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NZ student groups refute essay mill allegations

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 20:34

Student groups across New Zealand have hit back at a TVNZ report which uncovered instances essay mills being used within universities, saying the reputation of the country’s international students has been “dragged through the mud”.

Published in mid-May, the report interviewed two international students at the University of Auckland and one at Massey University, who alleged systemic contract cheating within the international student population.

“It is so outrageous that they can call half of us cheaters”

In a joint statement, student groups said they were disappointed by the report’s “lack of research”, adding they were not approached for comment prior to its publication.

“Three students at two different universities is not a clear representation of what is happening,” said Caitlin Barlow, vice president of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations.

“The actions of the minority should not ruin it for the majority. International students come to New Zealand for a world class education and live in a safe country, not to cheat.”

All three students interviewed admitted they had used the services of an essay mill at least once and said they knew of other students who also undertook the practice.

One student went on to claim as many as half of the University of Auckland’s international student population had used contract cheating, which the New Zealand International Students’ Association refuted.

“It is so outrageous that they can call half of us cheaters not knowing all the hard work we put in and barriers that we have to jump through,” said NZISA education officer, Umi Asaka.

In its statement, NZISA added the report failed to properly explore the reasons behind international students using the services of an essay mill. Among the factors, it said a lack of student support services, mental health concerns and clarity of instruction were most prevalent.

Several destinations countries have redoubled their efforts around academic integrity issues. In early 2019, reports in Malaysia alleged fake degrees were being sold for as little as £2,200.

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Studiosity tackles accidental plagiarism

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:48

Australian-based online academic support provider, Studiosity, has developed a new writing support tool to help students avoid accidental plagiarism and reduce student anxiety around unintentional cheating.

Citation Alert, which will launch on 1 July, forms part of Studiosity’s writing feedback service and proactively alerts students to instances of inadvertent plagiarism during the draft development and process stages.

“The vast majority of academic integrity issues… are often of the inadvertent kind”

“The issue of plagiarism in higher education is becoming increasingly acute,” said Studiosity chief executive Michael Larsen.

“We’re aware that universities are really going to great lengths now to address the issue of plagiarism.”

Larsen told The PIE News the new tool aimed to provide a proactive approach to addressing academic integrity issues, focussing on “prevention rather than purely policing of plagiarism”.

“The vast majority of academic integrity issues that get referred to universities for further investigation are often of the inadvertent kind,” he added.

“For us, it is an extension of what we’re already seeing in terms of the impact of online support on reducing plagiarism.”

According to research undertaken by the company, the platform has seen substantial results for students, with 72% of survey respondents indicating they would now be more careful when referencing in assignments.

Academic integrity has come into focus lately, with the Australian government currently seeking feedback on legislation that could impose strict penalties for contract cheaters.

Moving forward, Studiosity plans to develop support services to build student confidence and wellbeing, which Larsen said would also help in reduce plagiarism.

“The research supports the notion that when students are feeling good about their university experience and confident they’re going to succeed, they’re much less likely to cross the academic integrity line,” he said.

Developed using technology created by German-based edtech organisation Plagscan, the new tool will be available globally through Studiosity’s platform.


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Chronicle of Higher Education: How Can Employers Help Students Prepare for Their Careers? 6 Answers From a Top Corporate Leader

Wes Bush, the chairman of Northrop Grumman, answers key questions about the role employers should — and shouldn’t — play in helping students prepare for careers.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: She’s Led the U. of South Florida for 19 Years. Now She’s Giving It $20 Million.

Judy L. Genshaft’s gift, one of the largest from a president to her institution, will help construct an honors-college building in her name.

U.S. Department of Education Blog | Ed.gov: How Schools are Reducing their Environmental Impact, Improving Health, and Cultivating Stewardship Values- 2019 Green Ribbon Schools Announced

Today the U.S. Department of Education named the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

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Documentary on TOEIC case launched in Westminster

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:19

A powerful documentary exposing the devastating impact of the Home Office decision to revoke thousands of international students’ visas after the TOEIC cheating scandal in 2014 has been launched and screened in central London.

This is the latest step in a campaign led by charity Migrant Voice to allow those students to sit a new English test and clear their name of cheating allegations.

“I was so affected by the students’ stories, it made me really angry,” said film maker Tim Langford, who created the documentary for Migrant Voice.

“The more I heard, the more I was shocked and disturbed”

Titled “Inquisition,” the documentary focuses on five of the international students affected, whose mental health, finances, and life prospects have been put in jeopardy by the loss of their visas, periods of detention or years of legal battles.

Langford said he got involved at first to help out at a media training session run by Migrant Voice, and then decided to make a documentary after speaking to some of the students.

“The more I heard, the more I was shocked and disturbed,” he added.

“I absolutely believe the students. All the evidence is on their side. And I feel very strongly they came in with absolute belief and faith in our system, and we let them down really badly as a society.”

Nidhin Chand gave a poignant testimony of her own story in the documentary: while waiting for a visa extension for a PhD, she was arrested. She has since obtained a visa, but the experience has left enduring psychological pain.

“I don’t have a complete closure, but still I have a visa now,” she told The PIE.

“But all these students, these victims, who still don’t have a visa…they don’t have a closure, they can’t see their family, it’s very difficult for them. This is why I came here and I wanted to help out with this movie, because I want to see them stop crying.”

A panel discussion chaired by Stephen Timms MP followed the screening, with panellists including Migrant Voice director Nazek Ramadan, two lawyers representing the students – Patrick Lewis QC and Sonali Naik QC – and journalists Amelia Gentleman and Robert Wright.

Ramadan explained that even for those students who have won their case in court and have been cleared of allegations the problems are not over, as they are given a 60-day window to be accepted in a course.

“The 60 day-visa is almost good for nothing, it’s not enough to find a university. Some of the students we met were given those 60-day visas at a time when universities are not recruiting students,” she told The PIE.

Another issue, she said, is that universities are not taking these students back, because they see them as ‘high risk.’

“I spoke in confidence to a couple of universities. The people working in admission told me this. They see those students as high risk because they no longer fit the criteria, they have been out of education for a long time, they don’t have the money.”

“Universities should play a better role to protect their own students, the reputation of our universities and education system,” added Ramadan.

“They must take these students back and the Home Office must tell universities to have these students back in the same way as it asked them to kick them out.”

“I have a real concern that universities’ compliance officers will take the view that these students are tainted”

A university immigration adviser, who preferred to remain anonymous, echoed Ramadan’s concerns: “I have a real concern that universities’ compliance officers will take the view that these students are tainted, these students have been out of the system, something has gone wrong, “we can’t take the risk of issuing the CAS” [confirmation of acceptance of studies, needed to obtain a Tier 4 visa].”

During the panel discussion, he made the point that the sector could have done more to support the students affected by the TOEIC case.

The screening took place in Portcullis House, Westminster, in the presence of several MPs, journalists, campaigners and representatives of other organisations such as the3million.

