking emergency medical services when illegal drugs are involved.

Most colleges have medical amnesty policies in place to protect students from university discipline when they call emergency services, according to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an organization that promotes student health and safety over law enforcement. But these policies -- including Louisiana State’s -- do not necessarily protect students from state, local or campus police action, such as the raid on the Kappa Sigma house.

Louisiana State added medical amnesty to its code of conduct in July 2018, after receiving recommendations from a Greek Life Task Force created after the 2017 hazing death of Max Gruver, a student pledging the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. The university had already been practicing the policy, but it was not formalized in writing, according to The Reveille, Louisiana State’s student newspaper.

“If someone is overdosing, you don’t want the first thing you think to be, ‘Am I going to get in trouble?’” said James Cafran, coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Sarah Dunlap, a health science major at Northeastern University in Boston, can relate to such sentiments. She lost her brother to a drug overdose when he was 25 years old. Although her brother did not die at a college, Dunlap is doing research on health-science curricula that teach overdose-reversal methods. The research is part of her capstone project, which she plans to use to lobby Northeastern to create such a curriculum.

Dunlap said when she thinks about her brother’s death, she wonders whom he was with and whether they were worried about being charged for drug possession. “Was that an excuse not to seek help?”

“I think it’s a huge deterrent,” Dunlap said. “Even with the paraphernalia, which is not a direct charge, a lot of people would have those concerns.”

State Good Samaritan laws are another confusing factor for students when determining whether to seek help. The laws do not typically align with institutional policies and are not widely discussed on college campuses, said Brandee Izquierdo, executive director of Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic, known as the SAFE Project. The national organization was founded by two parents whose college-age son died of an opioid overdose. It does outreach to college campuses about educational practices and policies that reduce drug-related deaths.

Good Samaritan laws generally protect bystanders and people suffering medical emergencies from certain drug-related charges, but they can vary from state to state. In Louisiana, a Good Samaritan law protects those who call for emergency medical help from controlled substance possession charges but not from drug paraphernalia possession charges, according to the Network for Public Health Law, or NPHL.

Overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. as of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but Good Samaritan laws across the country are typically outdated and have not been prioritized over legislation to punish drug dealers for providing drugs that led to an overdose death, Izquierdo said. Louisiana’s law was last amended in 2014, and New Mexico’s is the oldest, dating back to 2007, the NPHL reported. Several states have no law to provide drug overdose immunity.

Colleges and universities have also not made it a priority for students to be aware of these laws, which could decrease their willingness to call 911 in life-or-death situations, she said. The issue is especially relevant for college fraternities and sororities, which Izquierdo called a “catalyst for extensive drug use.”

“Oftentimes, people are afraid that they’re going to be a target” of law enforcement authorities and campus disciplinary proceedings, Izquierdo said​. Students may also be afraid of getting friends or others in legal trouble or subjecting them to possible campus code of conduct violations.

They worry “that they’re outing themselves or their brothers and sisters,” Izquierdo said. “Their best bet becomes not doing anything at all.”

The widely publicized 2017 hazing death of Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old fraternity pledge at Pennsylvania State University, is a case in point. Beta Theta Pi fraternity members waited more than 12 hours to call 911 after seeing Piazza, who had been forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, fall down a flight of stairs, CNN and other news outlets reported.

Collin Wiant, 18, an Ohio University student, died from asphyxiation after allegedly being forced to do inhalants as a pledge in November 2018, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Wiant’s parents. Wiant’s fraternity brothers did call 911 when they discovered he was unresponsive, but it was too late -- emergency services arrived and found him dead, CNN reported.

Higher ed institutions have addressed excessive alcohol use and hazing more vigorously as a result of student deaths, but they have not been as focused on preventing drug overdoses, which are still highly stigmatized, Izquierdo said. Colleges hesitate to implement overdose-prevention education or addiction-recovery programs because they don’t want to be associated with drug use, which can damage a college's reputation and affect enrollment and retention, she said.

The University of California, Santa Barbara, which has a College Recovery Program, has taken a proactive approach to overdose prevention and is exploring more “progressive” strategies, such as providing fentanyl test strips, to reduce overdose deaths, said Angie Bryan, manager of the Gauchos for Recovery program.

“It’s not because we have more substance use here than anywhere else -- it’s because we understand the reality that students use substances,” Bryan said.

Bryan said there have been multiple overdose reversals this semester near the campus in Isla Vista, Calif., where many students live. The reversals suggest the person overdosing or a bystander either called 911 or administered naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, before it was too late, she said.

UC Santa Barbara’s version of medical amnesty, the Responsible Action Protocol, aligns with California’s Good Samaritan law. It protects student bystanders and those who need medical assistance from drug or paraphernalia possession charges and penalties, and university disciplinary measures beyond educational sanctions such as mandatory alcohol and drug abuse education programs and counseling. (There are some exceptions for students who live in residence halls and have repeat offenses.) The university distributes information about protections in a Just Call 911 campaign, but Bryan said the protocol is new and still not widely understood by students.

