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Uni of Birmingham to open Dubai campus

The PIE News - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 02:01

The University of Birmingham will open an overseas campus in Dubai next year, making it the first globally-ranked top-100 university to open a branch in the Emirate.

Opening in September 2018, the campus will teach a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, focusing on the needs of the labour market in Dubai.

Its first programs will be in Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Primary and Secondary Education, and Business.

“What Birmingham aspires to do is aligned with the Government of Dubai’s aspirations”

In the years to come, postgraduate researchers will join students on the campus.

“We are a research intensive university and research will be at the heart of what we do in Dubai,” commented David Eastwood, the University of Birmingham’s vice-chancellor.

Announcing the launch at the Going Global conference in London today, he added: “There is a real opportunity to drive innovation in Dubai.”

The university will provide mobility opportunities for students on both campuses. Eastwood said he envisages the campus will become “a hub for the international experience for our students right across the University of Birmingham group”.

There is “full transferability, full equivalence” between degrees offered in Birmingham and Dubai, added Robin Mason, the university’s pro vice-chancellor, and students on the two campuses will pay equivalent fees.

All programs will be taught by University of Birmingham staff and will follow the same curriculum as those on the home campus.

Abdulla Al Karam, chairman and director of the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said “there could not have been a better time than this” for the university to put down roots in Dubai.

“The University of Birmingham is exciting to have in Dubai because it’s one of the top 100 universities, it’s part of the Russell Group; but most importantly because of the timing,” he told The PIE News. Dubai started welcoming branch campuses 15 years ago

“What Birmingham stands for or aspires to do is basically aligned with the Government of Dubai’s aspirations. As a research university, they will establish research in energy, water and transportation, which is part of our plan.”

The focus on education will also be extremely beneficial for Dubai, he said, as education and teacher training are an “integral part” of the UAE’s national strategy, UAE Vision 2021, the goals of which include positioning the UAE’s education system as one of the best in the world.

The post Uni of Birmingham to open Dubai campus appeared first on The PIE News.

Arrest of U of Maryland student in stabbing death of Bowie State student shakes both campuses

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:00

Richard Collins III, a student at Bowie State University and a recently commissioned U.S. Army second lieutenant, was stabbed to death on Saturday just days before his graduation.

Police have described the attack on Collins, who was black, as “unprovoked.” Although the suspect was white, initially there was no indication of a racial factor.

The Bowie State senior was visiting the University of Maryland at College Park's campus, waiting outside for an Uber early Saturday morning when a suspect, whom witnesses described as intoxicated, approached Collins and told him to “step left, step left, if you know what’s best for you.”

The man then stabbed Collins in the chest, police said.

Sean Christopher Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, was later arrested nearby and charged with first-degree murder. Police and university officials later announced that the slaying may have been racially motivated, as Urbanski was a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation,” where people shared racist memes. The group has since been shuttered.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now investigating Collins’s death as a hate crime. And minority students at Maryland say they feel shocked and unsafe after the attack.

In interviews, they said the University of Maryland hasn’t adequately responded to racially motivated incidents in the past and the fatal stabbing shows a significant need for reforms.

“It’s just unbelievable, no other word to sum it up,” Tamara Adams, president of the university’s Black Student Union, said of Collins’s death. “Being a leader on this campus, it’s my job to support those in our community. And I do feel like we’re all carrying a burden.”

Many on social media have condemned the attack, already labeling it a racist act despite no official confirmation. A biting commentator on The Nation's website referred to it as a "lynching."

Some have downplayed the severity of the Facebook group Urbanski belonged to, noting that even though the posts were racist, many seemed more like poor (and offensive) jokes than threats. Some experts said that doesn't mean there isn't real hate behind the group. Many extremists do not join a more “official” white supremacist forum online, said Oren Segal, the Anti-Defamation League’s director of the Center on Extremism.

The Reverend Darryl Godlock, of the Calvert County Baptist Church, acting as a spokesman for Collins’s family, said everyone is devastated. Collins was a calm and intelligent young man who was eager to follow his father into the military, Godlock said.

The family hasn’t speculated much on the possible racist links -- family members just want what they can't get, which is their son back, he said.

“What sometimes the media tries to display is that some of these African-American men are thugs,” Godlock said. “He was not that guy. This was one of the most kind people you would ever want to meet.”

Adams, the president of the Black Student Union, learned of Collins’s death through a series of university alerts. Though she said incidents regularly happen on the campus, such a bloody display of possible racism has called into question whether students of color feel safe there.

“They have not been taking this far enough,” Adams said of Maryland’s administration, led by President Wallace Loh. “They may have goals and policies, but those are not clear to students. So I personally I think a lot more needs to be done.”

University officials responded with a request for comment with a statement signed by multiple campus offices listing resources for students.

In addition to meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, Maryland has scheduled drop-by counseling hours this week. 

Loh released a statement Sunday that said the university would beef up campus police presence.

“However, increased police security is not sufficient. We must all do more to nurture a climate -- on campus and beyond -- where we stand against hate, we fight against hate crimes and we reaffirm the values that define us a university and as a democracy,” the statement reads.

Urbanski remains in jail. His lawyer told reporters Monday that substance abuse may have played a role in what happened.

Institutions must make special effort to publicize their actions to combat racism, said Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Students and critics will often take to social media to vent concerns, Kruger said -- and so academe must do the same, an essential strategy in telling a college's story, he said.

The contemporary political climate, with polarization largely spawned by the presidential election cycle, has provided those with extremist and abhorrent views a platform, particularly on social media, Kruger said.

“I’m not sure students take university intention at face value -- they want to see action against this,” he said.

Ashley Vasquez, a student speaking as a representative of ProtectUMD, a coalition representing minority groups on campus, said Collins’s death was “the last straw” in a series of incidents over the last year.

Right now, students are treading carefully considering the campus sensitivity, Vasquez said. This wasn’t white supremacist posters being hung up, or an email tinged with racism that was forwarded around (both of which have occurred at Maryland) -- someone lost his life, she said.

But for the future, the students want to plan more town halls with administration and see the hiring of a new chief diversity officer, a vacant position, Vasquez said.

Vasquez in her interview called for increased funding to establish more channels to report incidents.

Multiple times this academic year, posters espousing white supremacist views have cropped up on the University of Maryland campus. A noose was also found in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house.

In many of the cases seen nationwide, white nationalist materials have been spread by off-campus, unaffiliated organizations that seek to infiltrate college campuses. Few of the extremists who receive media attention actually attend the colleges and universities they target.

Vasquez said she attended a graduation party of mostly black students in May 2016 that was subject to a weeks-long investigation to unearth whether police, while breaking up the party, acted improperly in pepper spraying students, an incident that hinted at a racial bias.

Students who had been denied access to the party fabricated a story of a fight in the apartment where the party was being held. Police entered the apartment and shut the party down, but one of the officers used pepper spray when some students didn’t disperse around him. Some students were also arrested, but the charges were dropped.

“Just hearing at the screams of some of my best friends being sprayed,” Vasquez said. “And there were no repercussions.”

The officer was suspended without pay for wrongly using his pepper spray.

Most colleges and university presidents have replied clearly and well to incidents of white supremacy on their campuses: these views do not match the values of the institution, said Segal of the Anti-Defamation League.

Leaders should address these matters swiftly because they color a student’s experience for the remainder of their time on campus, Segal said.

“Their lives are ahead of them,” Segal said of students. “And they never forget these incidents that happen, that’s why the lesson needs to be taught immediately that ignoring hatred of any kind of is not an option.”

DiversityEditorial Tags: RaceDiversity MattersSafetyImage Caption: Richard Collins IIIIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 1Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Popular Native American studies scholar declines deanship at Dartmouth amid concerns over his past support for Israel boycott

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:00

N. Bruce Duthu, a Native American studies scholar, was an appealing candidate for dean of the faculty for arts and sciences at Dartmouth College, at least on paper. Among other qualifications, he’s well liked, has administrative experience, advocates for the liberal arts and, as a member of the United Houma Nation, would have at the dean’s level helped alleviate Dartmouth's alleged diversity problem. He would have been among the highest-ranking Native Americans in the leadership of elite higher education.

Yet Duthu, who was appointed dean in March and was to assume that role in July, just gave up the position and his current administrative duties over concerns about his past support for an academic boycott of Israel.

