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ACE and Blackboard Unveil Research on Alternative Pathways to Degree Completion

American Council on Education - 8 hours 2 min ago
​New research sheds light on how two approaches to creating alternative pathways to college graduation for post-traditional students are working.

Universities demand 'No more cuts' after A$4bn saved

University World News Global Edition - 11 hours 30 min ago
As Australians prepare for the release of the annual federal budget on 9 May, universities point out that over the past six years they and their students have faced cuts that have contributed A$3. ...

Australia abolishes popular 457 skilled worker visa

The PIE News - 11 hours 58 min ago

The Australian government has reassured international students they are still welcome in the country, after announcing changes to its temporary worker visa last week caused concerns among prospective and current students.

The changes, which will see the 457 temporary skilled work visa replaced with a more stringent Temporary Skill Shortage visa in March 2018, will not directly affect student visas or the post-study work rights visa scheme. However industry stakeholders have reported a level of confusion from overseas colleagues.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly abolished the scheme last week and said its replacement will ensure that “Australians, wherever possible, where vacancies are there, where job opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them.”

Several providers have identified uncertainty among students and education agents regarding how the changes will affect students’ work opportunities after study, while several overseas media outlets have been identified as providing inaccurate information on the changes.

“Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection clearly did not see it as their role to communicate who would not be affected by the changes to 457 visa settings,” IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood told The PIE News.

“Wherever possible, where vacancies are there, where job opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them”

“It quickly became apparent that international students were making extensive use of social media to express their concerns about possible impacts,” he added.

Honeywood said those concerns prompted education minister Simon Birmingham to tweet, “Fact. Australia is open to educating the world,” with an accompanying graphic which has been circulated by Australian educators’ accounts.

At this stage, the minister has not released a formal media statement on the impact of the changes to international students.

Indirectly, fewer international students will be eligible for the upcoming TSS visa than for the 457 skilled worker visa program, as the upcoming scheme requires applicants have a higher level of English, a minimum two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation, and the list of eligible occupations will also be reduced.

The move remains in line with the Australian government’s efforts to separate ties between its overseas study visa program and skilled migration, after concerns of widespread fraud at the turn of the decade.

“It is a very responsive approach, but the fundamental difference is, it is focused relentlessly on the national interest and on ensuring that temporary migration visas are not a passport for foreigners to take up jobs that could and should be filled by Australians,” said Turnbull.

But educators aired their concerns that any changes could have a mild dampening effect on student enrolments.

“While the reforms do not have a direct relationship to education, international students do consider future employment opportunities in choosing study destinations,” ACPET chief executive Rod Camm said in a statement.

“Any perceived tightening of migration conditions may discourage some students from choosing Australia as their study destination,” he added.

While the abolition of the 457 visa system has caused anxiety among students, the number of student visa holders moving to a 457 visa has been gradually decreasing over the past three years.

Since 2012/13, the number of student visa holders who moved onto a 457 visa shrunk by almost 35% to 11,696 in 2015/16, despite student numbers hitting a record 554,179 in 2016.

Conversely, the post-study work stream of the 485 temporary graduate visa, which provides up to four years work depending on level of qualification completed, saw a marked increased in 2015/16, more than doubling from 9,400 to 21,300 from the previous year.

It is unclear if the removal of the 457 visa could mean fewer international students move in the opposite direction, converting from a temporary skilled worker visa to a student visa, as DIBP does not publicly provide those figures, but Honeywood estimated the numbers would be low.

“Australia has a competitive advantage right now amidst uncertainty in many other parts of the world – we need to safeguard that advantage and not undermine it in any way”

Meanwhile, Universities Australia also expressed concern the TSS could affect Australia’s university system and prevent them from recruiting “the best and brightest minds from around the world.”

In particular, UA said the work experience requirement would prevent universities from recruiting recent PhD graduates and also requested university lecturers and tutors be restored to the medium term skills list.

