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How Artists Push Social Change

Sarah E. Lewis, an assistant professor of art history and African-American studies at Harvard University, discusses the relationship between creativity and social justice. This is part of a special series of video highlights from SXSWedu, produced by The Chronicle.

Issue 1/2017 of the Internationalization of Higher Education: A Handbook published

International Association of Universities - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 01:52

![Cover][Cover] Issue 1/2017 of the Internationalization of Higher Education: A Handbook has been published IAU Members benefit from a substantial discount when subscribing to the hard copy and/or online version of this handbook. The online version is available on the new website.

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Russia’s outbound program extended to 2025

The PIE News - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:59

The Russian government has granted an extension to its federal study abroad scholarship fund, which supports students to go abroad for postgraduate degrees provided they return to Russia to work.

The Global Education Scholarship Program was established in 2014, and carried out its pilot phase until 2016. Last month, the Russian government signed a decree to guarantee its continuation until 2025.

The total number of students who can study abroad through the program is 718, said Ksenia Ivanenko, program manager, but due to the popularity the program has garnered, and the 25,000 registrations currently on the website, the quota is expected to be met soon.

“The program initially was designed to develop the regions, especially in Siberia, and remote areas”

“Once the quota of 718 students is filled, the project office is expected to monitor the current students and help them with job placement,” she told The PIE News.

“For instance, if a student starts the study program in 2017 and studies up to five years, he or she comes back in 2022. With the three-year home residency and job requirements, we have 2025.”

The scholarship program funds each student a fixed amount of $47,000 for their studies, which can be put towards tuition fees and living expenses.

Initially, it had planned to fund 1,000 postgraduate students, but the currency crash at the end of 2014 reduced the number, according to Ivanenko.

To be eligible, students need to be accepted into one of 288 top universities across 32 countries.

The program also requires that upon completing their studies overseas, the students must return to Russia to work for a minimum of three years.

The recently signed decree has increased the proportion of returnees who will be able to work in Moscow or St Petersburg to 25%. When the program was first implemented, only 10% of returnees were able to work in these cities in a bid to aid progress in less central regions.

“The program initially was designed to develop the regions, especially in Siberia, and remote areas, so we can talk about equal access, so citizens of the Russian Federation no matter where they are located they can get opportunities to study abroad,” said Ivanenko.

Among the 495 students selected for the program to date, the UK has been the most popular destination, chosen by 176 students, followed by Australia and Germany.

The scholarship program also has a job placement service which helps the returnees secure employment on their return, at one of over 600 companies.

“Our department starts helping them with some training, how to write résumés, how to get through interviews,” said Ivanenko. “And they’re also in touch with HR departments of those companies, so it means we provide as much assistance as we can.”

The post Russia’s outbound program extended to 2025 appeared first on The PIE News.

PayScale rankings of ROI have influence (and significant limitations)

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00

Blame it on PayScale.

Ten years ago this summer, the compensation data firm began publishing data on the colleges whose graduates earned the highest salaries. “For what it costs, a B.A. degree might as well be made of gold,” the company’s first report said. (It also noted that in the 2007-08 academic year examined then, the price of a four-year public degree averaged $6,185, and “costs at private colleges and universities can skyrocket beyond $33,000 for tuition, room and board.”

Today the former figure stands at nearly $21,000, and the sticker prices for a year at the most expensive private universities now start with a six. So it isn’t surprising that PayScale has expanded the data it publishes about higher education and been widely mimicked. Rankings providers like Money and Forbes have incorporated the data into their formulas, the American Institutes for Research's College Measures is working with numerous states to produce their own measures of college economic payoff, and even the federal government, in its College Scorecard, has included a measure of postcollege earnings in the outcomes data it provides.

The newest entry into the mix, The Equality of Opportunity Project, uses graduate earnings data to show how well (or poorly) colleges help their graduates climb rungs on the country's economic ladder.

Many college leaders dislike the metric, but the public eats it up -- and PayScale feeds its appetite.

PayScale today releases its 2017 College ROI Report, which provides information on the return on investment -- the 20-year compensation advantage gained by attending that institution -- for the typical graduate of 1,400 public and private nonprofit colleges. As is our practice, Inside Higher Ed does not report on the results of this or any of the burgeoning number of other rankings of colleges, given the skepticism with which most informed observers view their methodologies. This year's report from PayScale, like many such studies, shows engineering and science-oriented colleges having the best ROI, and sees a significant edge for public institutions, where the costs of attendance are much lower than at private nonprofit ones.

But given the PayScale data’s widespread use and the interest in ROI that the company’s approach has both helped spawn and capitalized on, the 10-year mark represents an appropriate time to look at its evolution and influence.

Most experts agree that the PayScale report has improved since its inception, and that the company has made changes over the years to address some of the criticisms directed its way, for instance by significantly refining how it calculates how much students at a given institution spend on their education. "They are definitely trying to do the right thing," said Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University.

But some of the PayScale metric's fundamental flaws remain: because the company bases its data on voluntary survey reports, its samples for certain colleges and majors may not be representative. And its institutional rankings are heavily influenced by the makeup of the colleges' programs, favoring institutions whose programs lean toward high-paying fields.

Perspectives on PayScale

Critiques of data like PayScale's range from the broadly philosophical to the narrowly practical.

Many people in higher education just plain don't like the idea of measuring a college education primarily (or even significantly) through graduates' income. "PayScale has shoved aside the philosopher king as the arbiter of the worth of college," Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity College Washington, wrote in an Inside Higher Ed essay late last year arguing for a new way of defining higher education's value proposition.

As an expert on higher education finance and now provost at the University of San Francisco, Donald E. Heller sympathizes with McGuire's argument, but he concedes that "the horse is out of the barn" in terms of measuring the value of higher education at least partially by graduates' economic outcomes.

"The first thing I say is to acknowledge that college is a lot more than what you're going to earn, and it's important that we keep that in context," Heller said. "But people are very interested in this idea of ROI. When I go to admissions events, parents often ask questions like, 'Is my kid going to get a job that will allow them to pay off debt and not live in my basement?'"