“As many of you know, the news of my appointment, at least in some circles, remains a source of concern and contention,” Duthu wrote in an email to colleagues Monday, telling them he’d also step down as the Frank J. Guarini Associate Dean of the Faculty for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs. He’ll remain on the faculty as the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies.

“Whether warranted or not, this matter has been and will likely continue to be a significant distraction for me professionally and a source of considerable pain and frustration for me personally,” Duthu wrote. “It also has the great potential to be damaging to the college in the long term, given the higher visibility and engagement with external audiences that come with the dean’s position.”

The Dartmouth Review, a conservative campus publication, had previously criticized Duthu as “a dangerously unacceptable affirmative action candidate" for dean, citing his past involvement in BDS. But he still enjoyed broad support until earlier this month, when Alan Gustman, Loren M. Berry Professor of Economics at Dartmouth, reminded fellow professors via email that Duthu's involvement in BDS included joint authorship of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association's 2013 statement in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. 

Duthu has never been a vocal supporter of BDS, but he was treasurer of the association at the time and signed the document. Gustman in his letter said he had “no reason to believe that Duthu is anti-Semitic,” but that matters is “that he is supporting a movement that is substantially anti-Semitic, and that he has taken a position with regard to the [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement that is in opposition to the position and responsibilities he will have as dean of the faculty. Most importantly, he has not publicly renounced his public [statement] on the BDS movement.”

Simply put, he said, it’s “not appropriate to appoint an advocate of BDS” as dean, “thereby providing the BDS movement with a foothold at the highest levels of our administration.”

The letter was soon posted to FrontPage Mag, a conservative blog with a large following, opening up the internal debate to an international audience. The not-so-subtle headline was "Dartmouth Appoints Anti-Semitic Terrorist Enabler as Its New Dean." Concerned email messages started to flood inboxes at Dartmouth. Even Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and former presidential candidate, weighed in. 

 

Sad, very sad. Our universities are more & more becoming hotbeds for Leftist intolerance and anti-Israel hatred. https://t.co/Dwuwk2DXQV

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 8, 2017

 

Duthu responded to the mounting controversy in an all-faculty email a few days later. He didn’t exactly disavow the association’s statement in support of the boycott, saying he continued to believe “in the right of private citizens to express criticism of any country’s government policies.” But he said he didn’t believe that “a boycott of academic institutions is the appropriate response. Instead, I support sustained, open and collegial engagement with fellow academics, including collaborative research and teaching.”

Noting that Dartmouth has said it won't support academic boycotts of any kind, Duthu said he’d embraced the policy as associate dean and would continue to do so as dean. He also condemned anti-Semitism, along with prejudice and acts of bias of any kind.

Gustman responded with another faculty email, saying that Duthu had failed to reconcile his past support for the boycott with his current position, and asserting that boycotts of Israel are fundamentally anti-Semitic.

“Duthu’s response to the faculty is an attempt to avoid the anger his public advocacy of BDS has created without repudiating the reasons his positions created this anger in the first place,” Gustman said. “The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and profoundly anti-Jewish. ... Again, this movement has become a cover for many anti-Semites who like nothing better than to once again be free to exercise their prejudices.”

The claim that there’s little daylight between the BDS movement and anti-Semitism undergirds much public opposition to the boycott. Why single out Israel for alleged human rights abuses among so many other nations accused of the same, critics say. Many others criticize academic boycotts as antithetical to academic freedom, given that professors in Israel and elsewhere may not support their governments' policies any more than Dartmouth professors support those of President Trump. Proponents, meanwhile, say that Israel’s close relationship with the U.S. merits special scrutiny.

Either way, Gustman’s argument found sympathetic ears and Dartmouth faced mounting criticism for the appointment. Duthu, too, won support, including from a student group called Native Americans at Dartmouth. Members wrote in an open letter that various criticisms of Duthu ignored his long career as a legal scholar and dedication to social justice on campus, including for students of color. 

Still, the controversy apparently proved too much for Duthu. In responding to his decision Monday, Dartmouth’s president and provost said that they in principle “condemn bias against any group or individual and have complete confidence that [Duthu] does, as well. … In fact, his life's work has been dedicated to supporting social justice and fighting bias in all its forms.”

‘Misguided’ Criticism

Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and affiliated professor at Israel’s University of Haifa, is an outspoken critic of the Israel boycott movement, but he said he believes Duthu has been treated unfairly.

Saying he’s followed the Dartmouth case and been in contact with faculty members there, Nelson called the protest over Duthu’s appointment “thoroughly misguided.” Nelson described Duthu as an "ally, not an enemy," and a strong supporter of Jewish studies who is “hardly a hardcore boycott advocate."

Beyond Duthu, Nelson said it’s possible that “some people can sign a BDS petition without imposing that agenda on the rest of their professional life, while others cannot.” But a “single-minded litmus test” on the matter is no way to proceed.

John K. Wilson, an independent academic freedom scholar and co-editor of the American Association of University Professors’ “Academe” blog, opposes boycotts as incompatible with academic freedom. With regard to Duthu, he said, there’s “absolutely no good reason why someone should not be dean of a college because they took a personal stand in the past, or the present, on a political issue, whether they are pro-boycott or anti-boycott.”

Duthu has never “indicated that he would ever mistreat anyone based on their disagreement with him about boycotts of Israel, and there is no evidence of anything he's done wrong,” Wilson added.

Reading between the lines of Duthu’s notification letter -- in particular his reference to “external audiences” -- Wilson wondered whether Duthu’s ability to fund-raise had come into question, since deans are increasingly responsible for such activities.

Guessing Duthu “must have realized that supporting BDS means you are effectively on an academic blacklist from the top positions at any major college,” Wilson said there’s now “more certainty that American administrators will be afraid to express any criticism of Israel in the future, and that's a threat to academic freedom.”

Susannah Heschel, chair of Jewish studies at Dartmouth, told the Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner that most of her colleagues at Dartmouth "are very saddened by the news."

“I was very disappointed that so many people attacked Bruce rather than talking to him,” she said.

Academic FreedomActivismEditorial Tags: FacultyImage Caption: N. Bruce DuthuIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 2Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

NEH chairman steps down as White House renews call for eliminating agency

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:00

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced Monday the resignation of Chairman William D. Adams, effective today.

Adams was an Obama appointee, but the position is among those in the executive branch in which terms can go past a change in administration. His four-year term wouldn't have been up until 2018.

Advocates for the humanities said they were sorry to see him go no matter the timing. His departure, though, comes at a time when federal support for the arts and humanities is subject to renewed threat from the Trump administration and some Republicans in Congress. The White House is expected to release a 2018 budget proposal today that will call for eliminating funding for the NEH as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.

The overall budget of NEH is miniscule compared with large science-oriented federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. But it is typically the biggest source of outside funding for university-based researchers and educators in the humanities.

Adams said in an email to Inside Higher Ed that no one from the Trump administration or anywhere else put pressure on him to resign. As the transition gathered momentum, he said, it made sense for him to step aside.

"This was my decision, in both substance and timing," Adams said.

The NEH was among several agencies reportedly being considered for elimination proposals in budget blueprints drafted by the Trump transition team. Later, that proposal made its way into the “skinny budget” released by the White House in March, along with a proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities’ entire $148 million budget. Adams said in a statement at the time that he was “greatly saddened” to learn about the call for elimination.

That early budget document, as well as the full budget expected to be released today, was premised on the argument that massive cuts to nondefense discretionary spending were necessary to pay for huge increases in military funding. But conservatives have long made philosophical arguments against public support of the arts and humanities. And in January, the Republican Study Committee released a document arguing that support for those areas “can easily and more properly be found from nongovernmental sources.”

Adams said while he was still in office it was inappropriate for him to comment on budgetary proposals to defund the agency.

"But I am enormously proud of the work we do around the country, and I know that millions of people value not only the resources that we provide, but also what we stand for," he said. "NEH represents the country’s commitment to its historical and cultural legacy, and that symbolic commitment is enormously important."

Adams -- who goes by the nickname Bro -- joined NEH as chairman after serving as president of Bucknell University and Colby College. Under his leadership, humanities advocates say, the agency developed a strong focus on demonstrating the public value and relevance of the humanities.

“He has not only made his presence known in communities around the country through visits and speaking engagements to talk about the ways that the humanities are critical to community life,” said Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance. “He’s also created a number of innovative grant programs that have all really centered around the idea of engaging the public with the humanities.”

