English Language Feeds

ACE Report Underscores Need for Comprehensive Leadership Development

American Council on Education - 1 min 57 sec ago
The report, “Looking Back and Looking Forward: A Review of the ACE Fellows Program,” shares select findings from a comprehensive review of the Council’s signature leadership development program.

Evgeni Govor, Baltic Council for International Education, Latvia

The PIE News - 53 min 59 sec ago
Evgeni Govor is chairman of the board at Baltic Council, an international education agency operating in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. He shares his thoughts with The PIE on the future of ELT for students from the Baltic nations, their preferences when it comes to destination, and his hopes for the future of language learning across Europe.

The PIE: How is the demand for English language changing in Latvia around the Baltic states?

EG: The demand for English language I would say today, it is stable. Maybe over the last two years there was a little decrease in the demand for adult language courses. As for the junior market and young adults, it is increasing year on year. This year our company has an increase of about 80%, and for the next year we see the forecast increasing again.

The PIE: What are the specific areas you are hoping to grow?

EG: It is an interesting question, as in our company we have different departments. As the academic department, we are focused on our services. University placement services will be growing, this year we have about 200 students who have used our services to attend UK universities. For next year we forecast more than a 100% rise.

Then as for the boarding schools, the demand is stable. Every year we send about 50 students to UK boarding schools and colleges, and the main courses students choose are GCSE, A-level, the IB program and others. There will definitely be an increase in the executive direction, executive and professional English language courses in the UK and other countries.

“Today, up to 90% of our clients choose the UK as a destination of study”

The PIE: Can you talk to me a little about other countries outside of the UK? Where else does the Baltic Council send students to and how are they changing?

EG: UK educational institutions, the English language courses in universities and colleges, remain the main market for the Baltic students. Today, up to 90% of our clients choose the UK as a destination of study, first of all because of the high quality, because English language came from the UK. And the universities have a very high reputation in the world, for their quality and for future employment opportunities.

This year, we introduced new destinations for our customers because in the past it was 90% UK, but this year we are seeing the demand increasing for Canada and Malta. We forecast other languages than English will be popular as well, because of the high level of English language among the young people in the Baltic states. We forecast that they will be interested in learning other languages as well, German and French will come soon.

The PIE: Why are Canada and Malta popular with Baltic students?

EG: Malta, I would say it is because of the weather. If you promote UK as a study destination for the English language, we say that if you go to the UK, you can study English plus culture and entertainment.

[But] we say that if you like to have very good holidays, culture, history, plus English, please go to Malta.

Canada’s attraction is that it’s something new. People would like to see other countries outside of Europe to learn more about this history, the culture, the people. That is why this year we tried the first group to Canada and it was so successful. The group to travel in July was full by the end of February.

The PIE: There is hope that Brexit might not affect European students’ wish to come to the UK. Is it the same in the Baltics?

“For our people, the Baltic people, it is not so important whether visas will be introduced”

EG: Since the procedure of Brexit was announced I would say the Baltic people do not often think about Brexit and its impact.

People will still go to the UK to study, parents still choose UK institutions for their children to study, and today it is very difficult to forecast how it will influence our industry and people in the Baltics.

But talking again about the high quality of UK institutions, like in a luxury shop, if it is quality, it will not disappear. It’s the same for UK institutions, even taking into account the worst scenario of Brexit, we will have demand from clients thinking about high quality education for their children for their future.

The PIE: If Baltic people lose the right to stay and work, do you think this will have an effect? Or do your clients usually come straight home after studying?

EG: I would like to mention the statistics that announced 97% of students graduating from universities in the UK return to their home countries.

What we see as an example in our students is that more and more young people graduating from universities in the UK, in reality they are coming home.

For our people, the Baltic people, it is not so important whether visas will be introduced or there will be no possibility to find a good job, because the majority of people choose the UK to get high quality education and to use this education not just in the UK, but in today’s global world.

The PIE: Tell us about your company, the Baltic Council for International Education, can you tell me about anything exciting that you have coming up?

“People would like to see other countries outside of Europe to learn more about this history, the culture, the people”

EG: Every day we receive new CVs and motivational letters from young people hoping to work for our company. It is very exciting to read them and to see how enthusiastic people are to find a job with the Baltic Council. We recently announced several positions within the company and we are hoping for the young generation, for young people with ambitions to help us realise our own ambitions.

The PIE: Where do you think that is going to take you with the young generation? What is your hope?

EG: I hope that the Baltic people will come together and represent in the future in other countries, maybe the whole world.

The PIE: Is there anything final you want to add?

EG: I would like to wish all the agencies all the success in the new academic year, not to think about Brexit and its impact but to think about today’s situation and how to go further and develop new skills and new ideas and how to build a future.

The post Evgeni Govor, Baltic Council for International Education, Latvia appeared first on The PIE News.

Stony Brook professors worry budget is being balanced on backs of junior faculty, humanities programs

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

Faculty anger is growing at the University of Stony Brook, where cuts designed to reduce a budget deficit are concentrated in the humanities.

In addition to planned reductions in non-tenure-track faculty lines, three assistant professors of cultural studies in good standing within their department have been told their contracts will not be renewed past 2018. Two additional faculty members in theater have received similar notices of nonrenewal.

That’s on top of previously announced plans to cut humanities programs within the College of Arts and Sciences. Specifically, the departments of European languages, literatures and cultures; Hispanic languages and literature; and cultural studies and comparative literature will be combined into a single department of comparative world literature. The move involves suspending a number of undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs within those departments. The undergraduate major in theater arts also is suspended.

Meanwhile, Stony Brook is adding 13 other tenure-track faculty lines, mostly in the natural sciences.

Thousands of people, including many professors, signed a student-led petition against the cuts earlier this year. Some faculty members lashed out at President Samuel L. Stanley at a University Senate meeting Monday.

One of the most vocal professors at the meeting, according to faculty accounts, was Mireille Rebeiz, an assistant professor of cultural studies and comparative literature since 2014. She declined an interview request but confirmed that she was one of the nonrenewed tenure-track professors.

At the meeting, Stanley also announced that balancing the budget will entail a 3 percent decrease in academic personnel, a 6 percent decrease in administrators and a 10 percent spending cut across other areas.

Edward Feldman, a clinical associate professor of behavioral medicine and chair of the University Senate, said of the mood on campus, “The faculty are upset, and I understand why they’re upset.” At the meeting, he said, “several faculty made the point that we’re not a technical school -- we are a major university and we have an obligation to provide a high level of education across the board.”

Of course, he said, “What that looks like to different people is a different story.”

Stony Brook blames its nearly $35 million budget deficit, in part, on the SUNY 2020 Grant Challenge. Passed in 2011 by the New York Legislature, the $140 million initiative enabled Stony Brook and other campuses to hire faculty members and make additional investments. Revenue has since declined, however, creating a shortfall.

Some faculty members say they wonder how Stony Brook finds itself in a bind that other grantee SUNY campuses don’t. They question, for example, the university’s commitment to football and a major recent branding campaign called “Far Beyond.”

Peter Manning, a professor of English who has been at Stony Brook since 2000 and in academe for decades longer, said he’s “not seen morale on a campus as low as it now is here -- not even when we were being teargassed by [then California Governor Ronald] Reagan at Berkeley.”

The current administrative mantra, he said, “is that ‘No institution can do everything well, and we have to concentrate on areas in which we can excel.’” But if the natural sciences, technology, math and engineering are the campus’s traditional strengths, and if overinvesting in them via pricey start-up packages for their labs has contributed to the “crisis,” he said, then the university is “doubling down on a losing strategy.”

The “ground failure is a failure of imagination,” Manning said, in that “the administration cannot see that what they view as building on strength produces weakness when the vitality of campus intellectual life is diminished.”