“Australia has a competitive advantage right now amidst uncertainty in many other parts of the world – we need to safeguard that advantage and not undermine it in any way,” UA chief executive Belinda Robinson said in a statement.

“The ability of our universities to bring brilliant minds into Australia is crucial to the global research collaborations that will help us to create new jobs and new industries for Australians.”

Immigration minister Peter Dutton subsequently vowed to take a broad view of what constitutes work experience, with his office telling the Australian Financial Review experience may vary depending on occupation, “such as research and teaching experience accumulated by PhDs.”

The post Australia abolishes popular 457 skilled worker visa appeared first on The PIE News.

Xavier University of Louisiana President Norman C. Francis to Be Presented With Lifetime Achievement Award

American Council on Education - 13 hours 34 min ago
Norman C. Francis, who has served as president of Xavier University of Louisiana since 1968, will be presented with the ACE Lifetime Achievement Award at the Council’s 97th Annual Meeting in March.

Making a case in the streets for federal support for science

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 33 min ago

Organizers of the March for Science said that the event in Washington, D.C., and the satellite marches across the country this weekend were just the beginning of a movement to champion science.

Those statements would seem to caution against early assessments of the march’s success or failure. Key supporters of the event and participants who trekked to the march in D.C. said the goals of the event went far beyond any immediate effects on policy and included communicating with the public about the state of federally funded research and energizing scientists about advocating for their field.

Others were concerned with pushing understanding by the public and Congress of the importance of science in shaping federal policy.

About 15,000 came out for pre-march events including teach-ins and speeches on the Washington Mall, Reuters reported -- firm estimates for the full march crowd had not yet been released -- while crowds attended hundreds of satellite marches elsewhere in the country. About 40,000 walked Columbus Drive in the Chicago event, according to The Chicago Tribune. The Los Angeles Times reported that thousands showed up for the march that went from Pershing Square to City Hall in L.A.

Fred Lawrence, secretary of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, said the March for Science was “a watershed moment in American cultural and social history.” He said the participation of so many scientists in the demonstrations has helped make clear to members of the public that they themselves have a stake in policy decisions like funding of the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

"It takes the issue from being abstract and makes it very present, very concrete and very urgent," Lawrence said.

Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that the march has already been a success, citing the conversations it has created about science and its role in policy making.

“Scientists -- who have been often reticent to go public -- showed up for the march and used stories to talk about the importance of their work. We were encouraged to see so many scientists speaking up and expect it will continue in the days ahead,” he said.

AAAS, one of the country’s largest nonpartisan science and research organizations, was a major backer of the event. Holt emphasized in comments ahead of the event that it would not be a protest of the White House but would make a positive case for science.

Although march events were sprinkled with the occasional anti-Trump message, they were spared the wrath of the president on Twitter over the weekend. In a statement Saturday, Trump said his administration was focused on both reducing regulations and protecting the environment.

“Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” he said. “My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”

Those claims, many scientists would say, run counter to the facts of Trump’s own budget proposal, which called for major cuts to National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation research spending -- and to his Environmental Protection Agency chief’s open disregard for climate science.

But even though the White House likely helped the spur the marchers into action, many attendees spoke to issues of federal policy that long predated the current administration.

Justin Steinfeld, a fifth year M.D./Ph.D. student at Columbia University, said that since the Clinton administration, NIH funding has failed to keep pace with inflation. An increasingly competitive environment to win grant funding has pushed scientists to constantly publish, leading to sloppier work and a “bad culture” within research, he said.

Trump’s budget proposals would accelerate those years-long negative trends, scientists said this weekend.

“It shows a disrespect for what science is and what it can provide,” said Steinfeld, who is also a member of the Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW Local.

He said that communicating about the importance of science was part of the march, but that the real promise of the event was spurring people in his generation to action.

“It's about motivating the people who came to push themselves a little more, to get more involved,” he said.

