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Minerva Project raises $57m in Series C funding

The PIE News - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 02:59

San Francisco-based edtech firm Minerva Project has announced the close of its Series C round, raising US$57 million in new financing and bringing its total capital raised to date in excess of US$128m.

According to a statement, ByteDance, the Chinese technology giant behind video-sharing app TikTok, led the funding round with participation from existing global investors TAL Education Group, a K-12 after school tutoring education services provider, and Yongjin Group, a holding company and private equity investor.

“Our Series C funding will allow us to see improved educational outcomes”

Additional investors include Pinpoint Ventures, Kakao Ventures, Tan Tan Ventures, Lighthouse Combined from Korea as well as other new and existing investors.

Minerva will use the capital to accelerate access to its learning experiences through partnerships with universities and corporations.

“Minerva’s model for higher education is attracting interest from leading institutions and organisations who want to use the intellectual property we have developed,” said Ben Nelson, founder, chairman and CEO of Minerva Project.

“Our Series C funding will allow us to see improved educational outcomes for students beyond those at Minerva Schools, as we fuel the growth of these partnerships to fulfil Minerva’s mission of nurturing critical wisdom.”

Along with the announcement of the Series C funding, Minerva welcomed two new board members, founder and CEO of Bytedance Zhang Yiming and Wendy Kopp,  founder and CEO of Teach for All and founder of Teach For America.

“We are excited and impressed by Minerva’s innovative approach to educating the next generation of talent,” said Yiming.

Founded in 2012, Minerva aims to bridge the traditions of a research-based university education with the innovations possible through technology.

The company’s software, Forum, is designed to facilitate interaction via live video and ensure that professors keep students engaged and on track to reach learning outcomes.

In a conversation with EdSurge, Minerva’s CEO said the platform currently has more traction at international universities than in the US, and that strong investor interest in Asia is not a coincidence.

“There is a recognition in China that artificial intelligence and education are inextricably linked,” Nelson added.

“There’s going to be a lot of collaboration between us in the coming years.”

The post Minerva Project raises $57m in Series C funding appeared first on The PIE News.

Chronicle of Higher Education: This Map Paints a Grim Picture of America’s Economic Divides. Colleges Shouldn’t Run From Them.

The regions of the country that are most likely to face economic challenges in the next decade also happen to be full of educational organizations that may need a new agenda.

This Map Paints a Grim Picture of America’s Economic Divides. Colleges Shouldn’t Run From Them.

The regions of the country that are most likely to face economic challenges in the next decade also happen to be full of educational organizations that may need a new agenda.

Steven Pinker's aid in Jeffrey Epstein's legal defense renews criticism of the increasingly divisive public intellectual

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 00:00

That convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein had help in avoiding federal or state prison is unsurprising: money and power often buy what they shouldn’t. But the recent revelation that Epstein found aid from star psychologist Steven Pinker in the form of a 2007 legal document surprised both Pinker’s fans and critics.

At least at first. Then came the analysis: to supporters of Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, his ties to Epstein are an aberration in an otherwise commendable life as a public intellectual -- one based on reason and truth, even when that’s unpopular. Increasingly, Pinker’s work centers on the notion that life is good -- better than it’s ever been -- and that we don’t appreciate it enough.

As Pinker wrote in 2018’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, “People seem to bitch, moan, whine, carp and kvetch as much as ever,” despite reams of data on how humans’ quality of life continues to improve.

Pinker’s detractors, meanwhile, take the revelation that he knew Epstein and contributed to his legal defense as proof that the professor is a fraud, has lost his way, or both. Just as critics have accused Pinker of glossing over inequality and the continued suffering of individuals in praising progress, they’ve asked how he could have patinated a predator’s defense.

“At a certain point, if you’re playing Dr. Pangloss to people who administer a monstrous social order, then at some point you’re going to rub shoulders with and do favors for actual monsters,” said Patrick Blanchfield, a scholar of politics and violence and an affiliate faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.

They’re going after Pinker now because he’s been photographed with Epstein (which he regrets & has addressed) & because he’s previously made the common sense observation that rape has something to do with sex. Shameless https://t.co/NcmvO3Li4B

— Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) July 13, 2019

Steven Pinker, explaining to a child slave inside of a sex dungeon moving 500 mph through the stratosphere, that technology is actually making the world safer

— L Ron Mexico (@LRonMexico) July 7, 2019

Joel Christensen, chair of classical studies at Brandeis University, said that “however forced, or tepid or merely transactive” Pinker's interaction with Epstein was, it “confirms for many what has been clear for years.” Pinker, he said, “is a reactionary who is moving from the center to the right because he refuses to engage critically with new voices or to entertain honestly the criticisms his work has produced.”

Pinker, who has said publicly that he regrets helping Epstein, told Inside Higher Ed this week that he's used to being “criticized and attacked, and I have a long paper trail of debates, replies and letters.”

“I don’t always enjoy it but have always accepted that it’s the way things have to be,” he said. “If I take a strong position, I can’t expect people to bow down and agree with it, but they’ll take [their] best shot at me, and I’ll defend it as best I can.”

‘According to Dr. Pinker’

Epstein was previously convicted on just one count of prostitution, in 2008. But what he was accused of before he brokered a most unlikely plea deal was monstrous: trafficking dozens of underage girls in a scheme whereby they recruited each other for sexual abuse. And Pinker did rub shoulders with him, before and after Epstein’s first indictment, in 2006. (He's facing similar charges today.) Pinker was included in the flight log for Epstein’s plane, which was dubbed the “Lolita Express,” for example, in 2002. He was photographed with him at a gathering in 2014. And he shared an affidavit from the case via Twitter in 2015.

Alan Dershowitz's affidavit on accusations in the Jane Doe/Jeffrey Epstein/Prince Andrew lawsuit. https://t.co/Iz1bmXHhvb

— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) January 6, 2015

But it’s the favor that Pinker did for Epstein that’s caused him the most trouble of late: in 2007, Epstein’s attorneys -- including Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz -- submitted a letter to federal prosecutors arguing that their client hadn’t violated a law against using the internet to lure minors across state lines for sexual abuse.

“To confirm our view of the ‘plain meaning’ of the words, we asked" Pinker, "a noted linguist, to analyze the statute to determine the natural and linguistically logical reading or readings of the section,” the letter said. “We asked whether the statute contemplates necessarily that the means of communication must be the vehicle through which the persuading or enticing directly occurs. According to Dr. Pinker, that is the sole rational reading.”