The student petition says that comparative literature Ph.D. program has a high placement rate, that Hispanic languages and literatures has a strong track record of academic and community achievement, and that the theater department is a pillar of the campus culture. It also says that in suspending and eliminating programs and departments "with the most international scholars and students and who, thus, tangibly support diversity and global initiatives, the Stony Brook administration is endorsing a divisive brand of American exceptionalism that is championed by the current White House officials. This proposal goes against every principle contained in the university’s diversity plan."

In July, chairs of the departments within the College of Arts and Sciences sent a letter to their dean, Sacha Kopp, expressing their “categorical opposition to any plan that would deny renewal or promotion to tenure to faculty on programmatic reasons.” In other words, they said, citing legal and ethic concerns, the budget shouldn’t be balanced on the backs of faculty members in good standing who came to Stony Brook not as visiting assistant professors but as assistant professors working toward tenure.

Some on campus have been in touch with the American Association of University Professors over the issue. Anita Levy, a senior program officer at the association, said Wednesday that nonrenewals for budgetary reasons outside of financial exigency are rare. In such cases, she said, widely followed AAUP standards indicate that faculty members should take the lead on reappointments and non-reappointments. The association would call for additional due process protections if these faculty members were terminated midcontract, she added.

Robert Harvey, chair of comparative literature and cultural studies, said he approved all three affected assistant professors in his department for renewal and that he’s never seen such recommendations overturned. He called departments like his -- those with relatively low numbers of majors but an outsize cultural impact -- “soft targets” for metrics-based programs assessments.

“For some obvious reasons, we’re the weakest and poorest part of the university,” Harvey said, “but by tradition or conviction, [institutions generally] decide to support the humanities and the arts."

While a number of critics of the administrative plan for the humanities have expressed concerns about shared governance, Feldman said that the plan to collapse the language and literature departments did undergo faculty review through several University Senate committees. The senate is merely advisory, though, he said. And while Feldman said he did not think that the cuts were meant to target the humanities, he spoke to his dean about how the appearance of such targeting could affect the institution's reputation down the line.

Lauren Sheprow, a university spokeswoman, said via email that like many research universities across the U.S., Stony Brook is “faced with some new and unanticipated budget constraints. We are working to minimize the impact on our core mission of teaching and research, continuing to strive for the excellence and quality for which Stony Brook is known.”

All academic and administrative areas across the university have been asked to review their programs and budgets, Sheprow said. She noted that new fall 2017 enrollments in the reduced academic programs were low and that all current students will be able to finish their studies.

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Department of Ed rejects calls to update oversight measures

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

The Department of Education rejected two recent calls to improve its monitoring of the financial health of colleges and universities -- despite findings that its metrics predicted only half of institutional closures in recent years. 

A Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday found that the risk measure the department uses to assess colleges' financial health is badly out of date. While the department agreed to improve communication about how it calculates that measure, it rejected a call to improve the metric. And the Office of Federal Student Aid separately turned down recommendations to strengthen the data it collects for oversight of institutions.

Both developments came weeks after Secretary Betsy DeVos and her Federal Student Aid chief, A. Wayne Johnson, announced with few accompanying details that FSA was taking a more "comprehensive" approach to oversight. Departmental oversight applies to all colleges that receive federal aid, but those seeking more scrutiny have been concerned about for-profit institutions and some financially troubled small private nonprofit colleges at risk of closure.

Clare McCann, the deputy director of higher ed policy at New America and a former Obama Department of Education official, submitted a raft of recommendations to the department on how it could improve data collection. She said the inaction on recommended changes in both cases points to longstanding issues at Federal Student Aid as much as lack of interest in oversight at the department.

"It's a collision of inertia at FSA and a lack of leadership and accountability from the department," she said. "It just guarantees nothing is going to change."

Federal Student Aid conducts annual reviews of colleges and universities' financial health; those that don't meet standards must receive additional oversight and in some cases are required to provide financial guarantees to the department in case of closure. The GAO looked at the metric FSA uses to grade institutions' financial health, known as the financial composite score, and found that it has had an inconsistent performance because its underlying formula hasn't changed since 1997 -- meaning it fails to reflect changes in standard accounting practices. The result, GAO says, is half the colleges that have closed since the 2010-11 school year received passing scores on their previous assessment.

Sens. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat requested GAO complete the review after the collapse of for-profit Corinthian Colleges.

The GAO's report called for the department to update the metric -- a recommendation that the department rejected in its response. Matthew Sessa, the deputy chief operating officer at FSA, wrote in a response to the recommendations that the report hadn't demonstrated how changes to accounting standards had made the composite score less reliable. He added that the department would provide additional guidance to colleges on how it calculates the composite score.

Ben Miller, the senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said it was surprising to see a federal agency decline a recommendation from GAO. But he said the composite scores themselves have inherent lag time as a measure of an institution's financial health. For-profit colleges have six months to turn in a financial audit to the department, and not-for-profits have nine months to do so.

"You’re already talking about a very lengthy delay by the time you get that audit," he said. "The thing I worry about is a very abrupt hit to an institution's finances that causes problems. If you’re a hand-to-mouth nonprofit and you miss your enrollment target this fall, the department’s not going to see it for almost two years."

Miller said the composite scores are useful as long-term indicators but said they should be combined with a broader set of indicators tracking precipitous changes in an institution's financial health.

The department has taken some steps to expand its scrutiny of colleges beyond the financial audits that its composite scores are based on. It's begun to scrutinize colleges owned by the same private equity firms to consider whether they should be evaluated as a single entity to find financial risks that would be missed at an individual school level. And in 2014 it set up a special division devoted to monitoring large institutions with campuses in multiple locations. That division now monitors 47 companies operating for-profit institution. But the GAO found that most colleges that closed in the past five years were smaller institutions with an enrollment of fewer than 500 students.

And it said that some institutions have figured out how to game the composite score by taking on large amounts of short-term debt to boost their scores -- Corinthian Colleges, for example, the for-profit chain that went under in 2015, repeatedly took out large short-term loans at the end of its fiscal year to boost its scores and then promptly repaid the loans. (A Department of Education Inspector General report from February found that FSA should do more to prevent colleges from manipulating composite scores.)

McCann said all of those tools fit within a broader framework of federal oversight of the sector. McCann made 12 recommendations as part of a public comment period preceding FSA's plans to integrate several existing data sets into one large database tracking characteristics on the financial health of colleges and universities. Among those recommendations, she argued that the department should track any sanctions on higher ed institutions by law enforcement agencies, that it should require publicly traded institutions to submit SEC filings directly to the department, and that colleges should identify all programs offered entirely online. All 12 recommendations were rejected, most because the department found certain information was already tracked elsewhere or because it said they would be considered as part of a "future enhancement."

The takeaway, McCann said, was that FSA is not seriously re-evaluating what information about colleges it collects, even as it takes long-overdue action to streamline existing data. But she said momentum is building outside the office to push for serious changes in oversight of colleges.

"There is mounting pressure on FSA from people outside the department to focus more on this kind of thoughtful, timely oversight work that goes beyond the sort of check-the-box compliance they often do," she said.

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Georgia Tech erupts as police response questioned after fatal shooting

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

After a Georgia Tech police officer fatally shot a student Saturday, the campus has erupted over the police department's handling of the situation, with at least three protesters arrested and a police cruiser set ablaze.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed the officer, Tyler Beck, who killed the student had only served on duty for about a year and had not undergone training necessary to deal with subjects with potential mental-health issues.

Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old student with a history of mental-health issues, died Sunday after being shot in the heart, family members said. Schultz was the president of the student group representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and preferred the pronouns “they” and “them,” having identified as nonbinary and intersex.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which will review the incident, said this week that three suicide notes were found in Schultz’s room. Schultz had attempted suicide before.

It also released audio of a 911 call in which Schultz claims someone, possibly inebriated, was roaming the campus near one of the dormitories and carrying a knife and gun. Police confronted Schultz near that building Saturday. They held what officials have called a knife but Schultz’s family said was a multitool without any blade extended.

Multiple times officers attempt to speak with Schultz, who only responded with “shoot me,” per video of the event posted online.