Asked to comment on the case, and the difficulties students are having in accessing higher education after their court case, UUK declined to comment at this stage awaiting the report on the NAO investigation into the Home Office handling of the case, which is due to be released soon.

UKCISA chief executive Anne Marie Graham told The PIE: “It is concerning that many international students have suffered stress and reputational damage because of visa cancellations, and we welcome the NAO enquiry. We will also monitor the recommendations from the newly formed APPG on Test of English for International Communication.”


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Chronicle of Higher Education: Low-Income and Minority Students Are Growing Share of Enrollments, and 2 Other Takeaways From New Study

The students are attending college in greater numbers than they were two decades ago, but they’re more likely to attend less-selective institutions, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Cent

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Ireland: Non-EEA student numbers up 45% in five years

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 05:22

An increasing number of non-European Economic Area students are choosing Ireland for their higher education, with numbers rising by 45% between 2013 and 2017. However, Ireland’s future attractiveness could be hampered by difficulties around immigration procedures, finding accommodation and employment.

According to a report entitled ‘Attracting and Retaining International Students’ carried out by the European Migration Network, the proportion of students in Ireland from non-EEA countries has grown steadily each year, up from 9,325 in 2013 to 13,519 in 2017.

“Obstacles persist for some students, including delays in immigration registration”

By contrast, the proportion of the student body represented by EU students remained static during that period, “only growing by 0.1 percentage point overall between 2013 and 2017”, according to the report.

Among the students issued a permit for study in a full-time higher education program in 2017, 25% were from the US, 17% from India, 15% from Brazil, 14% from China and 5% from Canada.

Overall, China was the top country of origin of non-EEA students enrolled in full-time higher education each year between 2013 and 2017.

In a statement, the report’s lead author Sarah Groarke concluded that Ireland is “successfully attracting and retaining increased numbers of higher-level non-EEA students”.

In order to retain skilled international graduates, Ireland allows non-EEA students with an honours degree or higher to remain for 12 to 24 months after studies to look for work under the Third Level Graduate Programme.

Almost 2,090 non-EEA students were granted permission to stay in the country under the TLGP in 2017, up from around 650 in 2012, while the number of non-EEA graduates who obtained an employment permit following their studies also increased from 48 in 2013 to 871 in 2017.

“However, our report highlights obstacles persist for some students including delays in immigration registration, securing affordable student accommodation and transition to employment after graduation,” Groarke added.

She said that non-EEA students had reported difficulty finding work because employers are not always aware that they are entitled to work under the TLGP.

Additionally, the author pointed to minimum income thresholds for employment permits as a potential barrier for non-EEA graduates seeking employment, which were described as prohibitive for those “who may require more than one year to achieve enough experience to earn a sufficient income” to meet them.

Immigration registration delays were also an issue: “Often there are no appointments available on the online booking system,” Groarke explained.

“Students have reported that delays cause stress and anxiety in relation to their legal status and have a negative impact on their academic experience in Ireland.”

“Ireland has much to offer, evidenced by the increase in the number of students coming”

Speaking with The PIE News, International Student adviser at University College Dublin Colum Cronin said he welcomed the EMN report, and that positive changes in Ireland’s immigration system – such as the abolition of the re-entry visa – had helped Ireland along its way to becoming very competitive in the race for international students.

“Ireland has much to offer, evidenced by the increase in the number of students coming to Ireland, but we cannot ignore the challenges these students face whilst studying here,” he added.

“We have seen positive immigration changes this year, and I hope that these will continue and solutions will be found to make booking and immigration appointment easier.”

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Marlene Olsavsky, Managing Director, Pearson Canada

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 02:17
With a career spanning several countries, Olsavsky has spent 22 years working with Pearson. She told The PIE about how the intersection between education, technology and employment was a central theme at the Canadian Immigration Summit, and Pearson’s work in Canada.


The PIE: What were the main topics of discussion in relation to international education at the Canadian Immigration Summit?

Marlene Olsavsky: It was inspiring and invigorating to spend the day with such a diverse group of leaders, all of whom understand the importance of immigration as a vital asset to Canada. The agenda was built around the core themes of technology, employment and skills learning, and that’s a lot of the work we are doing here at Pearson – it was really interesting to see that parallel.

“It was so inspiring to see governments around the world highlighting the positive impact that immigration”

It was also really refreshing to hear that everybody believes that education has never been more important in an ever-changing and increasingly globally connected world.

There was a lot of talk about how people pursue education to get a better job and have a more prosperous life for themselves and their family. That’s the main driver for so many people coming to Canada.

One of the big talks was around the intersection between technology and learning, and one of the debates that was put forward at the conference was: will technology and especially AI take over the jobs of the future that so many people are coming to Canada to attain?

Our point of view on this is that technology is not going to displace workers, but we are going to figure out a way to see the marriage of human skills and technology and bring that to life.

And for me, what is so promising is that we are already doing this at Pearson. We are seeing the marriage of human skills and technology come to life with some of our products on offer. For example, Pearson’s own test of English was designed and developed by people, but it’s administered and evaluated by machine learning.

There’s actually a lot of benefits to this, because we use machine learning to quickly score English speaking and writing test, and the artificial intelligence underpinning of our program eliminates the bias on test taker’s looks, their accents, or other factors from scoring.

We are really proud of what we have been doing with technology, and I think we can prove that you can build fit solutions that complement human skills and technology together.

The PIE: Canada is very successful right now in the international education arena. But what are stakeholders’ main worries?

 MO: There was a lot of discussion about the anti-immigration sentiment that’s beginning to emerge as a result of the proactive immigration policies of the government. The immigration minister Ahmed Hussen talked about this when he opened the conference.

“We can do more to tell positive stories”

While it’s disappointing to see that’s happening, it’s inevitable – but it was so inspiring to see that the government of Canada, and governments around the world, are taking increasing measures to highlight the positive impact that immigration is having on individuals, on communities, and on the entire society.

One thing that’s really interesting is that IRCC launched the #whyimmigrationmatters campaign: it is a great example of an initiative to create awareness of the beneficial impact that immigration is having in revitalising communities across Canada.

Personally, I think, as individuals, friends, members of our community, we can do more to tell positive stories, and we can fight the anti-immigration sentiment with facts. That’s the message that minister Hussen left us with: you need to fight fear with facts.

I am going to adopt that stand and make sure we highlight the positive stories that are happening within our community and our business.

The PIE: What market trends are shaping the work of Pearson in Canada?

MO: It’s an exciting time to be at Pearson, in Canada and in the education space. Everywhere you look right now you can see the impact of technology and globalisation on education, we are seeing the change happening in the communities we serve. Our objective is to help Canadians and people who plan to make their life in Canada acquire the tools they need to thrive and improve their employability outcomes.

“We are seeing the demand for solutions that are more culturally relevant”

The first trend that we are seeing is an increase in demand for more resources to support English and French language training, and for more accurate and secure English language assessment.