It’s impossible to know how much that analysis helped Epstein land his deal, if at all. But it clearly didn’t hurt him. In any event, with Epstein now facing new federal charges, everyone in his orbit has come under new scrutiny. And Pinker has tried to defend himself against those who find his involvement with Epstein indefensible and part of a larger pattern of problematic statements.

I have no relationship with Epstein & have taken no funding from him. Our circles have occasionally overlapped: In 02, my lit agent invited me to join a group of east-coast TED speakers Epstein flew to CA. In 14, Krauss seated me next to him at a lunch, & someone snapped a photo.

— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) July 11, 2019

Questioning Pinker's Record

Kate Manne, an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell University, for example, has posed her own outstanding questions about Pinker’s discussions of feminism, gender-based violence and the nature of rape. In particular, she’s noted that Pinker on Twitter called the idea that the 2014 murders near the University of California, Santa Barbara, were about a larger pattern of hatred against women “statistically obtuse.” She also took issue with arguments in his 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. In it, Pinker wrote that rape is "not exactly a normal part of male sexuality," but that "the theory that rape has nothing to do with sex may be more plausible to a gender to whom a desire for impersonal sex with an unwilling stranger is too bizarre to contemplate."

Leaving Epstein entirely to one side, Pinker is now trying to rewrite his history of highly dubious remarks about rape and feminism. Here's a lengthy footnote from my book on misogyny in which I canvass those remarks. https://t.co/utV2kQRHMX pic.twitter.com/jxWpGbRkiG

— Kate Manne (@kate_manne) July 13, 2019

Others have pointed out, anew, that Pinker wrote a blurb for Heather Mac Donald’s polemic The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. (He also quotes Mac Donald in The Better Angels.) There have been reminders, too, that Pinker has fans within the alt-right -- though some of that fan base was built on a misleading clip of him discussing how some young white men find their way to the alt-right over the internet.

Pinker’s definitive response to the recent criticism was posted to the blog Why Evolution Is True by moderator Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago.

Coyne wrote on the blog, “I see articles where, on no evidence at all, scientists and atheists are tarred because they either knew Epstein or associated with him.” Such “innuendo is meant to imply that those people knew about Epstein’s crimes and either ignored them or, perhaps, even participated in them. In other words, they’re complicit. I could reproduce several examples, but I suspect readers have already seen them, and I’m not going to highlight and send traffic to miscreants involved in slander or character assassination.”

It’s unclear who, exactly, Coyne was referring to, beyond Pinker. But Lawrence Krauss, a physicist who accepted $250,000 in funding from Epstein, was not renewed as head of Arizona State University’s Origins Project last year amid separate harassment allegations, which he denied.

Pinker and Krauss weren’t the only thinkers to hobnob with Epstein, who had an affinity for Harvard and donated millions to it. Former Harvard president Larry Summers rode on Epstein's plane, as did Bill Clinton, for instance.

Pinker Responds

Pinker’s response begins with what he calls an “annoying irony” about Epstein: that “I could never stand the guy, never took research funding from him and always tried to keep my distance.”

“I found him to be a kibitzer and a dilettante -- he would abruptly change the subject, ADD-style, dismiss an observation with an adolescent wisecrack and privilege his own intuitions over systematic data.”

Still, he said, because “Epstein had insinuated himself with so many people I intersected with,” and since “I was often the most recognizable person in the room, someone would snap a picture; some of them resurfaced this past week, circulated by people who disagree with me on various topics and apparently believe that the photos are effective arguments.” He said that most joint engagements were before Epstein’s arrest, but one was after he served his sentence. 

Regarding the 2007 letter, Pinker wrote that Dershowitz is a friend, “and we taught a course together at Harvard. He often asks me questions about syntax and semantics of laws, most recently the impeachment statute.” While he was representing Epstein, Dershowitz “asked me about the natural interpretation of one of the relevant laws, and I offered my opinion; this was cited in a court document.”

He added, “I did it as a favor to a friend and colleague, not as a paid expert witness, but I now regret that I did so. And needless to say, I find Epstein’s behavior reprehensible.”

Since some of the related social media “snark insinuates that I downplay sexual exploitation, it may be worth adding that I have a paper trail of abhorrence of violence against women, have celebrated efforts to stamp it out and have tried to make my own small contribution to this effort,” Pinker continued.

Citing The Better Angels, he said, “As far as I know, I’m the only writer who has documented and celebrated actual progress in reducing violence against women and argued that this progress shows that the effort is not futile and should embolden us to press for greater reductions still.”

Coyne wrote, “There you have it. If people are going to tar Pinker by flaunting his association with Epstein, then Pinker deserves a reply. This is his reply, and any further discussion should take it into account.”

Adia Benton, an assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, said that beyond Pinker and Dershowitz, “I think there’s a tendency for men to overlook the foibles of their acquaintances and colleagues. The shunning of assholes and creeps is just not done. Especially when it comes to sexual misconduct and misogyny.”

‘A Polite Canadian’

Pinker said via email that he’s a political liberal, "a polite Canadian" and a member of the academic mainstream. Even so, "since I was a graduate student, I’ve been in thick of intellectual controversies and have always had critics."

During cognitive psychology’s imagery debate in the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Pinker said, he argued with his graduate adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, that mental images are represented in the brain as picture-like arrays of pixels. He was also an advocate of Noam Chomsky’s controversial hypothesis that language is “an innate human faculty,” while simultaneously opposing Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould in holding that language is an evolutionary adaptation for communication.

His 2002 book, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, brought a series of controversies. Writing for The New Yorker at the time, literature scholar Louis Menand of Harvard respectfully condemned the book -- and the field of evolutionary psychology. (Pinker was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology then.)

“Evolutionary psychology is therefore a philosophy for winners: it can be used to justify every outcome,” Menand wrote. “This is why Pinker has persuaded himself that liberal democracy and current opinion about women's sexual autonomy have biological foundations. It's a ‘scientific’ validation of the way we live now.”

Echoing Menand, Christensen, of Brandeis, said Pinker's public support of last year's Sokal Squared hoax authors, for example, is “connected to his faith in evolutionary psychology and his basic overreliance on nature in nature-versus-nurture debates.” And Enlightenment Now “is a broadside in defense of Western civilizations when serious scholars of color” are arguing that the very idea of Western civilization “relies on and reinforces structural racism.”

