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It’s impossible to examine state higher education finances in 2016 without separating the collapse in Illinois from a more nuanced picture across the rest of the country.
State and local support for higher education in Illinois plunged as the state’s lawmakers and governor were unable to reach a budget agreement and instead passed severely pared-down stopgap funding. Educational appropriations per full-time equivalent student in the state skidded 80 percent year over year, from $10,986 to $2,196. Enrollment in public institutions dropped by 11 percent, or 46,000 students.
That situation proved to be enough of an outlier that it weighed down several key markers in the 2016 State Higher Education Finance report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers association, which is being released today. The report annually offers an in-depth look at the breakdown of state and local funding, tuition revenue, enrollment, and degree completion across public higher education, a sector that enrolls roughly three-quarters of students in U.S. postsecondary education.
Include Illinois in the report’s key markers, and overall public support for higher education fell by 1.8 percent per full-time equivalent student in 2016, to $6,954, according to the report. Exclude Illinois, and overall support increased by 3.2 percent, to $7,116.
A 3.2 percent increase would have represented the fourth straight year of greater per-student public support for higher education across the country. However, it would not have matched the 5.2 percent increase reported last year.
“Our data is made up of so many different states,” said Sophia Laderman, SHEEO data analyst and the report’s primary author. “Without Illinois, we’re seeing an increase in appropriations per student, after adjusting for inflation. But it’s smaller than in the previous year.”
Breaking down the nationwide average shows significant variation between states, likely driven by localized economic and political conditions. Support for public higher education declined in 17 states in 2016, including Illinois. Support rose in 33 states. Oregon posted the largest increase in a state, of 14.6 percent. Oklahoma posted the largest decrease outside of Illinois, 12.6 percent.
Support fell by more in two other jurisdictions the report incorporates -- it fell by 42 percent in the District of Columbia and 17.6 percent in Puerto Rico.
The year before, in 2015, support fell in only 10 states. It rose in 40. The increase in the number of states cutting support per full-time equivalent indicates they could be dedicating more money to other priorities like health-care costs and pensions. It could also signal more financial pressures for colleges and universities. That in turn could lead to higher tuition at public institutions.
Yet public colleges and universities posted their lowest increase in tuition revenue in years in 2016. Net tuition revenue per full-time equivalent rose by 2.1 percent at public institutions across the country, including Illinois, from $6,176 to $6,305.
“You see some institutions in some states basically have frozen tuition,” said George Pernsteiner, president of SHEEO. “Some have actually rolled it back, but I think most institutions in most states are now much more cognizant of the affordability problems that their students are encountering and much more reluctant to push for big tuition increases.”
Still, tuition took on increasing importance in public institutions’ budgets. The share of total educational revenue represented by tuition increased to 47.8 percent in 2016, up from 46.8 percent in 2015. It climbed near an all-time high of 48 percent recorded in 2013. Excluding Illinois, tuition income would have been 47.2 percent of educational revenues.
The increasing reliance on tuition is likely due to several factors beyond the situation in Illinois. Notably, enrollment in community colleges has fallen in the years since the recession. That shifted the overall student body to be more heavily enrolled in higher-tuition four-year colleges and universities.
The SHEEO report’s authors noted that more and more states are relying heavily on tuition revenue, though. A handful of large states that heavily subsidize public institutions, like California and New York, pull down the U.S. average for tuition as a percentage of educational revenue. A total of 31 states relied on net tuition for a higher-than-average percentage of total educational revenue in 2016. Just two years ago, only 28 states did so.
A future U.S. recession or economic shock will likely push the country past the point where net tuition accounts for half of U.S. educational revenue, said Andy Carlson, SHEEO principal policy analyst. Many individual states are already past that point, he said.
“Probably during the next official downturn, the U.S. number will hit 50 percent,” Carlson said. “But the reality is that in 25 states we’re already there.”
Recessions typically lead states to cut educational appropriations as their own tax revenues fall. That in turn leaves public colleges and universities more reliant on tuition as a source of revenue.
Looking ahead, several states cut their support for higher education in 2017, according to another report, the Grapevine survey, released earlier this year. Still, that report showed appropriations across all states growing 3.4 percent in 2017.
Over all, state and local governments provided almost $90.5 billion in higher education support in 2016, counting Illinois, according to SHEEO. That’s down slightly from about $91 billion in 2015. It represents the first decline in four years.
Public support has generally yet to recover from a high point in 2008, the year before the Great Recession devastated state budgets. Just five states offered more public support per student in 2016 than in 2008. Institutions are still collecting more dollars per full-time enrollment thanks to higher tuition revenue, however. In 2008, educational appropriations per full-time-equivalent student averaged $8,380, while net tuition was $4,644. In 2016, educational appropriations per student were $6,954 and tuition was $6,305.
States have increased support for student financial aid. State funding for student financial aid programs at public institutions jumped 2 percent, to $7.1 billion, in 2016. That’s up from $5 billion at a previous peak in 2008.
Money dedicated to financial aid has been rising slowly but steadily, according to Pernsteiner, SHEEO’s president.
“I think some states are recognizing that if they do not believe they can afford any longer to support every student, then they’ll support those with the most need,” he said.
Full-time-equivalent enrollment at public institutions fell about 1 percent nationwide, to 11.1 million. It’s the fifth straight year of an enrollment decline after a peak of 11.6 million in 2011. Enrollments rose in the early years of the Great Recession but have been declining since then. Such a pattern is common during and after recessions, as students gravitate toward education when the economy struggles and move back into the job market when it improves.
Degree completion has been on the rise, however. The SHEF report only has degree completion data available through 2015. But it shows that certificate completion rose 3.6 percent between 2014 and 2015 and associate degree completion rose 3.2 percent during that time. Meanwhile, bachelor’s degree completion rose 2 percent, master’s degree completion increased 1.4 percent and doctoral degree completion climbed 1.5 percent. Full-time-equivalent enrollment dipped 1 percent during the time frame.
Over the 10-year window between 2005 and 2015, total certificate and degree completion at public institutions across the country jumped 35.5 percent, to about 2.9 million, according to the report. Enrollment grew more slowly, by just 12.9 percent, to about 11.2 million.
In other words, completions per 100 students rose by 20 percent over the decade, to 26.3.
That’s an important point, according to Pernsteiner.
“It says the institutions are more effective and the students are more focused on earning degrees than they were a decade ago,” he said. “I think part of that is the drumbeat of the economy. Part of that is the focus that states have put on attainment goals. But regardless of why, it is occurring.”Editorial Tags: Business issuesState policyIllinoisImage Source: SHEEOIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Faculty members at Whitman fight for more say in how the administration raises its student-faculty ratio
Professors at Whitman College know they have it better than most. Enrollments are steady. A capital campaign that exceeded its $150 million goal is now complete. The sabbatical policy is generous and the student-faculty ratio is low -- so low, in fact, that the administration wants to shift it from approximately eight to one to 10 to one over the next five years through faculty attrition in departments with the fewest majors, among other factors, according to faculty accounts. And there’s the rub.
“There’s cognitive dissonance between the college having this successful campaign and a lot of new buildings and infrastructure going up on campus, and then being told at the same time that the student-faculty ratio is too low,” said Matt Reynolds, an associate professor of art history and visual culture studies, “and it’s going to go back to 10 to one through these austerity measures.”
For faculty members at many colleges and universities, one full-time, tenure-track faculty member for every eight students will seem blessedly low. And, to clarify, professors at Whitman generally agree that there’s room to raise the ratio eventually. The college’s historical ratio is 10 to one, after all, but it shrank in recent years with a surge in faculty hires. Those stem from an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to fill slots for professors, who can go on sabbatical every fifth semester, and an “academic strength” portion of the fund-raising campaign that created 16 new professorships and made permanent an additional 13 temporary or visiting positions.