We have been working really closely with colleges and universities and professional bodies across Canada to invest more in building up those solutions to meet the needs of the market.

We are also seeing the demand for solutions that are more culturally relevant. People who are coming to Canada or are in Canada want cultural examples to be embedded in their academic material, real opportunities to develop the skills they are going to need to apply when they are in the workforce.

Providing culturally-relevant content has always been a strength at Pearson, but we are doing more to reflect the growing and evolving diversity of Canada and we are working with a lot of partners to leverage technology, including AI, to build simulations of skills-based learning, so that students leave college and university with the skills they need to be successful in their first job.

Finally, we are seeing an increase in demand for resources and services for pre-arrival through to settlement for international students and newcomers in general.

There is a really vast ecosystem supporting this work, and we have been working closely with institutions, with local, municipal and federal government, and other partners to figure out how we can collectively work together to improve outcomes for international students and newcomers in Canada.

“I think both French for academic purposes and general French will grow a lot”

I don’t think any single organisation is going to be able to address this demand on its own, so it’s going to take partnerships and collaboration between the business, academic and political community to satisfy this need.

I think there are a lot of opportunities for Canada overall, and for the people that are coming to our wonderful country.

The PIE: How is the French training sector developing?

 MO: Certainly, there is an effort from the government to try and promote French language training. French is a really key skill for people moving to Canada.

There is funding flowing from the government into French training and assessment, and although it’s still too early to say how it will all play out, we are seeing an increasing demand for more materials available in French and more resources to help support learners that learn French for the first time. I think both French for academic purposes and general French will grow a lot.

It’s an exciting area for us, and Pearson in Canada has two main headquarters: one in Toronto and one in Montreal, and our Quebec office leads operations for training in both French and English. I think we are uniquely placed to work with the institutions and the government that are putting funding into these programs to support French language training.

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UC Davis to launch Global Learning Hub

The PIE News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 01:14

University of California, Davis has announced it will launch a Global Learning Hub in Fall 2019 to help with its ambitious goal of providing all UC Davis students with international and intercultural learning experiences before graduation.

The ‘Global Education for All’ program aims to move beyond traditional study abroad opportunities by providing students with a variety of experiences tailored to their interests, skills and aspirations.

“One of the first things we want to do is work towards creating a one-stop-shop”

Envisioned as a locus for the UC Davis community, the Hub will link programming and resources across campus that support global learning domestically and internationally.

In addition to offering a broad portfolio of academic coursework and study abroad programs, it will also offer new opportunities through academic coursework, domestic and international experiential learning and leadership activities on the Davis and Sacramento campuses.

“Our students are graduating into a world that’s highly interconnected and interdependent,” says Nancy Erbstein, director of Global Education for All.

“We really want them to be ready to take all the skills and knowledge they’ve developed at UC Davis and effectively use them across countries and cultures and communities after graduation.”

As a university responsible for preparing students to live and work in a globalising world, Erbstein said she considers global learning experiences key to helping students thrive—regardless of where they find themselves after graduation.

“One of the first things we want to do through the Global Learning Hub is work toward creating a one-stop-shop, so students can construct global learning pathways at UC Davis that reflect their interests and aspirations.”

Zachary Frieders, director of Study Abroad said a focus on global learning is key to helping students become global agents of change, regardless of where they study.

He said the Global Learning Hub will focus on getting students to think first about why it is it important to engage in global learning, and then to think about the ways, locations, and contexts in which they want to participate.

“It’s all about supporting students to consider the types of global learning interactions that fit with their experience, interests, and academic pursuits,” he added.

Read our PIE Chat with Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs at UC Davis here

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Institutions generally don't have provisions against professors dating students they just taught

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 00:00

Last month, Princeton University’s 2016 valedictorian, Cameron Platt, announced that she was engaged -- to her former professor and mentor, Lee Clark Mitchell, Holmes Professor of Belles-Lettres.

Eventually “it became impossible to deny how fully we feel meant for each other, and neither of us has looked back since,” Platt wrote on Facebook. “Now here we are, more enthralled than ever wanting no life other than the one we make together.”

The ages of the couple -- her, 25; him, 71 -- are unusually far apart. The relationship doesn’t violate university policy, however.

Princeton, like a growing number of institutions, has banned all student-faculty relationships, including for graduate students. As one graduate student put it, “Students should be treated by faculty as scholars, not as potential sexual partners.” And even though most other colleges and universities ban student-faculty dating where a supervisory relationships exists, virtually no institution requires professors to wait any length of time before dating former students.

Platt has said that she waited until two years after her graduation to ask Mitchell out. Mitchell, who is currently on preplanned leave, is just one of a number of professors to engage in or attempt to initiate a relationship with a former student or students. The other examples don’t end in a glowing engagement announcement, however, suggesting that dating former students -- even when allowed by policy -- is questionable.

Still, experts with different positions on student-faculty dating advise against adopting any kind of timeline for dating former students.

No Sunset Provisions

Andrew T. Miltenberg, a lawyer who’s represented professors in numerous Title IX-related cases, said he hadn’t heard of any “sunset-type” provision in which faculty members can’t date former students for a given period of time. And in an environment in which more and more institutions are taking disciplinary action against professors who have had consensual relationships with students that then soured, he said, such a policy is not a good idea.

“What you should do is have a definitive policy one way or the other, where faculty and administrators decide which way is the best way to go -- not start to carve out situations,” Miltenberg said. “What if it’s a dean with no direct academic role for the student, or a professor in a different department, or an adjunct? There are a lot of questions that will arise, with too many anomalies as far as circumstances.”

A sunset provision might work in the future, when colleges and universities “start to offer a fair, transparent and equitable process” to all parties in a Title IX case, Miltenberg said. Just not now. He recalled a case in which a faculty member taught only a core class, meaning there was no chance he would teach his students twice. But a relationship between the professor and one of his former students “didn’t go well,” Miltenberg said. “There was a complaint, and the faculty member lost his job.”

That’s what happened to John Barrett, an assistant professor of developmental studies at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, in 2017. According to court documents, Barrett sent a student of his a Facebook friend request at the end of the spring 2015 semester, when she was in his class. The two corresponded over the summer about the student's writing. Back on campus in the fall, the student asked to meet Barrett for coffee, and they began dating. Their sexual relationship lasted through the next summer.

The pair remained friendly for a time after breaking up, but the student eventually confronted Barrett about a relationship he was having with a second former student of his. The first student later filed a complaint with the university, alleging that Barrett had touched her genitals while she was sleeping during their relationship. The university investigated and terminated Barrett based on his poor professional judgment and the alleged touching without consent (which he denied, and which the student never brought up during their relationship).

Barrett filed a grievance with his faculty union, and an arbitrator ordered his reinstatement. Bloomsburg fought the decision, but a state appeals court upheld it last week. Bloomsburg doesn’t prohibit student-faculty relationships unless a supervisory relationship exists, and it no longer did in Barrett’s relationships, the court determined. 

‘Toxic to All Involved’?