It’s true: criticism of Pinker is nothing new. It was, however, perhaps best summed up by this May headline from Current Affairs: “The World’s Most Annoying Man.”

Pinker “doesn’t think he has an ideology,” Nathan Robinson wrote in that article, partially quoting Pinker. “He insists that his conclusions simply follow from data, contrasting his own work with the ‘statistical obtuseness’ common among journalists and humanities professors, who use ‘Anecdotes, headlines, rhetoric,’ and the ‘highest-paid person’s opinion.’ If you look through his work though, you’ll find anecdotes, headlines, rhetoric and appeals to authority abound.”

Pinker, meanwhile, maintains that “Too many leaders and influencers, including politicians, journalists, intellectuals and academics, surrender to the cognitive bias of assessing the world through anecdotes and images rather than data and facts.” So he told The Harvard Gazette in June.

How ‘This Round of Attacks’ Is Different

What is different now is that “this round of attacks comes from the rowdy cage fight of social media rather than academic, literary and intellectual forums, which -- however verbally pugilistic -- have some version of Marquess of Queensberry rules,” Pinker said this week.

Everyone can take a shot now, even based on a single tweet or other “small part of my controversy portfolio.” So “lots of people have lots of bones to pick.” And, as they say, “friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.” Pinker’s “bad luck in repeatedly finding myself in the same place as Jeffrey Epstein” has given openings to those who want “slime me,” he added.

“If someone is determined to discredit me by any means necessary, then no means will be sufficient to change that person’s mind,” Pinker said. Going forward, his policy will be the same as it’s always been: to “advance arguments that I think are too interesting, important and supported by data for people to ignore, even if they disagree with them.”

That Pinkerism probably won't do much to quiet his critics.

Christensen said it’s important to contextualize Pinker in the ever-growing “economy of intellect” -- think TED Talks and thought influencers.

Comparing Pinker to University of Toronto psychologist and quasi-guru Jordan Peterson, Christensen said Pinker “courts public attention and controversy after years of creating and publicizing work that is interdisciplinary and outward focused.” Over the past few years especially, he said, Pinker has joined “a cadre of older, mostly white male academics who espouse a purist view of free speech and debate" that "ignores significant scholarship from women and scholars of color about how free speech and academic freedom as traditionally construed overweight and privilege already privileged voices” -- meaning mostly white, older men.

Academic FreedomResearchEditorial Tags: Academic freedomPsychologyPublishingSocial media/networkingImage Source: TwitterImage Caption: From left: Jeffrey Epstein, Lawrence Krauss and Steven Pinker in 2014Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Harvard UniversityUniversity of ChicagoDisplay Promo Box: 

Senate lawmakers introduce bill to spur growth of income-share agreements

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 00:00

Senate lawmakers announced legislation Tuesday that they argue will spur the growth of income-share agreements, privately run alternatives to student loans that commit workers to paying back a portion of their future income.

ISAs have received extensive press coverage, thanks to their promotion as an alternative to unmanageable student debt. They’ve yet to catch on widely, though -- in part, supporters argue, because of a lack of clarity surrounding federal law.

Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, and Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, were joined by Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons in rolling out the bill. Young and Rubio had previously introduced legislation. The new Democratic support reflects the growing interest in alternatives to traditional student loans. Coons said the legislation would allow ISA proponents to “proceed safely and with more government oversight.”

But some consumer advocates say regulations on financial products already apply to income-share agreements. And Democrats including Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren have warned that the financial instruments carry common pitfalls of private student loans with the “added danger of deceptive rhetoric and marketing.”

The legislation could test whether the negative branding for student debt will motivate lawmakers to embrace a mostly untested financial product. Young said skyrocketing student debt had pushed too many families into financial hardship to pursue a quality education.

“That’s why I have introduced a bill to offer students from all backgrounds with a private -- or philanthropically -- funded, debt-free financing option catered to their own income needs through the use of income share agreements,” he said. “If we strengthen the framework of ISAs, we can help colleges and career and technical schools prepare Americans for rewarding careers, all without any additional cost to taxpayers.”

The legislation would exempt individuals earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line from obligations to pay income-share agreements. Under most ISA agreements, students' repayment obligations kick in when they reach a certain income threshold. The bill would also cap payment obligations at 20 percent of workers’ incomes and apply lower caps for longer contracts. And it gives the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight of ISAs and makes them dischargeable in bankruptcy. Federal law doesn't allow student loans to be discharged through bankruptcy.

Anne Kim, the vice president of domestic policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, said the legislation would ensure the market for ISAs “is fair and transparent and puts students’ needs first.”

But Joanna Darcus, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the bill would pre-empt multiple federal and state consumer protections.

“ISAs cannot be properly described as anything other than debt. Legislation like this would actually roll back the existing protections that we have for students when they incur debt,” she said. “We need to be very careful to ensure that we're not adding to the confusion in the higher ed financing market.”

Lawmakers on the Senate education committee are in the midst of negotiating a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that could include new accountability for colleges’ outcomes on student loans. A Young spokeswoman said that the finance committee would have jurisdiction over ISA legislation but that all potential legislative vehicles would be considered.

Income-share agreements have been most popular with alternative higher ed providers like coding boot camps, the kind of programs that often enroll students who already have a college degree. Only a handful of traditional four-year colleges have offered ISAs themselves, most notably Purdue University, where the Back a Boiler program has been looked to as a model by supporters. Purdue president Mitch Daniels offered an endorsement of the new legislation, saying it’s a necessary framework to expand an option for students “who wish to be protected against the risks of excessive student loans.”

The Trump administration has also indicated an interest in experimenting with ISA arrangements. In May, a top Education Department official suggested the administration could use its experimental sites authority to run a pilot program for federal income-share agreements.

That prompted Warren and House Democrats Ayanna Pressley and Katie Porter to ask Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last month whether the department had considered its legal authority to pursue such an experiment.

“The department should instead focus on pursuing real solutions to the student debt crisis that help student borrowers avoid and escape debt, like fully discharging the loans of defrauded borrowers and improving the abysmal administration of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program,” the lawmakers wrote.

