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Chronicle of Higher Education: U. of Maryland Removes 'Misogynistic' Guidelines for TAs

A handbook for teaching assistants in the computer-science department said female students would try to “capitalize on the male-female dynamic” to get good grades.

Navitas university partnerships enrolments up 6%

The PIE News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 08:14

Navitas has recorded 3% growth in student enrolments for the first semester of 2018 in its University Partnerships Division, bringing its total enrolment growth across the division for the 2018 financial year to 6%. However, this is lower than market forecasts and comes after almost 8%  growth in the final semester of 2017.

Equivalent full-time student units for the first 2018 semester were 19,615 across the University Partnerships Division compared to of 19,047 in the previous period. This included enrolments of approximately 1,450 equivalent full-time student units from Navitas’ four joint venture colleges.

“This is solid growth, just above our stated 2020 growth targets”

Navitas reported that enrolments at Australian and New Zealand colleges increased by 4% compared to the prior period, following solid enrolment growth in Australia.

According to the Navitas report, the growth rate slowed in the last semester as the Simplified Student Visa Framework contributed towards a bias by international students towards the highest ranked SSVF universities and postgraduate studies.

Enrolments in North America increased by 2% compared to the previous period, driven by strong enrolments in Navitas’ Canadian colleges offset by the continued fall in enrolments in the US.

The report stated that higher visa rejection rates and ongoing uncertainty caused by the Trump administration’s approach to immigration continue to reduce international student volumes into many US universities.

Meanwhile, UK enrolments increased by 6%, driven mainly by continued higher numbers of European Union students seeking to study in the UK.

“With the semester one intake now finalised we have achieved 6% enrolment growth in the University Partnerships division in FY18 compared to FY17. This is solid growth, just above our stated 2020 growth targets,” said Navitas chief executive officer David Buckingham.

He said that while growth in Australia has slowed, they are actively working with the sector to enhance the sustainability of Australia’s international education sector.”

While the US remains “challenging”, Buckingham said that as it is the number one destination for international students they will continue to support the internationalisation objectives of their partner universities and that they are close to capacity at both colleges in Canada.

“The ongoing improvement in UK student enrolments is encouraging though more meaningful changes to immigration policy will need to occur for sustained growth,” Buckingham added.

“We continue to see pressure building on the UK Government to exclude international student numbers from the UK’s immigration quota and strongly support that proposed reform.”

In January 2018, Navitas reported a 4.6% drop in revenue for the half-year ending December 31.

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LSE pay students over “mould and mice”

The PIE News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 08:13

The London School of Economics has paid a group of international post-graduate students £500 each after they complained of sub-standard accommodation in a central London hall of residence, operated by Unite Students.

In July 2017 the students launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise cash for a legal challenge when they claimed the housing conditions were both a health risk and a breach of tenancy agreement.

“I am pleased that we have been able to resolve the complaints with a small payment”

The students paid £9,000 each for the year-long tenancy.

The Sidney Webb House, which also lent its name to the student action group, was said to be infested with rodents, have a “widespread” mould problem, and lacked functional ventilation systems.

The students instructed lawyers at Edwin Coe to instigate legal action against LSE and Unite. In a statement Edwin Coe’s lead partner, David Greene, said that not only were the conditions atrocious, but the international students’ complaints went unheeded.

“The accommodation was damp, unheated and lacked hot water for extended periods causing students to fall ill.  Complaints made by students fell on deaf ears,” it read.

In a statement made in July, Unite said they did not “accept any suggestion that the accommodation is the cause of any medical ill health”.

Declining to make fresh comment, Unite directed The PIE to its corporate media page, though no further statement could be found.

Upon the receipt of the settlement payment, Greene said he was pleased with the payment, and the apologies from both LSE and Unite.

“I am pleased that we have been able to resolve the complaints with a small payment by the University but more important the University and Unite have issued apologies and undertaken to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The LSE released a brief statement upon conclusion of the case, and both Unite and LSE have given assurances that the block has been fully refurbished.