Sarah Joseph, a Columbia doctoral student studying genetics and the president of the graduate student advisory council, said one measure of the march's success would be seeing people without connections to the profession asking scientists like her about their research.

"Now they're seeking knowledge they didn't seek openly before," she said. "It's small, but it's going to be really important."

Organizations such as AAAS hosted workshops last week to train newly active scientists in how to communicate about their work. Advocacy organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists saw the event as an opportunity to sign up more members for ongoing activism. Academics at the Washington event conveyed a hope that it would highlight the ongoing challenges funding university-based research -- and the threat posed by more cuts.

Steven Hanes, a professor at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, also said researchers struggled in an increasingly difficult funding environment for years before Trump. With the exception of a spike driven by the stimulus package, NIH funding has essentially been flat since 2008, he said.

That’s affected both the graduate-level education at his university -- Hanes hasn’t been able to train new graduate students for several years -- and faculty hiring decisions.

“We don’t even hire faculty who don't already have their own funding,” he said.

Hanes said he hopes the public and Congress will get the message about how important it is to maintain scientific funding to continue making progress in every area of research. His lab studies how genes are switched on and off, or gene regulation. The most common disruption of gene regulation is in cancer, he said.

But having steady sources of federal funding turned on and off is incredibly inefficient for research, Hanes said. Layoffs forced by funding cuts mean he has to train a whole new set of researchers later.

“I lose institutional memory,” he said. “It sets you back years.”

Hanes said that increasing NIH funding by just a few percentage points would have a huge positive impact, while cuts would mean no new grants into important areas of inquiry and no further progress on projects due for grant renewal.

Researchers marched not just to highlight issues of funding but also to bring attention to the role that science should play in shaping policy. Melanie Killen, a professor of developmental science at the University of Maryland and a representative of the Society for Research in Child Development, said she hasn't heard research and evidence talked about so dismissively in more than three decades in the profession.

"I'm very concerned about the rhetoric we have heard in the last six months," she said. "It's not possible to have democracy if you don't believe in facts and in scientific evidence."

Matthew Walhout, a physics professor and dean for research and scholarship at Calvin College, said he joined the march to speak up for the importance of science in the social discourse and as part of the decision making that shapes policy.

He said the message of the march transcended party politics and that the turnout would demonstrate that there is a huge number of people supporting scientific research and the role it plays in society.

“I would say that over all it was generally uplifting to see a lot people gathered around an issue and treating each other well,” Walhout said. “Even though the weather was bad, the spirits were high.”

Editorial Tags: Science policyAd Keyword: Science Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

New round in debate over Ann Coulter and her right to speak at Berkeley

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 33 min ago

The fight over whether and when Ann Coulter will speak at the University of California, Berkeley, did not end with the university's invitation to her to speak there May 2.

Before that invitation was extended, the university had said it could not allow campus Republican groups to host her talk April 27 because of security concerns, and that she would have to wait until the fall semester. Amid charges that it was denying Coulter a platform due to her views (charges Berkeley officials repeatedly denied), officials regrouped and said they had found a location on campus where she could appear with security assured, on May 2.

But the fight is not over. Coulter is vowing to show up Thursday. And she's suggesting that she will sue Berkeley for insisting that she appear May 2 instead. The university, meanwhile, is accusing Coulter and her campus fans of distorting free speech principles, and putting the safety of Coulter and any who might attend her talk in danger.

Further, the university is arguing that a commitment to free speech does not mean that it has to agree to let Coulter appear at any time or any place -- and that its objections to her plans have nothing to do with her political views.

A letter from a lawyer representing Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation -- two groups seeking to bring Coulter to campus -- says that May 2 is an inappropriate date because it comes during the study period after classes end and before final exams. This date was selected, the letter says, to depress attendance and because Coulter will no longer be in the area to give a talk.

Further, the letter accuses Berkeley of a pattern of "similar silencing" of guest appearances of conservative thinkers. It cites the planned appearance of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos in February, which the letter says was "canceled at the last minute on the pretext of being unable to provide adequate security."