An Adams-led initiative called Common Good used the agency’s traditional grant-making programs and other special initiatives to encourage scholars to think creatively about how the humanities relate to contemporary issues. Last year, NEH announced the launch of Dialogues on the Experience of War, which provided grant funding to community programs exploring the perspective of veterans.

Kidd said Adams’s tenure would be remembered in particular for his emphasis on veterans and the relevance of the humanities to their transition back to civilian life.

“Bro Adams has been just the leader we needed during his term as chairman,” said Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association of America. “Those of us in the scholarly community have found his leadership to be transformational. I’m very sorry to see him go.”

Feal said she was confident that members of Congress would recognize the value projects like the veterans' initiative have brought to their districts. In the announcement of Adams's resignation, NEH noted that the fiscal year 2017 omnibus funding package approved by Congress this month boosted the agency's funding by nearly $2 million over 2016 levels.

Deputy Chair Margaret Plympton will serve in an acting capacity until a successor to Adams is named. Asked about Adams's resignation and the process for picking the next chairman, a spokesman for the White House said it does not comment on personnel matters.

Assuming Congress maintains the agency, President Trump will have additional appointments to make at NEH beyond the chairmanship. Because Republicans in the Senate blocked so many of Obama’s nominations during his second term, 13 members on the National Council for the Humanities, the board that advises the NEH chairman, are currently serving with expired terms. Another eight members have terms expiring in 2018. That means Trump -- if he is interested -- could dramatically reshape the composition of the council.

The council, which meets three times a year, both advises the chairman and reviews applications for grant funding. Members serve staggered six-year terms, but those with expired terms continue serving until the Senate confirms a replacement.

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said Adams's resignation was a big loss regardless of the timing.

"Bro Adams provided the NEH with stellar leadership, not only as a spokesperson for the value of the humanities in public culture, but also as a thoughtful and even-handed convener of people with different perspectives and different experiences," he said.

Advocates said they hoped the successor eventually picked to lead NEH would be as committed to the humanities as Adams with as deep a sense of their value.

"I hope his successor is as creative and as committed and as articulate in his or her promotion and advocacy of the humanities," Grossman said.

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Arizona embarks on plan to develop 25 global microcampuses

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:00

Rather than build its own brick-and-mortar branch campuses, the University of Arizona is embarking on a plan to open more than 25 “microcampuses” at international partner universities over the next three years, creating a network that it hopes will be capable of educating more than 25,000 students around the globe. Arizona’s plan is for each of the microcampuses to offer at least one, and in most cases several, dual-degree programs in which degrees are conferred by both Arizona and a partner university. Each microcampus will be housed at the partner university, which agrees to provide classrooms and a UA-branded space.

“The idea of a microcampus, it’s in part in response to the failures of traditional models of international education, a lot of which have focused on mobility and others on international branch campuses,” said Brent White, Arizona’s vice provost for international education and a professor of law.

“This is essentially a dual degree offered on the campus of a partner university, and so it incorporates elements of a dual-degree program, elements of what a campus would be, and elements of what a research center might be at a global location,” White continued.

Arizona’s first microcampus, at Ocean University of China, in Qingdao, is two years into offering a dual undergraduate degree program in law. (Arizona started a bachelor of arts degree in law -- which it says is the first such program in the country -- on its main campus in Tucson in 2014.)

A second UA microcampus location, at the American University of Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, opens this month and will offer dual-degree programs in business administration, civil engineering and law.

And today the university is announcing its next 11 planned microcampuses, where it hopes to begin offering dual-degree programs with its partner universities in 2018. Those partner universities are:

  • De La Salle University, in the Philippines
  • Harbin Institute of Technology, in China
  • Lebanese International University
  • Princess Sumaya University for Technology, in Jordan
  • Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, in China
  • Soochow University, in Taiwan
  • Telkom University, in Indonesia
  • Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, in Taiwan
  • Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, in Mexico
  • University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam National University

The announced microcampuses are predominantly located in Asia and the Middle East, but White said the university will aim to develop microcampuses in other parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America, going forward.

White said that for each of the newly announced locations Arizona has identified degree programs it is likely to offer. The microcampuses are pending approval by Arizona’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, as well as any needed local regulatory approvals. Arizona’s first two microcampus locations at Ocean University of China and at AUPP already are approved by HLC as “additional locations.”

Motivations for the Model

Dual-degree programs are a common model in international higher education, but Arizona’s approach is unusual in seeking to leverage these programs to create branded hubs -- what it’s calling microcampuses -- around the world.

“This is not a one-off,” said White. “This is not somewhere in the world where we offer a dual-degree program, but the idea is to have a network of microcampuses, and that’s important because we want to enable global mobility for our students. So if you’re in a law program in China, we want you to be able to continue that program in multiple locations.”

“They also become platforms for other types of internationalization,” White said. “The microcampus itself becomes a platform for lots of things we care about for comprehensive internationalization, including faculty training, providing opportunities for students to study abroad on short-term experiences, for internships and other forms of engaged learning.”

Arizona also expects the microcampuses to make money. “We expect it to be a revenue-positive model for our partners and for the U of A and to provide good value to students,” White said.

For the first two microcampuses, tuition, to be shared half and half with the partner universities, is $9,000 per year at AUPP and $10,000 per year at Ocean. This is substantially less than tuition for international students who come to Arizona, which this year was $32,900, and, of course, much less than the total annual estimated costs for international students, which Arizona estimates to be about $50,000. The programs may still be out of reach for many students -- $9,000 is still a lot of money in Cambodia, where the minimum wage for a textiles worker is $153 per month -- but White argues it’s a good value for an international education and a UA degree.

“We put tuition at a price that makes sense to the local market in the sense that it’s at least accessible to the middle class that wouldn’t be able to come to the United States to study, but the tuition also has to cover our expenses,” White said. “I think we’ve done our best to balance increasing greatly the accessibility of a U.S. degree and making sure that the model is financially sound.”

“For students, study abroad costs a lot,” said Ming Yu, the executive director of UA’s collaborative program with Ocean University of China and an associate professor in Ocean’s School of Law and Political Science. “Having a U of A campus here will make it easier for students to get some foreign education with less expense.”

“There’s a need in China for lawyers that can do international law work,” said Yu. “They need the students to have good English and also understand the different legal cultures, like the U.S., so they can serve their customers well.”

Other goals of the partnership from Ocean’s perspective, Yu said, include teaching and research cooperation. White hopes that the microcampuses will help stimulate joint research between UA and partner university faculty.

Teaching Model

White said the microcampuses will operate using a co-teaching model, in which professors at Arizona will work collaboratively with co-professors on the ground, who will either be faculty at the partner university or professors whom Arizona hires to teach locally. The law school, for example, is hiring faculty locally to teach courses at Ocean University in Qingdao, while the American University of Phnom Penh is relying on AUPP faculty to deliver its classes, a model that’s possible because AUPP has U.S. law-trained professors on its faculty. Arizona’s law school has also committed to send faculty to Qingdao to give lectures at Ocean during the summer.

Though it will vary by program, the expectation is that many of the UA programs offered at the microcampuses will make use of digital course materials created in Arizona and a “flipped classroom” model, in which students watch lectures outside of class and spend class time working with the professor and other students applying what they’ve learned.

“For us, the digital technology answers the question of how do you make sure the quality is high and your assessments are consistent,” said Marc C. Miller, the dean of Arizona’s law school.

"I’m having my colleagues who are the experts in their areas and very successful and effective teachers build the classes and materials [from the] ground up," Miller said. "Faculty are asked to build a set of lectures, materials, problems. So the quality control in the first instance comes from making sure that the foundational materials and problems and assessments are designed and developed and reviewed and updated by people who are the leaders in the field and who we put in the classroom here. The second problem and challenge and we think opportunity is to find people who are especially effective teachers and interested in working in different cultural and legal settings” to teach on-site at the microcampuses. Arizona's faculty hires at the microcampus in Qingdao are full-time, hired on year-to-year contracts. They are not on a tenure track.

Quality Control and Other Questions

White said the decision to establish a program at a microcampus is made at the departmental or college level. “As for faculty votes, no program may be offered at any microcampus without the faculty support of the college or department offering the program and -- critically - no individual microcampus can be launched until at least one college or department wishes to offer a program with a particular partner,” White said.