“We are pleased a resolution has been agreed with the students affected,” the statement read.  

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Izzeldin Abuelaish, Founder, Daughters for Life, Gaza / Canada

The PIE News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:24
Izzeldin Abuelaish was born a refugee in Jabalia camp in the Gaza Strip. He battled poverty and war to become the first Palestinian doctor to work in an Israeli hospital, and expert of gynaecology and obstetrics. But tragedy struck in 2009, when three of his daughters, Bessan, 21, Mayar, 15, and Aya, 13 along with their cousin Noor, 17, were killed in his home by an Israeli shell. Since their deaths, he has vowed not to respond with hatred, but love. He set up the Daughters for Life Foundation, which through international partnerships gives girls and young women in the Middle East the opportunity to study around the world.


The PIE News: What do you think educators around the world can do to make access to education more open?

Izzeldin Abuelaish: Number one, we need to discuss what a developed education is. Education for me is a means to an end, not the goal. And at the same time, it’s an investment in the present and the future generations. Education is the light which guides us in times of trouble. It’s the light that shows us our way – not to live in vacuum. And it’s a right! It’s a human right.

If you go to any country and you want to know about the level of development – ask about the level of women’s education.

“Women are the incubator of our world”

Education crosses barriers and has a social, human, free, just, peaceful, healthy impact on all.  In a time when you see fear, incitement, hatred, poverty, injustice and diseases in the world, education is the only way out. It brings people together, towards one goal, to realise and to find humanity – not to see themselves, but to see others, and to connect with others.

The PIE: Your foundation works by moving people without opportunity in the Middle East to Canada and other countries, do you think students can move the other way, is that something you’d like to see?

IA: And that’s the education that needs to be used as a means – in a world which is becoming smaller we need to know each other, in a time a challenge in this world is ignorance of ourselves and others.

We need to communicate, we need to go, we need to travel – travelling is not for fun, it has many benefits! To understand a culture, to know the ‘others’, to find the commonalities between the people, and to be ambassadors to each other. Because most of the challenges come from lack of understanding and not knowing each other.

So I fully support the exchange of education. Because it’s not that they’re going to be educated by the institution, they will be educated about the culture, about the life, about the environment, about everything.  We have to smash barriers.

The PIE: How has internationalisation and moving between countries shaped your life and journey?

It changed my life, my journey. I feel like a world citizen. Travelling everywhere, I can belong to every place I go. It’s not where I am, it’s who I am.

“I want you to express yourself and be open and free in life”

The world is a mosaic. And that’s why it changed me and made me see the beauty of our world. And I belong to this world.

Today I am in London. I am here, and I live here as I am here. I engage with the community. I go to Canada, and I’m a Canadian there.

Education depends on who you are and where you are. We want education that can equalise people. To use it as an engine to promote equality, humanity, peace and freedom for all.

We need education that questions things. I encourage my students– I don’t want them to be receptive, education is a mutual exchange, even between the staff and students. We need to encourage students to express themselves. I don’t want them to satisfy me, I want them to challenge me.

I tell them, I don’t want you to cut and paste – what do you think? If it goes with logic or not, if you accept it or not: tell me what you think. I want you to express yourself and be open and free in your own way of living.

Because in your freedom of thinking, you will be creative and tackle many of the challenges, but if I restrict you, there will be no innovation or creativity. So we believe in the human mind – its ability to be creative is beyond limits.

The PIE: Have you seen changes in the past 10 years, in the west, but also MENA universities and how they accept women?

IA: I see that women are taking more roles in education and they are realising that they have to be educated, to be independent, and to participate and to be active members of the community, and to be decision makers.

You go to many schools, the schools of medicine in Canada and many other countries, you see 60% of the students are female. Even now, they are ‘invading’ the schools of engineering, which is male-dominated.