In another example, Hofstra University recently vowed to change its policies after an undergraduate student complained that a professor hit on her immediately after she finished his course. The professor didn’t technically violate the institution’s policy prohibiting relationships where there exists a supervisory relationship, since he was done teaching and grading her. But the student felt the overture verged on harassment, and she reported it.

The professor of music, Lee C. Carter, attached a handwritten letter to the student's final graded project, saying, “At the risk of embarrassing myself, I confess a foolish and dangerous attraction to you.” Saying he was experiencing either a midlife crisis or a schoolboy crush, Carter added, “I’ve felt this way for well over a year, but have tried to conceal it to protect both you and myself, but also everyone around us. Such feelings from a teacher toward a student -- while inevitable given that we’re only human -- are usually toxic to all involved when expressed openly.”

There was no quid pro involved. But antiharassment activists often say that this kind of move breaks trust and hurts students nevertheless, as they may then wonder whether their accomplishments in a class were due to their effort or their professor’s relationship aspirations.

Professional Norms and Power Differentials

Catherine Prendergast, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where there is no policy governing student-faculty relationships, said she opposed any kind of undergraduate-faculty dating. To her, the issue is less legal “than one of sound professional norms.”

Student-faculty relationships don’t happen in a vacuum and are instead “part of a community in which trust in one’s professor to treat all students equally is paramount to the educational experience,” she said. If a professor dates a former student who is still on campus, "that changes the community," in particular.

On Prendergast’s own campus, economist Joseph Petry recently announced that he was retiring as part of a resignation agreement related to a Title IX case, according to the The News-Gazette. A former student of Petry’s accused him of offering to change her grade in exchange for sexual favors. He’s admitted to communicating with the student online and sending photos. But he says that they first engaged on a personal level via an online platform, and that when they eventually met in his office nine months after he taught her in a large class section, he realized that she wanted him to change her grade. He also says he refused. In a strange twist, the student accuser was arrested last month for allegedly threatening a man with a knife to delete information from his computer.

Miltenberg said he was professionally agnostic as to whether colleges should allow student-faculty relationships where there is no supervisory relationship or whether all they should ban student-faculty relationships outright. But as a father of a child in college, he said he would prefer that his daughter not date a professor, given the inherent power differential between students and faculty members that seems to exist even when there is no supervisory relationship.

As for professional norms, Miltenberg said those were too subjective and differed too much between fields and institutions to be helpful.

Brett Sokolow, a higher education lawyer and president of the Association of Title IX Administrators, opposes blanket bans on student-faculty relationships on the grounds that students who can decide whether they’ll sleep with other students can also decide whether they’ll sleep with faculty members. He said he opposed any notion of a time restriction on dating former students for the same reason -- among others.

“How long is enough for a cooling-off period? Five days? Five months?” he said. “Of course there was something there before. But how about we say there can be no flirting. How about we say human beings can’t be attracted to each other?”

He added, “I just don’t know why we want to infantilize students and take away their autonomy.”

Asked why there’s still a collective recoil at these kinds of relationships, Sokolow said, “I think there’s a recognition that in our society May-December relationships don’t really work out, and that there’s some sort of leverage there, some attraction based on the person’s accomplishments.” That implies a power differential, of course, Sokolow said, but “attraction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. That’s not how the world works. People are attracted to power,” no matter the gender dynamics at play.

‘The Dynamics Shift’

The laws of attraction aside, Prendergast said that if the relationship goes south, it’s “always the student who loses something.” Even if they’ve left campus, they can’t ask that professor for a reference “or any other form of professional support that sustains alumni in their careers.”

Of course, sometimes these relationships actually work out, and even develop into loving, lifelong partnerships. An academic who did not want to be identified, given the complexity of the issue, said she began dating her professor in her first year of graduate school in the early 1980s. She was single, and he was 20 years older and divorced.

There were no prohibitions against faculty-student dating at the time, and there were other professors in the department who had married students. She took a course with the professor after the relationship started, and he participated in her preliminary exams, as did all instructors. But the effects of the relationship were felt "most acutely" in her interactions with other graduate students, she said, recalling one who was concerned she might have access to the woman's seminar paper.

“Looking back, I realize how uncomfortable it was in many ways that I didn't fully appreciate then,” she said. When there is a personal relationship, “the dynamics shift.”

Her own view on student-faculty dating now? Undergraduate students should be “protected from the moment they arrive on campus until they have no more dealings with the institution. Period.”

Graduate students are “another matter,” however.

It seems “sensible to prohibit relationships where there are any supervisory responsibilities,” she said. Otherwise, “adults should be left to determine whom they date or marry.”

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Trump administration releases new program-level loan data

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 00:00

The Education Department on Monday announced progress on delivering more comprehensive data for the College Scorecard, a consumer tool originally launched by the Obama administration.

The department added new information for 2,100 non-degree-granting institutions to the consumer-facing website. And, more significantly for the Trump administration’s priorities, it released new preliminary data on student debt for individual programs of study.

That’s a first step toward giving students access to a fuller picture on outcomes for individual higher ed programs, instead of just colleges over all. Potential students could see, for example, how liberal arts majors fare versus engineering students at nearby institutions, instead of just getting results for the college over all.

After its future initially looked uncertain with a Republican in the White House, the College Scorecard has become a central piece of the higher ed agenda for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She’s pulled back on Obama-era accountability rules like gainful employment but argued that college students would be better served by having more data on individual programs.

“We committed to students that we would continually improve the College Scorecard so that they could access relevant, accurate and actionable data as they make decisions about their education after high school,” said DeVos in a statement. “The updates released today are another step in fulfilling that promise. We look forward to seeing how students, parents, institutions and researchers utilize this important information.”

On top of adding new certificate-granting programs, the update to the Scorecard consumer tool also includes graduation information for students previously excluded from data. Earlier iterations of the tool accounted only for first-time, full-time college students. Critics of the project had complained those limitations provided an incomplete picture of institutions. At many colleges that don't serve traditional-age, residential freshmen, most students aren't first time or full-time.

Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, said for higher ed researchers the most significant new development was the release of program-level data on student debt. The data could provide a fuller picture of which borrowers take out the highest volume of student loans -- Kelchen said graduate programs in health sciences made up most of the high-debt programs in the new data.

Kelchen said the eventual release of earnings data would also allow researchers to calculate the ratio of debt to earnings for typical program graduates, the key metric for gainful-employment ratings.

“This is a traditional conservative administration,” he said. “The goal is to get consumer information out there, and this is a step in that direction.”

The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions, a consortium of college accreditors, praised the update to the Scorecard tool in a statement.

“Providing expanded, accessible information about college and other postsecondary performance is critical to our work to assure institutional quality and continuous improvement,” the group said.

Some college groups had criticized the Scorecard after its launch for providing an incomplete or even misleading picture of outcomes involving graduation and student loans. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities said it was pleased with the updates to the website. But Craig Lindwarm, APLU's vice president for congressional and governmental affairs, said that important gaps remain because of a federal ban on the collection of student-level data. For example, he said, although updated graduation data incudes part-time students and students who transfer into institutions, it doesn't reflect outcomes for students who transfer out of institutions.