Objections relate mainly to the way Whitman has decided to increase the ratio -- by not filling departing faculty appointments in programs with the lowest numbers of majors and other metrics, faculty members say. The college says no particular programs are being targeted but that a 10-to-one ratio will put it more in line with peer institutions. So perhaps the biggest dissonance on campus of late is that between what at least appears to be quantitative approach to academic staffing and a deeply qualitative academic culture.
Reynolds, for example, tells many of his advisees, “It doesn’t matter what you major in here at Whitman -- you’re here to get a liberal arts education that’s balanced and broad and gives you perspective on the world.” He added, “I’ve really believed and embraced that, and it’s led to instances of us not recruiting students [as majors] because we felt like we were making a difference in the curriculum through our classes.”
Indeed, Reynolds’s department plays a big role in the college’s general education program, and lower-level courses tend to fill up fast, he said. But the service-department mission -- with its emphasis on students taught, not majors -- seems to be backfiring. The department was just told that it will not be able to hire a replacement professor for a retiring colleague. The department will have three art historians now and no expert in European art.
Classics is another department affected by metric-based decision making. Dana Burgess, Charles E. and Margery B. Anderson Endowed Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, said his department offers both ancient language and classical civilization courses, with greater enrollments in the latter due to their all-English materials.
Because of that “complicated” metric profile, the department worries that it will only be able to offer classical civilization courses after positions are eliminated, Burgess said. Yet, he added, “I believe that language learning has real value, and that learning dead languages is especially intellectually valuable,” since students focus much more on language structure than they do in modern, spoken languages.
Lack of ancient language instruction would also leave classical civilization courses “shallower than they should be,” Burgess said.
Like Reynolds, Burgess said decisions about how the college will up its ratio have taken place at the Board of Trustees level with insufficient input from faculty members.
The changes are concentrated thus far in the humanities -- a major theme of a popular op-ed Reynolds recently published in the campus newspaper. But some in math and the sciences also have expressed concern about process and the impact of the cuts on the institution as a whole.
Marion Götz, chair of chemistry, said her department won’t be targeted but that she’s nevertheless “worried about the stringent timeline for removing [full-time faculty lines].” As a result of the reduction of such positions, she said, “our curriculum for majors and distribution courses is being altered without the input from the faculty as a whole.”
Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn, Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership and Whitman’s former provost and dean of the faculty, said there were numerous reasons for the upsurge in faculty positions in recent years, not least of all the success of the capital campaign. And at a small college such as his, he said, even relatively small fluctuations in faculty size will have a big impact if enrollments stay the same.
As to the current debate, Kaufman-Osborn said that he understood how some might conclude that the current student-faculty ratio is unsustainable. However, he said via email, “if the principle of shared governance is to be respected, it is crucial that the faculty and its elected representatives be vitally involved in determining where specific cutbacks are to be made.”
Moreover, he added, if Whitman wants to “retain its identity as a liberal arts college, any reductions in instructional staff must not be determined exclusively through reference to enrollments in specific disciplines.”
Why? Providing students with the education they’ve been promised means maintaining “a robust curriculum that acknowledges the centrality of the humanities, as well as the social and natural sciences,” he said.
Gina Ohnstad, college spokesperson, said via email that as the college continues the best way to use its resources, “we believe the money that we could spend to maintain an eight-to-one ratio could be better used in other ways in order to have the greatest impact on the student academic experience.”
Ohnstad confirmed the five-year timeline, saying it was set by the board “in consultation with college leadership.” Yet she cautioned it was tentative and said that just as the ratio had taken several years to reach eight to one, it will take time to reach 10 to one. That figure more closely aligns with peer institutions, she said.
Felician College cited a similar goal when it laid off more than a dozen longtime faculty members in 2014, eventually earning it censure from the American Association of University Professors. It said at the time that it had been struggling with enrollments, which Whitman is not. At the same time, other institutions with unusually low student-faculty ratios, such as embattled Sweet Briar College (as low as five to one), show what can go wrong when these figures aren’t aligned with financial plans.
For reference, Whitman’s endowment is approximately $500 million. That’s healthy but significantly smaller than endowments of some other liberal arts colleges that pride themselves on low instructional ratios, such as Swarthmore College ($1.8 billion) or Williams College ($2.3 billion).
Regarding shared governance, Ohnstad pushed back on faculty accounts, saying that the ratio issue has been a topic of campus conversations for several years. President Kathy Murray, who assumed that role in 2015, held an open forum with faculty members last spring to discuss it, get feedback and hear concerns, for example, the spokesperson said. Murray’s also discussed student-faculty ratios at a number of post-board meeting information sessions, she added, and the new provost also has engaged department and division chairs.
“Every time we evaluate whether or not to fill a specific tenure-track position, the provost keeps faculty informed throughout the decision process,” Ohnstad said, pushing back on faculty accounts once again by saying that no specific department is being targeted. “This is in contrast to our previous practice where departments would put in requests and not learn of the outcome until a final decision. Whitman is very proud of its model of shared governance, and we take faculty input on these topics very seriously.”
Ohnstad described Whitman’s longstanding evaluative process for filling faculty lines as consisting of five criteria: student demand for majors and courses, how a position serves the mission of the college, if not filling a position would end an academic program, if not filling the position would mean the demise of a specialty in a program, and how the position affects other departments and programs.
That’s somewhat similar to an academic prioritization process used by a number of colleges and universities in recent years to assess the viability of academic programs (though no actual programs at Whitman are at risk, just faculty lines). But professors say no one’s used that terminology on campus as of yet.
One of the college’s fund-raising goals was to “broaden and deepen the curriculum through strategic additions to the faculty.” Reynolds said he worried some of that -- including important contributions to diversity -- would be undone by the full-time faculty cuts.
More than anything, he wants to help Whitman stay Whitman.
“I have loved my job since I got here, which is why I feel like I’m fighting hard for us to take a long look at this,” he said.Teaching and LearningEditorial Tags: Liberal artsImage Caption: Whitman CollegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
The University of California, Berkeley, told students who planned to bring writer Ann Coulter to campus next week that they could not do so, saying the university has "been unable to find a safe and suitable venue" for the event.
Coulter, who revels in controversy, announced that she would show up next week anyway.
The controversy is likely to add to an intensifying debate over free speech on American college campuses. Just this week, Auburn University tried to prevent Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, from appearing, but let him speak when a federal judge gave the university no choice. Auburn, like Berkeley, cited safety concerns. And in February, Berkeley called off a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, then a Breitbart editor known for inflammatory campus rhetoric, amid a violent protest by "anti-fascist" groups from off campus and a large nonviolent protest by students. Berkeley had, until the protest turned violent, defended the right of Yiannopoulos to appear. Also this spring, students shouted down Charles Murray at Middlebury College (forcing him to speak via live stream) and prevented Heather Mac Donald from having an audience at Claremont McKenna College or answering questions at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Berkeley officials have been concerned about violent reactions to speakers not only because of the Yiannopoulos clashes but because of at times violent protests in the city of Berkeley in recent weeks.
Reports have circulated on social media that various groups would use Coulter's appearance at Berkeley for another round of violent protests. A post on Reddit, referring to the "anti-fascist movement" that stormed the campus before the Yiannopoulos visit, said, "Ann Coulter will be speaking at UC Berkeley on the 27th of April. These Antifa clowns are going to be their [sic] to take cheap shot at us. Help us cold cock some antifa ***s."