“Rights are not given in parts – it should be in whole”

Surgeons, they used to be male – now you can find orthopaedic surgeons who are women. They can do everything. And that’s because of education. And women started not to underestimate themselves. Because education builds confidence inside them, and it helps a lot.

The PIE: Are you looking for new partners for Daughters for Life?

IA: My visit to London is to inspire hope. During the visit I will explore the potentials for partnership with academic institutions to support Daughters for Life.

In every bad thing, there is something good. Life is what we make of it, it’s in our hands. If you want to accept the bad life, take responsibility about your life. That’s why the tragedy of the killing of my daughters, I wanted to invest it for good. Nothing is more holy and noble than education of girls and young women, and giving back to people. And that’s one of the messages I want to spread.

So we seek partnerships with HEIs in the UK . We hope for internationalisation and universalisation of education – they are not coming here just to be educated and to benefit, they will be ambassadors of the HEI when they go back. And they will start the process of collaboration, partnership and sharing.

I hope and we appeal through The PIE to UK institutions to join Daughters for Life in this partnership to support these young women. We want to choose these talented young women who are deprived of resources and we will be proud to say we did our part in making a difference in our world.

The PIE: Do you have future thoughts on expanding Daughters for Life outside of the Middle East?

IA: I would love to see Daughters for Life as international – it’s not where I am, or where I’m from, it’s about our world. So I would love to see Daughters for Life International – supporting young women from everywhere. And that’s the message, but this needs the support – we have it as a registered charity in Canada, we look forward to having it in the UK too, and having more partners so it can fulfil its message and mission.

The PIE: How can readers be involved or help?

IA: We need institutional partners to be able to give scholarships – from my side, I am ready to move ahead. This is my mission in life, to speak and communicate with educators to spread the message.

The PIE: What’s your opinion of the Saudi project 2030 and the Crown Prince’s ‘liberalisation of society’ – reforms to change the life of women?

IA: As Izzeldin, not as an Arab, as a human: I belong to this world, and I have seen this world. We, men and women, we’re created from Adam and Eve. Not two men, and one woman. We were born equal. Why? To compliment each other, to support each other. To build, develop, create – not to control or intimidate each other. Once we start to control, we create imbalance in the relationship. So what is needed to fix the imbalance? It’s important for anyone to work on this.

Concerning what is happening in Saudi Arabia, and in many parts of the world, it’s time. That’s why Daughters For Life is making it international, to advocate for equality and education of girls and young women. Because rights are not given in parts. It should be in whole.

They give life, what do you expect from a woman who gives life, nurtures life, sacrifices? She cares. 

Women are the incubator of our world.

You can learn more about partnering with Daughters For Life here

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UK: learning Mandarin will give children ‘significant’ career boost

The PIE News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:50

More than three-quarters of UK business leaders believe fluency in Mandarin Chinese will give school leavers a career advantage, with more than a quarter saying it would be ‘significant’, according to a survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

The MEP, which is delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, is an intensive language program that was introduced in 2016 to increase the number of young people with Mandarin language skills.

Out of 1,154 senior decision makers surveyed in February 2018, 77% said that speaking a high level of Mandarin would be beneficial to school pupils in their future careers.

“The Programme is on track to have 5,000 pupils fluent in Mandarin by 2020”

Of the total respondents, 28% said the advantage to school leavers would be ‘significant’, with this percentage rising to 31% amongst those working for companies with an annual turnover of £10 million or more.

The survey also found that 69% felt that Mandarin Chinese skills – particularly conversational – would be important for UK businesses and the economy in future, although 66% said that it is currently difficult to recruit fluent speakers from within the UK workforce.

When asked about language learning more widely, 82% agreed that language teaching in schools “should reflect important potential growth markets for British trade and business”.

Respondents came from a variety of sectors including manufacturing, construction, medical and finance, and a mix of small, medium and large organisations across the country.