The university also focuses prevention methods specifically on Greek organizations, whose leaders are required to attend annual training on administering naloxone, Bryan said. Organization representatives that attend the training are given a naloxone kit to keep at fraternity and sorority houses. The training is intended to mitigate hesitations about calling 911.

“They’ve expressed concern about being sanctioned as an organization if they make this call,” Bryan said. “They have this fear that they will be disciplined as an organization.”

After the overdose incident at Louisiana State, the university placed the Kappa Sigma chapter on disciplinary probation from July until May 2020, for reasons unrelated to drug violations, Ernie Ballard III, the university's media relations director, wrote in an email. Members of the fraternity also faced charges of hazing and theft last year, The Advocate reported.

Cafran, who leads Sacred Heart’s recovery program, believes Louisiana State and local police appropriately applied the medical amnesty policy in that case. It’s important to consider medical amnesty and law enforcement action on a case-by-case basis, he said, adding that the police search of the fraternity house may have saved more lives if fentanyl was distributed to others there.

“The focus should be on getting the person help, not getting the person in trouble,” Cafran said. “But if someone is dealing drugs -- deadly drugs, with fentanyl -- it’s within the police’s right to get a search warrant. Someone trying to profit off of someone else dying is a big deal. That in and of itself is putting students in danger.”

Police have to make a hard choice in these situations and determine which method will save more lives, said Dunlap, the Northeastern student.

"You’re playing a numbers game -- you’re saving 20 lives instead of just one," Dunlap said. "You have to consider the police working with the people, and not just working from the inside out, looking to intimidate people."

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Michigan shares insights from academic-level (not chief) diversity officers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 01:00

You’ve heard of chief diversity officers, but what about academic diversity officers? Four years into its innovative plan to put diversity officers into every academic and administrative unit, to carry out program-specific diversity plans, the University of Michigan has some thoughts.

More precisely, the campus’s National Center for Institutional Diversity just published a report on the experiences of these academic diversity officers, or ADOs. Beyond making various recommendations for academic deans and academic diversity officers, the report finds that ADOs require special skills.

ADOs in the study also had a wide variety of personal and professional experiences, with some common threads. Most had experience in faculty work, student affairs, general administration or community organizing.

Based on their backgrounds, ADOs tended to draw on different “logics,” according to the report. Community organizers-turned-ADOs generally valued accountability and even some tension to create diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) change, and used language that was “value laden and personal.” Faculty ADOs in the sample, meanwhile, worked on issues of representation, such as faculty and student recruitment and retention, and inclusive pedagogical training. They prioritized data collection and “uniquely understood from firsthand experience the difficulty of encouraging behavioral change due to academic reward structures.”

ADOs from general administration had “latent qualities about methodically addressing issues through structure, processes and rules.” The inherent risk in that way of thinking, however, is not thinking outside conventional systems, according to the report. Student affairs-minded ADOs made personal connections and focused on promoting inclusive communities.

Whatever their backgrounds, knowledge of DEI concepts, interventions and best practices were “necessary to create change,” the authors found.

As one ADO reported, “I feel like we will do DEI work a disservice if people that don’t have proper training come into doing this work, because then it leads to this assumption that anybody can do it, or we can just hire a grad student, and they can lead this charge. When really, I feel like it requires specific skills and competencies.”

DEI work is “complex, difficult, always changing and rigorous,” reads the report. “The hiring process and ongoing professional development necessary to sustain and increase DEI competency should be encouraged by supervisors of ADOs.”

Establishing “legitimacy” for their positions and in the eyes of colleagues concerned ADOs interviewed. The officers generally found two ways of building it: connecting with their units through a shared discipline, or by being a faculty member -- what the authors call "academic standing legitimacy."

As one staff member ADO observed about working with faculty members, “It’s different when you have students or staff where you can say, ‘Here’s what we expect from you,’ whereas with the faculty it’s a very different dynamic. How do you engage with a group that has a lot of leeway in terms of how they do their work? That’s where I think it’s helpful to have a faculty member be that champion.”

These officers also rely heavily on interpersonal skills. That’s regardless of their academic backgrounds. They respond to individuals’ needs and concerns, build alliances with strategic partners, and establish connections with those colleagues who may be “hesitant or resistant” to DEI aims, according to the paper.

As one diversity officer reported, “It’s really just general leadership, change management, listening. In many ways I feel that I would benefit from degrees from the business school. A Ph.D. in diplomacy … I’m using a different part of my brain that I never used before.”