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Experts still digging into new taxes on higher education

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 00:00

AUSTIN, Tex. -- Colleges and universities have paid or are preparing to pay for the first time two new, much-talked-about taxes under Republicans' 2017 tax-reform law: the so-called parking tax and the endowment tax.

But that doesn't mean all the kinks are worked out yet -- or that the fight over the federal levies is over.

The intricacies involved in paying and calculating the taxes were much discussed during the National Association of College and University Business Officers annual meeting here this week. So was discussion about repeal efforts, at least for the parking tax. NACUBO was asking business officers to sign up for a campaign against the tax, tweet with the hashtag #parktheparkingtax and tell their own local lobbyists to take up the campaign.

“There is actually strong bipartisan support to repeal the parking tax,” Megan Schneider, NACUBO's senior director for government affairs, said during a panel Sunday. “I think we are cautiously optimistic that the parking tax could be repealed.”

It won't be simple in a gridlocked Washington, where lawmakers have a long list of top-level priorities like raising the debt ceiling and agreeing on a budget looming before them. Any tax repeal would be complicated by disagreements over how to pay for repealing a revenue-generating item. Nothing about the parking tax has been simple, though.

Despite its nickname, the tax itself doesn't only cover parking. It's an unrelated business income tax on employee parking and transportation benefits that has been the focus of questions since its introduction.

The tax first kicked in for colleges and universities for the six months from Jan. 1, 2018, through June 30 of that year. Taxes would have been due in mid-November, but since almost every institution files for a six-month extension, most likely paid under a May 15 deadline. Not every college will have to pay the tax -- scattered hands went up when attendees at a Monday session were asked whether they paid. And while the Internal Revenue Service issued interim guidance at the end of 2018 addressing some of the details involved in calculating parking tax burden, the fine print isn't final.

Every university seems to take a slightly different approach to administering parking and transit passes, said Julia Shanahan, executive director of tax for Columbia University. Columbia, for example, doesn't give employees any money for transit passes or parking but allows them to receive money for those priorities on a pretax basis.

“Initially we thought we were completely out of it because we were not giving our employees anything in terms of parking or transit,” she said. “But that wasn't the definition that ended up coming out.”

A significant number of attendees raised their hands when asked if they'd ended pretax options for transportation benefits after the tax was put in place. But some colleges and universities are in municipalities that require them to offer transportation benefits.

Meanwhile, private nonprofit institutions that will be subject to the endowment tax will have to pay it for their first full fiscal year beginning after Jan. 1, 2018. For most, that will be the year running from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Only those institutions with assets of $500,000 per student and at least 500 tuition-paying students will be subject to the endowment tax. That tax isn't strictly levied on endowments, though. It's placed on net investment income from assets not used for exempt and educational purposes.

The U.S. Treasury Department just released guidance on the endowment tax at the end of June. Some institutions may be surprised by what nonendowed assets are to be counted toward the tax, a NACUBO panel said Monday. Calculations using existing databases of institutional endowments seem likely to miss key factors, like interest on student loans or dormitory rental income.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this tax, and we are trying to get our hands around this,” said Liz Clark, NACUBO's vice president for policy and research. “Frankly, they are defining dormitory rental income as investment income. I urge you, again, if you are at a private college or university, to look at all of your lines of revenue. If you are a small institution with some unique revenue lines and you are at or near that 500-student threshold and you have a certain amount of income, this calculation may not play out the way you think it does when you look at IPEDS reporting of endowment size per [full-time enrollment].”

Student loan interest would also be counted as taxable investment income for colleges and universities under the guidance

Panelists also covered a range of other tax issues, including a new excise tax on certain employees making more than $1 million in compensation.

“It's effective for tax years after 2017, so if this applies to you, you would have just finished your filing associated with 2018,” said C. Aaron LeMay, associate vice chancellor for finance and system controller for the University of North Texas system. The way the tax is currently written, it only applies to private colleges and universities and public institutions set up as 501(c)(3) organizations. But some in Congress are said to be interested in fixing language so it would apply to all institutions.

With all of the moving parts, experts recommend consultation and documentation.

“For our institution, we have become very good friends with a couple people in our general counsel's office associated with every position in this tax reform bill to make sure we have documented our position,” LeMay said. “In the event of a review by the IRS of our position, we have the backing of our general counsel's office in every position we have taken.”

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Chronicle of Higher Education: ‘Everybody Is Panicking’: Thousands of Alaska Students Scramble With Scholarship Money in Jeopardy

On top of the University of Alaska system’s budget crisis, the money that funds the state’s two biggest financial-aid programs currently isn’t available.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Anchor, Tyrant, Savior, Villain: What Is Your Campus to the Local Community?

Colleges have become cities unto themselves, but being part of a larger place means supporting it in new and different ways.

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Scotland: Student Roost sees “record bookings”

The PIE News - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 08:42

Accommodation provider Student Roost has announced its new offering in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, which seeks to create a “united community” for international and domestic residents.

The accommodation has received “recording bookings” ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, according to the company.

Pittodrie Street, the latest property from the UK-based provider, has seen 90% of its rooms already sold out, with 47 nationalities set to move in for the next semester.

“We believe it’s important to nurture a diverse mix of students”

The accommodation opened in September 2018, while its second phase of new development with an additional 485 beds will open later in 2019.

“Demand has been sensational for the new property from Student Roost, not surprising given the incredible feedback we’ve received from the first phase in the past year,” said senior operations manager at Pittodrie Street, Kirsten Mackenzie.

Student Roost has another location in the ‘Granite City’, the Mealmarket Exchange, which is also located near the city’s two universities – the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University.

It is the company’s 10th development in Scotland, with other offerings in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The new property in Aberdeen offers six different room types and caters to a total of 618 students, more than half of whom are international students.

“We believe it’s important to nurture a diverse mix of students,” said Nathan Goddard, CEO at Student Roost. The wide mix of nationalities create a “united community” within the properties, he stated.

“Experiencing different cultures and customs enriches the living experiences of our residents and is something we pride ourselves on,” he told The PIE News.

From September 55% of residence will be made up of international students, including 45% from China, he added.

Regular events for residents, celebrating, for example, St Andrew’s Day or Chinese New Year, allow international students to experience local traditions, but also introduce domestic students to other cultures, Goddard said.

International students are attracted to Student Roost’s “hassle-free” aspects, such as all-inclusive bills, 24-hour maintenance support and simplified booking process through international agents, Goddard explained.