82% agreed that language teaching “should reflect important potential growth markets”. Image: YouGov


Commenting on the findings, UK schools minister Nick Gibb said young people who are fluent in Mandarin will be at an advantage when competing for jobs with their peers from around the world.

“Education standards are rising… but we must do more to ensure our education system is fit for the future demands of a modern economy,” Gibb said.

“That is why we introduced the Mandarin Excellence Programme, which is on track to have 5,000 pupils fluent in Mandarin by 2020.

“The enthusiasm and energy that both pupils and teachers are committing to this program is inspiring, and will help Britain to compete in an increasingly global economy.”

Official figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications highlight a 7.3% drop in the number of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland taking GCSE language exams in 2017.

A total of 4,104 students took Mandarin Chinese at GCSE level in the UK, as compared with 130,509 who took French.

However, head of Schools Programmes at the British Council Mark Herbert told The PIE News that Mandarin is becoming an increasingly popular language to learn.

“By the time these children complete the program, they will be approaching fluency”

“Academically, Mandarin is really interesting because it provides access to the culture and history of China,” Herbert said.

“Mandarin is a key language that [businesses] are looking for in their workforce in the future, so children who have fluency automatically have a leg up in their CV and have a career advantage.

Herbert said that because the MEP is an intensive program that requires hard work and dedication, extra funding is provided to the schools that deliver it.

“It’s intense, but the pupils have an opportunity to progress much more rapidly than with traditional European languages such as Spanish, French or German. By the time these children complete the program, they will be approaching fluency,” he said.

Director of the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute Katharine Carruthers added that MEP pupils, their parents and UK businesses should be encouraged by the success of the program.

“Employers can feel reassured that there are young people coming through the school system who can meet business needs when it comes to communicating with one of the UK’s largest trading partners,” she added.

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

American Council on Education - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 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.

SI-UK expands to five new countries with new offices

The PIE News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 02:29

Student recruitment firm SI-UK has announced it will expand to five countries in Asia, the Middle East and South America in April 2018, as it aims to become the world’s second largest agency of its kind.

The company, which started in Japan in 2006, has 23 offices in 15 countries including India, the UK and Turkey. It began as an agency sending Japanese students to UK HEIs, and to this day sends global students to the UK education system. It has now expanded to provide recruitment services for FE colleges and language schools, along with universities.

“Our universities have been encouraging us to open offices in these regions”

The cities in which SI-UK will open offices in 2018 are: Kathmandu, Nepal; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Rawalpindi, Pakistan; Bogota, Colombia; and Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The company also plans to open six to eight new global offices each year until 2021, increasing the number of offices worldwide to over 50. If completed, SI-UK claims this goal will make it the world’s second largest educational agency.

In 2014, the it opened new offices in China, Thailand and Nigeria.

The announcement of expansion into five in 2018 comes after SI-UK assisted with over 28,000 university applications, and senior management foresees a double digit growth for the upcoming year.

Orion Judge, director of SI-UK Global said that SI-UK had been interested in opening in the five countries as they have been strong markets for study in the UK.

“Our universities have been encouraging us to open offices in these and other regions, which add to the diversity of international students studying at UK campuses,” he said.

“SI-UK’s target is to open country offices in all major UK HE recruitment markets, including upcoming markets. We are certain the SI-UK brand will become the dominant global agency brand within the next five years.”

Over 125 multi-lingual counsellors provide students with guidance, test preparation and visa support pre-departure, while UK offices in London and Manchester offer post-arrival services. Judge added that the company will employ at least a further 25 multi-lingual counsellors in new offices.

SI-UK works with over 100 UK universities, according to Judge.

“Universities sign contracts based on their regional recruitment needs,” Judge said. “Nevertheless we support a very wide group of U.K. universities in their recruitment needs.”

SI-UK operates university fairs globally, the most recent of which in London attracted over 750 students and 100 universities. The company website is published in 10 languages.