Plans for Change

In 2015, Michigan began an institutionwide, five-year diversity strategic planning process. It came up with centralized goals for improving diversity, equity and inclusion, but also tasked all 51 academic and administrative units with developing DEI plans. As a result of this process, academic units created diversity officer positions to “lead, coordinate, support, execute and create structures of accountability" for these plans. 

Michigan’s central administration funded half of the officers’ salaries in colleges and schools. The academic units paid for the rest. Sometimes those units combined half-time positions, such as lecturer appointments, with the new role as a way of controlling costs. For reference, the report defines ADOs as full-time staff or faculty members who devote at least 50 percent of their work to coordinating DEI initiatives for their academic units.

The report’s authors tracked down 20 academic diversity officers from the academic schools and colleges at Michigan, and interviewed 16 of them. Of those, six had teaching responsibilities, eight held terminal degrees and six had degrees related to their academic units.

ADOs' roles are unique to their academic context, but the authors found some organizational similarities: the officers are supervised by either the academic dean or associate dean in each unit, or both. Three of the 16 units represented also have separate ADOs for faculty and staff initiatives.

There is no “right” way of doing things, the report says. “Each academic unit has a unique culture with unique needs, histories, resources and expectations that should be accounted for when creating organizational structures.”

While all academic diversity officers report directly to in-unit supervisors, an important element of Michigan’s embedded strategy, both they and their plans are overseen by Michigan’s chief diversity officer, Robert Sellers. He and his staff review annual unit-level reports and monitor progress. In an interview, Sellers said that, in general, “there’s a problem-focused view of DEI.” Michigan wanted something different.

“DEI provides added value to what you’re already attempting to do,” he said. “By having these plans, we’re not attempting to address a problem -- we think DEI are key strategies to academic excellence.”

He added, “We wanted to create an infrastructure that would allow us not to simply prevent or address problems that have already occurred, but to create space and opportunity to be better in everything we do. DEI is a core strategy to that … Our argument is that this is an institutional responsibility.”

This model works particularly well at Michigan, which is sprawling and highly decentralized, Sellers said. And having different plans for different academic units only makes sense, given their different needs. Engineering and nursing, for example, both have gender-diversity concerns, but obviously different approaches to balancing the scales.

Michigan's approach also comes with challenges, in that it takes a long view, Sellers said. Successes aren't immediate or easy to measure, particularly regarding climate goals. Still, Sellers said that the university has some preliminary, "promising" data to suggest that things are changing for the better.

Beyond Michigan 

Gene T. Parker III, assistant professor of higher education administration at the University of Kansas, recently published a qualitative study of how chief -- not academic-level -- diversity officers were appointed at two unnamed research-intensive universities. While the study was limited, it found that these positions were “structural” responses to what were really “cultural” issues and related crises.

Parker said this week that many institutions have created or are introducing unit-level diversity leaders. Kansas has a diversity leader for its School of Education, for example, he said. But Michigan's system is unique in that all academic units have one, following a directive from the central administration.

That Michigan developed this model was unsurprising to Parker, as he said it has a “long history of embracing an organizational structure that attends to diversity.” As for the report, Parker said it captured the current discourse about the formation of chief diversity offices -- such as whether diversity officers should have a faculty background.

“In many ways, the span of control, division of labor, job responsibilities and duties will help to determine this,” Parker said, “but search committees should have critical conversations about if the ideal candidate should be a faculty member.”

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also has diversity officers in individual academic units. Gretchen Bellamy, senior director of education operations and initiatives for the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said she and her colleagues are reviewing their DEI strategic planning process, which will be aligned with the university’s overall strategic plan. The office will work with various academic units across the university to review their current DEI plans or strategies as part of that effort.

Individual diversity officers with each unit will then serve as “culture catalysts,” Bellamy added, working in conjunction with her office toward creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff members.

Academic deans should consider diversity officer candidates' relevant skills and experiences before hiring them, the Michigan report recommends. These positions also must be developed in a way that “specifies boundary conditions, realistic expectations and appropriate matrices of success.” And academic leaders should provide appropriate administrative, program and other support to help diversity officers meet the “vast demands” of their roles.

As for academic diversity officers, the report encourages developing strategic relationships with necessarily players inside the unit and out, along with making relationships with one’s dean and executive leadership council. “Understand the unique nuances and norms of academic disciplines/fields related to DEI,” the paper also advises.

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Colleges start new programs

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 01:00
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Chronicle of Higher Education: Tufts Will Remove the Sackler Name From Its Programs and Buildings

The university took that step even though a review of its relationship with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Chronicle of Higher Education: College Fairs Might Seem Ho-Hum. Until You Meet the Rural Students at This One.

This regional gathering attracts teenagers from small-town high schools that few admissions officers ever visit. Here’s how it changed one student’s perspective on college.  