“We also provide flexible tenancy lengths to international students,” Goddard noted.

“We allow for an earlier arrival date or extension to their tenancy and include a flexible cancellation policy for those students whose studies are dependent on a successful visa application or academic results – something no other PBSA operator offers.”

The post Scotland: Student Roost sees “record bookings” appeared first on The PIE News.

U.S. Department of Education Blog | Ed.gov: The 2019 President’s Education Awards

The President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) honors students selected annually by their school principal. This year, U.S.

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Nine African unis sign agreements in China

The PIE News - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 07:33

Nine African universities have signed cooperation agreements various Chinese universities and think-tanks, aimed at establishing academic collaborations in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

Various representatives of the universities signed the agreements during a two weeks tour of China in June, sponsored by the newly established China-Africa Institute – an initiative of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“The universities will sign MoUs later, but Chinese and African universities can start collaborating”

The bilateral pacts will be followed by the inking of Memorandums of Understandings on a late date, according to Jairos Kangira, dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Namibia who was part of the delegation.

Agreements, he said, were made with at least seven Chinese institutions including the China-Africa Institute, China University of International Studies, North-West University of Politics and Law, Communication University of China, University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the International Poverty Reduction Centre.

African universities that signed deals included the University of Namibia, University of Zimbabwe, University of Zambia, University of Botswana, University of Lagos-Nigeria, Makerere University of Uganda, the University of South Africa, the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone and the Open University of Tanzania.

“The universities will sign MoUs later, but Chinese and African universities can start collaborating, [and] there are many other African universities that have MoUs with their Chinese counterparts already,” Kangira told The PIE News.

The collaborations, he said, will centre on joint research initiatives and academic exchange programs, with the whole initiative being based on China’s blueprint for international economic development targeting Africa and Asia, dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Since the China-Africa Institute is a creation of the CASS it made sense to start academic collaborations in humanities and social sciences,” Kangira noted.

“But it does not exclude other areas like ICT, Technology and Science since they also affect human beings.”

Activities including joint research collaborations to be funded by the institute in various fields such as agriculture, environment and poverty reduction will be initiated by the institutions.

The tour was organised by the China-Africa Institute, which was launched in April of this year.

The post Nine African unis sign agreements in China appeared first on The PIE News.

Unibuddy secures $5m Series A funding

The PIE News - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 05:36

Digital peer to peer platform Unibuddy has secured $5 million in Series A funding, which its says will aid its expansion into the US and help to create “more impactful” products.

“Our platform goes through the firewall of China”

The company will grow its team in New York with 15 new recruits, as it appeals to a range of US institutions, according to CEO and co-founder Diego Fanara.

“Since launching Unibuddy, we’ve always tried to prove that any institution of any kind, size, private, public and community college, could adopt our platform,” he told The PIE News.

“When we approach new markets we don’t target specific types of institutions,” he said. “We want to remove every barrier for any background to get the right information.”

US growth is rapid, with prominent institutions such as the University of Southern California and Cornell Tech, launching the platform, he added.

“Without even being live in the US for a year, [top US institutions] are interested in our products.”

The Series A funding round was led by Fred Destin of Stride VC, and other investors include Bart Swanson (seed investor and board member of Zoom), Daniel Borel (founder and chairman of Logitech) and Shakil Khan (early investor and advisor of Spotify).

Earlier in 2019, Unibuddy launched a partnership with the UK’s UCAS to see a group of institutions integrate the peer-to-peer technology on the UCAS platform. The company said it wants to work on similar “more impactful” products.

It currently works with one-third of UK universities, and more than 150 institutions worldwide.

UK and India represent the first and second most nationalities on the platform, respectively, while China is third.

“There is much demand from Chinese students,” Ranara added.

“Our platform goes through the firewall of China, we can embed it on the university websites that work with Chinese students. It is a real plus for universities targeting this area.”

The post Unibuddy secures $5m Series A funding appeared first on The PIE News.

Political rhetoric is “substantial barrier” to int’l grad employment – report

The PIE News - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 04:08

Despite similarities between countries’ understanding of the need for post-study work rights, political rhetoric and employer awareness remain common barriers for international graduates seeking employment, according to a new report.

The Global Perspectives on International Student Employability report, which compares post-study work around the world, found most policymakers had a deep understanding of the importance of graduate employment.

“There is a coordination problem and we as a sector should own it more”

“What really struck me was to see that all of the policymakers… do understand the whole importance of this on attraction,” explained lead author Brett Berquist.

“They also understand the potential benefits to their employment markets in really sophisticated ways.

“I found a lot more similarities in the approach among the different countries than I had anticipated.”

Speaking with The PIE News, Berquist, who is also the University of Auckland’s director international, added there were similar levels of public support for post-study work rights, but political rhetoric remained a substantial barrier.

“It’s not so much the variation among the policy wonks, but the way the elected officials are playing [the benefits or perceived downside of graduate employment] for their gain in terms of the polling,” he said.

The report, released by the International Education Association of Australia in early July, also included preliminary findings of a survey looking into the post-study work stream of Australia’s 485 visa.

Taking in responses from over 800 participants, the survey found 37% of graduates who remained in their study country to work obtained fulltime employment within their field of study.

A further 13% had found part-time or casual work in their field of study, while 16% were still looking for a job. The remainder found some level of work outside their study area.

While overall employment levels were high, only 47% of respondents said they were satisfied with the 485 visa, and survey co-author Ly Tran said many students saw a disconnect between their studies and their work after studies.

“There is a high risk of education and job mismatch for those who remained in Australia compared to those who returned to their home country,” she said.

“They struggle to find jobs while being on the 485 visa.”

Tran, whose main role is an associate professor at Deakin University, added the conditions of the post-study work visa, which allows for up to two years work for bachelor’s studies and four years of PhD studies, also had an impact on graduates finding jobs.

Students who were still looking for work a few months after graduation were particularly impacted, as the time remaining to work was less than the minimum two years many employers were seeking, and some graduates were returning to study to extend their stay.

“There is a high risk of education and job mismatch for those who remained in Australia”

The survey also found employers had limited understanding or awareness of international graduates’ work entitlements, echoing similar findings from an Education New Zealand report on employers’ perceptions also released in July.

“Employer perception and understanding of the 485 visa, they have full legal rights to work in Australia… but most employers don’t know what the visa is,” Tran said.