A letter from two Berkeley vice chancellors, Scott Biddy and Stephen Sutton, to the Republican campus group that invited Coulter expressed regret over having to call off her visit. "We regret this outcome -- especially given our unqualified support for our students’ right to bring speakers of their choosing to the university, and our deep commitment to the values and principles embedded in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," the letter said.
But the letter explained why university officials believed they had no choice.
"The campus retains responsibility for ensuring safety and security during such events. This includes the safety and security of invited speakers, of those who attend such events, of our community neighbors and of those who choose to exercise their own First Amendment rights by lawfully protesting the presence of speakers with whom they disagree. In this context, we greatly appreciate recent public comments by your spokespeople, who have offered full support for increased security measures in and around high-profile events," the letter said. "As a general matter, the timing of an event, as well the location and nature of the venue, play an important role when it comes to the safety and security of the speaker, attendees, our community neighbors, as well as individuals engaged in lawful protest. In the wake of events surrounding the planned appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos in February, as well as several riots which have occurred in recent weeks in the city of Berkeley, we have increased our scrutiny regarding the time and location of high-profile speakers so that these events can go forward unimpeded."
Coulter on Twitter denounced the university and said she would appear -- and planned to sue Berkeley. She had been scheduled to talk about immigration.
Instructing Berkeley student group to spare no expense in renting my speaking venue - part of my legal damages. https://t.co/EQsiAEWPpW— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 19, 2017
Young Americans for Freedom, one of the groups that has sponsored Coulter's visit, issued a statement accusing the university of making its decision based on dislike of Coulter's politics. The statement compared Berkeley leaders to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator.
Prior to the event being called off, an editorial in The Daily Californian, the student newspaper, questioned the value of bringing Coulter to campus, noting that she attracts attention with her rhetoric but doesn't engage in sustained discussion with those who might disagree with her views.
"With her past incendiary remarks toward Muslims, Mexicans and many other communities of color, Coulter has shown an unwillingness to partake in intellectual discourse," the editorial said. "Simply put, she would astonish us if she sparked meaningful dialogue on campus."Editorial Tags: Academic freedomImage Caption: Ann CoulterIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Whittier College announced Wednesday that it will no longer admit students to its law school.
While currently enrolled students will be able to continue through graduation, the law school is effectively shutting down.
Many law schools in recent years -- with fewer students applying and a tough job market facing graduates -- have shrunk the size of their student bodies. But actually shutting a law school is highly unusual. (Two law schools in Minnesota merged in 2015.)
A statement from the board of Whittier College said the board has been considering the future of the law school since 2015 and considered options such as having the law school become part of another institution. But none of those plans worked out, the statement from the board said. "We believe we have looked at every realistic option to continue a successful law program. Unfortunately, these efforts did not lead to a desired outcome," the statement said.
A statement posted on the law school's website, with a notice that it could be attributed to the law school, criticized the board's decision.
"We are obviously devastated by the Whittier College Board of Trustees’ decision to discontinue the program of legal education at Whittier Law School," the statement said. "For more than 50 years, we have provided a high-quality education to students of diverse backgrounds and abilities -- students who might not otherwise have been able to receive a legal education and who are now serving justice and enterprise around the world. As is well-known, the last few years have been extremely difficult for law schools across the country. Whittier Law School felt those challenges keenly, and we took significant steps to address them. Sadly, our sponsoring institution opted to abandon the law school rather than provide the time and resources needed to finish paving the path to ongoing viability and success. We believe this action was unwise, unwarranted and unfounded."
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the students at the law school are not white, and Whittier law faculty members have long pointed with pride to their efforts to promote diversity in the legal profession. A slight majority of students are women. The college says that it is the third most diverse law school in the country.
At the same time, Whittier law graduates have struggled on the job market. Data published by the law school about job placement show that just 30 of the school's 141 graduates in 2015 had gained full-time employment that required passing the bar. Preliminary data for 2016 show that 38 of that year's 128 graduates were employed in such positions.
Some law school faculty members have gone to court -- so far without success -- seeking to block Whittier from moving to close its law school. A brief filed by the faculty members says that Whittier College is seeking to profit from the land on which the law school is located, and is violating agreements with professors.
Students at the law school are planning a rally to protest the decision to shut the law school.
The Orange County Register reported that students at the law school said Wednesday that they were stunned by the news when they attended an emergency meeting called by the law school on Wednesday. “They dropped a bomb on us a week before finals,” one student said. “People were in tears.”
Editorial Tags: Law schoolsImage Caption: Whittier Law SchoolIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Study finds women in economics write papers that are more readable, but face longer publication delays
Female economists write papers that are more readable than those produced by their male counterparts but take significantly longer to get published, a new study has found.
Research presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference said that female-authored papers were between 1 and 6 percent better written than male peers’ efforts, according to common readability tests. The gap was largest in published texts rather than in earlier drafts, with the difference principally generated during the peer-review process.
For her paper, “Publishing While Female: Gender Differences in Peer-Review Scrutiny,” Hengel analyzed more than 9,000 articles published in four leading economics journals since 1950. She found that papers written by men typically took around 18 and a half months to pass through peer review, while papers by women took just over two years on average.
The findings indicate that high readability might be the result of unconscious bias during peer review, with women being held to higher standards by reviewers. If women are “stereotypically assumed less capable” and need more evidence to rate as equally competent, the paper says, “well-intentioned referees might (unknowingly) inspect their papers more closely, demand a larger number of revisions and … be less tolerant of complicated, dense writing.”
Although this extra scrutiny is not necessarily a bad thing, Hengel told Times Higher Education that it “isn’t costless”: peer review is prolonged, referees spend more time evaluating women’s papers and women spend more time responding. Hengel said this amounted to a “significant time tax” for female authors, and that these higher standards imposed a “quantity versus quality trade-off” that would affect female academics’ careers.
“Unequal time spent making revisions leads to unequal time conducting new research and potentially justifies lower pay and promotion rates,” she said. “Tougher standards reduce women’s output [but] ignoring them undervalues female labor and may account for general instances of lagging female productivity and wages.”
Besides better readability pre- and post-publication, the paper also found women’s writing gradually improved more over time, whereas men’s did not. Between their first and third published articles, the average readability gap between male and female authors grows by 12 percent, Hengel found.
“In theory, better writing puts women at an advantage,” Hengel concluded. “But although women write more clearly and journals appreciate well-written articles, there’s no evidence that women’s papers are more likely to be accepted than men’s papers. So higher readability standards for female authors only really end up restricting the quantity of research female scientists produce.”Editorial Tags: EconomicsTimes Higher EdWomenIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
- Art Academy of Cincinnati: Mitchell Sutika Sipus, a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow.
- Georgian Court University: Adam Lowy, founder and executive director of Move for Hunger; and the Reverend Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation.
- Harrisburg University of Science and Technology: Kumar Garg, a senior fellow at the Society for Science & the Public.
- Kent State University: Octavia Spencer, the Academy Award-winning actress.
- Marlboro College: U.S. Representative Peter Welch.
- Maryville University: Bill Bradley, the former U.S. senator.
- Mississippi College: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
- Northwood University: Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive; and Mark Scarpelli, chair of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
- Roanoke College: Bishop James Mauney, the retiring bishop of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- San Jacinto College: Lonnie Howard, president of Lamar Institute of Technology.
- Soka University of America: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, co-director of the doctoral program in positive developmental psychology at Claremont Graduate University.
- Southern New Hampshire University: Virginia Prescott, host of the New Hampshire Public Radio show Word of Mouth; and others.
- University of Arkansas at Fayetteville: Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms.
- University of Maine at Farmington: Louis D. Sell, a retired Foreign Service officer.
Around two thirds of students want to vote on the terms of the Brexit deal, according to a survey by the National Union of Students.