If many college administrators are (at least grudgingly) accepting the idea that their campuses are going to be judged in part by such measures, they still very much insist that the data should be meaningful. And on that front, experts continue to cite problems with the PayScale data (as they do with virtually all sources of such data, including the College Scorecard). The company derives its data from individuals (about 150,000 a month) who voluntarily submit their compensation information to use one of the company's services. The college ROI data are not part of the company's core business, but they give PayScale visibility.

One key issue is the data's representativeness. Tod Massa, policy research and data warehousing director at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, whose own longitudinal data system also produces earnings data about graduates, notes that the new PayScale college-level data are based on 1.3 million respondents over a decade, from 2007 to 2017. "I just don't know how representative that is," he said.

That's especially true when you drill down to the institution and major level, said Heller of San Francisco. "Some of the institutions in the top 15 have fewer than 100 data points, and all self-reported," he said. "It's hard to know if it is at all representative of the college." He said PayScale should be "much more honest" and transparent about the "severe limitations of the data."

Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics at PayScale, acknowledges that the company cannot change its underlying approach to data collection but insists that it is constantly subjecting the information to "rigorous validation." The company compares college-level data to those from the federal government's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, for instance, to "make sure we don't have over- or underrepresentation of [students in] a given major," and has begun comparing its data to those from the federal government's College Scorecard to ensure comparability.

Such comparisons are difficult because of differences between who is counted, though; the College Scorecard isn't a voluntary sample, like PayScale's information, but it includes only people who received federal financial aid. PayScale includes only people who have a bachelor's degree (no advanced degrees) -- excluding the many graduates of liberal arts programs who go on to earn graduate and professional degrees that contribute to their career and earnings success; the College Scorecard excludes those without a degree at all. And many state-level databases, like Virginia's, usually don't track graduates who ultimately leave the state for work.

Kelchen, of Seton Hall, agrees that the PayScale data are too limited to be leaned on too heavily. "I would hesitate to view the PayScale data in isolation," he said.

But "if we triangulate them with the College Scorecard data and the state data systems, we might really begin to get a sense of how things look," he said. "If those data sources match up, I'd feel pretty comfortable."

The ultimate vision behind the College Scorecard (assuming it survives the Trump administration, which may be unlikely to support anything with Obama administration fingerprints on it) is for it to have data at the program level as well as the institution level, which would make its information more comparable to PayScale's and to some of the state-level databases. "Getting the Scorecard to the point where you could disaggregate by majors would give us a lot more confidence," Heller said.

"Until one of us gets perfect information, yeah, I think it's fair that we should be trying to triangulate," said Massa of Virginia.

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History journal apologizes for assigning review of book on urban education and inequality to someone viewed as a white supremacist

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00

American Historical Review, a flagship journal in history, has apologized for assigning a book about inequality and urban education to a professor who has been criticized by many as a white supremacist.

Many historians say that the review -- in criticizing the book's author for not focusing on "sociobiology" -- was effectively criticizing her for not endorsing widely discredited views about race and intelligence. The journal is commissioning a new review of the book but is not retracting the review that it published.

The book in question is Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (University of Chicago Press), by Ansley T. Erickson, assistant professor of history and education at Teachers College of Columbia University. The book was published last year, to positive reviews.

The book focuses on Nashville, Tenn., and examines how various decisions by public school systems and the forces that govern the school systems promote inequality along racial and economic lines. The book acknowledges the role of racism in American society and in the development of public school systems and policy.

The reviewer selected by AHR, as the journal is widely known, was Raymond Wolters, professor emeritus of history at the University of Delaware. Wolters has published a series of articles in American Renaissance, a publication that urges a focus on "white identity."

One of his articles is "Why Have We Unlearned What We Knew in 1900?" In the article, Wolters laments that, after World War II, the United States and its allies "decided to put as much distance as possible between their nations and Nazism, which they came to define as refusal to accept diversity. In retrospect, we can see that this set the stage for dismantling the existing particularisms in Western societies."

He goes on to suggest that immigration to the United States and Europe from "non-whites" could "ultimately destroy the victors of World War II." Wolters also criticizes "culturism" for controlling American higher education and trying "to silence those who give Darwinian or biological explanations for race and sex differences in achievement." And Wolters praises the late J. Philippe Rushton, whose work on race and intelligence has been widely condemned by scientists as racist.

Wolters did not respond to email messages seeking comment for this article.

A series of letters in the new issue of AHR blast the journal for assigning the review to Wolters and for publishing it. They said it was unfair to Erickson and a disservice to history to let this review appear.

"Many experts in the field, tonight, have begun openly questioning the broad editorial quality of the American Historical Review," wrote N. D. B. Connolly, Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. "History as a discipline lies diminished under such questioning. This is not about academic freedom. This is not about freedom of speech. This is not about creating room for debate. This is about whether the AHR remains a place where professional historians can still safely expect professional handling of their work. In an age of salacious news and clickbait, no serious scholar should expect as bad-faith a review in such an important professional venue as what I read this evening."

Zoe Burkholder, associate professor of educational foundations at Montclair State University, cited two reasons why the journal should not have published the review. "First, it is inappropriate and unfair that you selected a white supremacist who believes in black racial inferiority to review a civil rights history book," she wrote. "Wolters’s views are no secret -- in fact, they are well-known among historians of education."

Burkholder added, "Second, it is an act of both racism and sexism to publish this review without editorial comment. It is racist because this review implies there is a science of racial difference that Erickson legitimately did not take into account, when you know perfectly well that is not true. It is sexist because you handed over a published book of a junior, untenured female faculty member to a white, male, senior scholar in the field to review when there was plenty of available evidence that he would not be able to offer an accurate and fair review. His review is biased and unfair, yet it is published in our discipline’s most prestigious journal. Female scholars have enough trouble getting tenure and advancing in academia without the added burden of prejudicial book reviews, a burden you just placed on Erickson."

Robert A. Schneider, interim editor of AHR and professor of history at Indiana University at Bloomington, published an apology at the end of the letters.

His statement, in full: "The AHR deeply regrets both the choice of the reviewer and aspects of the review itself. As for the choice of the reviewer, I have reviewed the process by which he was placed on our 'pick list' of potential reviewers, and I have been reassured that we were not aware of his publicly aired and published views when he was selected. His university webpage reveals him to be a legitimate scholar with a fairly long and solid publication record; our database also confirmed his status as an academic who has published in credible scholarly venues. It is absolutely true, of course, that a little more digging would have turned up evidence that would have -- and has -- discredited him as a legitimate scholar.