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President apologizes for not taking a stand against sexist talk

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:43

The president of the University of Portland on Tuesday apologized for not doing more when a sexist speech led others to walk out of an awards banquet honoring athletes at the university.

The speech was by a tennis player -- since removed from the university team roster -- who was by the emcee of the event. Multiple press accounts indicate that he focused on his goals as an undergraduate of having sex with white women, and that he used explicit, degrading language to describe these goals. The speaker focused on his experience as one whose parents moved to the United States from India, and talked about how this shaped his desire to sleep with white women.

Some female athletes and university officials were so angered that they walked out. But the president remained. An initial university statement condemned the speech. But the president -- the Rev. Mark L. Poorman -- issued a new statement on Tuesday in which he apologized for not doing more.

As word of the incident spread on campus, Father Poorman sent an email that condemned the talk, but seemed to offer an explanation for why he stayed put during the talk. "These offensive statements do not reflect us, and they do not reflect our mission," he wrote. "This important tradition was the purpose of the evening, and I did not want what happened on stage to take away from the recognition of others in attendance. I apologize to all of you that this occurred."

But on Tuesday he issued a new statement.

"As president, I was in a unique position to stop the proceedings, and I should have done more. I am deeply sorry for what happened and for what should have happened, but did not," Father Poorman wrote.

He added: "In a community where we work so hard to ensure all members feel safe and respected, sometimes it is through experiencing events like this firsthand that we can truly learn. Sometimes we teach our students, and sometimes our students teach us. As members of our community have so eloquently stated, it is our collective duty to stand up and make our voices heard. We cannot afford to remain bystanders. If we see or hear something that violates our standards of conduct, we must speak up, speak out, and ask questions. We all must take responsibility for each other."

Father Poorman added that he has asked university leaders to set up forums for students and others to discuss the incident, and its implications.

The previous day, the Associated Students of the University of Portland issued a statement that condemned as misogynistic and that said students needed to take leadership in tacking issues of sexism and sexual assault on campus.

"Having the courage to do the right thing, to stand up for yourself, for your peers, and for your community in situations similar to what happened last night, is difficult," the statement said. "It is all too easy to watch, to critique, to say how shocked we were. We too often look toward our leaders -- toward the top -- for direction, but in moments like last night, the responsibility to do what is right and just lies with each and every one of us."

An essay in the student newspaper by Olivia Sanchez, a senior at Portland who was at the event as an athlete. She described how she felt unable to remain in the room as the remarks went on and why she walked out.

"Tonight, I had two options. I could stand by and listen to [the speaker] perpetuate rape culture and violence against women, or I could stand up and walk out, and risk coming off as a 'crazy lady' who 'can’t take a joke.'" Sanchez wrote. "I felt trapped. This event was mandatory. I had friends who were being honored. I have woken up at 5:00 in the morning nearly every day of my college career. I have pushed myself physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve success. This night was supposed to be about me. About all of us."

Sanchez's essay noted her appreciation for others who walked out -- including male athletes, not just female athletes. But she noted that the university president "remained seated in the front of the room."

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Federal experiment in nontraditional providers stumbles out of the gate

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00

In October 2015, the Obama administration announced a radical experiment to give low-income students access to boot camps, massive open online courses and other nondegree credentials, mostly from for-profit alternative providers.

The experiment, called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), planned to give unaccredited providers access to federal financial aid in a controlled setting. The idea was to see whether these nontraditional providers could deliver "high standards of quality and positive student outcomes" -- conceivably opening the door for them to receive federal funds. The program also aimed to develop new ways of assessing quality in higher education -- potentially providing alternatives to traditional accreditation, Education Department officials hoped.

The program's goals were beyond ambitious -- and so far it has achieved few if any of them, leading even strong supporters to say that it has "floundered." Eight pilot programs were selected in August 2016, but it was not until this month that the first program received final approval to launch -- a year later than expected. And three of the eight programs have dropped out.

“It’s been a slog,” said Marc Singer, vice provost of the Center for the Assessment of Learning at Thomas Edison State University, a participant in one EQUIP project.