The union has placed ensuring international students are welcome in the UK as a top priority in its Brexit negotiations campaign.
The survey, which was conducted this month, found that out of 2,685 students between the ages of 16-24, 63% said they would like a referendum on the terms of the UK exiting the European Union.
Following the prime minister’s decision to trigger Article 50 last month, the union set out four priorities for education which it will push for in the run up to the negotiations, with safeguarding entry for international students topping the list.
“We are fighting to shape the terms on which Brexit takes place”
“A hard Brexit will continue the hostile approach to international students, who have become easy targets – both on campuses and through government policies,” the statement said.
“We believe urgent action is needed to show that international students are welcome.”
The deal must also provide clarity for EU nationals, according to NUS, and maintain student mobility.
“The Erasmus program or alternative programs like it should be a priority in negotiations,” said the statement.
“For Britain to develop a “truly global” approach we will need internationally literate graduates.”
The fourth priority is to preserve UK-EU academic collaboration.
Malia Bouattia, president of NUS, said the union is committed to making sure students do not suffer as a result of the referendum result.
“We are fighting to shape the terms on which Brexit takes place,” she said. “This comes with a certain difficulty, because of the lack of clarity coming from Westminster, but it is our collective task as a movement to fight for better education, to fight for students, for migrants, and for all those who are faced with adverse circumstances.”
“The way we rise to these challenges will shape the future of our sector and our society for years to come.”
The PIE: What is your background in edtech?
RB: I’ve been working in edtech for the last five to six years. I previously worked in technology start-ups, so I knew the technology space. I got into education technology through General Assembly, a US-based education technology company that focuses on teaching people the 21st-century skills that are needed in today’s economy: software engineering, web development, user experience design, digital product manager, digital marketing, all that stuff where there’s a huge demand for people working in those specific fields. They teach through in-person and online courses.
I brought the company to Australia, set it up in Sydney and expanded to Melbourne, then later into Singapore and Hong Kong, where I cut my teeth in running an education company in multiple locations. General Assembly as a whole had 15 to 20 locations around the world.
“The big difference between education and technology is there’s a huge focus on quality in education, as there should be”
The PIE: What were the noticeable differences between the technology sector and the education sector?
RB: There’s some pretty big differences to what I was in before. I ran some fashion tech companies, media tech and advertising tech; they’re all consumer focused. Retail, commerce, those sorts of verticals, which is quite transactional. You’re selling one thing to one person and hoping they’re going to come back.
The big difference around education is there are much higher levels of regulation. There’s a huge focus on quality, as there should be. Quality of education, quality of delivery, quality of teaching methods, teachers and instruction, and heavy emphasis on outcomes. Significant investment, as well. You’re taking a A$15,000-20,000 course where a student’s putting their life on hold for three months to six months. It’s a bigger commitment than buying a piece of fashion online.
All of those differences in the business model were new things for me to get used to, but I want to stay in the edtech industry for the next 20 years. The idea of helping someone gain new skills that they can use to get a job to change their life, it’s great to be a part of that instead of a more transactional type of business.
The PIE: Do those differences present more opportunities?
RB: I think so. I think the [legislation around] quality and regulation create some barriers to entry for people coming into the market, but generally, there’s a huge amount of opportunity in the space. I think there is a lot of change happening in the education market, as everyone in the industry knows, so there’s a huge amount of opportunity there. And combining education and technology – one can’t survive without the other, so bringing those two together is a huge opportunity as an industry.
The PIE: How did you get involved with EduGrowth?
RB: I was asked to get involved through a contact of mine in the industry, [Navitas Ventures chief executive] Patrick Brothers, who was the chairman of EduGrowth at the time and was getting it off the ground. He pitched the idea of a billion learners by 2025 learning from companies and education institutions from around the world. There’s this huge global, borderless education opportunity and we need to bring the start-ups together with the traditional education players.
“There’s this huge global, borderless education opportunity and we need to bring the start-ups together with the traditional education players”
I was sold on the vision from the start. I’ve built individual businesses many times before. I wanted to have a go at building a community organisation working on building an industry.
The PIE: What are the goals of EduGrowth?
RB: The top level goal we have is to build an Australian education industry ecosystem that can serve a percentage of that billion learners by 2025. We want to get 10% for Australian education companies: 100 million learners by 2025.
The sub-level goal is we need a strong educational technology industry. You can’t go and set up campuses all around the world to serve 100 million people, it’s just not going to work. It’s going to be done through scalable systems and through technology. It’s already there, there’s about 350 edtech start-ups in Australia. We want to double that as quickly as we can and continue to grow the industry.
The other big goal we have is to create a collaborative network of all the people within the education industry ecosystem. We want the start-ups talking to the universities, the school principals talking to the start-ups, teachers involved in the equation, international locations and partnerships and students: just trying to create a network for everyone to come together to achieve that goal.
The PIE: The one billion learners statistic comes from a Deloitte Access report referenced in the AIE2025 Roadmap which accompanied the National Strategy. The roadmap only identified a potential 1% of that population for Australia, 10 million learners, so you’re really targeting that market?
RB: I think 1% sounds too easy. We want to set ourselves a bit of a bigger goal that the industry could get behind as well.
What we first need to work out is how far we are towards that goal right now. If we include a start-up like [learning management software] Moodle into that equation, we’ve only got four million left [of the 10 million target]. So, you see, those numbers are quite achievable. Out of those 350 edtech companies, they’re serving millions, tens of millions of learners already through not just traditional education models but online learning through apps, through iPad games. There’s a huge amount of activity already happening, so we want to push a little bit further and go for 10%.
The PIE: What do you define as a learner?
RB: To be honest, we’re still working out the exact definition in terms of working up towards that goal. But it’s someone interacting with or being serviced by a company that’s delivering educational content. That could be micro-courses or several minutes on an iPad game for a primary school student, all the way through to a four- or five-year online MBA degree.
“We’re getting into the area of informal learning or casual learning, at-home learning. It doesn’t have to be in the classroom”
The PIE: So you’re also repositioning what education and learning is?
RB: Yeah, we’re getting into the area of informal learning or casual learning, at-home learning. It doesn’t have to be in the classroom, accredited learning. There’s a huge amount of change that’s happening in the education space so we’re looking at of that.
The PIE: So how is EduGrowth working towards those goals?
RB: We want to create that network, so we run events, we have an online platform, we’re connecting with as many people in the industry as we can. We’ve got this map of stakeholders that are made up of start-ups, universities, teachers, school principals, investors, mentors, everyone that’s interested in working in that space. We want to bring them together in person through events and through our online platform.
Then we have some actual programs that are aligned with our goal of building the edtech industry. We have several acceleration programs that are focused on edtech companies that are in different stages: the early stage, the mid-stage and the late stage. There are launch, full-time and scale accelerator programs.
The PIE: How has EduGrowth been received by institutions and people who have been in the industry for quite a while in a more traditional capacity?
RB: It’s been pretty well received. We have the six founding members that’ve each put in $300,000 for the next five years. We’ve signed up some amazing partners.
“We have the six founding higher education members that’ve each put in $300,000 each for the next five years”
I think it depends on the sector. The higher education sector, I think they’re realising this education technology is really important. It’s going to help them deliver better quality education, it’s going to create some efficiencies for them in all parts of the business, it’s going to make teachers’ and academics’ jobs and lives easier. So we’ve seen some great reception there.
There’s a little lower level of understanding of education technology and its benefits in the K-12 space. There’s a lot of innovation that’s happening; there’s at least half or maybe more edtech companies in Australia focused there. Some of the schools can be inundated by all of the potential solutions they can go to, so we’re also trying to act as a bit of a filter, to be that representative of the edtech companies in the industry, to help those schools understand those opportunities.