“They have little or no awareness.”

Berquist said while the study focussed on Australia, the results were applicable to other countries, and that education providers needed to increase their focus on improving outcomes.

“There is a coordination problem and we as a sector should own it more,” he said.

“We shouldn’t simply say well that’s on government. We’ve got policy we’ve wanted, now we’re getting the students, what happens after they graduate?

“We need to work more with the government, work with local businesses and try to have that conversation,” Berquist added.

The full results of the survey into the perceptions of 485 visa holders will be released in early August.

The post Political rhetoric is “substantial barrier” to int’l grad employment – report appeared first on The PIE News.

ACE Leadership to Transform Its Suite of Leadership Development Programs

American Council on Education - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 02:30
As part of revamping the Council's strategic priorities during its centennial year, ACE Leadership will transform its current suite of leadership development programs into a series of regional summits and a robust peer-to-peer online platform.

ACE Supports Legislation Promoting Equal Access to Education for Students with Disabilities

American Council on Education - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 02:30
​ACE believes that equal access to higher education for students with disabilities is a critical issue, and strongly supports the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act.

NCAA spending on outside lawyers rises 50 percent in two years

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 00:00

AUSTIN, Tex. -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association is paying more than twice as much in outside legal fees as it did four years ago in order to fight a slew of lawsuits, according to figures shared by its chief financial officer Monday during an appearance at the National Association of College and University Business Officers annual meeting.

High-profile concussion and antitrust lawsuits have forced the NCAA to hire high-powered lawyers at a time when it is also spending millions of dollars to try to shore up the college basketball ecosystem in the wake of a damaging recruiting scandal. Those expenses put financial pressure on the athletic association at a time when it is also facing uncertainty and risk from major changes to the landscape such as a 2018 court case giving states the ability to legalize sports gambling.

The NCAA is spending about $54 million in third-party legal fees for its fiscal year ending in August 2019, said Kathleen T. McNeely, NCAA senior vice president of administration and CFO. That's up from $46 million the previous year and $36 million in 2017. For the year ending in August 2015, the NCAA spent $25 million, its federal tax filing for the year shows.

“One of our biggest challenges financially -- and by we I mean the NCAA -- I'd say for the last five years has been the growth in our third-party legal fees,” McNeely said. “Our third-party legal fees are escalating to the point where it is affecting our ability to provide additional resources for our schools.”

Despite increasing sharply, outside legal fees are still only a small slice of the money passing through the NCAA's hands. The association reports more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and a 2019 revenue distribution plan called for it to pay about $590 million to individual institutions and conferences at the Division I level alone.

But NCAA leaders worry about continued antitrust suits or other lawsuits that ultimately seek to make sure college athletes are paid for their efforts. The NCAA and its member institutions have in recent years increased what can be offered to athletes in terms of food, stipends and scholarships, but the association still opposes institutions paying athletes.

“We really can't lose these suits,” McNeely said. “This is fundamentally what college sports are about. And so that means we're hiring really good attorneys with national reputations and who have argued in front of the Supreme Court so that we can win.”

All of the lawsuits have had indirect effects as well. General liability insurance premiums have been rising, as have premiums for directors, McNeely said. Some conferences have been informed that general liability claims cannot include head injuries going forward.

Business officers and other leaders at colleges and universities need to think about the financial implications and trickle-down effects those developments may have on their individual institutions, McNeely said.

“They're not just suing us now,” she said. “They're suing your conferences, and in some situations they're suing your schools.”

As different states legalize sports betting in the wake of a landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision overturning a federal ban outside Nevada, the NCAA put together both an internal working group and an ad hoc member committee to look at related issues and new steps. Sports wagering will affect athletes, their coaches and officials, according to McNeely.

The NCAA will develop educational materials for athletes, coaches and administrators. It is exploring changes to how it performs background checks for referees and game officials. It has hired a Minneapolis-based company to look for signs of game fixing.

All three divisions will be monitored. A total of 12,500 events were monitored under a pilot program last year.

Work that the NCAA does on wagering means institutions and conferences don't have to pick up expenses themselves, McNeely said.

Meanwhile, a working group has been studying issues related to athletes being compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses. Lawmakers in at least two states, California and North Carolina, have introduced bills pressuring the NCAA to allow athletes to profit from use of their images.

“It is really about their ability to sponsor something,” McNeely said of the bills' potential impact on athletes. “Membership has not been accepting or wanting to change this.”

The resistance is rooted in worries about recruiting, she added. Recruiting could become unfair if wealthy and well-connected institutions are able to entice athletes to enroll by offering sponsorship opportunities.

Of course, critics can contend that powerhouse institutions already have the ability to dangle future sponsorship opportunities, athletic connections or business ties in order to tilt the recruiting playing field. And the blurry lines between booster and university, between company and athletic department, make a coherent argument difficult.

“This is not paying the student athlete,” McNeely told university business officers in attendance Monday. “You wouldn't be paying them. We wouldn't be paying them, which is really why this is one of the ones that's hard for us to argue. Although I will say it's difficult if you understand the way recruiting works.”

On the topic of the recent high-profile college basketball recruiting scandal, the NCAA is implementing recommendations from a commission chaired by Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state and Stanford University provost. It will cost about $15 million annually, McNeely said.

She also touted work the NCAA has done to address athlete health, concussion safety and transparency about health risks athletes take.

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Full repeal of Pell ban in prisons top of mind at annual convening on Second Chance pilot

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 00:00

Vivian Nixon was a key voice in the Education Department’s decision in 2015 to reinstate Pell Grants for a limited number of incarcerated students. On Monday, the executive director of the College and Community Fellowship exhorted lawmakers to take what criminal justice reformers view as the next step: lifting the 1994 ban on federal student aid in prisons.

“To succeed after a criminal conviction, one must navigate countless hurdles and barriers,” Nixon told a roomful of supporters from higher education and corrections backgrounds. “Education is one of the most effective ways to help people negotiate that process.”

Proponents of college education in prison on Monday marked the successes so far of the Second Chance Pell pilot program, the Obama administration initiative that will soon enter its fourth year, at a convening organized by the Vera Institute. The larger goal for many in the room, though, was full reinstatement of Pell Grants for incarcerated students, a priority that many think has been advanced by the progress of Second Chance Pell. Many supporters see the personal stories of students pursuing college course work through the program as the strongest argument for reinstating federal student aid in prisons.