Berkeley officials defended the right of Yiannopoulos to appear (amid considerable criticism from campus groups for not blocking him from appearing). The university called off the event as it was about to start, as noncampus groups engaged in violent protest and vandalism while student groups engaged in nonviolent protest.

In a letter back to the conservative groups' lawyer, Berkeley defended its actions. The Berkeley letter said that the campus groups bringing in Coulter signed contracts with her before conferring with the university about security issues. When Berkeley learned of the invitation, officials were concerned because of the violence that accompanied the Yiannopoulos visit to campus, and violent clashes among protesters in the city of Berkeley more recently. The university rejected the April 27 event based on "mounting intelligence that some of the same groups that previously engaged in local violent action also intended violence at the Coulter event."

Further, the university said that -- when security issues are involved -- student organizations don't have an absolute right to host events whenever they want. "Student organizations’ access to event venues on campus is subject to the availability of venues of appropriate size and the ability of the university to provide adequate security," the letter said. "Security risks of each event are evaluated independently. Differences in the management of event security have nothing to do with the university’s agreement or disagreement with the opinions of the speakers, but are based entirely on [the police department's] assessment of the security risks and the measures needed to minimize them."

Finally, the university said that it is untrue to say that Berkeley hasn't worked to allow conservative student groups to hold events, even those requiring security. "This semester, UC Berkeley has dedicated more resources -- in the form of staff time, administrative attention, police resources and cash outlay -- to facilitating BCR's [Berkeley College Republicans'] expressive activities than have been devoted to any other student group in memory. Dedicated staff and administrators have spent countless hours, including during weekends and vacations, working to enable BCR’s planned events and to maximize the possibility that those events can occur safely for the participants, the speakers, our students and others in our campus community."

Yiannopoulos Plans Return

Whatever happens with Coulter this week, Berkeley appears likely to continue to be the focus of debates over free speech and security. Speakers known for their inflammatory statements -- and for attracting both violent and peaceful protests -- are vying to visit the campus.

Since Yiannopoulos tried to speak on campus in February, he has gone from a conservative hero to (in some circles) a conservative embarrassment. In February videos circulated in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend sex between boys as young as 13 and older men. Yiannopoulos has since said that his views were distorted and that he was talking about older teenagers, and that he opposes the sexual abuse of children. But the Conservative Political Action Conference withdrew an invitation for him to speak there, and Yiannopoulos all of a sudden became someone not just opposed by many campus groups for his rhetoric, but by conservatives as well.

But Friday, Yiannopoulos on Facebook announced his plans to return to Berkeley.

"I am planning a huge multiday event called Milo's Free Speech Week in Berkeley later this year. We will hold talks and rallies and throw massive parties, all in the name of free expression and the First Amendment," he wrote. "Free speech has never been more under threat in America -- especially at the supposed home of the free speech movement. I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march and party.

"Milo's Free Speech Week will include events on the UC Berkeley campus. We will stand united against the 'progressive' Left … Free speech belongs to everyone -- not just the spoiled brats of the academy … Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam. If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month. We will establish a tent city on Sproul Plaza protesting the university's total dereliction of its duty and encourage students at other universities to follow suit."

Editorial Tags: Academic freedomStudent lifeImage Caption: Ann CoulterIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

NLRB official rules that resident advisers at private colleges may unionize

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 33 min ago

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Friday that resident advisers at George Washington University have the right to unionize. The ruling could apply to other private colleges and universities, potentially opening a new part of private higher education to unions.

At the same time, the ruling could open the door to legal fights that could block the union. Friday's decision orders an election at GW. But if the RAs at the university vote to unionize, GW could challenge the ruling, and it has indicated that it may do so. Many higher education groups are also lining up to oppose unionization. (Collective bargaining rights of resident advisers and other employees at public institutions are governed by state law and will not be changed by whatever the outcome in this case.)