The PIE: What are the next steps for EduGrowth after this?
RB: We’ll continue to do more of these programs; we’ll build our network. We want to bring on some more founding partners from other parts of Australia. We have founding partners in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and we’re looking to bring some partners in South Australia and Western Australia, to allow us to extend that network.
Keep running these programs; increase the amount of people we’re interacting with through the programs; grow the volume in the capacity of the events we’re running, just to make that network bigger and bigger.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has announced a three-year, multi-million dollar program of higher education internationalisation initiatives as part of its New Southbound Policy – the national policy to strengthen ties with 18 countries within the ASEAN community, South Asia and Australasia.
The ministry’s Higher Education Department has issued a call for participation in seven internationalisation initiatives that form part of the education and training arm of the policy, the New Southbound Talent Development Policy, including overseas internships and summer schools for international students.
It will allocate a projected NT$430m (US$14.1m) each year for the next three years to initiatives set up by both individual universities and consortia.
“We actively choose to work with Southeast Asian countries: the policy is an encouragement”
The funding will encourage universities to deepen their internationalisation efforts and links with Southeast Asia, Wei-Te Liu, deputy dean of office of international affairs at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, forecasted.
“We indeed actively choose to work with Southeast Asian countries, because there will be several advantages: the first is the policy is an encouragement,” he told The PIE News.
YunTech already has internship links with Vietnam and Malaysia, and intends to forge more, he said.
The ministry has pledged funding in seven areas. Individual universities can apply for financial support for their international recruitment efforts; to set up summer schools for international students; and to establish overseas internships for domestic students in specified areas such as agriculture, engineering and medicine.
Institutions also have the option of forming consortia to develop Southbound initiatives.
By teaming up, they will be able to apply for subsidies in four areas: creating academic alliance organisations with ASEAN; regional academies for economy and trade, culture and industry in ASEAN or South Asian countries; regional teaching centres to teach Southeast Asian languages; and regional talent schemes to develop expertise in culture, economy and trade.
Each of the initiatives aims to foster longstanding relationships with students or businesses in the target countries, and have detailed criteria for how to carry them out.
Summer school courses, for example, must be longer than 14 days and teach at least 25 students. They are intended not only to enable students from the region to enjoy a “cultural experience” in Taiwan, but also to introduce them to the idea of pursuing a degree in Taiwan in the future, it says.
“The core objective is people-oriented, two-way communication and resource sharing”
“In addition to optimising the current policies and measures, the core objective of the New Southbound Talent Development Policy is people-oriented, two-way communication and resource sharing,” the circular reads.
It aims to cultivate “substantive education exchanges with South Asian countries, deepen the interaction between the two sides to achieve mutual benefit, win-win talent cultivation cooperation and a vision for regional economic development vision.”
Universities that wish to receive support from the ministry will also need to provide match funding for their chosen initiatives, Pei-Shan Tsai, dean of Taipei Medical University’s office of global engagement, told The PIE News.
TMU is currently discussing plans to open some form of transnational teaching centre in Southeast Asia, Tsai said.
“It won’t be to teach languages as we have a healthcare focus, but we are considering setting up branch campus in these countries, like a nursing school or even a nutrition school,” she commented.
Funding for the seven higher education initiatives comes from a NT$1bn fund overseen by the Ministry of Education’s cross-departmental New Southbound Talent Development Policy taskforce.
The taskforce’s expansive remit covers three objectives: to equip new immigrants’ children with Southeast Asian language skills and internship experience; to cultivate a deep understanding of Southeast Asian languages, cultures and industries among university teachers and students; and to cultivate the professional, practical and Mandarin language skills of ASEAN and South Asian students.
Announced last year, the New Southbound Policy is part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s push to “revitalise Taiwan’s economy and enhance relations with its neighbouring countries”, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It aims to build social and economic cooperation with the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam – along with Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Australia and New Zealand.
The post Taiwan makes huge investment in building regional HE ties appeared first on The PIE News.
ANIE has just released the Number 3 of the series: African Higher Education: Developments and Perspectives tittled ”Regionalization of African Higher Education, Progress and Prospects”. This is the first book which brings together diverse scholars and policy experts to examine key aspects and challenges of African higher education regionalization. More
Everything about the college presidency today seems to be unsettled, including the career pathways new presidents take on the way to the top job on campus.
Current presidents face a slew of new challenges as demographics drive colleges and universities to enroll increasingly diverse student bodies with new sets of needs, as financial constraints impose harsh realities on institutions, and as technology threatens to upend the campus and the workplace. At the same time, the professional ladders leaders climb on the way to becoming presidents is changing -- just as a large number of long-serving presidents are expected to soon retire.
Yet presidents too often find themselves running from crisis to crisis or falling into short-term thinking. As the job pressures mount, and as presidential tenures shorten, leaders are looking for quick wins that will allow them to show their boards of trustees or their next campus that they have a record of getting things done.
It all adds up to a college presidency that lacks cohesion, according to a new report released today titled "Pathways to the University Presidency." The report, a joint effort from the Center for Higher Education Excellence at the auditing and consulting firm Deloitte and from the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech, says that today’s presidents need to be constantly shifting in their roles and able to exhibit a range of skills. They need to be able to tackle everything from raising money to building new types of institutional partnerships.
“There is a growing range of pressures and constituencies and stakeholders that demand a much, much greater balance across a wide variety of activities and skills,” said Cole Clark, Deloitte’s executive director for higher education and one of the report’s co-authors.
The report’s authors used several different research techniques to compile a wide-ranging look at the college presidency, its future and the talent pools that will feed it. They surveyed college presidents, collecting responses from leaders at 112 private four-year institutions and 51 public four-year institutions. They interviewed presidents and trustees. They analyzed 840 sitting presidents’ curriculum vitae to gain a sense of where current presidents have worked in the past.
Their resulting analysis provides new insight into the state of the college presidency and its future direction at a time when many are eagerly awaiting another much-looked-to report on the topic, the American Council on Education’s American College President study. That study is due out in late spring or early summer, five years after the last edition sparked discussion of a soon-to-come wave of retirements.
The Deloitte and Georgia Tech report’s analysis of CVs yielded an interesting list of what authors dubbed higher education’s “talent factories” -- campuses where numerous current presidents previously worked as faculty members, deans, provosts or senior staff members. The list includes many of the Ivy League institutions one would expect: Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities; Dartmouth College; and the University of Pennsylvania. It also includes some other prestigious institutions and top public institutions that might be expected, such as the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Indiana University in Bloomington; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Johns Hopkins University; Texas A&M University and the University of California, Berkeley.
But authors noted a pair of surprise appearances on the list: Arizona State University and Georgia State University. Both are well-respected institutions that don't embrace typical models of higher education.
The list suggests opportunities for future research to try to determine why certain institutions turn out a high number of presidents, Clark said. Authors weren’t able to delve into that question in the current report, which only looks at CVs from a quantitative standpoint.
Authors were able to conclude that the pathways leaders are taking to the presidency are becoming more varied. The provost’s office is no longer the sole gateway to the presidency. Instead, academic deans are often jumping the provost’s office and being hired as presidents.
But the dean-to-president move is much more common among men than women -- a difference report co-author Jeffrey J. Selingo noted when he briefly previewed the report’s findings during the American Council on Education’s annual meeting in March. Male presidents had made the jump from dean 43 percent of the time, while women presidents did so 18 percent of the time, according to the report.
The report also says that presidents who did not serve as provosts tended to have become presidents more recently, meaning that particular pipeline is probably a new trend. And it says that presidents who hadn’t been provosts tended to work at smaller institutions. About two-thirds of presidents in the report’s CV analysis who had never served as provosts led institutions with fewer than 5,000 students.