The initiative, which offers Pell Grants through 64 participating colleges, has proved to have staying power through part of two administrations. And it’s given advocates new ammunition to argue for lifting a quarter-century ban on the grants in prisons. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reaffirmed her support for the program at the Vera event and said it would be up to lawmakers to decide how prison education should be expanded further.

“It’s Congress’s chance to act and do its job to make sure to extend this opportunity in a very sustainable and predictable way to many more people across our country,” DeVos said.

About 1,000 students have graduated with degrees or postsecondary certificates since the Second Chance program began in 2016. Although Republicans criticized the pilot as an overreach by the Obama administration at the time, signs of bipartisan support for prison education have emerged since then.

The Trump administration and Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate education committee, have offered support for including a repeal of the 1994 ban in a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. And earlier this year, legislation to repeal the ban got GOP co-sponsors in the House and Senate for the first time.

Nixon, who herself served three and a half years in prison, said in an interview that she expected difficult conversations around carve-outs for Pell eligibility in prisons -- who gets federal aid and who doesn’t based on types of convictions, length of sentence or other factors.

“That’s why I think they’re moving slowly. Not because there’s a lack of will to move forward,” she said.

Nixon said she disagrees with restrictions on grant eligibility because any person has the ability to change and because the length of prison sentences can always change as a result of exoneration, pardons or compassionate release.

And she said the comments from DeVos -- and her personal visits to two prison education programs -- were encouraging for supporters of expanding aid to incarcerated students.

“Her recommendations were all about broad access, and that was a pleasant surprise,” Nixon said.

Making the Case for Pell Reinstatement

Panelists at the Vera event took stock of the shifting support for restoring aid to incarcerated students.

“We’ve come a lot farther on this issue than we ever anticipated,” said Hayne Moon, the government affairs director at the Vera Institute. “Partly as a result of this pilot program and as a result, I think, of synergy between the right and the left. It’s really moved the issue forward on Capitol Hill.”

John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, said the majority of the incarcerated population in the U.S. will eventually re-enter their communities and education is the best tool to help them succeed -- a message correctional administrators have brought to lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill.

“If they’re getting back out, why aren’t we giving them the tools to be successful?” he said.

Expanding postsecondary education in prisons hasn’t been without serious challenges in the first years of the Second Chance program. Various reports have documented problems obtaining adequate classroom space or keeping a ready supply of textbooks in some prisons. Many prisons also offer few chances to access the internet or even computers, making it more difficult for students to research assignments.

Participants at the convening Monday also acknowledged the significant difference it can make for students when there is buy-in not only from top corrections officials, but prison staff as well. A Vera report released this year noted tensions with a guard at a New Jersey prison that led to a sit-in by students.

Because the Education Department has collected little data on the Second Chance Pell program, there are also serious barriers for researchers looking to study the effectiveness of the pilot. The Government Accountability Office urged the department in a report earlier this year to undertake a rigorous evaluation of the program. That’s yet to happen, although DeVos said in May that a planned expansion of the number of participating colleges would help efforts to evaluate Second Chance Pell.

But some lawmakers continue to offer philosophical objections to expanding Pell Grants for incarcerated students.

Representative Virginia Foxx, the ranking Republican on the House education committee, said in May that states should cover the cost of educating incarcerated students -- that despite restrictions on student aid in her home state, North Carolina. And some higher ed officials offered a heavy dose of realism Monday about the continued opposition to lifting the Pell ban.

“We absolutely are in no position to take political success for granted,” said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges. “There are just a whole lot of people out there at this moment who are not sympathetic to this concept.”

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Author discusses his new book on teaching undergraduates

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 00:00

Professors teach; most them teach undergraduates. This is their path to self-redemption, according to The Happy Professor: How to Teach Undergraduates and Feel Good About It (Rowman & Littlefield). Bill Coplin, the author, is director and professor in the policy studies program at Syracuse University. He responded to queries about his new book.

Q: You talk about priorities in a career. What if you are at a university where a faculty member can't make teaching undergraduates a priority?

A: This is a major cause of unhappiness. If you are asked to teach undergraduates and want to be happy, give the job enough priority to help students prepare for careers and become effective citizens along with your content. Follow the strategies and tactics in the book. Research for your career can still be No. 1 if it puts food on the table, but in that case, undergraduate teaching has to be No. 2 if you want to find peace in teaching undergraduates. Once you are a tenured full professor, the priorities should reverse if you include graduate teaching. I choose to make teaching my top priority at a research university because I didn’t feel good treating paying customers [as] less than they should be. That choice has been extremely rewarding and hence, the happy professor.

Q: Assuming you are a professor where you can focus on teaching, how can you use the skills continua you outline?

A: You can do many things, but first you must focus on the important skills for careers and citizenship that your course will help students practice. Then list the skills in your syllabus and on your course evaluations. Always mention in class the skills that are being practiced and how they will help in careers and effective citizenship. For example, if you are having students conduct or think about surveys, mention that surveys are used in all professional careers, whether business, nonprofit or government, and also note that citizens need to understand the principles of survey design when making judgments about government policies and politicians.

Q: You advocate for “andragogy, not pedagogy.” What does that mean?

A: “Andragogy” is a term developed many years ago and championed by Malcolm Knowles in the 1960s. It means teaching adults, while “peda” means children. I advocate treating undergraduates as if they were adults even though many are not far along on the children-adult continuum. Treating undergraduates as children being told what to do and what to learn breeds distrust. Distrust breeds late and poorly written papers and zoning out in class. The question “why do I have to learn this?” needs to be answered with something other than “it’s good for you.” Teachers should check out Knowles’s writing to see the many and powerful differences between viewing your student as a child and not an adult.

Q: How can a faculty members become more experimental in the classroom?

A: I wrote the book so faculty can try out things that worked for me, many of which are small and don’t take a lot of time or effort. The most powerful thing they can do is to treat students or former students as advisers in some capacity. They will make suggestions on what the teacher is now doing, and after a while the teacher will come up with ideas and ask for their advice.

Q: Your advice on teaching assistants may surprise faculty members. What is their positive role?