APLU argues passing the College Transparency Act would address those shortcomings.

Adding information about program-level outcomes was a long-term goal for officials who created the College Scorecard. Michael Itzkowitz, a senior fellow at the think tank Third Way who directed the Scorecard under the Obama administration, said the department should be applauded for releasing more data.

“However, information by itself will never be a substitute for strong accountability,” he said. “Students shouldn’t be able to take out loans at programs that show no return on investment.”

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Quad Learning attempted and failed to dramatically improve transfer

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 00:00

When Quad Learning launched its American Honors program, the company expected to provide academically talented community college students with an affordable and seamless pathway to transfer to selective universities.

Over the course of five years, the program proved to be financially unsustainable and may have even hurt the academic futures of students who would have gone to a four-year college by encouraging them to attend community college instead, according to a new report from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

“Students who would’ve come to the community college anyway and were starting at the honors program did have higher rates of transfer to a four-year institution and better overall persistence,” said Shanna Smith Jaggars, a co-author of the report and assistant vice provost of research and program assessment in the Office of Student Academic Success at Ohio State University. “But for students who would’ve gone to a four-year college and instead started at a community college because they were swayed by this honors program and transfer pipeline, it didn’t seem as strong of a bargain.”

About one-third of high school graduates who entered American Honors but would have otherwise directly entered a four-year college saved nearly $12,000 per year in tuition and fees in their first two years of college, but they substantially decreased their chances of transferring and graduating with a bachelor's degree within four years, the report said.

Smith Jaggars noted that most community college students, even high-achieving students who would likely be admitted to selective universities as freshmen or as transfer students, ultimately do not transfer to those institutions. This was the problem Quad Learning wanted to solve, she said. A number of factors often prevent high-achieving students from transferring to universities, such as not getting enough financial aid after completing an associate degree or not getting sufficient advice from college counselors about navigating the transfer process.

A 2018 report from the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program found that each year more than 50,000 community college students who are prepared to do well at a university don't transfer. And 15,000 of those students have earned at least a 3.7 grade point average and could transfer to selective universities. Ultimately, only 17 percent of degree-seeking community college students transfer to a four-year college and complete their bachelor’s degrees, according to CCRC.

Those students who do transfer tend to enroll at local or regional public universities closest to where they live. But those institutions sometimes have lower graduation rates than selective universities, Smith Jaggars said.

“And the return on your degree is much greater at a selective institution,” she said. “Quad Learning wanted a career pipeline for lower-income and middle-income students to have a chance to get into selective destinations and graduate from them.”

Quad Learning used venture capitalist funding and launched the American Honors program in 2013 after conducting a pilot program the previous year. The plan was to build a network of community college honors programs with collaborative curricula and "intrusive advising" that would give students high-quality associate degrees and allow them to seamlessly transfer to a network of selective universities. The program had enrolled 650 students at seven community colleges by 2014, and Quad Learning had plans to expand to 3,000 students by 2016.

“They thought in order to scale this across the country they would create a common online honors curriculum,” Smith Jaggars said. “That idea seemed simple and elegant, but it never happened.”

Faculty members at the community colleges pushed back on the idea that the for-profit Quad Learning would create the curriculum for the American Honors courses. Some faculty also were opposed to teaching the courses online. Each community college eventually developed its own honors curriculum with assistance from Quad Learning’s American Honors design consultant.

“A start-up backed by venture capital and behaving in much the same way start-ups do, where they move fast and break things, is not the way community colleges and higher education acts,” Smith Jaggars said. “These are two very different cultures, and at the beginning, a lot of faculty were not OK with that.”

Paul Freedman, founder and chief executive officer of Entangled Ventures, an education design agency, said Quad Learning tried to reinvent general education courses, a challenge most public-private higher education partnerships don’t attempt.

“American Honors focused on the core general education experience, and that is the heart of an institution’s academic control,” Freedman said. “Most public-private partnerships have been in vocationally or professional-oriented programs outside of the core general education experience.”

Google and Facebook, for example, have been partnering with colleges across the country for cloud computing certificates or digital marketing programs, he said.

“They’re dealing with professional-oriented faculty members where the clear outcome is getting a job,” Freedman said. Those faculty understand that work-force curricula must be more flexible and open to change, unlike standard general education courses, because the industries they’re training students for are constantly evolving, he said.

Freedman has experience attempting to shake up traditional education models. His Altius Education company once ran Ivy Bridge College in collaboration with nonprofit Tiffin University to offer online, two-year degrees. Accreditor scrutiny eventually led to Tiffin pulling out of the partnership and Ivy Bridge’s collapse.

Even without the involvement of a private company, creating multi-institutional transfer agreements is difficult to tackle, he said, referring to American Honors.

While the more rigorous American Honors courses were great for community colleges, they made the transfer aspect of the program even more difficult for Quad Learning to manage because the company had to negotiate transfer agreements for multiple curricula at multiple colleges.

“Usually community colleges have pretty good articulation agreements with whatever is the close destination university,” Smith Jaggars said. “But outside of that, it’s difficult to have that kind of articulation relationship with colleges that are geographically distant or highly selective, or if they’re only sending a handful of students to a university over the course of a few years.”

Quad Learning officials believed that the selective universities would be more willing to accept transfer credits from even a small community college if the courses were backed by American Honors, Smith Jaggars said. More importantly, the universities could accept 100 American Honors students instead of just one or two from a community college they may not recognize, Smith Jaggars said.

Instead, Quad Learning found that their advisers were helping students understand which of their college courses met the requirements of the universities students wanted to attend, she said.

“It was much more of a retail operation and a lot more time intensive, much more so than Quad Learning anticipated,” Smith Jaggars said.

One positive aspect of the American Honors program was the specific advising students received.

It’s not unusual for community colleges to have one adviser serve nearly 1,000 students, Smith Jaggars said. In the American Honors program, the ratio was one adviser to about 100 students, and the advisers met with each assigned student at least once a semester.

“It’s a model most community colleges can’t afford on their own,” she said.

Quad Learning also had difficulties securing admission and transfer agreements with selective universities. The company eventually signed more than 70 transfer agreements with four-year colleges, including some “highly selective universities,” according to the report.

Even when those transfer agreements were completed, students still were not “guaranteed” admission.

“If students completed their associate degree with an American Honors designation, they would be well qualified for admission to [Michigan State University] and would almost certainly be accepted -- but by no means was MSU guaranteeing this,” according to the report.

Quad Learning also failed to understand the on-the-ground realities of transfer for many students, Smith Jaggars said.

“Just because you build program maps and align curriculum doesn’t mean student mobility is a slam dunk,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen program. Students may not have planned financially for at least four years of college, or they might not be prepared to leave their families and travel out of state or across the country.