Unforeseen Challenges

While it's hard to pinpoint exactly why EQUIP developed so slowly, its ambition and complexity almost certainly have a lot to do with it. Each of the eight programs selected represents a partnership between a traditional university or college, a nontraditional provider, and a quality-assurance entity (QAE). In every case, the partners had to interpret federal rules and guidelines as they went along, and in many cases, the partners had not done similar work before. The Thomas Edison partnership is instructive.

The New Jersey institution is participating in EQUIP with Study.com, a for-profit company that offers online courses for college credit, and Quality Matters, a nonprofit organization that sets standards for online learning. Singer is approaching the institution’s participation in EQUIP as a research opportunity. The university focuses on degree completion and already accepts students who have obtained college credit through Study.com.

Participation in EQUIP will allow the institution to test whether students who have used Study.com have comparable knowledge to those who obtained their credit elsewhere. “It’s a way for us to validate what we’ve been doing for a long time,” said Singer.

The process has been more onerous than Singer expected. He praised the work of Quality Matters as the partnership’s quality assurer. “They have been very clear on what the goals should be,” he said. “They hold us to high standards.” Those high standards take time, however. Quality Matters has evaluated Study.com’s courses, and it has taken time for Study.com to respond to feedback. Additionally, the university has had to “make a lot of changes to our processes” to enable it to distribute financial aid to students taking courses at Study.com.

“We had to modify our systems, fill out forms for Title IV purposes, and we had to spend time getting approval from our regional accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education -- which seemed odd because the feds already approved it,” said Singer.

There was also a clarification of the rules just a few months ago that caused a substantial setback, said Singer. Study.com operates a subscription model that enables students to take as much time to complete courses as they need, but the Department of Education decided that in order to qualify for financial aid, all courses must have a beginning and end date. “Study.com hadn’t done that before, and we didn’t go in thinking they would have to. In fact, one of the advantages for me was to see if a non-term-based approach would work,” said Singer. “It took some time to figure that out.”

While Thomas Edison is still pending approval to launch its pilot, one program has already been given the green light by the Department of Education. Students at Brookhaven College, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District, will soon be able to complete more than 50 percent of their course work for an online associate degree through StraighterLine -- a for-profit online course provider. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation will be the quality-assurance entity.

Burck Smith, CEO and founder of StraighterLine, said the launch of the pilot allows the partnership to recruit up to 600 students to start this August. Though he hopes the offering will be popular, Smith notes that there is some risk. Two of the features that make StraighterLine popular with students -- the subscription pricing model and the ability to start classes at any time -- won’t be possible under the financial aid rules. As with Study.com, it took StraighterLine some time to work out how to implement this change.

As a safeguard, StraighterLine will ask students to complete a free trial course for credit before they can start using financial aid. “This should ensure that the Title IV funding is used appropriately. It will also identify students who might be better suited to a different program,” said Smith.

EQUIP is a significant recognition of companies like StraighterLine by the Department of Education, said Smith. “It’s an acknowledgment that alternative providers have business models that should be subsidized like traditional colleges,” he said. “But how that happens remains an open question. EQUIP is a first baby step to try and figure it out.”

Currently students pay out of pocket or use credit cards to take StraighterLine courses, said Smith. “The financial aid pathway expands the potential for students to take advantage of our services.” StraighterLine courses start at $59, with a monthly $99 subscription fee.

The Ones that Got Away

Three of the eight programs selected for EQUIP are no longer taking part.

The University of Texas at Austin pulled out due to concerns that it “would not be able to develop the necessary infrastructure for the program within the expected timeline,” a spokesperson said. Sheila Sharbaugh, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Wilmington University, said that her institution withdrew from EQUIP because “we simply chose to go in a different direction.” Colorado State University-Global described its participation in the program as “on hold” but didn’t say why.