Provosts, meanwhile, are increasingly seen as leaders who bring a different skill set than presidents. Provosts are believed to be focusing “inward and down” -- meaning they work with faculty members and students on academics. Presidents, in contrast, are thought to be looking “up and out” -- dealing more with relationships with governing boards, the public, political leaders and alumni.
Surveyed presidents were asked to rank the importance of different skills needed when they started their jobs. They ranked being an academic and intellectual leader last. They ranked being a strategist as the top skill, followed by being a communicator and storyteller, being a fund-raiser, being a collaborator and having “financial and operational acumen.”
Report authors noted a difference in the way new presidents and veteran presidents viewed themselves. New presidents tended to see themselves in a financial and operational light and as leaders needing to get things done. Veterans tended to see themselves as academic leaders in a collegial and intellectual higher education community.
Veterans and new presidents also differed in who they believe will replace them when they leave their jobs. Veteran presidents who have held their jobs for more than 15 years tend to believe a provost is likely to succeed them. Presidents with less than a decade on the job believe their successors are more likely to come from the private sector.
However, presidents agreed regardless of the length of their tenures -- and the size of the institutions they led -- that fund-raising is a major part of the job. Many also agreed that they felt unprepared for the task of raising money. Surveyed presidents were asked to say how prepared they were to oversee different campus areas. They rated fund-raising and alumni/donor relations below areas like strategic planning, academic affairs and budgeting.
“They call that out as an area where they feel like they need the most leadership development and training,” Clark said.
But the report’s authors noted that being a college president has traditionally involved on-the-job training, instead of the formal training that many private-sector chief executive officers receive in business school.
For instance, many presidents said they wanted leadership training. Yet presidents did not feel comfortable receiving such training.
“Leadership development is stigmatized in higher education,” the report quotes one anonymous public university president saying. “There is knowledge out there that can help people become better leaders, but it’s vilified among faculty members who don’t understand it.”
Almost two-thirds of presidents reported having coaches or mentors to prepare them for their positions. But only one-third of those surveyed said they still received coaching to help them as they continued to navigate the job.
College and university presidents could use another form of help, according to the report: help setting long-range goals. Many presidents feel pressure to focus on the short term, which can cause them to make decisions like tying academic programming to the current job market, forming enrollment plans that ignore long-term demographic shifts and drumming up quick fund-raising dollars instead of emphasizing larger commitments over time.
The fact that college presidents are increasingly jumping from job to job has caused other issues, the report says. Strategic plans are being rewritten frequently, and presidents are often ending up at institutions that don’t fit their interests or backgrounds. The report is blunt in labeling some administrators “career climbers” who apply for presidencies at many different types of institutions only because they want to be a president somewhere -- anywhere.
The report is also critical of many search processes, saying that few search committee members understand the job of president that they are trying to fill. And it is skeptical of boards and committees that search for new presidents in response to a controversy, or to find a president who leads in a different way than their predecessor. That’s a particularly salient point at a time when renewed student activism and the ever-churning world of social media can generate controversy in the blink of an eye.
Colleges and universities should consider more succession planning than they do today, the report suggests. It argues that leaders who are promoted internally can be more effective more quickly than those who are hired from outside an organization. But that’s at odds with the perception of surveyed presidents, more than half of whom said they thought external candidates make better presidents.
Succession planning and leadership training can help organizations even if they don’t promote a new president from within, Clark said. Such efforts can give other high-level administrators the skills they need to help new presidents be effective, regardless of whether they were hired from within or from a national search.
“I know that, particularly today with all the pressures that higher ed is facing, there is a pervasive feeling that a new leader needs to come from the outside,” Clark said. “But at the same time, there is no substitute for developing talent from within. That certainly can have a positive benefit on presidents who are recruited externally as well.”Image Source: Deloitte University PressImage Caption: A new report looks at pathways to the college presidency and the skills leaders need once they make it to the top.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
A growing body of research shows that college students who enroll full-time, taking even 12 credits’ worth of course work in a single semester, are much more likely stick with college, save money and eventually graduate.
Yet while the researchers behind these studies encourage efforts to nudge more students to go full-time (ideally taking 30 credits in a year), they warn against neglecting the many who will continue to attend part-time because of work and family demands -- currently only 38 percent of community college students are enrolled full-time, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
In addition, they said colleges and policy makers should avoid full-time enrollment incentives that veer toward the punitive. Some critics have made that charge about the 30-credit provision in New York State’s new free-college plan, which means students will be on the hook to pay back the tuition costs of their second semester if they fall even a credit short in a year.
The latest evidence of the benefits of full-time enrollment status comes in a newly released report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.
By looking at transcript data of 17,085 students from 28 community colleges, the center found that 34 percent of students who went full-time for at least some time earned an associate degree or a certificate, compared to only 23 percent who enrolled part-time throughout their community college experience.
Full-time enrollment in the first term also led to a substantial graduation rate bump, according to the study, which tracked students from 2005 to 2013.
Students who took at least 12 credits when they first arrived at college were more likely to return for a second year (77 percent compared to 64 percent) and to earn a credential (38 percent compared to 31 percent).
“Because there is an obvious benefit in students having some full-time experience, a full-time edge, you might say, colleges should consider asking each student one straightforward question: Is there any way you could attend full-time, even for one semester?” Evelyn Waiwaiole, the center’s executive director, said in a written statement.
The new report builds on previous research from the Center for Community College Research at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Last year CCRC released a study looking at the comparative benefits of students who took even larger course loads -- at least 15 credits -- during their first semester of enrollment at public institutions in Tennessee, both at two-year colleges and four-year institutions.
Community college students who took at least 15 credits were 6.4 percentage points more likely to earn a credential than those who took 12, the study found. That gap was 11 percentage points among students at four-year institutions.
The findings from the two studies in some ways fly in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that less prepared and first-generation students, including those from minority groups or low-income backgrounds, should ease their way into college with relatively light course loads.
“That turns out to be very bad advice,” said Davis Jenkins, a senior research associate at CCRC and co-author of the Tennessee study. “It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations. … We’re not being straight with students.”
Don’t Forget Part-Timers
In general, full-time students are much more likely to graduate than their part-time peers, as community colleges have long known. Yet the substantial benefits of any experience as a full-time student might surprise some.
The Center for Community College Student Engagement report describes several reasons why this might be happening.
One is that students who initially take a full load are more likely to be required to go through a new-student orientation. And full-time students spend more time on campus and have better access to support services, including academic advisers. Just as important, they have more opportunities to collaborate with other students and to be exposed to full-time faculty members.
For example, 30 percent of students who attended part-time throughout community college reported that they never talked about career plans with an instructor or adviser, according to a center survey, compared to 19 percent of always full-time students and 22 percent of students with fluid attendance patterns.
“They get early engagement. They’re not just getting engagement in that last semester,” Waiwaiole said in an interview. She adds that full-time students are “just more knowledgeable about the experience of how to get through college.”
Both Waiwaiole and Davis said they hope research on the benefits of full-time attendance will help colleges to adjust how they operate. That means tweaking schedules to make it possible for working students to take more courses. And for students who do go all in with a full-time load, they said colleges need to do more up front to help them set a plan to get to graduation.
“We really have to change educators’ mind-sets,” said Davis.
Complete College America is a nonprofit organization that is pushing hard on full-time enrollment with a campaign dubbed 15 to Finish. The group’s president, Tom Sugar, applauded the new report from CCCSE, pointing to “tragic” graduation rates for part-time students.
“Fifteen credits work better for students across the board,” said Sugar.