Kevin Lansey, a professor and head of the department of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, said the civil engineering faculty discussed the plan to offer a program in Cambodia and approved it by consent, with no one objecting. “We are going to gain financially,” Lansey said of the program at AUPP, “but we also have an opportunity to help a country” that’s in need of highly trained civil engineers.

All that’s not to say, however, that engineering faculty didn’t have any concerns, both about the sustainability of the program and its quality. “Certainly, there are concerns about are we going to be able to deliver the type of program that we want to, ensuring that the quality of the program is there,” Lansey said. “We are going to be looking for engineering accreditation for the program, like the accreditation we have here.”

Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education will be leading an evaluation effort of the microcampuses, looking at a series of research questions including the experiences and outcomes for participating students and their reasons for selecting microcampus programs, and the experiences and outcomes for participating faculty, including as they relate to teaching collaboration and research production. “Quality control is the exact reason the UA microcampus will involve ongoing research,” Jenny Lee, a professor at the center who is leading the evaluation effort, said via email. “We will be surveying and interviewing participating students and faculty throughout the year and [in] years to come on a range of experiences and outcomes.”

Lee said she saw several advantages of the microcampus model. “I don’t foresee ongoing increases of international students studying in the U.S. in the years to come given the recent political climate,” she said. “The UA microcampus model provides students outside the U.S. with a U.S. education while studying at home or at one of the microcampus partner universities. I believe the microcampus exemplifies what ‘international’ education should be, education based on more than one country … Another advantage is its intention to serve as a synergistic hub, beyond student enrollment and towards broader social goals and impact, which the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the UA will be examining.”

“The risks,” she said, “are minimal in that there is little financial investment in infrastructure, unlike branch campuses.”

Gary Rhoades, the director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education and head of the educational policy studies and practice department, in which it's housed, said he's optimistic about the microcampus initiative, even as he cautioned that it's "early days."

"One of the questions is who’s being served in these microcampuses," Rhoades said. "Are we reinforcing or reproducing a local elite or are we making it more possible for middle-class and even lower-middle-class people in the host country to pursue higher education with a U.S. university?"

"At its best, reflecting the best ideals of a land-grant university, it could be a very cool initiative," said Rhoades, who's a former general secretary of the American Association of University Professors and co-author of the book Academic Capitalism and the New Economy. "In the current context where institutions are concerned about revenue and bottom line and market share and prestige, there’s the pressure to turn the microcampus into an export commodity, and that’s part of why instead of just standing on the sidelines and being a critic I’m excited about having the opportunity to play a role in giving feedback to the university."

Because UA is to date offering existing degree programs at the microcampuses, rather than creating new programs, Lynn Nadel, the chair of the Faculty Senate and Regents' Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, said the senate’s involvement has been limited. But he said the senate had been briefed on the general concept, and that the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, on which he sits, had a robust discussion about it.

“People thought it was a pretty innovative idea and sounded like a good thing. The main concern was can we be certain we’ll be able to maintain the kind of quality level of the UA brand, so to speak, within this context,” Nadel said. “The general sense among the faculty is that anything that gives more reach to a global community, more connection to places in other countries, that’s all to the good, as long as it doesn’t degrade the brand and doesn’t stretch our resources.”

“Similar to online, there are certainly opportunities here for things to not go well, shall we say,” Nadel said. “There’s opportunity for bad stuff to happen, but in the end you depend upon the people you trust, and I think people felt that the leadership on this within the U of A was strong.”

“I’m pretty positive about it based on what I know and what I’ve seen so far. I think it’s innovative, and I respect and I trust the people who are doing it. I think it remains to be seen how well it plays out.”

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Analysis of Indiana’s 15 to Finish finds positive effects

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:00

A new analysis examining the effects of Indiana’s 15 to Finish initiative finds the greater the financial incentive, the more likely students will take on a full-time course load -- and with little to no negative impact.

The report examines the effects of the Indiana Legislature’s 2013 decision to increase the number of courses students needed to complete each year in order to be eligible to renew their state financial aid award. Students are now required to take at least 30 credits a year -- or 15 a semester -- to maintain aid. The move was made in an effort to cut down on students’ time to graduation. Some experts say students assume taking 12 credits per semester is enough for them to earn a degree in two years for an associate degree or four years for a bachelor's degree.

The analysis from Postsecondary Analytics -- a research consulting firm -- found that the change in financial aid policy led to a 5.2 percent average growth rate in the likelihood of students earning 30 credits or more in a year. For students who received Indiana’s highest financial aid award, the average growth rate in the likelihood of earning 30 or more credits in a year increased 10.1 percent.

Despite concerns, the analysis also found that the policy change did not lead to a significant decline in completion rates, fall-to-spring retention rates, or in fall grade point average. There was a small decline, however, in 18- and 19-year-old recipients of Indiana’s smallest financial award.

“The financial aid policy is effective for increasing credit-hour completion,” said Takeshi Yanagiura, a doctoral student in economics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, who co-authored the report. “We find little evidence on potential negative side effects due to the policy.”

Besides GPA remaining the same, the analysis found that there was no difference between whether students were at a two-year or four-year institution, and students also did not switch their majors.

“These results confirm our own internal studies we’ve done following what happens with financial aid students since the legislation passed in 2013,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner of higher education. “Our financial aid complements our other attitude about how we finance education in Indiana. We have a philosophy of paying for what we value.”

Lubbers said institutions receive performance funding by getting more students to complete on time, so creating the incentive for students to increase the rate they finish means that the colleges they attend will receive more aid, as well.

More institutions and states are looking at decreasing the time students take to a degree as a way to boost overall completion numbers. A growing body of research has pointed out that full-time students are more likely to graduate -- although there are concerns about the unintended consequences that can come from policies that mandate or encourage full-time credit loads, for example on returning students or those with full-time jobs or family responsibilities.

Complete College America, which is based in Indiana, has advocated for 15 to Finish reforms across the country.

“CCA has long believed that time is the enemy of college completion,” said Sarah Ancel, vice president of strategy at CCA, who was also an associate commissioner at the state’s higher education department when the policy went into effect. “One thing that is really notable is the positive impact the policy has for underrepresented minorities. It’s a victory for completion, but also equity.”

The analysis found credit hours increased by 11.7 percent for ethnic minority students compared to 9.4 percent for nonminority students.

The analysis looked at two different financial aid awards offered in Indiana -- the state’s 21st Century Scholars program and the Frank O’Bannon Grants -- which make up the majority of the state’s aid programs. The 21st Century program is for low-income students who meet certain GPA and academic benchmarks. In 2014, the program awarded on average $7,900 to first-time students at four-year institutions and $3,630 to first-time students at two-year institutions. With the state’s financial aid policy change, students had to maintain 30 or more credits a year to continue to receive the annual scholarship.

The O’Bannon Grant is also need-based, however, the highest award amount for private university students is $7,400. For four-year students, it’s $3,700, and for two-year students, it’s $3,100. Under Indiana’s 15 to Finish policy, students also have to maintain 30 credits a year to receive the maximum award amount, but students who complete 24 credits or fewer could lose up to $300 if they received the maximum award.

“A lot is at stake for our 21st Century Scholars -- if they don’t complete the credit hours, they lose the scholarship and they would fall into another financial aid pool,” Lubbers said. “The students who have the most to lose felt the greatest sense of urgency to pick up extra credit hours.”

Despite the positive results, Yanagiura cautions that they are based on short-term outcomes and there is more about the policy that needs to be studied.

“The policy is still only a few years old, and long-term outcomes are not available yet and beyond the scope of this study,” he said, adding that those long-term outcomes include graduation, wage and student debt.

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Association of International Educators (NAFSA) - Awards and Leadership recognition

International Association of Universities - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 15:48

Five outstanding international educators will be recognized at NAFSA2017 which will take place in Los Angeles later this month for their commitment to international education. More

UK: party manifestos lay out int’l student policies ahead of snap election

The PIE News - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:59

Policies affecting international students are central to plans laid out by the main political parties in the lead up to the UK’s snap election on June 8. In their manifestos, each party has included proposals impacting immigration, post-study work and international student visas.

The main parties in the UK, with the exception of the Scottish National Party and the UK Independence Party, have recently released their manifestos, each underlining the importance of ensuring that the UK remains welcoming to international students.

The Conservatives have maintained the policy to keep international students in net migration figures, while Labour has promised to take them out. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile have pledged to bring back a pared down version of post-study work.

“Universities are committed to working with government to ensure that any visa abuse in the sector remains very low”

In their manifesto, the incumbent Conservatives say that Britain is an “open economy and a welcoming society”.