At one point, Schultz slowly moved toward a group of some of the officers present -- someone directed them to “drop it,” but Schultz did not comply. Footage shows Schultz screaming and falling after a gunshot. Schultz was not carrying a gun.

Experts in previous interviews questioned why officers were not armed with Tasers. The university confirmed officers' other weapon is pepper spray.

Beck has been placed on paid leave, according to the university. He began working as an officer in spring 2016. Though he participated in more than 550 hours of training in the past two years, none was in the crisis-intervention preparation designed to deal with subjects with possible mental illness.

Following a candlelit vigil for Schultz on Monday, about 50 protesters marched to the Georgia Tech Police Department headquarters, according to the university (protest is seen at right). They carried a banner that read “protect LGBTQ” and were chanting.

A police car was set on fire and two officers suffered minor injuries, according to Georgia Tech. Three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, the university said. One, Cassandra Monden, was a Georgia Tech student; the other two, Jacob Wilson and Vincent Castillenti, were not.

The Schultz family's lawyer, L. Chris Stewart, published a statement to Twitter on the family’s behalf, calling for peaceful protests.

Either be peaceful or go home. Nonsense is disrespectful and not productive. #ScoutShultz pic.twitter.com/hGbvErcUHh

— L. Chris Stewart Esq (@chrisstewartesq) September 19, 2017

“Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus,” the statement reads. “This is how we will truly honor Scout’s life and legacy. Scout’s family respects the rights of those who wish to voice their opposition to what they feel is an unnecessary use of force, but they ask that it be done respectfully.”

Earlier, the family had said via the lawyer that Schultz’s “cry for help … was met with a bullet.”

Georgia Tech President G. P. Peterson in a statement Tuesday urged the campus not to draw conclusions too quickly and to wait until the Georgia bureau concluded its investigation.

“For now, we are focusing on mourning the loss and remembering Scout’s many contributions to the Georgia Tech community over the past four years. Last night’s vigil at the Campanile that was coordinated by the Pride Alliance and the Progressive Student Alliance was attended by almost 500 community members including Scout’s family. Unfortunately, they were also joined by several dozen others intent on creating a disturbance and inciting violence. We believe many of them were not part of our Georgia Tech community, but rather outside agitators intent on disrupting the event. They certainly did not honor Scout’s memory nor represent our values by doing so.

“Rest assured that our campus community is responding to these recent events in a positive and constructive manner, in spite of the many challenges they represent. I am grateful for our students, faculty, staff, campus leaders, and for our campus police. The response by our students to last night’s events is particularly heartwarming -- they were on Facebook and Twitter through the night trying to find ways to show support and to say this is not who we are.”

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Two college football players die after games last weekend; another is paralyzed

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

This has been one of the deadliest years for college football in decades.

Two players died after games last Saturday, CBS Sports and other news outlets reported, and three others died from football-related ailments during the off-season.

Robert Grays, who played for Midwestern State University, died after suffering a neck injury during a game Saturday, the university said. The 19-year-old Grays was a 5-foot-8-inch, 160-pound cornerback for NCAA Division II Midwestern State, which is located in Texas.

“Robert touched many lives while attending the university, but perhaps he will be remembered best for his smile,” Suzanne Shipley, the university’s president, said in a written statement. “He was an inspiration on and off the field to those around him, and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, classmates, coaches and teammates.”

Clayton Geib, a senior football player at the College of Wooster, died Sunday after complaining that he did not feel well after the Division III team's game Saturday, according to the college. Geib, who was 21, had cramps and was hyperventilating in the locker room after the game.

“Clayton was a wonderful student and member of the College of Wooster community, and beloved by many,” Wooster’s president, Sarah R. Bolton, said in a written statement. “Our hearts are breaking, and all our prayers and thoughts are with Clayton’s family, teammates and friends.”

Most of the 35 college football-related deaths since 2000 have been linked to overexertion rather than traumatic injury, CBS’s Dennis Dodd reported, citing research by Scott Anderson, the University of Oklahoma's head athletic trainer and an authority on player safety. However, traumatic brain injuries in football have been a focus in recent years.

“Training regimens are too often built on tradition versus based on science and place players at risk,” Anderson wrote in a 2012 research paper published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Earlier this year Dodd reported on several recent cases of Division I football players who were hospitalized after grueling workouts. In a particularly high-profile example from 2011, the University of Iowa concluded after an investigation that 13 Iowa football players were hospitalized after becoming ill with a muscle syndrome called rhabdomyolysis. The syndrome occurs when muscle is destroyed and releases into the bloodstream products that damage the kidneys. It can be caused by exercise and some dietary supplements.

Sickle-cell trait can also contribute to injury and death from overexertion.

A lawsuit filed by the family of a Rice University football player, Greg Lloyd, who died after a team workout in 2006 due to sickle cell-related complications, prompted the NCAA to recommend that teams test for the condition.

Yet college football player deaths related to overexertion and sickle cell, which affects one in 12 African-Americans, have continued.

Last year the University of California, Berkeley, settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of former Cal football player Ted Agu for $4.75 million. Agu, a pre-med student and defensive lineman, died at 21 shortly after a strenuous off-season conditioning workout, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Since 2000, six college football players have died from game-related traumatic injuries, according to Anderson. Tackling or blocking while leading with the head often is a cause. The NCAA has created rules aimed at reducing those injuries.

Yet Dodd, citing an unnamed witness to the play on which Grays was injured, said it was a routine tackle.

“If you really saw it, it was a football play,” the witness said. “He was in on a tackle. It was like anything you'd see on any other play.”

The last time two college football players died in the same year while playing the game (as opposed to during workouts) was in 2011, Dodd reported.

Also last Saturday, a Harvard University football player, Ben Abercrombie, severely injured his neck while making a tackle during the team’s loss to the University of Rhode Island.

Abercrombie, a first-year student, lost feeling in his arms and legs and has required breathing assistance since sustaining the cervical injury, ESPN reported. Doctors operated on his neck and are reportedly hopeful that the paralysis will subside.

Last month, The New York Times reported that Ed Cunningham, a college football analyst for the sports network ESPN, walked away from his job because of ethical concerns about injuries players sustain from the sport. Cunningham, who won an NCAA championship as a player at the University of Washington and who also played in the National Football League, in particular cited the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease found in many former football players.

“In its current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear,” Cunningham told the newspaper. “But the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it’s unacceptable.”

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NCAA punishes Pacific after basketball coach helped recruits cheat

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

The former head men’s basketball coach at the University of the Pacific gave athletic prospects the answers to course work and tried to persuade multiple people to lie during a National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation into the alleged violations, the association announced today.

Ron Verlin, the head coach, who has since been fired by the university; a former assistant coach, Dwight Young; and a former special assistant to the team were all punished by the NCAA, likely making them unemployable.

An eight-year “show cause” order for Verlin and Young were among the sanctions the NCAA imposed -- the special assistant’s order extends seven years. This means that any NCAA institution hiring the men must provide the association with a reason why their duties shouldn't be restricted. Additionally, if Verlin is hired, he must be suspended for half of the first season he coaches.

The university has been placed on probation from now until September 2019. It must also pay a $5,000 fine and vacate the games that the players who cheated participated in.

Pacific had already given up the right to play in the postseason in the 2015-16 academic year and reduced its allotment of basketball scholarships.

The NCAA also found that a former men’s baseball coach had inappropriately given a student $16,000 to defray housing costs -- certain baseball games must be vacated, the NCAA demanded, and scholarships in the program were already reduced.

President Pamela A. Eibeck said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed Wednesday that the university does not intend to fight the NCAA verdict.

“We are proud that the NCAA found these corrective actions to be a meaningful and adequate means to address the violations, and that it cited the university’s ‘exemplary cooperation’ in describing our collaboration, which was our goal from the outset. We fully support this decision and have no intention of appealing … We were treated fairly during the process and we look forward to moving on. We remain focused on providing our students with a superior learning experience that prepares them to be successful in their lives and careers.”