The group, which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, points to several states and institutions that are seeking to make a 15-credit load more appealing to students. Minnesota and Indiana make additional state-based grant aid available for students who go full-time, Sugar said. And the Indiana University System charges the same tuition rate for 15 credits as it does 12 credits -- so-called “banded” tuition rates.
Even so, part-time students will remain a large group in American higher education, at least for the foreseeable future.
Only half of the four-year college students in CCRC’s Tennessee study sample attempted to take 27 or more credits in their first year. And just 28 percent of the state’s two-year college students took at least 15 credits in their first semester, the study found, with that number dropping to 20 percent for a full year.
“We need to help our colleges find ways to better design their services to help part-time students,” said Karen Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit group that works on college completion in the two-year sector.
While Davis said he supports efforts to encourage more students to take 30 credits in a year, it’s important to recognize that this is far from an easy lift.
“Students who have limited means, it can be difficult for them,” he said, particularly as many work for 30 or more hours a week.
In addition, Davis said research shows that the retention and completion benefits of taking a full load is about attempting the courses, not necessarily passing all of them. Community college students tend to fail 15 to 20 percent of their courses, he said.
New York left little margin for error in its free-college plan’s 30-credit requirement, likely by design. And participating students who fail courses might be surprised to receive a tuition bill.
“There’s good intention with this. And it builds on the momentum about access,” Stout said of New York’s legislation. But she adds that “it’s going to shut a lot of people out.”
Stout said tough questions remain about who can go to college full-time, and called for a nuanced approach to policies that seek to move more students in that direction.
“Is privilege behind the full-time edge?” she said.Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Graduation ratesCommunity collegesIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
White nationalist Richard Spencer addressed Auburn University Tuesday night, making a typically inflammatory speech, which the university had tried to block. Some attendees interrupted his talk, and a large group protested outside, chanting, "No fascists, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A."
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins ruled that Auburn, as a public institution covered by the First Amendment, had to allow Spencer to speak. The university previously said that doing so would create unsafe conditions.
Before a crowd that alternated between cheers and jeers, Spencer spun a narrative: white identity has been ripped away from people, and people are no longer comfortable celebrating "European" heritage and its place in history. A "black cloud" eternally hangs above the heads of most white people, a sense of guilt for their ancestry and concepts like misogyny, Spencer said.
Instead, white pride has been replaced with weak substitutes, like the kinship on football teams, which Spencer went on to insult as "bullshit," drawing boos from the crowd at a university where pride in the football team crosses political lines.
"All of those identities are ultimately toothless, they’re ultimately meaningless," Spencer said.
At times, audience members snapped back at Spencer. When he said that it was "truly sick" that Auburn would bring in people who were "not the greatest exemplars of the African race," who would sexually abuse the white women on campus, someone in the crowd screamed back that "white men rape, too." (From video of the audience, it was unclear how many of those there were connected to Auburn, although it was clear some were not. Spencer had supporters and critics in the crowd.)
Spencer said that the so-called alt-right -- of which he is seen as a leader -- is all about identity. Another person called out, "You're about hatred, that's what you're about."
Spencer shook his head: "Seriously, try to get a little more creative."
He also spoke at length about the battle to secure the space for the evening's talk, touching on free speech and the power of language. Spencer said his rhetoric disrupts "business as usual," which is why his "enemies," like the "communist scum outside" fight him. Outside, students and nonstudents rallied against Spencer. At least two arrests were made.
Cameron Padgett, who told the crowd that he was a student from Georgia, rented a university building for Spencer and filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Alabama to demand that Auburn let Spencer appear.
In his complaint, Padgett wrote, “Auburn is not allowed … to pick and choose what views are to be presented in a facility open to the general public for holding meetings and giving and hearing speeches. Auburn is engaging in a thinly disguised ideological litmus test by which those sharing its official views find their rights protected while those who challenge the Auburn views have their right to freedom of speech canceled base [sic] on some anonymous telephone threats.”
University administrators published a statement Tuesday indicating they would comply with the judge’s order, but said that Spencer attempted to stoke conflict on the campus in a way that is “divisive and disruptive.”
“Whether it's offensive rhetoric, offensive fliers around campus or inappropriate remarks on social media, we will not allow the efforts of individuals or groups to undermine Auburn's core values of inclusion and diversity and challenge the ideals personified by the Auburn creed,” the statement reads in part.
An earlier statement from the university said it “deplored [Spencer’s] views, which run counter to those of this institution.”
Spencer posted a video statement to YouTube, calling the judge’s ruling a “great victory” for the alt-right and free speech. He was much more buoyant compared to another video he released Friday, in which he sharply criticized the university.
“If Auburn thinks that I’m going to back down because they canceled on me, that I’m just simply going to politely go away, then they don’t know me at all. They should have done their research,” Spencer said.
Spencer, in addition to helping coin the moniker “alt-right,” is president of the white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that monitors bigotry and racist organizations nationwide, labels Spencer as an extremist and calls him “a suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old, a kind of professional racist in khakis.”
Spencer vowed in November to take his message to college campuses. He spoke at Texas A&M University in December. Some called for Texas A&M to block Spencer’s appearance, but university officials said as a public institution it had to allow the visit, however deplorable educators find Spencer's views. The university sponsored an event that coincided with Spencer’s, which featured speeches denouncing him and some musical performances. The university also constructed a wall where students could write out their thoughts in light of Spencer’s visit.DiversityEditorial Tags: Academic freedomDiscriminationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
After gaining recognition for repeatedly pulling off mergers between its colleges and universities in recent years, the University System of Georgia is turning its scrutiny toward the administrative setup at its campuses and system office.
System Chancellor Steve Wrigley announced a new comprehensive administrative review process Tuesday that will have the 28-institution, 321,551-student system searching for efficiencies and improved processes. The move marks a major initiative for a new chancellor who took over in January for the retiring Hank Huckaby, who drew widespread attention for consolidating 14 of Georgia’s colleges and universities into seven since 2011.
Georgia is far from the only state to seek administrative efficiencies. But given how aggressive the system has been in consolidating campuses, its efforts are likely to be closely watched to see how the latest effort fits with its still-unfolding consolidations. The system is currently pursuing another pair of mergers approved at the beginning of this year that will fold four institutions into two.
The administrative review does not mean that Georgia will avoid consolidations in the future, Wrigley said. Rather, it complements the system’s consolidation push.
“It is the next step beyond the consolidation efforts,” Wrigley said. “It fits nicely, because we have had an emphasis on trying to keep administrative costs as low as possible and trying to realize savings on the administrative side.”
The review is set to examine administrative functions in all departments across the university system and its campuses. It will not include core faculty activities like teaching and research.
Goals are to find savings opportunities in more efficient processes, realigned positions and restructuring and centralizing some operations. Savings could then be put toward student support services and academics, keeping up with the latest practices.
"Higher ed has changed a lot in the last 10 to 12 years," Wrigley said. "Students have changed. How it is organized has changed. How students learn, off-line offerings -- so many things have changed."
A 16-member Comprehensive Administrative Review Committee will lead the effort. Two phases are planned. The first will scrutinize the university system office and four to six other colleges and universities to be announced at a later date. Remaining institutions in the system will be examined in the second phase, expected to start in the fall of 2018.
Each phase is planned to take between eight and 16 months. The second phase could be split into additional phases.
System leaders don’t yet know how much money they expect to save. They acknowledge job cuts and position eliminations are possible. Since the review process is expected to stretch over multiple years, leaders hope many positions will be able to be eliminated by not filling vacant jobs that open up when an employee leaves. But they are not yet prepared to rule out layoffs.
The review comes after Georgia’s state auditor recently reviewed college costs in the state. The cost of attending a public college or university in the state rose 77 percent in a decade as per-student state appropriations dropped amid an increase in enrollment, Georgia’s HOPE scholarship made smaller average awards and colleges and universities increased fees, it found.