“We will always ensure that our British businesses can recruit the brightest and best from around the world and Britain’s world-class universities can attract international students,” it reads, but also promises to “toughen the visa requirements for students, to make sure that we maintain high standards”.

Meanwhile, current opposition leaders Labour, say the party “welcomes international students who benefit and strengthen our education sector, generating more than £25bn for the British economy and significantly boosting regional jobs and local businesses”.

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto says they will “ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students”.

Despite a shared welcoming attitude towards international students, the immigration policies each manifesto proposes will dictate the degree of openness the country achieves under each party.

On immigration, the Conservatives have maintained their contentious plan to keep international students in net migration figures while aiming to “reduce immigration to sustainable levels”, which means cutting net migration from the 273,000 to tens of thousands.

Conservative plans to toughen student visa requirements is concerning, Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs said.

“I don’t think anyone can say why that is either sensible or necessary,” he told The PIE News. “And one only hopes that this is merely election rhetoric and that better sense will prevail when and if in government.”

Care should be taken to make sure that the “talk of toughening the visa requirements for students” doesn’t deter those considering coming to study in the UK, said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK.

“Universities are committed to working with government to ensure that any visa abuse in the sector remains very low,” she said. “And that there is improved and reliable data to identify the extent of any overstaying.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary at the University and College Union, which represents professional staff in the higher education and further education sectors, echoes that toughening visa rules will send out a negative message.

“Instead of pulling up the drawbridge, the next government needs to ensure that the UK remains an attractive destination for academics and students from around the world,” she said.

The next government “should start by immediately guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals currently working and studying here rather than using them as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations,” she argued.

Meanwhile, Labour says it will “develop and implement fair immigration rules,” and emphasises that in trade negotiations, the party’s priorities favour “growth, jobs and prosperity” over immigration targets.

“The next government needs to ensure that the UK remains an attractive destination for academics and students from around the world”

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto refers specifically to students who overstay their visa and promises to “work with universities to ensure a fair and transparent student visa process and find ways to measure accurately the number of students leaving at the end of their course.”

Wales’s national party, Plaid Cymru, meanwhile, says it will create “Welsh-specific visas” which will be “necessary to plug skills gaps and to protect our health service from staff shortages”.

Policies split on post-study work right for international students, with only the Liberal Democrats promising to reintroduce the offer, albeit partially.

“We will reinstate post-study work visas for graduates in STEM subjects who find suitable employment within six months of graduating,” reads the party’s manifesto. The Liberal Democrats also plan to “give the devolved administrations the right to sponsor additional post-study work visas”.

On the other hand, the Conservatives, along with pledging tougher visa requirements for international students, have also promised higher requirements for those hoping to stay after they graduate.

“We will expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain after their studies have concluded,” the party’s manifesto says.

Taking international students out of the net migration figures has become a hotly debated topic in public discussions across UK politics. A recent amendment in the Higher Education and Research Bill called for their removal, however it was defeated in the House of Commons.

But, the main political parties have readdressed the issue in their manifestos.

“[International students] are not permanent residents and we will not include them in immigration numbers,” reads the Labour manifesto. “But we will crack down on fake colleges.”

“Recognising their largely temporary status, [we will] remove students from the official migration statistics,” the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto says.

Wales’s Plaid Cymru also argues that international students must be taken out of the net migration figures.

While other parties have promised to take international students out of net migration counts, Scott at UKCISA said it was “disappointing” but “not surprising” to see the reference in the [Conservative manifesto] “to students being ‘within the scope of the government’s policy to reduce annual net migration’.”

“After so much discussion and debate – most recently in the House of Lords – sticking with this continues to seem unnecessary and really damaging,” he commented.

The future of funding for European mobility and research is uncertain in the run up to Brexit negotiations, but both Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have pledged efforts to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programs.

The Green Party outlines its plan to “guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus,” the manifesto reads.

Last month, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called an early general election on June 8.

The post UK: party manifestos lay out int’l student policies ahead of snap election appeared first on The PIE News.

NZQA closes third PTE, Linguis International

The PIE News - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 02:30

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has cancelled Linguis International Institute’s PTE status, making it the third international private tertiary provider to be deregistered in the last 12 months.

The provider, which had campuses in Auckland and Christchurch and delivered English and business studies, was cited for plagiarism, overcrowding and bad marking.

Linguis was criticised by NZQA in November 2016 in a report that found the provider had classes of up to 64 students, a shortage of furniture and “inadequate washroom facilities”.

“The priority is ensuring students are supported at this time and reducing disruption to their studies”

“The non-compliance took place over an extended period of time,” NZQA deputy chief executive of quality assurance Grant Klinkum told The PIE News.

“NZQA followed all standard procedures in its actions regarding Linguis, including ensuring Linguis had opportunity to address the concerns identified by NZQA and, most recently, to respond to the proposed deregistration,” he said.

Klinkum said now that Linguis has been deregistered, the focus is on ensuring its students found another suitable provider.

“The priority is ensuring students are supported at this time and reducing disruption to their studies. We appreciate this may be an uncertain time for students and we have made every effort to keep students fully informed,” he said.

According to NZQA’s initial report, Linguis’s rapid growth from 158 students in 2012 to over 1,000 in 2015 was poorly managed, leading to systemic plagiarism, and inadequate services. The report concluded NZQA was “not yet confident” in the provider’s capability to self-assess.

At the time of its closure, Linguis had only 81 students.

Linguis is the second private provider to be deregistered this year, and the third in the last 12 months, after Aotearoa Tertiary Institute closed in January, and the International Academy of New Zealand was liquidated in August last year and bought up by EDENZ Colleges while under investigation by NZQA.

The post NZQA closes third PTE, Linguis International appeared first on The PIE News.

Faux scholarly article sets off criticism of gender studies and open-access publishing

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

When Alan Sokal published a faux article in the journal Social Text in 1996, the target was clear. By getting a leading humanities journal to publish an article with considerable gibberish and lots of humanities jargon, Sokal and his supporters said he illustrated flaws in cultural studies, particularly related to analyzing issues involving science.

On Friday, two scholars published a fake article in the journal Cogent Social Sciences. The authors used their fake piece to satirize gender studies.

The paper is called “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” The paper argues that people should not view the penis as a body organ. “Anatomical penises may exist, but as pre-operative transgendered women also have anatomical penises, the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct,” the paper says. “We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity.”

“Nowhere are the consequences of hypermasculine machismo braggadocio isomorphic identification with the conceptual penis more problematic than concerning the issue of climate change,” the paper says. “Climate change is driven by nothing more than it is by certain damaging themes in hypermasculinity that can be best understood via the dominant rapacious approach to climate ecology identifiable with the conceptual penis. Our planet is rapidly approaching the much-warned-about [2 degrees Celsius] climate change threshold, and due to patriarchal power dynamics that maintain present capitalist structures, especially with regard to the fossil fuel industry, the connection between hypermasculine dominance of scientific, political and economic discourses and the irreparable damage to our ecosystem is made clear.”

If the language didn’t give the authors away, their biography might have. For example, here is part of it: “While neither [author] uses Twitter, both finding the platform overly reductive, they incorporate careful reading of the relevant academic literature with observations made by searching trending hashtags to derive important social truths with high impact. In this case, their particular fascination with penises and the ways in which penises are socially problematic, especially as a social construct known as a conceptual penis, have opened an avenue to a new frontier in gender and masculinities research that can transform our cultural geographies, mitigate climate change and achieve social justice.”

The authors quickly went public with their hoax and revealed their identities -- they are Peter Boghossian, a professor of philosophy at Portland State University, and James A. Lindsay, the author of four books.

“We wrote an absurd paper loosely composed in the style of poststructuralist discursive gender theory. The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions,” wrote Boghossian and Lindsay.

Many of their references were false, they wrote, and the real ones weren’t actually read by the authors.

To the many wondering if the paper was printed just as submitted, they wrote that they received comments from two peer reviewers, both of whom praised the paper. One asked for minor changes. “We effortlessly completed them in about two hours, putting in a little more nonsense about ‘manspreading’ (which we alleged to be a cause of climate change) and ‘dick-measuring contests.’”

In explaining the goal of the hoax, they wrote, “We intended to test the hypothesis that flattery of the academic left’s moral architecture in general, and of the moral orthodoxy in gender studies in particular, is the overwhelming determiner of publication in an academic journal in the field. That is, we sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship. Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil. On the evidence, our suspicion was justified.”