In 2011, then assistant coach Verlin gave a prospective athlete enrolled in a distance learning course a 1,400-word paper titled “Taking a Look at Change” that the athlete could pass off as his own work, according to the NCAA’s initial report on allegations against Verlin.

Three years later, Verlin, by then head coach, provided answers to multiple prospects who were taking a mathematics course at Adams State University. He also arranged for the athletes to take exams without a required proctor.

Verlin meddled with the work of five athletes in total, the NCAA said.

In what the NCAA called “perhaps the most egregious violation of ethical conduct rules,” Verlin also encouraged others -- a close friend and an athletic prospect -- to give false or misleading information to the university and to the NCAA.

Verlin filed an wrongful termination lawsuit against the university in March.

“We found this conduct falls well below the baseline of honesty and ethical conduct the membership expects of university staff members, particularly those setting the example for the development of student athletes,” Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director and a member of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel, said Wednesday.

In June, experts criticized the NCAA for imposing light sanctions on the University of Louisville after a scandal there involving a former director of operations who arranged sexual encounters between sex workers and prospective athletes. Rick Pitino, the head basketball coach, failed to supervise the director, the NCAA said, suspending Pitino from the first five Atlantic Coast Conference games of the season.

The NCAA also ordered certain games vacated, possibly jeopardizing the national title the university won in 2013.

Despite the punishment, which some experts called a “wrist slap,” Louisville intended to appeal the NCAA decision.

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Labour Party in New Zealand joins global push on the left against tuition

Inside Higher Ed - 3 hours 6 min ago

On Aug. 1, New Zealand Labour Party leader Andrew Little resigned after his party hit a catastrophic low of 24 percent support in an opinion poll ahead of the Sept. 23 election. He handed control over to his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, then age 36.

A sharp, informal communicator described by some as a “rock-star politician” in the vein of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ardern has since won Labour a surge of support, predictably termed “Jacindamania” by the media.

One of Ardern’s key policies is a pledge to abolish tuition and increase living-cost support for students.

Labour support rose to 44 percent in a Sept. 14 poll, four points ahead of the center-right National Party, which has been in power since 2008 and might have expected that its portrayal of a strong economic record would guarantee further electoral success.

Developments in New Zealand fit within an emerging trend, evident in Britain and the United States, for politicians on the left and center-left to see opposition to tuition as a way to mobilize support among younger voters. In New Zealand, Labour has the chance to be a pioneer among national governments in the developed world by abolishing fees: in Germany, it was individual state governments that made such a change.

“If you’d asked me a month ago whether education was going to be a key, election-deciding platform, I would have said never in a hundred years,” said Chris Whelan, executive director of Universities New Zealand, which represents the nation’s eight institutions of higher education.

Average tuition fees at Kiwi universities are about 6,000 New Zealand dollars ($4,400) a year, under tiered fee caps that vary across subjects. The cost of education is split roughly 60:40 between direct public funding and the tuition repaid by graduates, said Whelan.

Graduates’ repayments on government-backed, income-contingent loans start once salaries reach NZ$19,084 ($14,000) and are deducted at 12 percent above that level.

The terms, more onerous than England’s student loans, are one explanation for concern on the issue, with one academic researcher warning that graduate debt is weighing down some and “potentially increasing inequality.”

Another key issue is New Zealand’s spiral in property prices and thus rents, meaning student living-cost support cannot cover accommodation in cities.

In August, Ardern announced that Labour would bring forward by a year its existing plan to phase in free postsecondary education. Students starting courses in 2018 would receive one year of fee-free study, gradually extended to three years by 2024.

Living-cost assistance would also be boosted by NZ$50 ($37) a week under Labour’s new plan, taking both the means-tested maintenance grant and universal maintenance loan to about NZ$220 ($160) a week.

Anticipating claims of a “cynical” policy seeking support from young voters, Ardern said that it was “unreasonable for us to expect that those who are furthering themselves for all of our benefit should have to live on NZ$170 a week.”

So, what is Universities New Zealand’s stance on Labour’s policy? “Our position is that anything that lifts participation in higher education has got to be good,” said Whelan. Although, given that 38 percent of New Zealanders currently enter university within five years of leaving school, “we are not sure how many more students there are out there who are not going to university for some reason that [Labour’s] policy might actually bring through,” he added.

Richard Shaw, a professor of politics at Massey University, said that the pledge to end fees was part of Labour’s “wider slew of policies aimed at appealing to younger people’s presumed sensitivities.”

“The whole idea was [Labour] brought [the policy] well forward because of these missing 200,000 voters,” said Whelan, noting the figure in circulation for numbers of eligible voters not registered.

But Shaw said that rates of voter registration among young voters “don’t look promising” thus far. So, he added, “we really don’t have the preconditions for a ‘youthquake’ à la the U.K.” (In this year's British general election, young voters backed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn -- who pledged to abolish tuition fees in England -- in unexpected numbers.)

Taking a different view to Whelan, Shaw said that New Zealand Labour’s tuition fees pledge has “been a sort of second-tier issue” in the campaign “and it certainly hasn't shifted public sentiment the way that the removal of interest on [student] loans did a decade ago.” That move was credited with helping Labour unexpectedly hang on to power in the 2005 election.

But if the polls are reliable, Ardern and New Zealand Labour still have a shot at turning their vision of fee-free university education into reality.

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How Arab Countries Regulate Quality in Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Global) - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 13:07
A survey found that after licenses are issued, government follow-up to check educational quality is usually weak or nonexistent.

Overseas experience trumps language learning for Chinese students

The PIE News - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:24

Experiencing an overseas culture is the main reason for Chinese students to attend summer school programs in the UK, according to education agents who took part in research from the British Council and English UK, placing this above improving foreign language ability.

Meanwhile, demand from China for summer school programs is expected to continue to grow over the next few years, along with programs with specific themes, such as sports, drama and leadership.

The researcher, who interviewed 95 education agents across China, found that 92% of respondents placed experiencing the overseas culture as one of the top three most important reasons for Chinese students to seek out a summer school program in the UK.

Increasing independence was also among the most important, according to 63% of agents, while 53% cited preparing for studying overseas.

Improving foreign language ability followed, perceived to be important by 52%.

According to the report, one agent said that students “‘would love to improve their language’, but this is not the main purpose of the course due to the large cost of travelling to and staying in the UK.”

While summer school operators’ responses echoed those of agents with regards to experiencing overseas culture (88%), they placed a higher emphasis on the improvement of the language ability, at 81%.

Increasing independence was also among the most important factors, according to 63% of agents

The report notes that “some UK summer school operators agreed, with one commenting that although language classes are an important part of their offering, ‘it’s never really about language’.”

Preparing for studying overseas was perceived as an important reason for over half (56%) of summer school operators.

China is overwhelmingly the largest source market for international students, with statistics showing that the number of outbound students topped half a million, with 544,500 students going overseas last year.

“School operators and agents report that university ‘taster programs’ are becoming increasingly popular,” the report notes. And research from Ipsos and New Oriental found that 83% of students who undertook short-term study overseas were considering long-term.

Language plus programs are the most popular type at summer schools in the UK, according to the research, with an increasing popularity towards the inclusion of other activities.

All future trends point to growth

Two-thirds (67%) of summer school operator respondents offer sport themed programs, while 42% offer leadership, and a quarter offer life skills, drama and dance.

All future trends coming out of China with regards to summer school program demand point to growth.

“Agents point towards increasing interest in short-term overseas study, which they link to both increasing affluence and the greater international consciousness of the new generation of parents,” the report states.

Just over half (51%) of agents surveyed said they have experienced strong or moderate growth in the number of students going to UK summer school programs.

The 92 Chinese agents surveyed account for around 30,000 summer school students – of which 8,500 went to the UK.

Students from mainland China now account for one in 20 student weeks at private English UK member centres.

The report can be accessed here.

The post Overseas experience trumps language learning for Chinese students appeared first on The PIE News.