"Regrettably, we did not dig further. Worse yet, we did not investigate his views even when his review was flagged for my perusal. This is entirely on me. I recall lingering over that last sentence where he mentions sociobiology, wondering whether it was appropriate. In retrospect I should have lingered longer. As well, this sentence should have prompted me to look into his recent publications, which would certainly have convinced me to pull the review. Alas, I did neither, for which I owe both Professor Erickson and our readers an apology. We will be commissioning another review of her book."

Via email Schneider said that the journal was reviewing procedures to prevent anything like this from happening again.

Many of the critical letters to the journal have called for the review by Wolters to be retracted. Schneider said the journal is in the process of placing a statement about the review before it in the digital editions of the journal.

But he said that there would be no retraction. "We did indeed consider retraction as an option but, in consultation with the [American Historical Association, which sponsors the journal] and Oxford University Press, we decided not to go this route," he said. "There were several considerations, but one in particular speaks to a fundamental principle: in a sense, it would be 'convenient' for us to retract this clearly egregious review -- everyone would like to go back and eliminate their mistakes. However, this would not only be self-serving, it would also amount to effacing evidence -- something historians especially are loath to do -- of an error."

Erickson, via email, said, "I appreciate the apology and the plans for a new review. A retraction would be largely symbolic. The original text would continue to circulate in print and digitally. And as it does, it serves as a useful reminder of the AHR's participation in this problem. I care more about the actions that come next. For the AHR and other scholarly journals who have published false assertions of 'sociobiology,' this episode is a clear prompt to scrutinize their book-review processes (and their broader editorial and peer-review processes). They must identify and work to change the mechanisms -- including the underrepresentation of people of color in the profession -- that produce spaces where racism can be moved along through the pipeline rather than be recognized and interrupted."

She has been discussing the review on Twitter.

.@ScribnerUMCP @ndbconnolly @andrewkahrl @nataliapetrzela @zoeburk @pastpunditry @NYMag 11/ This is a prompt to examine institutions, practices, norms. Whose ideas figure, whose ideas count.

— Ansley Erickson (@ATErickson) April 17, 2017

.@ScribnerUMCP @ndbconnolly @andrewkahrl @nataliapetrzela @zoeburk 4/ This is not one publication. It's a peek at tolerance for hateful racist thought in the mechanisms of our profession. That’s the problem.

— Ansley Erickson (@ATErickson) April 17, 2017 DiversityEditorial Tags: BooksDiversity MattersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 1Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Harvey Mudd cancels classes after student protests over issues of race, workload and more

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00

The circumstances that led to protests and a two-day shutdown of classes at Harvey Mudd College have been brewing for years -- long bottled-up tensions about workload, race issues and a new and painful student mistrust of the faculty.

Monday and Tuesday this week, the California college will not hold classes, the cancellation following a student sit-in last week at the campus, where minority students issued demands to administration -- among them to funnel more money into counseling services, specifically geared toward students of color, and to prioritize minority student groups with funding and other perks.

Students didn’t ask for a cancellation, but rather the college did so to allow students and faculty members time either to consider some of the persisting issues on campus or to recuperate after a tense few weeks, Maria Klawe, the college’s president, said in a phone interview.

The move is highly unusual. Even as many campuses face tensions on race and other issues, it is rare to shut down for even a day as a result.

The elite science and engineering-centric institution has suffered a string of misfortunes with the deaths of three students since last July, prompting fresh grief among the campus community every time, Klawe said. The latest, a beloved campus leader with a sunny disposition, was found dead in his room from undetermined causes. The other two students died in separate car accidents. Harvey Mudd enrolls about 800 students, and such deaths affect the tight-knit community deeply, Klawe said.

Last month, too, a controversial report regarding student workload and faculty opinion of students leaked to the student newspaper, The Student Life. A committee examining the college’s classroom environment commissioned a study from the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College in Indiana. Two representatives from the center visited campus and conducted focus groups with students and faculty members.

Their findings: students expressed distress over their assignments, some reporting they fretted their showers were too lengthy because they needed more time to work, or they dreaded the prospect of getting sick, because they’d fall behind.

Harvey Mudd eight years ago revised its core curriculum, cutting it back from four semesters of courses to three and allowing for more elective classes. It was a measure that faculty and administrators believed would reduce student workload and stresses, and they were frustrated to learn it was not successful after many months of planning, Klawe said.

Some faculty members, meanwhile, told the interviewers that students were not prepared for their classes, and that they’d observed deterioration in the quality of students accepted to Harvey Mudd over the years. They described students as wed to their phones and not committed to the sciences.

Klawe said that the center didn’t capture a proper sample of either students or faculty members. The report focused on people with complaints to assure they wouldn’t be missed, but the final report lacked balance and presented it as representative of all faculty members’ opinions -- which was not the case, she said.

Faculty viewed the report, but it was withheld from the students to avoid the hurt feelings that would come from the faculty’s comments -- all were anonymous, Klawe said.

Still, someone provided it to the student newspaper, and a story on the so-called Wabash report was published two weeks ago, the same day that a memorial service for one of the students was being held on campus.

Students read the story, and later some of them printed out jumbo-size versions of the more stinging remarks from professors included in the report and plastered them to the president’s house and faculty members’ offices.

Later that week, students organized a march around campus and presented administrators with their demands. They want five new counselors for the coming academic year, with three of them being people of color, “to reflect the increasing need of health and wellness initiatives at Mudd to reflect and serve its diversifying student body,” the students wrote on a website detailing their requests.

Funding for mental health services should be boosted every year by 25 percent, they wrote, until the 2021-22 academic year. They called for a release of the student affairs office’s budget, and additional money -- $3,000 each -- for six student groups that represent minority interests on campus.

The administration also should carve out dedicated spaces in the college’s new academic building for each of these six groups, they wrote.

When administrators didn’t respond to the demands, Klawe said, the students staged the sit-in April 12.

Students who staged the sit-in did not respond to interview requests. FEMUnion at Harvey Mudd, a student group that advocates for women in science, technology, mathematics and engineering fields, wrote in a Facebook message to Inside Higher Ed that the student organizers “were tired” and did not wish to be interviewed.

Klawe compromised on some of the student requests at the sit-in.