The ultimate outcome could depend on how soon President Trump has openings to fill on the NLRB, whose members serve staggered terms that do not end automatically with a new president. The current board has a majority sympathetic to unions, but that is unlikely to be the case with more Republican appointees.

The decision in the GW case was based largely on an NLRB board decision last year that said that teaching assistants at private universities could unionize. In that case, based on a union drive at Columbia University, unions argued that the TAs were employees, while universities said the TAs should be seen primarily as students who should not be entitled to collective bargaining. The NLRB ruling said that TAs were both students and employees and that they were entitled to unionize.

The regional director who heard the GW case, Sean R. Marshall, wrote in his decision that he looked at the definition of "employee" in the teaching assistant case and found three criteria. Employees, he wrote, "(1) perform services for the employer; (2) are subject to the employer’s control; and (3) perform these services in return for payment."

And Marshall then outlined how RAs meet all of those tests. They are paid (both a stipend and in the form of free housing) and they must follow specific rules.

Further, he rejected GW's argument that the undergraduates who work as RAs "reside in the university’s residence halls in order to have an informal, peer-to-peer mentoring relationship with, and serve as role models for, their fellow undergraduate students.”

"The employer’s characterization of the RAs’ duties tellingly omits any explanation about why these duties are performed by RAs, and why undergraduate students serve as RAs," Marshall wrote. "Plainly, the RAs are not providing these services voluntarily -- the RAs unquestionably receive something of value in exchange for their services. Further, since there is no suggestion that RAs receive academic credit in exchange for serving as RAs, I find no basis to conclude they provide these services as part of their educational relationship with the employer. Rather, I find that the RAs provide these services based on an economic relationship with the employer -- the RAs exchange services desired by the employer in return for compensation from the employer and desired by the RAs."

Marshall added that just because RAs may value their experiences for reasons beyond compensation that doesn't mean they aren't employees. "I do not doubt that when current and former RAs reflect on the time they spent as RAs, they believe the experience was educational and was instrumental in their future career accomplishments," he wrote. "However, the same can be said for many of one’s life experiences, whether they are educational, social, religious or occupational. Employment experiences can simultaneously be educational or part of one’s personal development, yet they nonetheless retain an indispensable economic core. Here, the evidence shows, and no party contends otherwise, that an economic exchange between the RAs and the employer is the sine qua non of their relationship."

GW released this statement Friday: "While the university will continue to cooperate with the NLRB in this process, the university continues to believe that the NLRB’s union election process should not be applied to students in our residential life program, which is an integral part of the educational experience of our undergraduate students. We will continue to share our views with resident advisers as this process moves forward."

Steven M. Bloom, director of government relations at the American Council on Education, said via email of the decision, "A regional office administrator deciding to let undergraduate resident advisers unionize is a major and unprecedented change in federal labor law. This really is a bureaucracy run amok. This represents the kind of step that we feared after the Columbia decision, which opened the door to this deeply troubling extension of federal labor law to undergraduates. We hope a future NLRB overturns this decision."

ACE and other higher education groups filed a brief with the NLRB opposing the union drive.

Service Employees International Union is the group seeking to organize RAs at GW. SEIU has had success of late in higher education organizing non-tenure-track faculty members.

GW students who are among the RAs seeking a union wrote an op-ed last year in The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper, outlining why they want a union. They said that some contract terms are ambiguous, and that they consider others unfair. Further, since anyone fired as an RA loses housing and a stipend, the consequences are serious, they wrote. These are the kinds of issues, they wrote, on which a union could help.

"We look forward to embracing our rights under federal law to democratically bargain with our employer," the op-ed said. "Ultimately, we look forward to coming to the table … to negotiate a contract that will allow us to continue to better the student experience."

Editorial Tags: Student lifeUnions/unionizationImage Caption: Residence hall at GWIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

More colleges look to replicate CUNY's accelerated two-year program

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 33 min ago

The City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, or ASAP, has been widely praised for turning out promising results and doubling graduation rates.