E African region to harmonise tuition fees next year

The PIE News - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 04:58

University students across the East African region will, from January next year, begin paying the same amount of tuition fees, in the first step towards the actualisation of the newly created East African Common Higher Education Area.

While the institutions may charge different amounts for different programs, students from any country in the region will pay the same amount as domestic students in any of the six countries that form the common area – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and the newest East African community member, South Sudan.

This move is in line with the framework for implementation of the Common Higher Education Area agreed upon by the six member countries of the EAC, at a conference held July in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This came two months after heads of states from the region ratified the decision to create the EACHEA, and mandated the Inter-University Council of East Africa to implement it.

“The harmonised fees structure will be implemented in both public and private universities by the end of the year”

Benedict Mtasiwa, IUCEA chief principal officer for exchange programs, said the decision was expected to facilitate and increase student mobility across the region.

“The harmonised fees structure will be implemented in both public and private universities by the end of the year”, he said in a statement.

This, he added, will end the current practice where students pay as much as 30% more in fees whenever they enrol in universities in any of the partner countries outside of their home country.

According to another IUCEA official, the operationalisation of the EACHEA was expected to be a lengthy process, and the harmonisation of fees is just one among many steps to be taken.

“Operationalisation is on course, mobility of academic staff and students are already happening, mutual recognition of qualifications is already taking place for both academic and professional qualifications”, he told The PIE News.

After nearly two years of waiting, the EAC region was declared a Common Higher Education Area by heads of the state in May, and the IUCEA has come up with a six point tentative work plan and strategy.

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Leicester opens first international campus in China

The PIE News - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 02:44

The UK’s University of Leicester has partnered up with China’s Dalian University of Technology and opened an international campus in China which will focus on teaching STEM subjects and offer dual degrees.

The university hopes that 10% of its UK undergraduate population will study at Leicester International Institute, Dalian University of Technology, by 2020.

“Our purpose is to advance the exchange of culture, science, engineering and technology”

Chinese students will have the opportunity to take part of their degree in Leicester, and UK students will have the chance to undertake a year or more of their degree in China.

The first courses to be offered are in chemistry and mechanical engineering, explained director of the institute, Eric Hope.

The partnership not only seeks to expand staff and students’ horizons, but it will also “support China to develop a globally-competitive workforce,” he said.

The first cohort of students are being taught at the Institute, based on the Panjin campus, following opening ceremonies attended by president and vice-chancellor Paul Boyle alongside academic and civic leaders.

“Our purpose is to advance the exchange of culture, science, engineering and technology between China and the United Kingdom,” said Boyle.

Both universities have a renowned reputation when it comes to research, he added.

“Leicester and Dalian have chosen to work together because of our shared global standing, and our belief in research and learning excellence. As world-class research-intensive universities we will build collaborative research groups that will underpin exciting new discoveries.”

President Guo from Dalian University of Technology, said: “This initiative will succeed because we will only recruit the very brightest students. We chose to work with Leicester because of their research reputation – our partnership will be strong because it is based on powerful research collaboration.”

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Public backs higher funding for university research

University World News Global Edition - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:59
The overwhelming majority of Canadians believe in the importance of university research for Canada's future as an innovation leader, according to a new survey.

They also believe that universi ...

Cal State Northridge faculty members say system is attacking ethnic studies

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00

For the California State University system, it’s a bit of streamlining. For ethnic and gender studies professors at CSU Northridge, it’s not only overreach, but threatens the study of marginalized groups. Objectively, all that is clear right now is that the CSU system’s attempt to make its campuses’ general-education requirements more uniform is up in the air.

As it stands, an executive order from the CSU system chancellor's office would make the general-education requirements at all CSU campuses uniform, limiting them to five categories -- currently referred to in some documents as “areas” and in others as “sections” -- labeled A-E.

Current categories include English language communication and critical thinking; scientific inquiry and quantitative reasoning; arts and humanities; social sciences; and lifelong learning and self-development.

A sticking point, however, arises at Northridge, which stands out among CSU campuses for having Section F: Comparative Cultural Studies. Classes that can fulfill the Section F general-education requirement include courses in Africana studies, American Indian studies, Asian-American studies, Central American studies and gender and women’s studies. Leaders from each of the above departments -- as well as the coordinator for American Indian studies, which is a program but not a department -- signed a petition circulating among some faculty members who opposed the change, which comes at the cost of their courses standing out as general-education requirements.

“[Executive Order]1100 eviscerates CSUN’s unique and exemplary Section F Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages, denying CSUN students an education based on cultural competency and respect for diversity,” the petition says.

And the timing couldn’t be worse, critics of the chancellor’s office say.

“Given our current social and political climate and the demographics of California, we need to continue to resist attacks on historically excluded peoples on the basis of race, ability, gender, sex and sexuality, and to support departments and programs that protect and empower our communities,” the petition says.

CSU system officials said the order was issued in an effort to make general-education requirements uniform across all campuses -- a move that is especially helpful for the 67,000 students who transfer into CSU campuses from other four-year and community colleges.

“We had a threefold purpose in devising this executive order,” said Christine Mallon, assistant vice chancellor for academic programs and faculty development for the CSU system. “And it is in response to what we’ve heard from students, and from outside parties including the Legislature -- concerns about how students might understand or misunderstand our requirements, how they could be streamlined to facilitate graduation and how, unintentionally, we may have policies that could add to inequities in student success.”

With streamlined requirements, Mallon said, students would be on an even playing field no matter where they were in the CSU system. This would especially prove helpful for transfer students, she said.

“The executive order was to help students,” she said. “Diversity and training our students how to live in a multicultural and global society is part of the CSU mission … all of these things are really important for us to facilitate students’ ability to get the courses they need, when they need them, and graduate on time -- while still getting the courses we all agree are part of what is in the breadth of a bachelor’s degree.”

Northridge is obligated to be in compliance with the executive order by fall 2018. How it will do so, or if it will do so -- although the order being rescinded, despite calls from some faculty, seems like a long shot, at this point -- remains to be seen. A teach-in dedicated to defending the Section F programs was scheduled for tonight, according to the Facebook page for the American Indian Student Association. The event was promoted by the coordinator of the American Indian studies program. Additionally, public statements from various departments have called for the rescinding of the order.

“We collectively resist and reject this violation of Faculty Consultation and Governance. These proposed changes reinforce the already profound divisions that exist in our society,” a statement on the website for the Department of Asian American Studies says.

Many who have organized against the order have said they support making general-education requirements more uniform -- except other campuses should follow Northridge’s route, not the other way around.

“While GE portability sounds like a good idea, it needs better-thought-out implementation. We propose that CSUN’s GE model, which aligns with the findings of the CSU Task Force on the Advancement of Ethnic Studies convened by the chancellor’s office, itself become the model across the CSU,” a statement from the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies says. “In its current form, EO 1100 does the exact opposite and aligns with the current push to end diversity in this country.”

How exactly Section F will be accommodated remains to be seen. CSU system and Northridge officials pointed to multiple options, including making Section F courses a separate graduation requirement that isn’t a general-education requirement, or splitting the courses among the other existing general-education sections.

Though any changes to the status quo have been rejected by a large number of Section F professors -- whose enrollment numbers might be at risk -- officials at Northridge said that solutions are still being debated.

“[Enrollment numbers] depend on what the solution is,” said Elizabeth Adams, associate vice president for student success at Northridge. “The curriculum is the purview of the faculty … there are some proposed solutions that would maintain -- we think -- the enrollment in these courses.”

The urge to maintain enrollment comes both from a point of looking out for the departments, Adams said, and because the university feels the content is important.

The Faculty Senate, or at the very least, the senate committee on curriculum, will debate and craft its opinion to the executive order next week, said Stella Theodoulou, Northridge's vice provost for academic affairs. From there, that opinion will be delivered to the office of the provost, who will report to the system chancellor.