She will provide $1,500 to each of the six minority student groups, a one-time allocation, with the administrators willing to consider it in future years depending on how the money is used. This comes in addition to the money student groups affiliated with the college already receive.

The student affairs budget will be sent to students by the end of the week, once the college figures out how to shield the salaries of the employees of the division.

The college will also formulate a proposal for increasing mental health services this week, and establishing a space for the student groups elsewhere on campus, though not necessarily a separate place for each one, Klawe said.

Klawe described the significant shifts that have occurred on campus in the past decade -- white men have historically dominated at the college -- until it attempted to diversify the campus, a campaign that has seen relative success.

While leadership there has recruited more women -- to the point where they comprise nearly 50 percent of the student body -- gains in the numbers of Hispanic and black students were sluggish until recent years, Klawe said. As a college recognized for its sciences, Harvey Mudd competes with institutions like Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both with higher profiles.

With this diversity comes growing pains, and practices that benefited what was the traditional Harvey Mudd student still linger, but are being identified.

Students pointed out a couple years ago that all lecturers in a campus speaker series were white men, Klawe said. In a required, basic course for engineering majors, women performed poorly until the college tweaked how it was taught, bringing in a hands-on component in which students built mini robots that could function underwater. The same mathematics concepts were being taught, but in a way that would appeal and allow women to thrive, Klawe said.

Like with many institutions nationwide, the results of the presidential election upset the campus population, according to Klawe, and so, in a largely positive step, conversations on campus have become more “radicalized” and have centered more than ever on social justice reforms.

Some faculty spent Monday afternoon in a training learning more about sensitivity toward minority groups and women.

“We’re trying very hard to listen,” Klawe said.

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Documents show Drexel is investigating professor's tweets but it's unclear whether faculty is involved

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00

Drexel University is moving forward with an investigation into a professor’s controversial tweets, and it’s unclear what, if any, backing the inquiry has from the faculty.

George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel, is the professor who tweeted on Christmas Eve (academically tongue-in-cheek, he’s since said) that all he wanted for the holiday was “white genocide.”

More recently, Ciccariello-Maher tweeted that he wanted to “vomit” after seeing someone give up a first-class airline seat to a uniformed soldier; Ciccariello-Maher said he was motivated by concerns about U.S. military actions oversees -- namely the March strike on Mosul, Iraq, that killed many civilians.

Ciccariello-Maher’s tweets may be highly unpalatable to some, even some of those sympathetic to his academic and political views. What’s certain is that his Twitter feed (now private) is becoming a test case for academic freedom -- as evidenced by letters to the professor from his provost, obtained by Inside Higher Ed from a third party.

In the most recent letter, dated April 3, M. Brian Blake, provost, informed Ciccariello-Maher that his “behavior has left me with no choice but to ensure that an appropriate review is conducted in order to deal with this serious distraction to the important academic mission of the university.”

Blake said it’s the university’s “intention to commission, in consultation with Faculty Senate, a special committee of inquiry to investigate your conduct and provide findings and recommendations to me concerning your extremely damaging conduct.”

The provost said that Ciccariello-Maher’s conduct is “even more concerning” because he previously sent a “cautionary letter” about the professor’s social media activity after his “white genocide” tweet. Blake in that letter, dated Feb. 2, expressed concerns about two other tweets on the professor’s feed going back to 2015:

  • “#BringBackFields, then do him like #OldYeller,” which, in Blake’s words, “many interpreted to mean that you called for the murder of Ben Fields, the South Carolina deputy school resource officer who violently arrested a female high school student.”
  • “Off the Pigs,” which Blake said “many interpreted as your advocating for the murder of police officers.”

Blake cited Drexel’s academic freedom policy, noting that it’s derived from guidelines from the American Association of University Professors. AAUP has a problem with that characterization, though, saying it leaves out a crucial caveat (more on that later).

“The college or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession and an officer of an educational institution. When s/he speaks or writes as a citizen, s/he should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations,” the policy says. “As a people of learning and an educational officer, s/he should remember that the public may judge his/her profession and his/her institution by his/her utterances. Hence, s/he should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinion of others and should make every effort to indicate that s/he is not an institutional spokesperson.”

Blake went on to say that Twitter communications are thus “protected speech” under the policy but that faculty members also have a “special obligation” to, in his words, “act responsibly, particularly where the speech has the potential to affect community safety and the right of all our community members to live, work and learn in an environment free of undue harassment, hostility or danger.”

This “special obligation” is even “more pronounced given Twitter’s character limit that often impedes one’s ability to provide complete context and perspective, frequently at the expense of accuracy and the ability to communicate one’s real intention,” Blake said.

Over the past 16 months, Blake added, “the university has been faced with heightened concerns for community safety, received significant negative feedback and has unfortunately spent considerable time and resources as a result of your statements on Twitter.”

Blake devoted much more attention to the issue of institutional impact in the April letter. In addition to outrage and “suggested violence” against university personnel, he said that the university is facing backlash from would-be students and donors.

“Numerous prospective students whom the university has admitted have written to the university stating that they will not attend the university because of your conduct, and at least two potential significant donors to the university have withheld previously promised donations,” Blake said. “The nearly unmanageable volume of venomous calls that the university has received -- during this critical time in the academic year when prospective students are deciding where they want to attend college -- compelled the university to consider turning off its phones in the days following your tweet, and we have real concerns that admitted students were unable to get through with questions.”

Blake added, “Despite my efforts to engage in a constructive dialogue with you in the hopes of making you more self-aware of the consequences of your actions, your course of conduct suggests to me that you are unable or unwilling to calibrate your actions to consider the damages that they cause to your university and all those who work so hard to advance the mission of the university.”

Ciccariello-Maher declined to comment on his case Monday, other than to say via email, “The fact that ranking Pennsylvania Republicans are calling on me to be fired only underlines the absurdity of an already absurd situation. I'm sure they would defend the rights of right-wing racists to speak on campus in the same breath that they demand my head.”

Neither the chair nor the vice chair of the Faculty Senate responded to requests for comment. Drexel declined to comment, saying any potential look at Ciccariello-Maher would be a private personnel matter. So it remains unclear how, if at all, the faculty will be involved in the inquiry.