An analysis by the education consultancy EAB, published in early 2017, said that many participants in EQUIP were “unclear” about what metrics would be used to determine the success of the program. This lack of guidance made it difficult for both the quality-assurance entities and traditional accreditors to grant approval, the report suggested.

Bethany Little, a principal at the consultancy EducationCounsel, has been working to analyze the early results of EQUIP with the support of the Lumina Foundation. Little has focused on the role of the quality assurers in her research, which is forthcoming.

Little said that the clearest early lesson from EQUIP is that the program has been challenging for the quality-assurance entities, particularly for those that had to design a framework from scratch. Each QAE has developed its own unique set of quality indicators, but none of the quality-assurance approaches are ready to be rolled out at scale.

“I think it’s been harder than anyone expected,” said Little. “Putting in place a structure to judge quality has been challenging. The ones that have gotten the furthest seem to be the ones that are doing things in a much more traditional way.”

Status of the Eight EQUIP Programs Institution Nontraditional provider Quality-assurance entity Type of Program Status Colorado State University Global Campus Guild Education Tyton Partners Certificate in management and leadership fundamentals. Credit can be applied toward bachelor's degree. On hold Dallas County Community College District StraighterLine Council for Higher Education Accreditation Associate's degrees in business or criminal justice Approved Marylhurst University Epicodus Climb Certificate in web and mobile development Pending approval Northeastern University General Electric American Council on Education Bachelor's degree in advanced manufacturing Pending approval State University of New York Flatiron School American National Standards Institute Certificate in web development Pending approval Thomas Edison State University Study.com Quality Matters Bachelor's degrees in business administration or liberal studies Pending approval University of Texas at Austin Hack Reactor Entangled Solutions and Moody, Famiglietti & Andronico, LLP Certificate in web development On hold Wilmington University Zip Code Wilmington Hacker Rank Certificate in software development On hold

Split From the Start

Aside from allowing low-income students to access new providers, EQUIP allows universities and colleges to outsource more than 50 percent of their education programs to nonaccredited third-party providers (which currently is prohibited under the Higher Education Act), and it explores new models of quality assurance that would focus more on outcomes than traditional accreditation.

From the outset, EQUIP has been controversial. Some have praised the Department of Education’s willingness to try innovative new models, while others have warned it could be a dangerous loophole that would allow for abuse of government funding.

Writing for Inside Higher Ed in 2016, Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said that EQUIP had been poorly designed, with “no apparent safeguards against consequences of failed experiments.”

Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, helped to design EQUIP while on sabbatical at the Education Department in 2015. LeBlanc said that even within the department, there was a lot of resistance to EQUIP. “There were harsh critics who thought this was opening the door to for-profits and bad actors again, and then there were those, like myself, who thought that the quality assurance mechanisms were very robust.”

Though EQUIP continues to be supported by the Trump administration, and may serve as a model for further distribution of financial aid to nontraditional providers, LeBlanc said he felt the EQUIP experiment had "floundered."

“I think it’s fair to say that when we designed EQUIP, we thought by now the partnerships would be stood up and we would be learning a lot about new ways of doing quality assurance,” said LeBlanc. “It feels like the program just isn’t coming together in the way that we originally hoped.”

LeBlanc said he would like to see an assessment of why EQUIP hasn’t made more progress so that any issues can be addressed and the program expanded. “Or if it’s too broken, then we need another approach.”

There is still a lot of interest in the pieces that EQUIP tried to bring together, said LeBlanc: nontraditional providers, outcomes of competency-based learning and quality assurance.

LeBlanc said he believes higher education is moving toward greater program granularity, with more providers and more ways for students to demonstrate what they know.

"If that’s the big vision," he said, "then we’re going to need more EQUIPs, or something like it, to make sure we get it right."

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University of Maryland removes guide for teaching assistants amid uproar over sexist advice

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00

A guide for teaching assistants in computer science at the University of Maryland at College Park notes that the women in the group may be subject to sexist treatment from male students who may try "to challenge your authority, to trip you up, or (more subtly) to try to compromise your status by flippancy or suggestive remarks."