“Both our president and our provost are committed to maintaining the comparative and cross-cultural studies requirement, but at the same time, we are part of a system and we understand we must comply with the executive order,” Theodoulou said. “We are trying to work with our faculty and encourage our faculty to find solutions that maintain the commitment, while also conforming to the executive order.”

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Much of Third World Quarterly's editorial board resigns, saying that controversial article failed to pass peer review

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00

Fifteen members of Third World Quarterly’s editorial board resigned Tuesday over the publication of a controversial article they said had been rejected through peer review.

The news comes a day after the journal’s editor in chief issued an apparently contradictory statement saying that the essay had been published only after undergoing double-blind peer review.

The paper, written by Bruce Gilley, an associate professor of political science at Portland State University and published earlier this month in the journal’s “Viewpoints” section, advocated a return to colonialism in some instances.

Gilley's essay was subsequently criticized as lacking in rigor, failing to engage with the broader literature on the topic and ignoring colonial-era atrocities. Current Affairs even compared Gilley’s treatment of the topic to Holocaust denial. But the resigning editorial board members focused their criticism Tuesday on what they described as a failed editorial process and dishonesty from Shahid Qadir, editor in chief.

“The editor of [Third World Quarterly] has issued a public statement without any consultation with the editorial board that is not truthful about the process of this peer review,” their public resignation letter says. Thus, “as we fully disagree with both the academic content of the ‘Viewpoint’ and the response issued in the name of the journal, we are forced to resign immediately from the editorial board of Third World Quarterly.”

Concerns about the editorial process led many academics to sign a petition, submitted to the journal's editors Monday, calling for the retraction of Gilley's essay. But the editorial board members’ resignation letter appears to confirm that the piece was initially rejected as an academic article during peer review, later rejected by at least one reviewer as an essay, and then published anyway.

The board members’ resignation letter says Qadir told them last week that Gilley’s paper was put through the required double-blind peer-review process, but that Qadir did not honor their subsequent request that he share the reviews with them.

The board members wrote, “We have now been informed by our colleagues who reviewed the piece for a special issue that they rejected it as unfit to send to additional peer review.” (The resignation letter quotes what it describes as an email from the guest editors and other concerned scholars.) Moreover, they wrote, a colleague who reviewed the piece as a “Viewpoints” essay after it was rejected by the special-issue editors also rejected it for that purpose.

“‘The Case for Colonialism’ must be retracted, as it fails to provide reliable findings, as demonstrated by its failure in the double-blind peer-review process,” the resignation letter says. “We all subscribe to the principle of freedom of speech and the value of provocation in order to generate critical debate. However, this cannot be done by means of a piece that fails to meet academic standards of rigor and balance by ignoring all manner of violence, exploitation and harm perpetrated in the name of colonialism (and imperialism) and that causes offense and hurt and thereby clearly violates that very principle of free speech.”

The resigning board members also demanded a new public statement from the journal about the circumstances under which it published Gilley’s piece. They’d “consider serving on an editorial board under different editorial arrangements," they added.

Other members of the journal’s editorial board remain. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and professor of linguistics emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, told Inside Higher Ed that it’s “pretty clear that proper procedures were not followed in publishing the article, but I think retraction is a mistake – and also opens very dangerous doors. … Rebuttal offers a great opportunity for education, not only in this case.”

Chomsky added, “I’m sure that what I publish offends many people, including editors and funders of journals in which they appear.”

Neither Qadir nor spokespeople for Taylor & Francis, the journal’s publisher, who are based in Britain, immediately responded to requests for comment.

Ilan Kapoor, a resigning board member and professor of critical development studies at York University in Canada who said he corresponded with the third reviewer, declined to share the reviewer's identity with Inside Higher Ed. But Kapoor vouched for the reviewer, describing her as an “established academic at a highly reputable” institution based in Britain. He said he had email proof that the reviewer was asked by the journal to review Gilley’s piece blind and that she rejected it after doing so.

Kapoor said that "Viewpoint" essays must be peer-reviewed. Qadir's note from Monday also says that all articles, including “Viewpoints” pieces, undergo double-blind review.

Farhana Sultana, an associate professor of geography at Syracuse University who helped organize the petition for retraction, said via email Tuesday that her efforts have been about “upholding academic journal publishing standards.” The petition was not a call for “retraction based on difference in opinion or to curtail free speech,” she said, but rather, about “shoddy pieces being published in academic journals and the fact that the journal failed to follow proper procedures in place so that academic publications are rigorous and scholarly -- that article by Gilley was not scholarly and was rejected after peer review, but the journal still decided to publish it.”

Gilley did not respond to a request for comment about the matter.

Margaret Everett, Portland State's interim provost, released an updated statement about the essay Tuesday, expressing continued support for Gilley’s academic freedom but also distancing the university from him. “‘The Case for Colonialism’ has generated a robust conversation and significant public and scholarly reaction,” Everett said. “The ideas and perspectives offered by Professor Gilley are his own and do not represent Portland State or our department of political science.”

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Abroad and online -- beyond Title IX’s reach?

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00

Online courses -- and especially the special brand of massive open classes that emerged earlier this decade -- have helped colleges expand their reach geographically as well as educationally; they are far likelier today than they were a decade or more ago to be educating students in, and from, other countries.

An unfolding lawsuit shows that a key federal law may not be keeping up with that reality.

The case in question may be familiar to Inside Higher Ed readers and fans of physics, because it involves the former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus Walter Lewin, whose enigmatic teaching videos have millions of views on YouTube. However, no videos of Lewin remain on any official MIT platforms. They were removed after an internal investigation at MIT found that Lewin had sexually harassed one of his students online, and consequently his “For the Love of Physics” MOOC, and his emeritus title, were removed.

Lewin’s accuser, Faïza Harbi, is now suing MIT and Lewin for compensation for the emotional distress she says she suffered as a result of Lewin’s conduct. Harbi’s legal team has made claims under tort law, state antidiscrimination laws and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal statute that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational programs.

Both MIT and Lewin tried to dismiss Harbi’s claims, but they have only been partially successful. On Sept. 1, the federal judge in the case ruled that six of the nine claims that Harbi made would stand -- including a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against MIT. Harbi’s Title IX claim, however, was dismissed.

Were Harbi an American, or an international student living in the U.S., her Title IX claim would likely have stood. However, as the judge explained in his ruling, because Harbi is French and was living in France, she did not qualify for protection under Title IX.

‘Title IX May Well Be Outdated’

Explaining his decision to dismiss Harbi’s Title IX claim, Judge F. Dennis Saylor said that “no reported case appears to have examined the precise question at issue here: whether Title IX protects a person abroad with respect to conduct committed in the United States and transmitted over the internet.”

Given that online learning allows students to be located anywhere in the world, Judge Saylor said that Title IX, enacted in 1972 with (understandably) no mention of the internet, “may well be outdated.” Despite this, Saylor said, it was not his job to dispute the law -- “this court is not empowered to ‘fix’ outdated statutes, no matter how worthy the goal may be.”

Ted Folkman, a lawyer at Murphy & King who has written about the Harbi case on his blog, said the issue comes down to extraterritoriality -- a “hot topic” in legal circles. “Congress wrote into the statute a limitation on who is entitled to the law’s protection and expressly excluded people not in the United States. Judge Saylor’s view [that Title IX does not apply to Harbi] is probably right, because there is a general presumption that federal laws do not have extraterritorial effect, and the words of the statute seem to reinforce that presumption here,” Folkman said via email. “It would be up to Congress to extend the law’s protection to foreign students studying abroad.”

Adele Kimmel, a senior lawyer at Public Justice, said it is understood that Title IX applies to any university or college that receives federal funds, even if that institution is completely online. But she concurred with Saylor’s assertion that while the law covers international students taking online courses while living in the U.S., it does not cover international students residing in another country. “Separate from Title IX, students may have protections under state antidiscrimination laws, but this will vary from state to state,” said Kimmel.