That’s why more than a few community colleges are interested in bringing it to their campuses.

Westchester Community College, which is part of the State University of New York System, and Skyline Community College in California are the latest campuses that are gearing up to try ASAP for the first time.

The program helps community college students get to graduation by providing additional academic support and financial incentives like free tuition, textbooks and public transportation.

“The ASAP model was one achieving results that appeared to be unprecedented in regard to helping students in the developmental education sphere,” said Belinda Miles, president of Westchester, which is located roughly 30 miles north of New York City.

CUNY requires participating students to enroll full time and to take developmental courses immediately and continuously. The goal of the program is to double graduation rates. ASAP nearly did just that at CUNY -- after three years, 40 percent of ASAP students graduated compared to 22 percent of control group students, according to MDRC, a nonprofit research organization.

Three years ago, three community colleges in Ohio became the first other institutions to try the ASAP approach, despite having a slightly different demographic in a very different location. Last year MDRC found that those three colleges -- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Lorain County Community College -- were seeing early improvements in enrollment, retention and completion.

“We believe the ASAP Ohio demonstration and CUNY demonstration are remarkable, and this is something people should seriously consider,” said Colleen Sommo, a senior research associate at MDRC. “We were able to get findings in Ohio very much in line with what we saw in New York, and that was very reassuring, but it’ll be helpful to have Westchester as a third proof point.”

The program’s costs are in addition to each institution’s typical costs per student. CUNY's version costs about $3,700 more per year for each student, according to MDRC. The Ohio programs are estimated to cost about $3,000 more per student.

At Skyline, officials are estimating the cost per student will fall between $1,200 and $1,400 a year. If the program goes full scale, or grows to about 500 students, the college estimates it will cost $1.5 million a year. Westchester estimates its ASAP model will cost between $3,000 and $4,500 a student. But with outside grants, funding from the college and tuition from increasing student persistence, Westchester is hopeful the program will become sustainable.

Westchester ASAP

In addition to tuition waivers and textbook vouchers, CUNY students received New York City MetroCards to use on public transportation. At Westchester, officials overseeing the proposed ASAP pilot are considering $500 for books and $500 annual stipends for food, housing, transportation and other needs for students, Miles said.

But there’s an additional dynamic the college is taking into consideration -- New York’s new free-tuition proposal. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and the state’s Legislature reached a deal this month to offer free tuition in the CUNY and SUNY systems for families with annual incomes up to $125,000.

“It’s important to distinguish between the price of tuition and the cost of education,” Miles said. “So we think the incentive will be significant, and we know these mandatory elements have proven successful for students, so we anticipate the effort and reward cycle will be strong.”

Westchester is planning for 150 students to be in the first group to participate in the program, with plans to grow to 450 students by the third year, said Sara Thompson Tweedy, vice president for access, involvement and success at the college. The college enrolls approximately 13,000 students.

The college is the most diverse two-year institution in the SUNY system, Tweedy said.

Many of the students at Westchester are low income and about 50 percent use financial aid to fund their education. But officials at the institution are optimistic that the stipend will help close financial gaps.

ASAP and a Promise Scholarship

Unlike the New York and Ohio programs, Skyline Community College in San Bruno -- south of San Francisco -- is moving toward scaling up ASAP to about 500 students. Both Skyline and Westchester received start-up funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation -- Skyline received $800,000 and Westchester $1 million -- but both institutions are using a combination of institutional dollars and money from other grants to help cover the program's costs.

The college had success with an early pilot version, which included 138 students. The persistence rate for participants from the fall semester to spring was 96 percent, compared to 82 percent among full-time students who were not enrolled in the program, said Angelica Garcia, vice president of student services at Skyline.