As for what, exactly, the university will investigate, Blake in his April letter said that “in light of the serious damage to the university and its reputation that your provocative tweets have caused, it is imperative to determine whether you have violated the university’s Code of Conduct and/or other policies and whether your tweets are a violation of the special obligation that a faculty member has under Drexel’s academic freedom policy.”

The AAUP’s longstanding Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure says that faculty members “should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances.” Hence, it says, “they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”

Greg Scholtz, director of tenure, academic freedom and governance at the AAUP, said that the statement is followed by a long, “most pertinent” footnote from the association's Statement on Extramural Utterances. It says the “controlling principle” is that a professor’s personal expression of opinion “cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty member’s unfitness for his or her position,” and that extramural utterances “rarely bear upon the faculty member’s fitness for the position.”

Any final decision, it continues, “should take into account the faculty member’s entire record as a teacher and scholar.”

AAUP also maintains that faculty peers -- not administrators -- should determine matters of professional fitness.

In short, Scholtz said, “extramural speech is protected under principles of academic freedom unless it implicate the fitness of the faculty member as a teacher or researcher,” and it’s difficult to see how any of Blake’s concerns about enrollments or donors, in particular, factor in.

John K. Wilson, an independent scholar of free speech and academic freedom and co-editor of AAUP’s “Academe” blog, said it appeared Drexel was making “no effort to even allege that this professor is unfit to serve,” and agreed that the bulk of Blake’s letter “is devoted to recounting the hostile reaction to his tweets” -- not any basis of punishment under AAUP standards.

Wilson also called Blake’s assertion that guidelines for extramural utterances are even more pronounced on Twitter because context is minimal a “disturbing limit on academic freedom in social media.”

Ciccariello-Maher is far from the first professor to face administrative scrutiny of his social media activity.

A review of recent cases suggests those professors with tenure fare better than assistant professors or untenured lecturers and adjuncts. One notable exception was Saida Grundy, an assistant professor of sociology at Boston University whose tweets about race led to calls for her dismissal; her cause was helped by sociologists rushing to defend her, arguing that some of her comments about white people were grounded in sociological research. Another untenured professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison also faced public furor over tweets about police, but the administration has thus far backed Damon Sajnani, assistant professor of African cultural studies. At the same time, Ciccariello-Maher's case differs from others, because he continued to post controversial tweets even after he was warned not to.

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Follett, Lumen Learning announce OER partnership

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00

Open educational resources provider Lumen Learning has a new partner in its effort to get more faculty members to use alternatives to commercial textbooks: the college bookstore.

Lumen, a start-up based in Portland, Ore., said on Monday that it had teamed up with Follett, creating a new channel for its course content to reach more faculty members. Follett operates more than 1,200 physical and 1,600 virtual bookstores, and will feature Lumen’s content alongside commercial educational materials from more than 7,000 publishers.

Additionally, Follett is contributing a “significant” amount to Lumen’s new $3.75 million financing round (the company declined to give a specific figure).

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, the two companies gave slightly different explanations about why the partnership makes sense.

Follett emphasized its “long history of putting students and faculty first,” comparing the partnership with Lumen to its early entries into the textbook rental and “inclusive access” markets.

“It’s important for Follett to put its money where its mouth is,” said Roe J. McFarlane, chief digital officer at Follett Higher Education. “If we care about affordability and accessibility, paying lip service to this is no longer acceptable to the marketplace.”

Follett isn’t “saying OER is going to save the day,” McFarlane continued. But the company has received a “phenomenal amount of feedback” from colleges where faculty members are looking for affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks, he said, and it is making an effort to address those concerns.

“We are saying it is an option for those that want to consider it, and it is a very affordable option,” McFarlane said. “We want to make sure that we have that span of offerings, should they wish to teach with these materials.”

Follett has existing relationships with OER providers, but the partnership with Lumen is the first deal Follett has signed with a provider to offer its OER courseware, McFarland said.

For Lumen, the partnership is an effort to address one of the major issues facing the growth of OER: discoverability. Most faculty members say they would be happy to assign free or low-cost course materials -- as long as they are high quality -- but that they have trouble finding the right content for their classes.

A 2016 survey by the Babson Survey Research Group, for example, found issues related to the availability and discoverability of OER as the top four barriers that faculty members said prevent them from assigning those course materials -- among them, the lack of a comprehensive catalog of OER or colleagues who could point them in the right direction.

Lumen’s catalog includes OER for 78 different courses. Since its launch in 2013, the start-up has gained a greater understanding of why some faculty members use OER and others don’t, said Kim Thanos, founder and CEO of Lumen.

“One of the obstacles is this challenge of how we get OER out of a side path in terms of faculty consideration, review and adoption, and start to move it more into the mainstream process that faculty use to consider and adopt learning resources,” Thanos said. By teaming up with Follett, she added, Lumen is able to put OER in front of many more faculty members by using infrastructure they are already familiar with -- Follett’s platform.

Despite lingering issues around discoverability, open resources have gained traction in higher education -- particularly in high-enrollment general education courses, which have been the focus of many OER initiatives. Many of those initiatives are taking place at the state level. Most recently, politicians in New York reached a budget deal that includes $8 million to expand OER use at the City University of New York and State University of New York systems.

Lumen has also seen growth. So far this academic year, the company has delivered content to more than 100,000 students, which it says adds up to about $10 million in savings compared to if those students had bought commercial textbooks. The company is expecting to generate $10 million in savings this fall alone, suggesting the growth will continue, Thanos said.

Lumen has previously worked by signing contracts with individual colleges and helping them begin OER initiatives on their campuses, charging students a $10-25 “course support fee.” Students will pay the same to access OER through Follett’s platform.

The company will continue to work with colleges and universities, Thanos said. She added, “We’re not looking to do a similar partnership with other bookstore providers,” suggesting the deal with Follett is somewhat of an exclusive one.

The $3.75 million investment more than doubles what Lumen has raised to date. Thanos said the start-up will use the funds to accelerate its own growth.

“This is not a next round leading toward many more rounds,” Thanos said. “We do believe we’re on a nice path toward being financially self-sustaining and being a healthy, growing company.”