Looking for Guidance

Laura Dunn, founder and executive director of SurvJustice, which offers legal assistance to survivors of sexual violence on campus, said that she would like to see a thoughtful discussion about the limitations of Title IX, but she doesn’t expect the law to change. “Of course the issue of extraterritoriality comes up -- how can you enforce a law from one country in another country?” she said. “For now, I think the statute as written offers pretty significant protection for students.”

The Harbi case has, however, highlighted the need for more direction on how Title IX should be applied in contemporary situations, said Dunn. “This is an issue that would be perfect for [Education Department] guidance,” she said.

Khalilah Burton, assistant provost for institutional effectiveness and accreditation at Columbia Southern University, an online-only institution, agreed that there are areas in which Title IX guidance could be improved. “I’ll be interested to see in the future whether there are changes regarding clarity in the regulations for online interactions, not necessarily just at online schools … Brick-and-mortar institutions are having larger online platforms, and they will need guidance as well,” she said.

Burton said that her institution, a for-profit in Alabama, would treat all its students as if they were protected by Title IX, no matter where they were located. Jennifer Kalfsbeek-Goetz, dean of student learning and Title IX coordinator at Moorpark College, in California, said that her institution would do the same. “The most conservative look at Title IX or the Clery Act [a federal law relating to campus safety] might suggest that students have to be in the geography of the campus for it to apply. However, we would certainly consider an online classroom to be within the space of our campus,” said Kalfsbeek-Goetz.

Dunn, Burton and Kalfsbeek-Goetz all agreed that beyond having a Title IX coordinator and ensuring that employees have suitable training, institutions should ensure that the policies they provide to students and staff regarding expected behavior are clear.

Dunn suggested that institutions with online learning options, and even study abroad programs (where there is some confusion whether American students studying outside the country are covered), should contractually extend Title IX protections to students outside the U.S. “The relationship between that school and student is still there in that other country -- that doesn’t disappear. Schools could be progressive beyond the limitations of the law to assure students are protected,” said Dunn.

Asked what incentive there would be for colleges to do this, Dunn said, “I think schools do what people ask them to do, or what they will get in trouble for not doing. If a group of parents banded together and asked for this, I think some schools, perhaps some more progressive ones, would do it.”

The Social Media Problem

Billie Dziech, a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati and co-author of The Lecherous Professor: Sexual Harassment on Campus, said institutions need to do more to acknowledge the responsibility they have for students online. “It’s not as if the technology just appeared out of nowhere. We’ve known for a long time that online courses were going to pose all kinds of responsibilities to us.”

Dziech said that students engaging in online learning should be able to expect that courses be delivered “in a professional manner.” Very little is known about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the context of online learning, said Dziech, but she suspects that online-only students could be less likely to report incidents of harassment than campus-based students who have closer ties with their institution.

To combat this, Dziech suggested that faculty members and students be encouraged to report inappropriate exchanges they see or experience online. She added that institutions should also have clear and strict penalties for breaking the rules -- not just a “slap on the wrist.”

“If a professor sends someone’s 18-year-old daughter a picture of their private parts, and we send them on a Title IX sexual harassment training course, that accomplishes nothing. It sends a message to other faculty that they can do the same sort of stuff,” said Dziech. As a preventative measure, Dziech suggested that faculty should agree, as a condition of them being hired or keeping tenure, to not communicate with students through social media. “Why would a professor need to contact a student on Facebook? What’s wrong with using your .edu email?” asked Dziech.

In court documents, Harbi’s legal team said that Lewin originally reached out to Harbi through a Facebook group she created for students taking his MOOC. Evidence shared in court by Harbi’s legal team suggests the nature of Harbi and Lewin’s communications through Facebook, email and Skype quickly crossed professional lines -- with Harbi telling Lewin how she struggled to concentrate on her studies because of a history of sexual abuse, and Lewin offering to help her gain confidence by teaching her to masturbate.

Communicating through social media makes it almost impossible for institutions to spot red flags, said Stephen Downes, a senior researcher in online learning for Canada’s National Research Council. He said that online education providers typically encourage communications through their own discussion forums or Listservs, but there have always been cases of students and professors communicating by other means. “If there’s a way to message someone, people have been using it,” said Downes.

Unlike Dziech, Downes doesn’t believe a social media communication ban is necessary. Instead, he made an appeal to common sense online. “I don’t wish to sound naïve, but why don’t people, especially those in positions of power, just behave better online? Forget the legalisms, forget the codes of conduct. Just behave better. That would be my No. 1 suggestion,” said Downes.

“This isn’t an issue that’s specific to online courses, education or social media. It seems odd to me that people would think because something is online that they can behave differently. If you wouldn’t say it face-to-face to a person, why say it online?”

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Community college's job market study highlights need for middle skills despite low unemployment

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00

Every year St. Louis Community College surveys the region's employers to get a better picture of the area's work-force needs.

A growing number of colleges have bulked up their job-market research amid pressure from the public and policy makers for institutions to do more to improve wages and opportunities for working-class people. Community colleges in particular are feeling this scrutiny.

Administrators at St. Louis Community College view the report as one part of how it seeks to stand out as a leader in work-force development.

"The fact is the community college has its pulse on the economy and the job market," said Steve Long, associate vice chancellor of work-force solutions for SLCC. "In a larger sense, part of the value of this report is in communication with the employer community, job-training community, the federal network of training programs, and government and community-based organizations, that we need to work together to solve these issues."

The 2017 report found that 42 percent of responding employers anticipate increasing the number of employees, while only 2 percent expect to decrease their staffs. But nearly 60 percent of employers reported shortcomings in the applications they receive for open positions. In particular, employers complained about inadequate soft skills of job candidates, including interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem solving, work ethic and teamwork.

The college surveyed more than 1,000 employers in the St. Louis region and compiled the information with federal labor market data.

Middle-skills jobs, or those that require more than a high school degree but less than a four-year degree, are important in eastern Missouri. According to the National Skills Coalition, 53 percent of all jobs in the state in 2015 were of the middle-skill variety. These jobs also account for slightly more than half of openings nationally.

These professions include skilled trades, industrial maintenance, precision machining, health care and nursing, all of which require some form of college-issued credential. Yet nearly half of people over the age of 25 in the St. Louis region have a high school diploma but no college degree, according to the report.

However, the report also revealed that 70 percent of employers have jobs open that require only short-term training, or training that could be completed within six months of finishing high school.

"Students come into these short-term accelerated programs, and they ask how quickly can they get a job," Long said. "We have to counsel them that you have to get the skills before you get the job, and some students choose to not go forward."

For those students who do choose to stay, the college has worked on integrating soft skills into the curriculum to address employers’ concerns about problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork.

"We try to embed those in our short-term accelerated programs," Long said, "and we try to talk to the faculty of degree and certificate programs about doing the same."

The National Skills Coalition has been advocating for changes in program eligibility for federal Pell Grant funding so short-term programs can qualify for financial aid, the lack of which can be a barrier for some students who seek to become certified in a skilled trade.

"A lot of these short-term occupational programs have smaller class sizes and need more equipment, so it's expensive," said Kermit Kaleba, federal policy director for the National Skills Coalition. "It's not like running another section of English compositions, so we think it's important from a financial aid perspective to make these programs more accessible."

Despite the work-force needs of St. Louis-area employers, the unemployment rate in the region is particularly low -- 4.2 percent as of May -- which means recruiting students to apply for middle-skilled jobs isn't easy. Potential students may feel it's too risky to leave their current employment for a middle-skills job or go to college to pursue a credential.

"In Missouri, the unemployment rate you usually hear about is 4 percent, but when you look at the larger unemployment rate or the rate for people who are working part-time for economic conditions, but want to work full-time, it's 9 percent," Long said. "There is a whole generation of young people, by income and race, who really have not been fully attached to the labor market."

That trend appears nationally, as well, with the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent as of July.

"We see people are making a set of choices based on their need to work and feed their families," Kaleba said. "They're making the choice between an available job that pays less, but [that] they can start right away, or going and enrolling in a community college program where you may get to a higher wage and have, longer term, better outcomes, but it's three months, six months, or 12 months down the line."