“These are big decisions people need to make, and those are the life decisions that will make or break the capacity of community college students to transfer,” he said.

Aspen is a part of the American Talent Initiative, an alliance of about 120 four-year institutions that consistently graduate 70 percent or more of their students in six years and have partnered to enroll and graduate 50,000 low- and moderate-income students, including transfers, by 2025.

Smith Jaggars said that had the American Honors program continued, it could have served as a pipeline of students for the institutions taking part in the talent initiative.

A Clash of Business Cultures

Quad Learning built the American Honors program using a tuition model that ultimately made money, but not as much as was needed to keep the operation running, Smith Jaggars said.

Although tuition prices varied under the honors program, the rates were typically 50 percent higher than standard tuition rates at the community colleges but still lower than the costs at nearby four-year institutions. Quad Learning and the community colleges each got a share of the total tuition cost.

Ultimately, Quad Learning didn’t have enough enrollment to meet the profits of the business model they created.

“If they were able to operate under a nonprofit model, they could have pursued it, but at the offset, they had unrealistic expectations of how much they were going to make,” Smith Jaggars said.

Quad Learning needed to enroll groups of new students who wouldn’t otherwise have attended community college but were persuaded to do so by the American Honors program. But the program routinely failed to meet enrollment goals, according to the report.

“Corporate pressures on [Quad Learning] staff to meet enrollment goals became increasingly intense, some college stakeholders felt the program’s admissions standards are becoming more lax … In 2017, challenges meeting domestic student enrollment goals prompted QL to increasingly move into the international student market to recruit [American Honors] students,” according to the report.

The company shifted to pursuing international students, who pay more in tuition, as a revenue strategy, but that proved to be a difficult endeavor as well.

Smith Jaggars said the CCRC researchers didn’t have any insight into Quad Learning's budgets but believe what may have “doomed” the company was its goal to maintain a socially conscious model for domestic students while reconciling the need to make high profits and give investors a significant return on their investment.

“If they had been funded through a model where investors just wanted to be paid back or socially conscious investors who believe in this program and hope they get their money back and that’s it, they could’ve done that,” she said.

Eventually Quad dropped the American Honors program for domestic students, and the program was sold to Wellspring International Education last year. Wellspring helps colleges recruit and enroll international students.

“A source close to the deal described it as a distress sale, worth ‘a small fraction’ of what Quad Learning had raised,” according to the report.

Smith Jaggars said there are lessons future public-private partnerships can learn from Quad Learning's experience.

Companies should first understand the student customer base and what motivates them to enroll in any college, she said.

“Another takeaway for companies is that the move fast, break things approach is not the best partnership approach,” Smith Jaggars said. “You need to realize it takes time to develop trust and make it clear you have only good intentions and that scaling something up super fast is probably not doable.”

Nonetheless, the American Honors program was not completely dissolved. Some community colleges maintained their own honors programs. Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, for example, now has an Ivy Honors program that has transfer agreements with more than 60 four-year colleges and universities.

"Most of the community colleges were fine with Quad Learning dissolving," Smith Jaggars said. "They felt Quad Learning had helped them start something they felt was a good model for their students, and they planned to continue it in some form or another after Quad was gone."

Eventually, there wasn’t much incentive for colleges to hand over a quarter of their tuition and fees to the company once they saw they could replicate the program on their own, she said.

“The colleges learned a lot and received a lot of support and connection with their counterparts at other community colleges,” she said. “They were happy they had done it over all.”

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An accessibility turnaround at Atlantic Cape Community College

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 00:00

Atlantic Cape Community College administrators were shocked when the college was sued for discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act. They thought the college was doing a pretty good job providing accommodations for students with disabilities, given staff and budget constraints.

Two blind students at the college felt otherwise, however, and, backed by the National Federation for the Blind, filed a lawsuit in 2015 claiming Atlantic Cape violated the ADA.

One of the students, Anthony Lanzilotti, said in court documents that he failed several courses because the course materials were not provided in an accessible format. The other student, Mitchell Cossaboon, objected to an institutional policy requiring visually impaired students to be accompanied at all times by a sighted aide.

Atlantic Cape agreed to settle the case, entering into a consent decree that required the college to conduct a full audit of its technology and develop a plan to make all student-facing materials accessible to blind students. The consent decree also required ADA training for all faculty, among other conditions.

The college has since taken steps not only to become ADA compliant but to make accessibility part of its institutional culture. Though the college still has work to do, it has started to build a reputation as an institution that supports students with disabilities -- so much so that their numbers at the college are rising.

At the time of the consent decree in 2015, Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, commended the college on its “willingness to engage in a comprehensive program to ensure that all of its students, including the blind, receive a truly equal education.”

Riccobono said it was “especially significant” that the college agreed to make all of its technology and accessible within three years. The college has since received an extension on the consent decree.

Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, managing partner at the law firm Brown Goldstein Levy, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said it’s typical for such lawsuits to be settled with a consent decree. The advantage of a consent decree over a private settlement is that the court retains jurisdiction -- it’s a “stronger way to ensure compliance,” she said.

Though Atlantic Cape has made good progress toward full accessibility, Krevor-Weisbaum notes that it has taken time for the college to find the right strategy. The three-year consent decree was extended in late 2018 for another three years.

“They have certainly shown they are making this consent decree high priority, and we’re very pleased about that,” she said. “It took a while for them to get the right people in place to make the change that they needed to make, but they are doing that now.”

Michael Barnes, director of the Center for Accessibility at Atlantic Cape, said the college has made a lot of progress since 2016 toward integrating accessibility into the culture of the institution.

“Lawsuits are painful -- I don’t want to sugarcoat that at all,” said Barnes. But the impact on Atlantic Cape has been positive, he said.

“It made us look at ourselves, our processes. It made us really evaluate how we work with students and think about how to be a better, more inclusive, institution.”

One of the first actions the college took was to change the name of the Office of Disability Support Services to the Center for Accessibility, said Barnes. The college signed a $274,000 contract with accessibility consultants Interactive Accessibility Inc. in 2016 to perform a technology audit, report accessibility outcomes and help provide accessibility training to faculty and staff, as required by the consent decree.

“We rebuilt all of the policy and procedures from the top down,” said Barnes. It was important that the Board of Trustees, the president and the deans were all on board, he said.

“We wanted to make accessibility part of the culture of the institution," he said. "We didn’t want to be thinking about accessibility just for the sake of compliance.”

Rather than retroactively fixing inaccessible content created by instructors or provided by third parties, Atlantic Cape focused on encouraging the creation and procurement of accessible content, said Barnes. As part of this effort, the Center for Accessibility and the instructional technology department started working closely together to provide training to faculty members.

Michelle Perkins, director of instructional technology at Atlantic Cape, said the college now offers four accessibility workshops to instructors, from beginner level to advanced. Basic training is mandatory, but participation in the more advanced sessions is voluntary. Perkins said she has been pleased with the number of faculty members who have taken part in the more advanced training, even if they don’t have great computer skills. The training teaches faculty how to create accessible content with colors, fonts and descriptions that can be picked up by screen readers and other assistive technologies. It also teaches them how to assess whether products they purchase from publishers are accessible.