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 00:00
  • Bates College: Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone.
  • College of Saint Benedict: Corie Barry, chief financial officer and an executive vice president at Best Buy.
  • Dillard University: Janelle Monáe, the singer and actress.
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis: Tamika Catchings, the basketball player.
  • Nicholls State University: Jonathan Foret, Louisiana environmentalist and educator.
  • Ohio State University: Abigail Wexner, a lawyer and philanthropist.
  • Roberts Wesleyan College: Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
  • Saint John’s University, in Minnesota: Dan Whalen, president of the Whalen Family Foundation.
  • San Francisco State University: Neda Nobari, the Iranian-American philanthropist.
  • Springfield College: Richard H. Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general; and Massachusetts State Senator Gale D. Candaras.
  • University of North Georgia: State Senator Renee Unterman; Steve Vande Loo, founder and owner of Advanced Beverage Concepts; and others.
  • University of Pittsburgh: Larry J. Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Health; and S. Epatha Merkerson, the actress.
  • University of Redlands: Michael Lin, superintendent, Corona-Norco Unified School District; Kevin Eubanks, the jazz and fusion guitarist; and Randy Walker, vice president of BC Technical.
  • Wells College: Pamela Lewis, founder and president of PLA Media in Nashville, Tenn.
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UK: 74% of public value int’l students when economic worth revealed

The PIE News - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 09:56

Around three-quarters of the British public would like to see the same amount – or more – international students in the UK, after finding out the economic contribution they make to the country, according to a recent poll.

The survey of 4,043 respondents also found over three-quarters would agree with the statement that international students should stay and work in the UK before returning home.

Conducted by ComRes for Universities UK, the research crucially found that people’s attitudes towards the amount of international students in the country were different before realising their economic contribution and the jobs they generate.

“The general public … can see the benefits from letting students from the across the world to enter our workforce”

Twenty-four per cent said they would like to see more international students in the UK, which reached as high as 30% for respondents in London.

Meanwhile, just over one in 10 (13%) respondents wished to see less international students in the country.

However, more than 20% of respondents held that belief before they were told the economic impact of international students to the country. Similarly, just 12% of those surveyed wanted to see more international students in the country before knowing the economic gains.

The latest figures from Universities UK illustrate international students are worth over £25bn to the UK economy, supporting the equivalent of 206,600 full-time jobs across the country.

Only a quarter of total respondents said they consider international students to be immigrants – 25% for EU students and 26% for those outside the EU.

More respondents considered academics and researchers coming to work at UK universities as immigrants – 38% if they’re from the EU and 41% if they’re not.

“While the UK government continues to count international students as long-term migrants in its target to reduce migration, there is a continued pressure to reduce their numbers, adding to the perception that they are not welcome here,” said Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK.

International students’ inclusion in the net migration figures has been a widely-debated topic in the UK higher education sector, with many UK politicians supporting the call to have them removed from the count. Prime Minister Theresa May, however, has remained firm on the issue.

On the topic of post-study work, the survey found that three quarters of respondents believe international graduates should stay and work in the UK before returning home, in order to contribute to the economy, as opposed to 25% who said they should immediately return home.

“Why wouldn’t we want Scottish employers to receive the benefit of their skills for a few years?”

The highest proportion of those who agree with post-study work options for international students were from Scotland, where 83% of respondents agreed with the statement.

Andrea Nolan, convener of Universities Scotland, said this figure should “give the Home Office something to reflect on”.

“The general public, like everyone in the higher education sector and business community can see the benefits from letting students from the across the world to enter our workforce,” she said.

“We spend years educating international students, why wouldn’t we want Scottish employers to receive the benefit of their skills for a few years?”

The research was conducted online across five days at the end of March.

The post UK: 74% of public value int’l students when economic worth revealed appeared first on The PIE News.

New York's tuition-free college program sparks debates and defenses

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00

Details of New York’s free public college tuition program stoked a stream of strong reactions in the days since Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers reached a deal that will have it starting this fall.

Perhaps the most controversial element of the program, which is called the Excelsior Scholarship, is a work and residency obligation that kicks in after students graduate. Scholarship recipients will have to live and work in New York State after graduation for the same number of years they received Excelsior Scholarships, or their grants will turn into loans.

The program has also generated discussion around a requirement that students complete 30 credits per year to remain eligible. And the 30-credit requirement comes with another caveat that has been previously overlooked: students who don’t complete 30 credits in a year could have some of their Excelsior Scholarship clawed back. They’ll still be eligible for the first semester of free tuition in the year in which they failed to complete 30 credits. But after that year is over, they could receive a bill from their college or university asking them to pay for their second semester, unless a hardship is declared.

The 30-credit requirement has further inflamed a long-ranging debate over how to best ensure students, particularly first-generation and low-income students, earn their degrees after enrolling in college. It has also expanded to include discussion over the best way to encourage colleges and universities to help such students graduate on time.

Those arguments join the disagreement over the program’s work and residency restrictions, which has turned into a battle over the merits of brain-drain protectionism on a state-by-state basis in a country where college graduates often move to pursue jobs and opportunity. It also joins existing arguments on whether the program should provide more money for low-income students and whether enough money has been set aside to cover costs.

Together, the discussions reflect the fact that the Excelsior Scholarship is a groundbreaking program that’s captured attention across the country. Now the question is whether it will prove to be an effective policy, making it easier and cheaper for New York students to attend college, or an elaborate tangle of red tape that overpromises, restricts students and will ultimately underperform.

Study in New York, Live in New York, Work in New York

The Excelsior Scholarship is a “last-dollar” program that bridges the gap between tuition costs and previously available state and federal aid. It’s available to students who are New York residents and attend public four-year colleges and universities and community colleges.

In its first year, the program will be available to students from families with annual incomes of up to $100,000 per year. The income limit will go up to $110,000 in 2018 before rising to its ultimate cap of $125,000 the next year.

Those details are essentially the same as what Cuomo proposed when he first unveiled a free-tuition plan in January. But New York Republicans added a major change during the legislative process, adding the residency requirement. The governor has since come out in support of that requirement, however.

“Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?” he said, according to The New York Post.

Not everyone agrees with that sentiment. It’s at odds with the historic relationship between public higher education and taxpayers, according to Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Traditionally, state colleges and universities have posted lower tuition for in-state students than for other students, under the idea that taxpayers had been helping to fund those institutions for years before their children enrolled, Nassirian said.

“This notion of creating a prospective [postcollege] residency requirement kind of breaks that historical arrangement,” he said. “It’s really dangerous to turn it on its head.”