And colleges are going to have to be creative if they want to reach out to those young people, Long said.

"The middle-skill labor market and training market is not well advertised and communicated for a lot of job seekers," Kaleba said. "There are a lot of pathways with community colleges, union-run programs, apprenticeship programs, and there is confusion about the pathways to get the training and education. We don't talk about those job opportunities as much as we should."

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Is China punishing an American university for hosting the Dalai Lama?

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00

Is the Chinese government punishing the University of California, San Diego, for inviting the Dalai Lama to be its 2017 commencement speaker?

Victor Shih, an associate professor of political economy at UCSD who studies Chinese banking and fiscal policies, posted on Twitter on Saturday an image of a document “regarding questions about government-sponsored study (visit) abroad to UC San Diego.” Shih posted a Chinese-language document -- which he said a colleague received directly from the China Scholarship Council -- and an English translation suggesting that the agency will no longer process applications for prospective visiting scholars to UCSD who have not already scheduled visa interviews.

“China Scholarship Council puts a freeze on all CSC-funded scholars to @GPS_UCSD, presumably due to Dalai Lama visit,” Shih said on Twitter. Reached via email, he said, “My only comment now is that CSC did not freeze any funding to UCSD, or provide us with any funding in the first place. It seems from the statement that it will freeze funding going to Chinese scholars who wish to be visitors to UCSD.” He did not respond to follow-up messages seeking more information about his sourcing. The chair of UCSD’s 21st Century China Center, Susan Shirk, who was copied on Shih’s email to Inside Higher Ed, did not respond to inquiries.

On Monday Laura Margoni, a spokeswoman for UCSD, said, "We’ve learned unofficially that the China Scholarship Council has apparently issued instructions about CSC-funded visiting scholars who do not yet have visas -- that they will not be allowed to study at the UC San Diego. We were not notified of this directly by the China Scholarship Council, so we are currently making inquiries to find out if this is case.” She had no updates to share Tuesday as to the status of the university's inquiries.

The China Scholarship Council did not respond to emails seeking comment.

China Scholarship Council puts a freeze on all CSC funded scholars to @GPS_UCSD , presumably due to Dalai Lama visit pic.twitter.com/eoiLjBw2u9

— Victor Shih (@vshih2) September 16, 2017

Some Chinese students at UCSD protested the university's decision to invite the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Chinese government regards him as a separatist. The Dalai Lama has long maintained that he wants autonomy for Tibet, but not full independence.

“The Dalai Lama is not only a religious personality but also a political exile who has long been carrying out actions to divide the motherland and to destroy national unity,” UCSD's Chinese Students and Scholars Association said in a statement after the invitation to the Dalai Lama was announced. The group said it had consulted with the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles for guidance.

A Chinese newspaper known for its nationalistic, bombastic rhetoric also blasted UCSD for the invitation and said its chancellor, Pradeep Khosla, “must bear the consequences for this.”

“Don't naively believe that China will acquiesce to the chancellor of UCSD. His support for Tibet independence will affect his personal and the university's exchanges with China. Chinese universities will take cooperative programs with it into prudent reconsideration,” the article in The Global Times said.

“It's suggested that relevant Chinese authorities not issue visas to the chancellor and not recognize diplomas or degree certificates issued by the university in China.”

Some scholars have expressed concern about the growing influence China has gained over American universities as the number of Chinese students in the U.S. has soared -- and as American universities have become increasingly reliant on the tuition dollars they bring. After the University of Calgary awarded the Dalai Lama an honorary degree in 2009, the Chinese government removed the institution from its list of accredited universities, raising concerns about possible impacts on recruitment and on the value of degrees held by alumni in China (Calgary's place on the list was subsequently restored).

The reported action by the China Scholarship Council in regards to UCSD would not appear to directly affect self-paying Chinese undergraduates, but only those scholars who are sponsored by the government.

Of the invitation to the Dalai Lama, the university had previously issued the following statement: "The University of California, San Diego, has always served as a forum for discussion and interaction on important public policy issues and respects the rights of individuals to agree or disagree as we consider issues of our complex world. Our 2017 speaker, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, carries a message that promotes global responsibility and service to humanity that is of great interest to the UC San Diego community and to our students as they enter their professional lives. As a public university dedicated to the civil exchange of views, the university believes commencement is one of many events that provide an appropriate opportunity to present to graduates and their families a message of reflection and compassion."

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New presidents or provosts: Channel Islands Crookston Eastern Michigan Hope North Alabama Rutgers WSCC

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:00
  • Ross Alexander, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Indiana University-East, has been chosen as vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of North Alabama.
  • Geoffrey W. Chase, vice president at the WASC Senior College and University Commission, in California, has been selected as provost at California State University-Channel Islands.
  • Debasish Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity at Purdue University, has been appointed chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, in New Jersey.
  • Mary Holz-Clause, dean of the Huntley College of Agriculture at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, has been chosen as chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
  • Rhonda Longworth, interim provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Eastern Michigan University, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.
  • Cady Short-Thompson, dean of Blue Ash College of the University of Cincinnati, in Ohio, has been appointed provost at Hope College, in Michigan.
  • Vicky Wood, provost and vice president of academic affairs and student services at Marion Technical College, in Ohio, has been named president of Washington State Community College, also in Ohio.
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Stanford tops employability rankings, Australia makes headway

The PIE News - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 09:59

Stanford University has been named the best university in the world for graduate employability, according to this year’s QS employability rankings, as universities from eight different countries make the top 20.

The rankings have also seen a number of institutions which aren’t represented highly in the overall World University Rankings climb up the table, including two from Australia making the top 10.

Stanford University, which holds on to the top spot this year, is followed by UCLA – up from 15th last year – and Harvard University, making it a 1,2,3 for US institutions.

“We want to reward universities for being proactive, for placing employability at the top of the agenda”

The University of Sydney is once again in fourth place, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes in fifth.

The top five are followed by the University of Cambridge (6th), the University of Melbourne (7th), the University of Oxford (8th), the University of California Berkeley (9th), and Tsinghua University (10th).

Institutions from eight countries make the top 20, including Japan’s Tokyo University in 14th place, and the University of Hong Kong in 20th.

This compares with the World University Rankings top 20, which consists of institutions from just five countries.

“We don’t want this ranking to measure reputation alone,” said Jack Moran, education writer at QS.

“We want to reward universities for being proactive, for placing employability at the top of the agenda,” he told The PIE News.

The ranking’s methodology measures employer reputation, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers per faculty, employer/student connections, and graduate employment rate.

“It’s perhaps also true that universities that don’t have highly prestigious global brands are seeking to emphasise the quality of the employment prospects they offer to potential graduates, which incentivises them to engage in the sort of behaviours and initiatives that this project rewards,” Moran commented.

Universities from Latin America and the Middle East make an appearance in the top 50 in the employability rankings, which they don’t do in the World University Rankings. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile places at 37th, along with the American University of Beirut at 41st.

And the rankings also include six institutions from Germany in the top 100 – double the number in the overall top 100 university rankings.

Four of Australia’s universities feature in the top 50 in the rankings, just one fewer than the UK’s five universities. After the universities of Sydney and Melbourne in fourth and seventh, respectively, comes The University of New South Wales (36th) and The University of Queensland (49th).

“The precise way in which students value employability does differ by region”

“If Australian universities are ranked highly, it is because they also ensure that desirable employers are frequently on campus, are committed to innovative, student-centered teaching methods, and foster strong research links with industry,” commented Ben Sowter, research director at QS.

Employability is an increasingly important aspect for international students, as they seek out a high return on investment for undertaking their higher education study abroad.

“[It’s] at the forefront of the minds of students in all regions, at all levels, whether it’s expressed as a desire to gain the international experience employers covet, or a keenness to develop entrepreneurial skills,” said Moran.

“The precise way in which students value employability does differ by region – but it’s indisputably a key driver of international study.”

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