Aus: Short-term study abroad boosts prospects

The PIE News - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 10:08

More than four out of five Australian graduates participating in a survey believe short-term study abroad has had a “positive” or “extremely positive” impact on their career, according to a new report by the International Education Association of Australia.

With an earlier report from the IEAA stating that 24% of Australian students now undertake mobility programs,’Career outcomes of learning abroad – short-term programs’ is based on responses from over 3,300 graduates regarding their views on how short-term study abroad has improved their job prospects.

“It’s easier to fit in a short-term program than a semester exchange program”

“The growth in short-term programs has really opened up access to learning abroad for students who might not have otherwise had the opportunity,” said Davina Potts, the report’s author and chair of IEAA’s Research Committee.

“The cost is less prohibitive and the prospect of going overseas for a few weeks – as opposed to re-locating for a whole semester – can be much less daunting for students who are the first in their family to travel overseas.”

Students who were the first in their family to attend university made up 41% of short-term study abroad participants, while 44% were of low or medium socioeconomic status.

“First in family students are more likely to undertake an internship or a study tour and are more likely to study in Asia,” Potts told The PIE News.

“This may be influenced by proximity or funding available through the New Colombo Plan, or by timing – it’s easier to fit in a short-term program than a semester exchange program.”

While 63% said that the experience had improved their long-term job prospects, respondents also added that study abroad served as “a good discussion point in job interviews with prospective employers”.

One noted that they “gained a lot
 of interviews and job opportunities after graduation because of how impressive and interesting the study tour looked on [their] resume”.

The type of program also played a role in impact, with participants in international internships and practicums reporting higher levels of skills development, career impact and greater relevance to their current job.

However, some concern still exists that employers do not fully understand the benefits of short-term study abroad.

While colleges and universities can help to increase awareness among employers, students choosing the right program is also important.

“Employers do not get excited by seeing that a potential employee studied abroad. The mere act of studying abroad gives no favours and promises no transformation,” Jeremy Bassetti of Valencia College in Florida told The PIE.

“Employers want to see what the candidate actually did with their time abroad, what they learned, and how those experiences abroad translate into valuable and desirable qualities for the employer.

“Did they gain foreign language proficiency? Did they volunteer for non-profits? Job-seekers should emphasise the concrete skills, and soft skills, they acquired.” 

The post Aus: Short-term study abroad boosts prospects appeared first on The PIE News.

Alberta’s secession movement spells trouble for Justin Trudeau

Economist, North America - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 09:16

THE 700 PEOPLE who gathered on a recent Saturday night at the Boot Scootin’ Boogie Dancehall in Edmonton, the capital of the western Canadian province of Alberta, came not to boogie but to vent. Baseball caps for sale bore such slogans as “Make Alberta Great Again”, “The West Wants Out” and “Wexit”. On stage, before a Canadian flag held between hockey sticks and pointed upside down, Peter Downing recited the grievances that drew the crowd: cancelled plans to build oil pipelines, subsidies paid to the rest of Canada and snobbery towards Alberta from the central Canadian provinces. The country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, would get what’s coming to him, Mr Downing pledged. Someone near the back muttered, “Hopefully, a bullet.”

The anger at the Boot Scootin’ would be easy to ignore, except that it will be one of the dominant themes of Mr Trudeau’s second term in office, which began when he narrowly won re-election in October. His Liberal Party was wiped out in Alberta and in its equally resentful neighbour, Saskatchewan. Mr Trudeau appointed Alberta-born Chrystia Freeland, the foreign minister in the last government, to be deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. One of her main jobs will be to soothe western feelings. Canada’s governor-general was expected to outline the government’s ideas for bridging...

The surprising similarities between AMLO and Jair Bolsonaro

Economist, North America - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 09:16

TO ALL APPEARANCES they are opposites and foes. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is a foul-mouthed former army captain of the hard right. Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador is a would-be revolutionary of the left. Mr Bolsonaro appeals to the worst in Brazilians, with his diatribes against women and gays, casual racism and fondness for guns and chopping down the Amazon’s trees. Mr López Obrador (known as AMLO) invokes the noble purpose of making Mexico fairer and less unequal. Yet for all their differences, the two most important presidents in Latin America are strikingly similar in many ways. After roughly a year in office, each faces difficulties.

Both are reactionaries in the purest sense, conjuring up an imagined golden past. Mr Bolsonaro lionises Brazil’s military dictatorship of 1964-85. AMLO, who stresses that he is a democrat, believes that everything was better in Mexico before a turn to “neoliberalism” in the 1980s. Both are nationalists with little interest in the outside world and would rather the outside world reciprocated. They are believers, and have inserted religion into the political discourse of hitherto secular states. Mr Bolsonaro, a Pentecostal protestant, campaigned on the slogan “Brazil above all, God above everyone”. AMLO implicitly compares himself to Christ, who was “sacrificed …for defending the poor”. Both defend...