“The ASAP data was just compelling, and it was compelling [that] they were working with full-time, degree-seeking students,” Garcia said. “We wanted to get what has been effective out there … and we have a lot of similarities in being incredibly diverse and having students with low socioeconomic status. We are trying to do everything we can to bring to our college and students what we know is working.”

While California isn’t offering a free tuition program like New York, Skyline last fall launched a free tuition, or Promise, program. Garcia said the ASAP program would combine with the Promise scholarship and the work the college is doing with building guided program pathways and meta-majors. Skyline’s last-dollar Promise scholarship covers tuition and fees for the first year for full-time students.

Skyline is still experimenting with the types of incentives to offer ASAP students beyond free textbooks and tuition. Public transportation near the campus isn’t the same as in New York City, but the college is considering a mixture of shuttle service to the Bay Area’s subway system, bus passes or gas cards. ASAP students would also receive priority access to register for courses.

“We want our students to get in, get through and get out on time,” she said. “We’re asking students interested in doing this to commit. And with our programmatic components, it’s our hope that we make this as seamless as possible for students.”

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Graduation ratesCommunity collegesCaliforniaNew York CityOhioImage Caption: Graduation at Skyline Community CollegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 33 min ago
  • Big Sandy Community and Technical College: Tony Skeans, a Kentucky prosecutor.
  • Borough of Manhattan Community College, of the City University of New York: U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat; and Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of Tribeca Productions.
  • Broward College: Keith Koenig, president of City Furniture.
  • College of Saint Rose: Eve Burton, senior vice president and general counsel of Hearst.
  • Cooper Union: Sacha Pfeiffer, the journalist.
  • Dominican University, in Illinois: Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871 Chicago; and Lina Fruzzetti, filmmaker and professor of anthropology at Brown University.
  • Edinboro University: Rachel Levine, physician general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Juilliard School: Stephen McKinley Henderson, the actor.
  • King University, in Tennessee: Katherine Paterson, the author.
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design: Diane Paulus, the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.
  • Otterbein University: Jane Grote Abell, board chair of Donatos Pizza; and David Blom, president and CEO of OhioHealth Corp.
  • Providence College: Roy Peter Clark, the writer.
  • Spelman College: Valerie Jarrett, who served as a top adviser to President Obama.
  • Suffolk University: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh; Carol Fulp, president and CEO of the Partnership Inc.; and Robert D. Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University.
  • University of Maryland at Baltimore: William P. Magee Jr., co-founder and CEO of Operation Smile.
  • University of Rhode Island: The journalists Vladimir Duthiers and Thomas Farragher.
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Even in Limbo, Trump’s Travel Ban Reverberates

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Global) - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 16:00
After the president tried to bar travelers from six countries, the personal effects are still being felt.

March for Science participants say why they rallied

Inside Higher Ed - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 12:34

WASHINGTON -- Eric Schultz, an associate professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, hopped on a bus at 1 a.m. Saturday and headed here with about 50 students and faculty members from the university.

He said the march was about communicating with the general public, which he said does not appreciate what science does and why it’s valuable.

Schultz’s work is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation with some support from the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Were the cuts to those agencies in the White House budget released last month to become reality, he said his department could lose the ability to support graduate students.

“That means we’re selling out our future essentially for the sake of weapons,” Schultz said.

***

John Kilbourne, a professor in the department of movement science at Grand Valley State University, couldn’t go far at the National Mall Saturday without a request for pictures. Kilbourne came to the March for Science dressed as Galileo, who he said spoke up for scientific truths even though he knew he would be persecuted for it.

Kilbourne studies the traditional games of indigenous people in the Arctic and looks for lessons to help moderate conflict in that region today. He said he was motivated to come to the march partly because of the administration’s disregard for the science of climate change, the effects of which indigenous people are experiencing firsthand.

“For the most part, scientists have stayed on the sideline,” he said. “We need to speak up.”

***

More than a hundred Cornell University graduate students traveled via bus Friday to participate in the Washington march. Gael Nicholas and Kofi Gyan were among them.