They also noted concerns they have about open-access publishing that is combined with article processing fees. Some open-access publishers ask for or require such fees as a means to maintain free content. Some colleges and universities, seeking to support open-access publishing, will pay such fees for faculty members. (Boghossian noted that Portland State, where he teaches, has such a policy but that he did not use it because he was publishing a hoax paper.) The hoaxers said that they did not think all open-access publishing was poor, nor that fees necessarily were wrong. But they said that the speedy publication of their paper, with an author fee, raised questions, at least about this publication.

As word about the hoax spread over the weekend, the first wave of reactions came from people who thought the hoax said something about the state of the humanities or gender studies.

New academic hoax: a bogus paper on "the conceptual penis" gets published in a "high quality peer-reviewed" journal. https://t.co/yQKydNrtOp

— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) May 20, 2017

They tried to write the craziest, most over-the-top parody possible -- It still got published. https://t.co/GzCA4REVzO

— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) May 19, 2017

But then another set of critiques started to appear, taking issue with those who produced the hoax and with those praising them. This set of critiques argued that this hoax did not come close to Sokal’s. His appeared in Social Text, then and now a widely respected journal in the humanities. Cogent Social Sciences is not a major player in scholarship, these scholars noted, and its business model (taking author payments) makes it suspect.

James Taylor, associate professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey, wrote on the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians that “it turns out that the joke’s on the hoaxers themselves -- both for failing to spot some very obvious red flags about this ‘journal,’ and for their rather bizarre leaps of logic.” The way the journal charges authors is that red flag, Taylor writes.

“This tells us very little about gender studies, but an awful lot about the perpetrators of this ‘hoax’ … and those who tout it as a takedown of an entire field.” Taylor’s headline for his piece: “Why the ‘Conceptual Penis’ Hoax Is Just a Big Cock-Up.”

Ketan Joshi, an Australian scientist and consultant, wrote on his blog that it is important to remember that many scientists have published hoax articles in science journals -- and that humanities disciplines are not the only ones vulnerable to such attacks. Further, he wrote that “a single instance isn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that an entire field of research is crippled by religious man-hating fervor, and that anyone pushing that line is probably weirdly compromised.”

Others are less willing to say that this is simply a case of a compromised open-access publication process.

Notably, the hoax paper was first submitted to NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, which is a scholarly journal published by the Nordic Association for Research on Men and Masculinities, and Taylor & Francis, an international academic publisher of many peer-reviewed journals, most of which are not open access.

NORMA rejected the piece, but when it did so it suggested Cogent Social Sciences might be a good fit. And NORMA’s editors noted the ease with which the submission could go to Cogent Social Sciences, which is also affiliated with Taylor & Francis.

Still others have noted that while there are “predatory” open-access journals that publish only when paid to do so by authors, there are many signs that Cogent Social Sciences is widely considered to be legitimate. For example, it is listed in the Directory of Open-Access Journals, which describes itself as a group of journals that share “a commitment to quality, peer-reviewed open access.”

The sociology blog Orgtheory.net wrote of the connections between Taylor & Francis, NORMA and Cogent Social Science. “So get this: If your article gets rejected from one of our regular journals, we’ll automatically forward it to one of our crappy interdisciplinary pay-to-play journals, where we’ll gladly take your (or your funder’s or institution’s) money to publish it after a cursory ‘peer review.’ That is a new one to me. There’s a hoax going on here, all right. But I don’t think it’s gender studies that’s being fooled.”

Inside Higher Ed reached out to editors and spokespersons for Cogent Social Sciences, NORMA and Taylor & Francis and received no responses.

As of Sunday, after more than 24 hours of online discussion of the conceptual penis article being a hoax, it remains online at the Cogent Social Sciences website.

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A glimpse into some experiments with income-share agreements

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

It’s a symptom of the current moment that ideas that might have some merit, or could help solve a problem, are prematurely described by advocates or policy makers (or, yes, journalists) as the “next big thing” before they have proven themselves effective. This is particularly true in the ed-tech space, but other sorts of purported innovations are susceptible to the same trend.

Consider the case of income-share agreements, which are having a moment and leading to articles like this recent one in The Atlantic, whose tagline says they “could solve [the] debt crisis.”

Income-share agreements are, described simply, a replacement for borrowing in which a student agrees to repay a portion of postgraduation income for a set number of years in exchange for an institution waiving all or part of their tuition. The idea has gained some currency in Washington as policy makers try to find ways to force colleges to share the risk -- to put “skin in the game” -- for when their graduates do not succeed. And the federal ascension of Republicans has given added momentum, because of the role of the private market in financing them.

At this month’s ASU GSV Summit, which historically has contributed to the hype cycle on the technology side of things, the concept got a reasonably well-rounded airing from a panel of experts. (Of course, it would have been more interesting if Matt Reed, who writes “Confessions of a Community College Dean,” had been there, given his scalding critique of the approach, in which he suggests that the “IS” in income-share agreements should be replaced by “indentured servitude.”)

Prominent in the discussion was Purdue University's effort known as Back-a-Boiler (Purdue's mascot is the Boilermaker), which has been the most highly visible experiment with the concept so far.

The Purdue program, which is entering its third year, is designed to replace private or parent borrowing for those students with a gap to fill in financing their undergraduate education. The program was originally designed for juniors and seniors but will be expanded to sophomores in the coming academic year.

Instead of taking out a private or Parent PLUS loan, a Purdue student agrees to pay back a percentage of their income over a set period of time. The proportion and term vary based on the student's major, and the amount they might have to repay is capped at 2.5 times the size of the original amount received. The average person will be expected to repay 1.67 times the amount of the original ISA. Students who earn less than $20,000 won't be expected to repay anything.

Purdue funded the first $5 million for the program through its Research Foundation, but it has now created a separate philanthropic program through which alumni and others can donate to Back-a-Boiler. The program was created, and is administered, by Vemo Education.

Ted Malone, director of financial aid at the public university in Indiana, said he was "as skeptical as can be" when he was first told about the concept, envisioning a scenario where an individual student would have to persuade investors that they are worth the risk. "I envisioned them going through the Shark Tank experience, negotiating with Mark Cuban and being at a distinct disadvantage," he said.

He also fretted that the funds would be made available only to those "who will make a boatload of money" and would end up paying much more than they received, rather than to the English and theater majors whose postgraduate salaries might lag.

But in the Purdue program's first full year, Malone said, the 160 students who accepted roughly $2 million in income share agreements came from 70 different majors representing all of Purdue's undergraduate colleges. Seventy-five percent of the students had calculated financial need, and 23 percent were eligible for federal Pell Grants, he said.

"The ISA is not for everybody," Malone said. "It will appeal to someone who is a little more risk averse," rather than the person who has "all the confidence in the world" they’re going to make a killing in the job market. The latter student could end up repaying significantly more than they would on a parent or even private student loan, he said.

While Purdue has not had many followers into this space in traditional higher education yet -- Malone said that some of Purdue's peer institutions have been "watching and waiting to see how we do … before they put their money on the line" -- the ISA approach is catching on among nontraditional providers such as boot camps.

Also on the ASU GSV panel was Adam Braun, the founder and CEO of MissionU, the latest in the line of entrepreneurial entities trying to replace the college degree. Braun, who says he started the company because his wife had accumulated more than $100,000 in debt without earning a bachelor's degree, aims to give 18- to 22-year-olds a yearlong, blended educational experience that prepares them for a good job.

The program's first cohort in data analytics and business intelligence is set to begin in the San Francisco area this fall, and Braun asserts that MissionU received 4,000 applications for its 25 slots.

Using the ISA concept, students would pay no tuition up front. Upon completion, they would be expected to repay 15 percent of their income for three years, but only upon earning a salary of at least $50,000.

MissionU is counting on the fact that the average salary for data analysts is $80,000. "We set it there because if they were earning less than $50,000, we weren’t doing our job," Braun said.

"Our view is that we don’t succeed unless you succeed," he said. "We can say that because of the income-share agreement."

Will the Idea Spread?

Tonio DeSorrento, president and CEO of Vemo Education, said during the ASU GSV session that the institutions that are experimenting with income-share agreements right now are those that "already have the mind-set" that it is their job to ensure that students succeed financially. "We're oriented toward success," he said, "so let’s get credit for it."