Persuading busy faculty to attend workshops is never easy, but attendance has been encouraged through emails and the work of "accessibility champions" -- faculty members who are available to offer support or answer questions should other faculty need help. The instructional technology team is also on hand to troubleshoot any specific issues faculty have, said Perkins.

Atlantic Cape uses Blackboard Ally technology that alerts faculty if the content they upload to the learning management system is not accessible, with specific feedback and instructions on how to fix each issue, said Perkins.

Nicolaas Matthijs, product director of Blackboard Ally, said the tool is now used by 550 colleges and universities. Unlike other commercially available website-accessibility checkers, Ally is designed to work with digital course content and multiple learning management systems, he said.

The Ally team is working not only to give institutions more detailed accessibility reports, but is also building out the tool to offer live feedback and support -- possibly checking the accessibility of content not just in the LMS or on a college website, but in instructors’ Google Drive or Dropbox accounts. A spokesperson for Blackboard Ally declined to comment on how much the tool costs.

According to Ally stats, 90 percent of the course material in Atlantic Cape’s LMS is now accessible to students with visual or other impairments, said Perkins. The tool also enables administrators to identify materials that are not meeting requirements. This data insight can be used to generate reports on progress in ADA compliance by departments and also pinpoint faculty who may need extra support.

“Ninety percent looks awesome, but we still have work to do,” said Barnes. “We spend a lot of time reviewing content on our LMS -- sometimes there are files that are buried.”

Though individual faculty can be identified and potentially ranked on the accessibility of their course materials, the objective is not to shame or punish anyone who is not meeting the desired standard, said Barnes.

“We’re not going to people’s bosses and telling them someone’s course materials are not accessible,” he said. “We’ll have brown-bag lunches; we’ll go through the content one on one and see how we can be of support.”

“This is not about minimizing the instructor’s experience -- some of them have been teaching for 30 or 40 years. This is about taking the valuable materials that they’ve created and asking how we can make them into an accessible digital format.”

In addition to data insights, Blackboard Ally also automates some work, said Perkins. If an instructor uploads a PDF, for example, Blackboard Ally will automatically generate the document in multiple file formats for students to download. Students can then easily access the material on their phone, tablet, e-reader or other assistive technology.

Making content available in multiple formats has benefited all students, not just those with disabilities, said Perkins. Students with long commutes can now have course materials narrated to them while they drive, for example. Accessibility isn’t just for the obvious students who need it -- it’s for the benefit of everyone, she said.

Because students with disabilities are not required to register with the Center for Accessibility, faculty are keenly aware that their classes need to be accessible to all students at all times, said Barnes.

"This has really resonated with faculty," he said. "My office could have no idea if they're here, and they have the legal right to take your class." ​

Barnes said the college has seen an increase in the enrollment of students with disabilities.

“We have students now forgoing other institutions to come here,” he said.

Since 2016, the number of students with disabilities who have registered with the Center for Accessibility has increased by 25 percent and is now at around 500 students. College administrators have no way of knowing how many others are enrolled but didn't register with the center.

Juliana Torres, a student at Atlantic Cape who is due to graduate this month, is visually impaired. In her four years at the college pursuing three majors, Torres said she has noticed major improvements in the support services available to her.

“I had a lot of anxiety deciding whether or not to go to college,” she said. A New Jersey native who wants to become a professional caterer, Torres said she was attracted to Atlantic Cape because of its strong culinary arts program.

“I don’t want to say that there weren’t support services when I started, but they have improved," she said. "I now have the accommodations that I need to have a seemingly normal day-to-day school life.”

Support staff helped her plan her course schedule and ensured she was able to access course materials in a way that worked for her.

Though the support staff has been instrumental in helping her succeed, Torres believes they are stretched too thin and feels guilty that she took up so much of a staff member's time. “The support staff needs more support,” she said.

Torres said she has nonetheless been pleased with her experience.

“Not everyone needs or wants to go to college,” she said. “But I’m very grateful for the fact that I was able to come here and get the support I needed.”

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Sentences reduced for former Penn State fraternity brothers in Piazza hazing case

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 00:00

Two years ago, a local district attorney started aggressively pursuing charges against the fraternity brothers who contributed to the death of a Pennsylvania State University freshman, Timothy Piazza.

Piazza, a Beta Theta Pi pledge, died after rounds of heavy drinking at a party in February 2017, at one point in the night tumbling down 15 steps. The university sanctioned the fraternity and Greek life broadly, and combined with the authorities' push, antihazing activists heralded the response as a new era of hazing crackdowns.

Most of the former fraternity members -- who pleaded guilty to misdemeanors ranging from hazing to furnishing alcohol to a minor -- still await sentencing. But a judge has allowed three former brothers he initially sentenced to jail to instead serve their time on house arrest.

Experts in fraternity life and hazing said the decision showed that despite more college administrative attention around these issues, the courts are still likely to be more lenient.

“This is obviously dispiriting for those who thought this is the ideal case to make a stand and to signal that hazing is intolerable,” said John Hechinger, senior editor at Bloomberg News and author of True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities.

Piazza was rushing Beta Theta Pi -- the process of joining the fraternity -- at the time of his death. After drinking heavily, he fell down a flight of basement stairs and was knocked unconscious. Fraternity members carried him to the couch but ignored his need for medical care, instead trying to wake him by splashing liquid on his face and hitting him. At one point, Piazza tried to get up but struck his head on an iron railing, which left him with significant head trauma. He bled for hours internally before dying two days later.

Fraternity members did not call 911 until the morning after the party.

The case inspired a national antihazing crusade, in part led by Piazza’s parents, Jim and Evelyn. They pushed for and eventually succeeded in getting antihazing reform passed in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. Institutions now need to publish a report on hazing, and any incident that results in severe injury or death is classified as a felony. Piazza’s death was a particularly effective rallying point because of his story: he was young, affable and a high school football star -- and the night had been documented on surveillance footage, giving the public a gruesome picture of what had happened.

“This action signifies important movement in an ongoing conversation to identify meaningful solutions that create transformational change,” Eric Barron, Penn State’s president, said in a statement after the law was passed. “Unfortunately, hazing continues to plague universities across the country, and we hope this law will serve as a model for other state legislatures to effect critically needed national reform. Penn State has been, and continues to be, committed to addressing this serious national issue.”

After Piazza’s death, Barron kicked Beta Theta Pi off campus and postponed rushing, which many advocates generally deem a positive step. Banning fraternities or sororities outright is often not effective, they told Inside Higher Ed.

Magisterial District Judge Brian K. Marshall initially sentenced three former Penn State fraternity members, Luke Visser, Michael Bonatucci and Joshua Kurczewski, to jail time ranging between 30 days and nine months. Many antihazing activists cheered the sentences as potentially severe enough to make fraternity members take notice and change their behavior.