The system’s budget is approximately $8.4 billion in the current fiscal year. It receives approximately $2.2 billion in state appropriations.
Georgia’s public institutions face some financial pressures, as do all public colleges and universities, Wrigley said. But he said the auditor’s review and financial pressures were not the sole reasons for pursuing an administrative review.
“I don’t really think about it as fiscal pressures leading to other decisions,” Wrigley said. “I think we need to think about it from a different standpoint, and look at the cost side in every possible way.”
Wrigley also pointed out that he has been a part of University System of Georgia leadership since 2011 -- former Chancellor Huckaby hired him that July as executive vice chancellor, and he was at the University of Georgia before that. As a result he has a familiarity with presidents and other administrators in the system who might otherwise balk at the review effort from a new chancellor.
“I don’t know that it would be the same as somebody coming in from outside and launching something like this,” he said. “We’ve talked about it off and on, and we’ve talked with our presidents about it. There was an awareness that we’d be going down this path and that it is the next step beyond the consolidation efforts.”
Taking a hard look at system and institutional administrations makes sense for an organization that has gone through as much change as the Georgia system, said Thomas Harnisch, director of state relations at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
“It looks like they’re pursuing a multipronged strategy,” Harnisch said. “Georgia has been the national leader in pursuing intercampus efficiencies through mergers, so it makes sense that they would also seek out intracampus efficiencies.”
Some states have formed steering committees to guide their administrative reviews, and others have hired outside consultants, Harnisch said. Georgia is asking the newly formed steering committee to review the effort's methodology, look at its project phases and analyze data gathered.
The committee’s members include university presidents, other administrators, a student and a faculty member. Kelly McFaden, an associate professor of social foundations of education at the University of North Georgia and the chair of that university’s Faculty Senate, is the faculty representative on the steering committee.
McFaden believes that a well-functioning administration helps faculty members in their jobs, she said. Her aim is to make sure changes put in place are good for faculty members and the system as a whole.
The University of North Georgia was created in a consolidation completed in 2013. Consolidations have typically been said to have saved money and increased efficiency -- the University System of Georgia has estimated that its consolidations resulted in a collective savings of $24.4 million. But some have voiced concerns that they resulted in combined universities with too many administrators left over from each constituent institution.
The administrative review is a chance to examine that issue, McFaden said.
“My hope is that this is an opportunity to say, ‘Now that we have gone through these round of consolidations, and now that the landscape of higher education is changing, are we being as efficient as we can be?’” McFaden said. “I mean revisiting how the administrative structures were combined at the time of consolidation.”
The chair of the University System of Georgia Faculty Council, Elizabeth Desnoyers-Colas, wants to find out more about the review. Desnoyers-Colas is also an associate professor of communications at Armstrong State University, which is in the process of being consolidated with Georgia Southern University.
“We don’t know what criteria they are using to do this review of administrators,” she said. “We don’t know what questions they’re asking.”
Still, faculty members generally welcome the step, she said.
“I do suspect some of the colleagues I’ve talked to have the same questions,” she said. “I think they welcome the step and would like to know more about it and how it’s going to work.”Editorial Tags: Business issuesCollege administrationImage Source: University System of GeorgiaImage Caption: Steve Wrigley, chancellor of the University System of GeorgiaIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
- Carnegie Mellon University: Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
- Colby College: Joe Biden, the former vice president.
- College of St. Scholastica: Federal Judge Patrick Schiltz.
- Framingham State University: U.S. Representative Seth Moulton; and Jonathan T. M. Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity.
- Furman University: Alexander Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland.
- Guilford Technical Community College: James C. Williamson, president of the North Carolina Community College System.
- Monmouth University: Bobbi Brown, the cosmetics executive; and Joseph M. Rigby, president and chief executive officer of Pepco Holdings Inc.
- Morgan State University: Joe Biden, the former vice president.
- Mount Holyoke College: Dolores Huerta, lifelong social justice organizer and activist.
- New Hampshire Institute of Art: Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
- State University of New York at Cobleskill: Christopher P. Gibson, a former member of Congress; and Judith A. St. Leger, vice president for research and science for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
- Susquehanna University: John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial Inc.
- University of Georgia: Ernie Johnson Jr., host of TNT’s Inside the NBA show; and Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the university.
- University of Puget Sound: Tim Egan, the writer.
The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), the Brazilian federal government HE funding and assessment body, recently announced the introduction of a new international mobility financing regime to replace the Ciências Sem Fronteiras (“Sciences without Borders”) initiative.
Mais Ciência, Mais Desenvolvimento- Johanna Döbereiner (“More Science, More Development”) will bring about profound changes in the structure and functioning of Brazilian federal funding and will grant more autonomy to Brazilian universities.
As a result of the political and economic upheaval of the past two years, Brazilian and international observers have had to pass through a period of intense uncertainty as to the future of higher education funding.
This confusion appears to be lifting now with the announcement of the new program, which is due to be published in full in July, in time for the second semester of the Brazilian academic year.
“The role that will be played by HEIs is the main advancement of the new program”
Compared to the centralised structure of CSF, where control over decision making was retained at the federal level, giving little autonomy to the university and therefore little contact between hosting and sending institutions, MSMD will require each individual university to form a coherent elaborated internationalisation strategy together with international partners in order to gain access to mobility funding.
The scheme represents a major departure for Brazilian public science funding, which has typically tended towards centrally administered funds going to individuals or individual departments.
It will undoubtedly be a test of many universities’ policymaking capabilities, but it will mean that in future universities will be much more able to engage in consistent and strategic way.
Universities have welcomed the new responsibility the program allots them. “The role that will be played by HEIs is the main advancement of the new program,” José Celso, president of Brazil’s international education association, FAUBAI, told The PIE News.
“The program will stimulate more comprehensive strategies and collaboration,” he added. “HEIs will have to be more proactive and more involved.”
The program has three primary goals: to improve Brazilian internationalisation, to enhance bilateral relationships with overseas partners, and to upskill graduate students who can bring their knowledge back to Brazilian higher education.
Although the final details are not yet published, it is expected that the guidelines for the quadrennial reports will contain plans for internationalisation of curricula (including English language delivery), staff attraction and retention and the development of strategic partnerships with foreign institutions.
Universities must submit their proposals by October, according to Celso. Funding for the scheme is expected to be finalised with Brazil’s 2018 budget.
In contrast with the CSF program, the bulk of funding for mobility will be specifically targetted towards postgraduate students and early career researchers looking to develop research abroad.
At FAUBAI’s annual conference this month, director of international relations at CAPES, Connie McManus Pimentel, explained, “Now, we will invest in institutions instead of investing in individuals. Universities will be the focus.”
She went on to say, “We will finance what they need to be better, thinking of different ways to do internationalisation.”
“Now, we will invest in institutions instead of investing in individuals”
In the short-term, this means that foreign universities wishing to form research partnerships would be well advised to contact Brazilian partner institutions in order to assist their attempts to gain funding.
They can also look forward to more structured and deeper relationships with Brazilian universities, albeit with a likely reduction in the number of incoming students compared to CSF.
In the medium to long-term, this should encourage Brazilian universities to coordinate on an institutional level, making them easier collaboration partners looking to engage in sustained inward and outward mobility programs.
Celso is optimistic it will improve those symmetrical partnerships with overseas institutions.
“Mobility should be framed through a bilateral partnership and seek to modernise the curricula of the Brazilian courses,” he said.
“This situation will require the foreign institutions to approach the Brazilian ones because, in the future, the financing for the internationalisation activities will be given mainly through these partnerships.”