For the idea to expand meaningfully, he said, more colleges -- and potential funders, including governments -- would have accept the view that "value is defined and measured based on outcomes" -- "outcomes" defined narrowly, he acknowledged, as success in the job market. "ISAs capture the private benefit" of an education, but they "don’t measure the public returns to education," which "we can't lose track of."

Beth Akers, a policy analyst at the Manhattan Institute who has written favorably about the role income-share agreements could play in financing higher education, was the closest thing to a skeptic on the ASU GSV panel.

"We know from research that students have very little information about their own finances -- they don’t know how much they’re paying or borrowing," she said. Given that lack of financial literacy, Akers acknowledged the "reasonable concern that we could have students making decisions [about ISAs that are] not in their best interests."

Still, Akers said she believed support for income-share agreements meshed well with the conversations in Washington about the need to hold colleges and universities more accountable for how their students fare after leaving.

"People feel that institutions should have more at stake in this game, that there's not enough on the line for them," she said.

Some of that is likely to be accomplished through more federal "oversight of institutions so there is financial accountability," but some institutions -- by embracing approaches like income-share agreements, which are essentially wage guarantees -- can adopt their own form of accountability.

"We can either have government do it for us," Akers said, "or institutions can do it themselves."

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Reports finds rising competition in online education market

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

Is the community college sector the canary in the coal mine for the online education market?

A new survey of online education administrators at 104 colleges and universities released today shows -- as other studies have suggested -- that public and private four-year institutions saw healthy enrollment growth in their fully online programs in spring 2016 compared to the year before, and that they are showing few signs of slowing their investments in the space.

The situation is not the same at two-year colleges. Online programs at all institutions grew on average by 9 percent year over year, but at community colleges, growth typically registered 1 to 2 percent. And while only a handful of the public or private four-year institutions surveyed said their online enrollments shrank from 2015 to 2016, findings at community colleges were mixed: 33 percent saw growth, 27 percent decline and 40 percent stability.

Ron Legon is executive director emeritus of Quality Matters, one of the organizations behind the report. He said in an interview that he believes the slowdown in the community college sector could be a sign of what is to come for four-year institutions.

“This can’t go on indefinitely,” Legon said about online enrollment growth, which has continued even as overall higher education enrollment has fallen. “Although there’s still some growth to be had in online enrollment, it’s not infinite in scope. In the longer run, there will have to be winners and losers if this competition continues.”

Based on the findings in the report, competition is about to get even more cutthroat.

A majority of respondents (56 percent) said the online education market has become “much more competitive” over the past five years. Those administrators appear set on intensifying that competition. Virtually all of them -- 95 percent -- said their institutions plan to launch more online programs in the next three years.

“It is interesting that no one seems to be backing off and saying, ‘This is not for us,’” Legon said. “Many institutions may be making unwise investments [where] they will wind up with insufficient enrollment to justify the diversity of programs that they’re offering. They might be better off specializing in areas where they have a particular expertise or reputation rather than attempting to cover the market.”

Quality Matters, which offers quality assurance programs for online courses, partnered with the consulting and research group Eduventures for the CHLOE (short for Changing Landscape of Online Education) report.

Richard Garrett, chief research officer at Eduventures, said it is a “distinct possibility” that the online education market could soon become saturated with programs. He said he was less worried that the community college numbers could be a leading indicator and more about the fact that many four-year institutions are treating online education as a way to offer essentially the same product they offer in the physical classroom.

“If that’s all that they have to offer in a crowded market where there are hundreds and hundreds of schools offering the same thing … it means supply may overtake demand,” Garrett said. “My thesis is that the nature [and] value proposition of online learning haven’t evolved as fast as enrollment and as fast as schools getting into the market.”

The federal government will release enrollment data covering fall 2016 early next year, which will provide more insight into whether the online education market has continued to grow.

A New Report on Online Ed

Eduventures and Quality Matters said they are launching the CHLOE report to provide an in-depth look at how colleges are developing and supporting online education. Before the federal government began tracking online enrollment data, such studies were hamstrung by the fact that researchers had to rely on estimates of the size of the online education market.

“It was our belief that there were a number of issues that no one seemed to be looking at,” Legon said.

The two organizations said they plan to release the CHLOE report on an annual basis. Legon said he hopes the report will over the next several years identify institutional strategies that lead to success in the online education market.

“One of our basic premises is that online education is a business, and it is establishing itself at the majority of two- and four-year institutions,” Legon said. “As it joins the mainstream, one would want to ask how this fits into the organizational structure of these institutions, the budgeting, agenda, priorities for investments and development, and how it affects the role that faculty and staff play -- just a variety of issues that come together to make online learning a viable, long-term aspect of higher education.”

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Philosophy professors at St. Thomas in Houston, their contracts late, fear for their jobs

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

Many Roman Catholic colleges are rooted in the liberal arts, but the University of St. Thomas in Houston has a particularly hefty core curriculum: students must take three courses each in English, theology and philosophy before graduating, among other requirements.

So it’s puzzling to many on campus that reappointment notifications to tenured faculty members in philosophy may be sent up to month late this year, as the administration reviews department offerings in looking for ways to close a campus budget deficit.

St. Thomas says that faculty members this year, at least, are safe, and that all current philosophy faculty members will receive at least one-year assignments by June 12; typically contracts are sent by May 15. But some professors say it all feels like a ruse to put off bad news until after commencement and the setting in of summer quiet.

“I'm starting my 40th year as full time teacher-scholar in higher education,” said John Hittinger, chair of philosophy at St. Thomas, and “never had my tenure [or] faculty status been treated with such contempt.”

Calling the one-year contract promise “empty,” Hittinger continued, “If June 12, then why not now? We are due not just one-year contracts but with the tenure clause, and with the conditions for course load and salary amount. We don’t know what the contracts will look like until they are in our hands. This is why the May 15 date is sacrosanct. We have been set aside, as if the president were culling the herd.”

Robert Ivany, St. Thomas’s president, waved a red flag earlier this month when he sent an email to faculty members in philosophy and English saying their contracts had been delayed because the departments were "under review for potential reorganization and/or program elimination.”

Ivany offered little explanation, other than “I hope you will understand that certain financial circumstances require the university to carefully review certain programs and departments before making contract renewal decisions.”

The email, predictably, triggered panic that some philosophy and English jobs -- or even the departments -- could be eliminated immediately. So Ivany sent another, campuswide, email, saying the university “understands that the educational needs of students and society change,” and that “St. Thomas, as many other universities, has responded to students’ increasing interest in professional and pre-professional programs."

Meeting “evolving educational needs may require reorganization and mergers of academic departments,” Ivany continued, but “the university has not indicated nor does it intend to eliminate core academic disciplines, such as English or philosophy. Discussions among academic deans, the administration, board members, faculty and staff are ongoing.”

Faculty members in English have since received their contracts -- after some agreed to phased retirements. But philosophy professors continue to wait and worry.

Ivany reiterated in an interview that no tenured faculty members will be laid off this year, and everyone will receive a one-year contract by mid-June. He also said there’s no way the university would eliminate English or philosophy, two of its major service departments. Yet St. Thomas is reviewing programs within these departments -- such as degree offerings, he said. The Board of Directors could eliminate jobs at some future date, pending the outcome of the review.

Widely followed policies recommended by the American Association of University Professors say that tenured faculty positions may only be eliminated in times of true financial exigency or for sound educational reasons backed by faculty members. St. Thomas policy defines tenure as protection from being eliminated without cause. It says a tenure contract is “for one academic year and gives the faculty member the contractual right to be re-employed for succeeding academic years until he/she resigns, retires, is terminated for cause or the Board of Directors terminates a program.”

Neither AAUP condition for the elimination of tenured positions applies here, but Ivany said student demands are changing and the university must respond.

“We’ve had to hire faculty in the sciences, math, nursing and education because we have enormous student demand in these areas and others, and there isn’t as much student demand in the other liberal arts,” he said, explaining part of what’s caused a projected $4 million deficit for the coming fiscal year. The university has in the past covered deficits with reserve funds but won’t keeping doing so, Ivany said, as it’s increasing financial aid to a student body that needs it. Some 40 percent of incoming freshmen are Pell Grant recipients, he added.

Asked if it was prudent to consider shearing foundations of the core curriculum, Ivany said the college’s liberal arts mission remains strong -- as does its commitment to English and philosophy, in particular, as departments. But even packed lower-level courses can’t justify low enrollments in upper-level classes for lack of majors, he said.