He later reduced the sentence -- Kurczewski to 90 days on house arrest, Bonatucci to 30 days and Visser to 45 days.

Local media reported that Marshall said that some of the fraternity members were remorseful for their actions.

Hank Nuwer, a journalism professor at Franklin College who has written broadly about hazing, said that the Piazza case reminded him of an early hazing death, Isaac William Rand, a University of North Carolina student, who died in 1912 after his throat was cut with a broken bottle. Rand’s death came with promises of change around hazing and a major media blitz, but little was accomplished, Nuwer said.

Nuwer said that hazing isn’t often looked at as a homicide -- that judges still look at the episodes as “unfortunate accidents” that involve students with no prior criminal record. Often, hazing investigations take quite a bit of time, which allows the bad actors to build up a good defense in a criminal case, he said.

Even if tougher laws, such as Pennsylvania’s, are passed, they won’t do much unless they’re enforced properly, Nuwer said.

Texas and Florida have considered bills that would toughen rules around hazing. Florida’s would make hazing a felony if it resulted in permanent injury and gives immunity to people who provide medical assistance or call 911 for help. The Texas legislation modifies the definition of hazing, adding that coercing someone to drink alcohol or use a drug is now considered hazing. Universities would also need to publish summaries on hazing, and students would be protected from liability if they reported a hazing episode.

But judges often don’t understand hazing or the psychology behind it, said Gentry McCreary, the chief executive officer of Dyad Strategies, which consults with colleges and universities to reshape their Greek life systems.

In the Piazza case, no one physically forced him to consume alcohol, but the “need to belong” is a particularly powerful motivator, McCreary said. Just like with sexual assault, in which police, judges and prosecutors have been taught trauma-informed interviewing, so should they need to learn about the nuances of hazing, he said.

The new laws are helpful because prosecuting students under manslaughter can be complex, McCreary said. The standards for those charges can be significantly higher, so making the hazing laws clearer helps, he said.

“We continue to see this as a challenge -- that it’s hard to hold people accountable,” McCreary said.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: The Enrollment Picture for Private Colleges Isn’t Pretty. But Some Say There’s Hope.

Higher-ed experts weren’t surprised at troubling shortfalls in the Northeast. But they disagreed about what the trend meant — and how colleges should respond.

HEIs a “marvellous basis” to build from to overcome global problems

The PIE News - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 09:49

Global issues – climate change, biodiversity, food security – know no borders: it is time that international higher education, research and innovation realises its duty to address, delegates heard during Going Global in Berlin.

This is where the concept of ‘knowledge diplomacy’ – that international higher education, research and innovation has a role in building and strengthening relations between countries – comes in, according to adjunct professor of Education at the University of Toronto Jane Knight.

“Sometimes it’s easier for people coming from research and higher education to keep contacts going”

As she introduced her discussion paper Knowledge Diplomacy in Action, Knight noted the responsibility the sector has to contribute to overcoming problems around the world.

“We are moving into a post-truth era, where we need to have reliable research and verifiable evidence in terms of looking at these global challenges,” she explained.

The research details eight case studies, where the “collaborative knowledge diplomacy approach is being explored as an alternative to the more one-sided soft power approach”.

Examples cited in the report include the Pan African University, the German Jordanian University and the Sustainable Development Solution Network at the United Nations.

The knowledge diplomacy approach is different from knowledge as a source of soft power, Knight told the audience in the German capital.

“I don’t think any of us would deny that knowledge can be used as power,” she added, asking, “how do we ensure that knowledge can be used in the collaborative, mutual, reciprocal way that we are together addressing these global challenges?”

The internationalisation agenda which has developed over the past few decades is a “marvellous basis” to build knowledge diplomacy on, Dorothea Rüland secretary general of the German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD highlighted.

Higher education can work in areas where it may not be feasible for diplomats to operate, she added.

“Sometimes it’s easier for people coming from research and higher education to keep contacts going,” Rüland suggested, relaying that DAAD had been asked by the German Foreign Office to travel to North Korea to gain an idea “where we can start cooperation”.

“Sometimes we have close networks which we can make use of, in really difficult times, where it might be that politics has come to its limits,” she said.

However, it remains vital that there is a common interest for both parties to ensure knowledge diplomacy will work, Rüland explained.

“It is our access to knowledge resources that divides”

From a Pakistani perspective, Tariq Banuri, chairman of the country’s Higher Education Commission explained that knowledge diplomacy can be used to help Pakistan develop.

Knowledge diplomacy can also contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, he indicated.

“The biggest driver of economic growth today has become access to knowledge,” Banuri said.

“And the problem we confront today is that we cannot tolerate, we should not tolerate, the prospect of a new form of apartheid coming up between the knowledge haves and the knowledge have nots. The entire agenda of SDGs is not only to solve problems but to overcome the gaps between us.”

Banuri noted that Pakistan has been advocating a shift towards a positive sum game in its international agenda.

“When we look in the future we do have a major challenge ahead of us.

“The challenge comes from a very different domain. The challenge is today, unlike in the past, it is not our access to human resources or industry that divides us, it is our access to knowledge resources that divides.”

“It is through cooperation that we will advance the agenda, it is not through competition,” he said.

The post HEIs a “marvellous basis” to build from to overcome global problems appeared first on The PIE News.

Bayswater to launch refugee summer program

The PIE News - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 08:46

A summer program for refugees with a focus on English and employability skills will be organised this year at the University of Nottingham by Bayswater Foundation, the charity arm of Baywater Education, as part of its one-for-one model.

The institution is now recruiting applicants in collaboration with refugee organisations in Nottingham and around the UK, and organising a fundraising drive to help fund places on the program for 100 refugees.

“It is the responsibility of international education providers to make English language training and higher education accessible”

Reports from the Refugee Council and Refugee Support Network highlight how refugees find it very hard to access support with their English language skills, Bayswater explained.

With only an estimated 1% of refugees accessing higher education worldwide, the international education sector has an important role to play, Baywater director and co-founder James Herbertson told The PIE.

“It is the responsibility of international education providers to make English language training and higher education accessible for all,” he said.

Scheduled to take place between 29 July and 12 August, the program will include English and academic skills classes, workshops on CV writing and confidence building, and guest speakers from local businesses and cultural activities.

It will be aimed at two groups: teenage refugees enrolled in secondary education and adults who may already have university education in their home country but wish to return to full time study or work.

“I hope it will be a springboard for attendees, helping them to connect with university contacts, services in the higher education sector and potential employers,” Herbertson added.

The program will include accommodation, food, activities as well as pastoral support from the Bayswater welfare team.

This is the second project for Bayswater Foundation, after the launch of the collaboration with NGO Mais Caminhos organising English language courses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Those interested in getting involved in the program or support the fundraising drive can get in touch with project manager Jessica Dunks at foundation@bayswater.ac

The post Bayswater to launch refugee summer program appeared first on The PIE News.

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