Nicholas, who is studying biochemistry with a focus on the microbiome, said the effects of cuts in federal support of research trickle down from labs to the ability of graduate students to pursue research.

Gyan, who is studying computational biology, said he is an optimistic person and hopes to see Congress continue federal funding of research.

“You can’t be red or blue with science,” he said. “I’m just here supporting science because I love it.”

***

Steven Hanes, a professor at State University of New York Upstate Medical University, wore a cardboard sandwich board reading “Want Cures? Support Basic Research” to the march Saturday.

Hanes, who studies molecular genetics, has been unable to train any new graduate students in his lab for the past three years since his NIH funding lapsed. He said he was marching this weekend because of the proposed further cuts to NIH and NSF research funding the White House proposed in its “skinny budget.”

If Congress votes to keep research funding flat, it will be seen as a victory by many -- but it will still essentially be a cut because funding has not kept up with inflation, Hanes said. The tight budget environment for university-based funding means winning grants to pay for science, and train graduate students, is already extremely competitive, he said.

“If we don’t train the next generation and support that research, we’re going to lose them,” he said.

***

Four women, most of whom are pursuing their doctorates at Indiana University, drove 11 hours to the march.

Olivia Ballew, Annie MacKenzie, Tiffany Musser and Ali Ordway, all were selected and given stipends by the university to cover their travel costs. They said they were pleased to represent the university.

All but Musser are in the midst of earning their Ph.D.s in Indiana’s genome, cell, and developmental biology program.

Their signs were sketched out on poster board – one carried a Neil deGrasse Tyson quote: “The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”

Soni Lacefield, a biology professor at Indiana, also traveling with the group, said the demonstration places science in a positive light and brings awareness to legislators.

The march breaks down stereotypes and stigmas associated with the scientific community, and helps put a “face” on scientists.

“It’s not just old white men sitting in a dusty laboratory,” Ballew said. “We are diverse.”

***

In a dark green T-shirt, Charles Agosta almost seems to blend in with the vast swaths of grass on the National Mall, especially compared to the highlighter yellow ponchos and massive protest signs that dot the landscape.

But up close the text on the shirt is much bolder: National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, a facility at Florida State University where the Clark University professor of physics does some of his work on superconductivity. He came to the D.C. march on a trip with his son as they stopped along the way to look at colleges in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

His curly hair fluffy from the continued drizzle, Agosta explained how the age range of the attendees impressed him – students, but also the more “mature” crowd, scientists of his generation.

Among the young people was Agosta’s 17-year-old niece, a high school junior who wants to be an astronomer, he said.

Agosta’s not sure how she caught the science bug, as her parents aren’t oriented in the sciences.

A movement like the march is something that scientists should be organizing more and more, not just as a demonstration for the Trump administration, but to celebrate the sciences, Agosta said.

These types of gatherings among scientists are fairly unusual, he said.

Debate has arisen about whether “politicizing” the sciences was appropriate, he said. But everything is political – everyone lobbies for federal funding -- but science shouldn’t be partisan, he said.

“Stay curious!,” a speaker from the main stage screamed in the background.

***

As she stood in the rain clutching her stark sign on a white board that read: “Science is crucial for democracy,” Toni Bell said she was disgusted.

The professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is fed up with funding being pulled from scientific organizations. She can’t “wrap her head around” science money being channeled toward other parts of the federal government.

Here in an interview, she hesitated.

“Well, to fund the military. I wasn’t going to say it outright,” Bell said. “But to pull money from science education and the arts to fund the military. That just hurts me to my core.”

“We have to do something about it. We cannot let it stand.”

She traveled to D.C. from Pennsylvania with a bus full of people from Bloomsburg -- a relatively rural, conservative area anchored by the university -- along with a Bloomsburg chemistry professor, Kristen Lewis.

Because Bell is rooted in a university environment, people respect the sciences, she said. But she was heartened to see so many community members from the area travel here.

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