Yet this is far from the first time student aid has been tied to some kind of residency requirement. Such requirements have cropped up at the state level in free community college plans, like a newly enacted plan in Arkansas that would require its grant recipients to work full time in the state for at least three years after graduation. Many states, including New York, also have loan forgiveness programs helping graduates pay off their student debt if they work in certain professions and in certain geographic areas.

Maine a decade ago started offering a tax credit reimbursing student loan payments to residents who earned their degrees in the state and decided to work there. The program has since been modified several times to establish different qualifications and benefits.

No other program seems similar enough to the Excelsior Scholarship to serve as a proxy for how New York's program will affect graduates, however -- in specifics or in size. In Maine, for example, 5,642 people filed returns for the tax credits in 2015 at a cost to the state of $9.3 million. In contrast, New York has appropriated $87 million for the Excelsior Scholarship’s first year alone. That money is enough to cover an estimated 22,000 students.

Many believe more students will apply for Excelsior Scholarships, however. Cuomo’s office has estimated that 940,000 families with college-aged students will be eligible for the program by the time it is fully in place in 2019.

“We don’t have many programs that are like this,” said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University who has written about challenges the Excelsior Scholarship program faces. It will be hard to look at other programs as a way to predict how many New York students will be affected by the residency requirement, he said.

“The closest thing we have is probably a federal TEACH Grant,” Kelchen said. “To some extent, that encourages staying in a particular state, because it can take time to get a teaching license in another state.”

The U.S. Department of Education runs the federal TEACH Grant, which offers up to $4,000 per year to students who commit to teaching in low-income school districts for at least four out of eight years after they graduate. Those who don’t fulfill their TEACH Grant commitments have their grants converted into loans, similar to the mechanism in the Excelsior Scholarship.

In 2015, a Government Accountability Office report found that about a third of the TEACH Grant’s 112,000 recipients had their grants converted into loans. That rate won’t necessarily be reflected in New York’s program, however. The report said some conversions were the result of government or contractor errors.

Cuomo’s office says 84 percent of graduates from the state’s higher education systems -- the State University of New York and City University of New York -- stay in the state after graduation. That roughly aligns with SUNY data on students who earned associate and bachelor's degrees, provided the portion of students who live in New York after graduation roughly aligns with the portion who work in the state.

SUNY data show 83 percent of students employed in New York State in the first year after graduation. The portion drops to 78 percent in the second year after graduation and to 73 percent in the fourth year.

In many other states, especially those with struggling economies, top students routinely leave the state after graduation. But that's not the case in New York, as reflected in the relatively high number who remain. Some of the reasons graduates leave the state, such as to enroll in graduate or professional school, would entitle them to defer the requirement that they remain in state or have their scholarships converted to loans.

Meanwhile, another analysis shows about a fourth or a fifth of New York’s college graduates leave the state within four years. Douglas Webber, an assistant professor of economics at Temple University, analyzed U.S. Census Bureau Data and estimated that between 20 percent and 25 percent of New York college graduates leave the state within four years of receiving their degrees.

Data limitations mean that’s a rough estimate of past conditions, though. It doesn't distinguish between private and public institutions, so it doesn't align perfectly with the Excelsior Scholarship, particularly if graduates from public colleges are more likely to remain in the state. And even if the estimate is accurate, it isn’t necessarily predictive of the future -- many students could very well decide to stay in New York in order to keep their Excelsior Scholarships from converting into loans.

Webber argued such a decision is also a significant impact, however.

“You don’t necessarily need to know how many people are going to leave the state in order to know how many people it’s going to affect,” Webber said. “In some sense, if you decide to stay in the state because of this requirement, I would also count that as someone who is affected.”

The residency requirement can have numerous economic implications, Webber said. Research shows that the first job a graduate lands can have a major impact on their earnings in the future, he said. Economists liken the labor market to a ladder -- if you start on a lower rung, it’s harder to climb as high as you would have if you started on a higher rung.

So taking a slightly lower-paying job in state instead of a higher-paying one out of state can matter over time.

“One of the big reasons that a college degree gives you so much earning power is because it allows you to compete in a national labor market,” Webber said. “Just from the perspective of taking that away, or at least putting up a barrier to that, it absolutely will affect earnings in some people.”

It should be noted that New York has the job center of New York City, given graduates a fertile ground for in-state jobs at typically higher wages than those paid elsewhere. Still, some graduates could find it difficult to pay for New York's high cost of living right after graduating. They will not have the option of living across the river in New Jersey if they want to keep their scholarships from converting into loans.

Others questioned whether New York's government is prepared to verify that thousands of Excelsior Scholarship recipients continue to live and work in the state for years after graduation. The scholarship covers two-, four and five-year programs, meaning that in some cases officials would need to verify a student’s workplace and residency for half a decade.

“In my estimation, any state aid program that requires students to live and work in a certain state will be administratively burdensome and confusing for students to navigate,” said Sarah Pingel, a senior policy analyst with the Education Commission of the States. “We can look to states that currently offer loan forgiveness for working in certain occupations as an example. State-run loan forgiveness programs are generally very small in size but have eligibility requirements that can be difficult for states to monitor and enforce.”

New York officials have argued that they will be building upon an existing verification infrastructure, however. Graduates will have to verify their residency by providing some type of documentation like a pay stub, tax return or phone bill. The State’s Higher Education Services Corporation will notify students of requirements. That agency already oversees several existing state loan forgiveness and scholarship programs with residency requirements.

It's worth emphasizing, however, that those programs are smaller than the Excelsior Scholarship is expected to be. New York had seven programs in 2015 that were classified as conditional grants, conditional loans, loan assumption programs or loan forgiveness programs, according to the latest data available from the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs. Those programs covered a total of 1,371 recipients. Their expenditures totaled $7.7 million.

30-Credit Requirement

The governor’s office has cast the Excelsior Scholarship’s 30-credit-per-year requirement as a component that will ensure students complete college on time. It has strong support from Complete College America, a nonprofit group backing the 15 to Finish campaign that encourages students to take at least 15 credits a semester.

The group’s president, Tom Sugar, compared New York’s program to the tuition-free community college Promise programs that several states have put in place and other aid programs that require students to take 12 credits per semester. The Promise programs are built for access, he said. But he went on to argue that access without completion lets students down and can lead to a loss of public funding in higher education as policy makers and taxpayers see money as being spent without results.