Asked if the university’s review will consider more than just numbers of majors, Ivany said yes. Service hours, for example, are important.

But Hittinger, in philosophy, asked what kind of meaningful review can be undertaken within weeks, at the end of the year, and without the participation of faculty members. Even by university guidelines, he said, such reviews are supposed to take a year and include professors. He said he doubted whether reviews were under way at all, and guessed that withholding contracts was a way to intimidate the department into various budget concessions. Philosophy, in particular, makes a juicy target, he said, since it -- unlike most other departments -- has graduate programs, including the university's only Ph.D program. That means there are enough faculty members to teach entry-level courses, and they aren't just given by adjuncts at lower pay.

Hittinger also suggested that administrators -- not just students -- were leaning toward pre-professional offerings. Costly new STEM facilities have been built, and it appears the humanities are being asked to pay for them, he said.

Faculty members in philosophy and English have started a fund-raising campaign to defray the costs of pursuing a possible legal case against the university. “Help to protect 17 faculty,” reads their GoFundMe page, “who have been illegally denied a contract for the fall -- they need to fund a legal defense to go up against the goliath of the institutional resources of St. Thomas.” (Again, English professors have already received one-year contracts, after negotiations with the administration that involved some phased retirement agreements).

If the case goes forward, little love will be lost between professors and Ivany; faculty members voted no confidence in him last year, citing his alleged lack of transparency over university finances. They’ve also clashed with him over the search for his successor after he steps down this summer after more than decade, leading Ivany to threaten in a letter to a faculty committee that further commentary on the process could result in revocation of tenure.

"This is just without precedent," said Mary Catherine Sommers, a member of the budget committee who has taught philosophy at the university since 1987, told the Houston Chronicle.

Editorial Tags: CurriculumPhilosophyTenure listImage Source: University of St. Thomas, HoustonImage Caption: Robert IvanyIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Despite credit loss, starting at two-year college can be inexpensive start to four-year degree

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

Students who are eager to pursue four-year degrees without taking on too much student debt are increasingly turning to community colleges as their first step to a bachelor’s degree.

But transferring across institutions often isn’t easy, and many students lose credits when they transition from a two-year to a four-year institution.

Despite that loss in credits, a new paper from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College finds that attending a community college first and transferring is less expensive than enrolling at a four-year institution as a freshman.

“The bottom line is if you complete, it’s cheaper to go to the community college,” said Clive Belfield, a professor of economics at Queens College of the City University of New York system, who co-authored the paper. “Students lose a lot of credits, maybe 10 to 15 credits, and that’s a whole semester, but it doesn't change the calculation.”

For example, in one state the researchers found that the average overall cost to a student who completes a bachelor's degree is $72,390 if they start at a community college and $74,630 if the student starts at a four-year institution. CCRC didn't identify which states they studied.

Most community college students -- more than 80 percent -- indicate they enroll at their institutions with the intention of completing a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college. About one-third of students who begin at a two-year institution transfer to a four-year college, according to CCRC.

“When you go to a four-year college, you do as well as those who started at a four-year college,” Belfield said, adding that even if the transfer student has lost credits and may need to catch up, they tend to be on equal footing with the traditional four-year student.

Students may lose credits when transferring for a number of reasons that range from inefficiencies in the system, poor or no articulation agreements between institutions, a lack of communication about the transfer process, or students choosing to take courses that don’t fall within their program's pathway. When students lose credits, their total cost for college and time to degree increase.

The researchers examined community colleges in two states -- one state with strong articulation agreements and transfer pathways and another with weaker ones.

Belfield cautioned that different states may vary on whether starting at the community college is less expensive.

“The average is in favor of the community college, but there is a wide range of scenarios in which that’s not the case,” he said. “If the community college fees are high and four-year college fees are low, then it’s starting to look like you shouldn't start at a community college.”

The other major piece the paper examines is the diversion effect. That effect happens when community college students become discouraged and less likely to earn a degree. Students can become discouraged for any number of reasons, but common ones include taking remedial courses or maintaining low GPAs.

“That seems to be the big risk for students who start at a community college,” said Will Doyle, an associate professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University. “There’s this substantial reduction in the probability of completing a bachelor’s degree, even among students who show similar academic qualifications and other characteristics.”

Doyle said community colleges shouldn't be blamed completely for the diversion effect, that it’s caused by a number of issues or roadblocks to student completion.

The CCRC researchers found it’s harder to identify those students who are discouraged from even attempting to transfer.

“The great danger here is not is not pathway or transferring inefficiencies,” said Harold Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which provides scholarships to low-income students. “It’s that people feel discouraged and lose motivation and they simply won’t take the initiative to ultimately transfer the credits. They get burned out.”

Cost isn’t and shouldn’t be the only consideration, Levy said.

Doyle points to the differences in support, social resources and communities that students may get at a four-year institution that they wouldn’t at a two-year one.

“There are values in going to a four-year institution beyond costs,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s bad to get an associate degree. It’s wonderful, but people need to be realistic about what they are missing and realistic about what’s the likelihood they’re going to ultimately pursue their four-year degree.”

But the burden is on colleges and universities to make the path as clear as possible for students who say they want to earn a four-year degree. That means being transparent about credits early on, instead of waiting until the student applies for the transfer.

“There’s an obligation here if we’re going to say if you start at a community college you have the same opportunities to complete a four-year degree,” Doyle said. “We have to make that true for students.”

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Dozens walk out at Notre Dame to protest Pence, who criticizes political correctness

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:00

Dozens of students about to graduate from the University of Notre Dame walked out of the commencement ceremony Sunday morning to protest the decision to have the main address delivered by Vice President Pence.

A statement from those who organized the protest said that, as governor of Indiana and vice president of the United States, Pence has "targeted the civil rights protections of members of the LGBT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee settlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities and fought against sanctuary cities. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color and sexual orientation."

The students who walked out did so quietly and did not disrupt Pence's talk. The video below includes the introduction of Pence, and the walkout starts at about 0:50.

 

The audience at the commencement greeted Pence warmly, and the boos appeared directed at those walking out, not the vice president.

Notre Dame typically invites new presidents of the United States to be the commencement speaker during their first year in office. In 2009, many anti-abortion activists (largely outside the university) condemned Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to deliver the address, given his support for abortion rights. But he was warmly received and praised the university for being willing to listen to all views.

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, many on campus had been debating whether he should be invited to speak. In March, without commenting on Trump's suitability as a speaker, the university announced that Pence would appear.

When Pence did speak, one of his themes was that colleges are no longer supportive of free speech, although he took care to say that he was not commenting on Notre Dame.

"Notre Dame is an exception, an island in a sea of conformity so far spared from the noxious wave that seems to be rushing over much of academia," Pence said. "While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness, all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech."

The vice president continued, "These all-too-common practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, and they are wholly outside the American tradition. As you, our youth, are the future, and universities the bellwether of thought and culture, I would submit that the increasing intolerance and suppression of the time-honored tradition of free expression on our campuses jeopardizes the liberties of every American. This should not and must not be met with silence."

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Higher Education and Inclusive Development

University World News Global Edition - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 06:10
The "Contribution of Business Schools and Higher Education to Inclusive Development" conference took place in South Africa at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study from 19-20 April, co-hos ...

ACE Releases Paper Exploring Intersection Between College Instruction and Student Outcomes

American Council on Education - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 03:00
​Effective college instruction leads to engaged and successful students who are more likely to be satisfied with their education and earn a postsecondary degree, finds a paper released today by ACE.

Conservatives will toughen visa rules for students

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:22
The Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to toughen visa requirements for international students and raise the level of health surcharge they must pay, as part of the conti ...

Chamber of the Americas is proud to introduce our new member, Coansa del Perú Ingenieros SAC, Lima, Perú

Chamber of the Americas (English) - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 13:30

CONTACT:
Edwar Rojas Guevara
Gerente General
Coansa del Perú Ingenieros S.A.C.
Coansa, a Peruvian company with more than 14 years of experience in project management, construction for mining, and transportation of materials and hazardous, is in search of new markets to internationalize.
01.7634.8759 anexo 100
Dirección Jr. Zepita N° 481
Distrito los Baños del Inca Cajamarca Perú
www.coansadelperu.com
edwar.rojas@coansadelperu.com

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