A: I found that graduate teaching assistants did not know the content of my course since they had not taken it. Teachers will not know the abilities and knowledge base of their graduate students. They will know it for their undergraduates. Undergraduate TAs who took the course know what students need. They will help teachers avoid the tendency to teach over the heads of the majority of their students. They make it easy in a big class to make the class have a small-group feel to it. They can be used for mundane things like taking attendance or grading multichoice tests. They can help in writing and evaluating the tests. They will recruit new students. They will serve as junior partners. Just as importantly, the undergraduate TAs will learn to take responsibility, how difficult teaching is and many other things for career and citizenship. Teachers need more help as the technology becomes a larger part of education in both designing course work and coaching students on how to navigate software.

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NCAA notifies NC State it may have broken rules in connection with men's basketball corruption case

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 00:00

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has begun cracking down on institutions connected to the massive pay-for-play scandal that rocked men’s basketball nearly two years ago -- and North Carolina State University is its first target.

Corruption charges were first made public in September 2017, when 10 people, including Adidas executives and four assistant coaches in prominent programs, were arrested for allegedly orchestrating tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of payments to basketball recruits. The NCAA has waited until the conclusion of the federal trials in New York, which began in October, to start its own investigation.

The association notified NC State last week that it may have run afoul of the association’s rules, including committing two Level I violations, the most egregious charge the NCAA can levy, which is subject to the most severe of penalties.

College sports pundits told Inside Higher Ed they believe the association is attempting a scare tactic -- a way to deter other coaches from unethical conduct. And the NCAA’s pick of NC State is intentional, they said -- an institution large and visible enough to be considered part of big-time athletics, but not in the same tier as Big 10 programs such as Ohio State University or the University of Michigan, which bring in major revenue for the association and thus would likely escape the NCAA’s wrath.

The allegations against NC State largely relate to a star recruit, Dennis Smith Jr., who played with the Wolfpack for a single season in 2016-17 before becoming a top-10 pick in the professional draft.

Former assistant coach Orlando Early purportedly helped arrange a $40,000 payout to Smith’s father to secure Smith’s commitment to the university. The payment came from an Adidas consultant, Thomas (T. J.) Gassnola, who testified during the fraud trial of former Adidas executive Jim Gatto that he gave the money to Early. (Gatto, another representative of the shoe company and an aspiring sports agent were all found guilty of federal wire fraud last year).

Smith also received other “impermissible benefits,” the NCAA alleges -- more than 100 complimentary tickets to 13 games in the 2016-17 season that were worth $4,500. Shawn Farmer, who was Smith’s former trainer, also got 44 complimentary tickets worth more than $2,100, according to the NCAA.

The NCAA is also charging Mark Gottfried, the former head men’s basketball coach at NC State, with failing to monitor his program, the other Level I violation. The association is alleging two Level II violations related to the complimentary tickets and for the institution as a whole not monitoring the provision of the tickets. Players are supposed to receive only four complimentary tickets per home game.

Gottfried was fired in 2017. Despite no longer being at NC State (he’s now the head coach at California State University at Northridge), he could find his position in jeopardy if the NCAA finds that he did not promote an “atmosphere of compliance.” The Division I Committee on Infractions could slap Gottfried with a show-cause order that would essentially make him unemployable at an NCAA institution for a period of years.

His lawyer, Scott Tompsett, provided a written statement on the allegations: “Coach Gottfried has cooperated fully with the NCAA’s investigation and he will continue to cooperate. He is disappointed that allegations have been brought against his former program at NC State, and he takes these allegations very seriously.

“While we disagree with the enforcement staff’s position that Coach Gottfried did not adequately monitor certain aspects of his program, we are pleased that the NCAA agrees that he was not involved in any illicit payments.”

Walter Harrison, president emeritus of the University of Hartford and former chairman of the NCAA Executive Committee, the top leadership board of the association -- now known as the Board of Governors -- said, “It strains credulity to think that the head coaches had no knowledge of these activities.”

“It is very important to stress to all head coaches that they are responsible for all members of their staff complying to both NCAA regulations and the law,” Harrison said.

Some are skeptical whether the NCAA would challenge the sport's most valuable coaches, the (in some cases) revered figures who buoy certain programs and generate significant revenue for the NCAA. Dave Ridpath, president of the Drake Group, an ethics watchdog group in college athletics, said he would be interested to see the NCAA go after a coach like Sean Miller, head coach of the University of Arizona's men's team and one of the highest-paid coaches in the country. Miller was initially subpoenaed in the federal corruption case but ultimately did not testify.

"I'm still very skeptical," Ridpath, also an associate professor of sports management at Ohio University, said. "Mark Gottfried, he's not a big fish … he's not going to a big-time job. Sean Miller, that's a whole different story."

NC State has 90 days to respond to the NCAA, which will then issue a rebuttal within 60 days. After that, within three to six months, the Committee on Infractions will meet to debate the case.

The university noted in a statement that the coaches who were involved in the potential rule breaking were no longer employed there.

“NC State is committed to the highest levels of compliance, honesty and integrity,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement. “As the university carefully reviews the NCAA’s allegations and thoroughly evaluates the evidence in order to determine our response, we are prepared to be accountable where we believe it is appropriate and to vigorously defend this great university and its athletics program where we feel it is necessary.”

Marc Edelman, professor of law at Baruch College and a sports law specialist, compared the NCAA’s behavior to that of an economic cartel’s.

The NCAA is made up of member institutions that try to maximize the revenue to them and to the coaches and athletics directors, Edelman said. So when coaches cheat the system by trying to pay players illicitly, it threatens the cartel’s stability, and the NCAA is more likely to discipline the offending parties, he said.

This was evident with Southern Methodist University in 1987, when the NCAA handed down its strongest sanction: the death penalty. The football program was canceled for an entire season after the university was found to have been paying players to commit to the university.

It destroyed the SMU football team and sent a strong message to other institutions at the time, Edelman said -- and for a time, violations were minimal.

Edelman said he was unsurprised that the NCAA was coming down so hard on NC State compared to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which avoided all punishments in a major academic fraud case.

“NC State is probably not seen as nearly as powerful, useful or important as the University of North Carolina, because the NC State athletic program presumably brings in less revenue and has less brand equity than a school such as UNC,” Edelman said.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: An NPR Show’s Slight Against a Tobacco Historian Lights Up Twitter

Two historians aim to make amends for discussing a junior scholar’s forthcoming book without crediting her in a radio segment.