That female TAs in a traditionally male field may experience sexism is hardly a controversial statement. But the advice on how to deal with such a situation angered many when excerpts from the guide were posted to Twitter Tuesday.

Female TAs were advised to defend themselves in "friendly but firm" ways. While dealing with this kind of sexism can be "annoying," the guide said, "be patient" and the behavior will likely pass.

Male TAs, meanwhile, were advised to be aware that "a few female students" might try to flirt with them for advantage. The men were advised to remember "it's very likely the lure of your position" that is leading to this admiration.

As the tweet that featured the quotes shows, many found the advice sexist, out of date and demeaning.

Straight out of UMD’s handbook for TAs:
Female TAs should expect to have their authority challenged more than males, yet they have to be “patient” and tolerant and constantly have to prove their worth. Why do we accept and normalize this discriminatory behavior? pic.twitter.com/egjuhrOark

— annie (@_anniebao) April 16, 2018

As outrage grew on Twitter, the department took down the guide.

Ming C. Lin, the chair, issued this statement: "The TA Handbook posted on the CS website contained highly inappropriate, stereotypical characterizations of women. The handbook has been removed from the site, and we apologize for its offensive contents. While the origin of this handbook is not immediately known, it does not reflect our department’s values or beliefs. We denounce all misogynistic attitudes toward women and will continue to work diligently to provide all students a warm and welcoming environment to learn and succeed."

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A New Jersey community college is investigating a professor who swore at a conservative student who argued that men are sexually harassed, too

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00

Brookdale Community College is investigating a professor of sociology who cursed at a conservative student.

The incident, which was captured on video by a second student and has since been shared online, happened last week during a class on intercultural communication. 

The context of the discussion is unclear from the video. But Howard Finkelstein, the professor, can be heard asking the student, “Did you really take the time to think about how that might impact [inaudible]?” 

When a student asks if Finkelstein wants a real-life example of the topic, the professor says, “No, I’m asking you. Fuck your life.” 



Christopher Lyle, the student, told NJ.com that he’d angered Finkelstein that class session by insisting that both men and women can be sexually harassed. Beyond last week, Lyle said, Finkelstein routinely seeks to argue with him about his stated conservative political leanings.

"I am being discriminated against at my school because of my beliefs," Lyle said. ”It's a shame."

Finkelstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Avis McMillon, a college spokesperson, confirmed that Brookdale is investigating the matter.

“College officials are investigating the allegations made by the student so that we can understand the full context of the incident,” she said via email. “No action will be taken until the investigation is complete.”

Brookdale does not have a policy against recording professors in the classroom, McMillon said. 

Lyle also told NJ.com that he was pulled out of class by an administrator the day after the recorded discussion, and asked about the fact that he has guns.

McMillon defended that decision, saying that it is in the best interest “of all members of [the] community for the college to do its due diligence when a student or employee mentions firearms during the process of an investigation.” That matter has already been investigated and closed, she said.

One other student has publicly accused Finkelstein of repeatedly calling out Lyle for his political views during class. 

John K. Wilson, an academic freedom expert and co-editor of the American Association of University Professors’ "Academe" blog, said that, in general, a professor “should not have his entire teaching record judged on the worst few seconds of a class taken out of context.” 

Sometimes good professors "say provocative things, or even pound a table, as a teaching technique to get the attention of students," for example, he said. Using the F-word in the classroom “is not unprofessional or deserving of punishment,” Wilson added, and directly confronting the views of students is “not inherently unprofessional," either.

In the Brookdale case, Wilson said, “everyone should be subject to criticism, but no one should be punished for expressing their opinions. If the full context of Finkelstein's comments in this class reveal that he behaved badly — and taught the class badly — then he deserves criticism for it. But we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions from 34 seconds of video taken out of context.”


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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:00


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