“Access is critically important,” Sugar said. “If success doesn’t follow, it will all be over with.”

The Excelsior Scholarship attempts to balance its 30-credit requirement with some flexibility for students. Students can use a January or summer term to get to their 30-credit requirement. The minimum number of credits they need to take per semester is 12. The scholarship can also be paused for certain interruptions, like a family death, medical leave or military service.

Still, many wonder how the 30-credit requirement will affect low-income students who may need to work summers to pay for rent or college fees -- expenses that the Excelsior Scholarship program does not cover. They say the benefits of free tuition need to be available to part-time students. And they wonder if students will drift toward easier programs in order to ensure that they will meet the academic standards necessary to keep their free tuition.

Sugar sees it another way: he believes the strict requirement will force public colleges and universities to change. They might find new ways to support students and start scheduling classes at more convenient times so those students can work while they attend class, Sugar said.

“The 30-credit requirement in Governor Cuomo’s plan will inspire innovation,” he said. “It will inspire colleges to adopt strategies that are proven to work, to help students accumulate more credits and therefore graduate closer to on time.”

It’s not entirely clear how many students at public colleges would have to change their behavior to meet the 30-credit requirement. Currently, about 80,000 SUNY students from households with incomes of $125,000 per year or less take 15 credits per semester in the fall and the spring. Roughly half already attend tuition-free under existing forms of student aid.

What is becoming clear is what will happen to Excelsior Scholarship students who fail to complete 30 credits in a year. The legislation that authorized the Excelsior Scholarship says that such a student is only eligible to receive their award for the first semester of that year.

So the student becomes ineligible for the second semester of the year. Colleges and universities will be responsible for charging such students.

That makes the Excelsior Scholarship a high-risk proposition for students and families, said Tom Hilliard, senior researcher at the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based nonprofit organization.

“You’ve really moved far away from free college as a benefit to the student,” he said.

Sugar, of Complete College America, declined to comment on the possibility of a student receiving a bill for their second semester after missing the 30-credit cutoff, saying he had only recently learned that detail about the New York program and that the state still has to go through an administrative rule-making process that could impact the specifics of such a situation. Instead, he addressed the general concept of a strong set of incentives and disincentives.

“Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the incentives are strong?” he said. “Certainly, the notion that you might get a bill because you didn’t complete -- I understand how folks might react to that negatively. But these incentives need to be strong, because the reward is so great.”

It should also be pointed out that New York offers several programs and benefits for part-time students. Tuition at its community colleges is low. The state makes part-time Tuition Assistance Program grants available to students who have previously completed a year of classes at a load of 12 credits per semester.

Other Requirements

Meanwhile, the debate will likely continue about numerous other parts of the Excelsior Scholarship. Since Cuomo first unveiled his plan in January, some experts have pointed out that New York already has a generous Tuition Assistance Program that helps students pay the cost of tuition. They wonder if the money allocated to free tuition would be better spent on assisting low-income students with support services or helping them pay other costs that can keep them from finishing college, like room, board and fees. Public institutions have often turned to increasing such costs when they are unable to raise tuition.

Additionally, critics have argued that New York has not set aside enough funding to cover costs. They say New York's allocation, $163 million over three years, isn’t enough to cover a potential 940,000 families.

Administrators at some of New York’s private colleges and universities -- many of which have been critical of the free public tuition program or think it threatens their institutions' futures -- have pointed to language in the authorization bill that allows the state’s Higher Education Services Corporation to set up a lottery for awarding scholarships in the event that funding does not match demand. They’ve taken to derisively calling the program the “SUNY Powerball.”

Cuomo’s administration has expressed confidence that the state will provide enough funding to meet demand. And it is true that, in states with tuition programs benefiting the politically influential middle class, legislators tend to come through to provide necessary money.

The governor in public appearances has focused on a larger argument, saying that the idea of free college is powerful. It will inspire students, he said last week in an interview with talk radio host John Catsimatidis.

“It says, every child who puts his head on the pillow or her head on the pillow -- you can be a success,” he said, according to a transcript of the appearance circulated by his office. “It doesn’t matter if Mom and Dad can’t pay for college. It says to parents, ‘Don’t worry about paying for college. Don’t worry about choosing between paying rent and paying for college education. The state will invest in your child because that’s an investment in the state.’”

That argument appeals to many of Cuomo's critics, who believe there is something to be said for highlighting the importance of higher education and putting new money into public colleges and universities after years of disinvestment across the country. But the argument also highlights their biggest problem with the governor's signature program: that students and parents attracted by the glamorous promise of free tuition might be let down by a tangle of fine print that runs from residency requirements to scholarship clawbacks.

“What is the likelihood that parents and students will get past the message of free?” said Nassirian, of AASCU. “It’s absorbing the very powerful and, frankly, important message of ‘free’ in huge letters and then footnoting it in fine print with all kinds of contingencies.”

Paul Fain contributed to this article.

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Image of Trump sets off dispute at Stanford

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00

A Stanford University law professor says administrators there blocked her from using an image of Donald Trump to promote an academic conference, "The Way Forward: Title IX Advocacy in the Trump Era." Late Friday, the university said she could use the image -- a shift the professor says is the result of her efforts to publicize the dispute and that the university says is just about the process playing out.

The image is from the leaked video of Trump during an Access Hollywood appearance in which he talked (believing himself to be off camera) about groping women, asserted he could have sex with women when he wanted to and said of women that he would "grab them by the pussy." While Trump has since said he was engaged in "locker room" banter and that his comments shouldn't be taken literally, the video's accuracy and that of the screen shot that the professor wanted to use are not in dispute.

Nonetheless, Stanford law school administrators told Michele Landis Dauber, the professor, that she could not print posters using the image, or use the image on a website promoting the conference, which starts May 1.

An email Dauber provided to The Guardian, which first wrote about the dispute, from Sabrina Johnson, associate dean of the law school, said, “We have been clear since January that these Access Hollywood images could give the appearance of partisanship, and since the event is [a law school] event, they shouldn’t be used in the marketing of the event. This is per university policy.” The university recently agreed that Dauber could appeal the matter to the university's general counsel, but has not committed to a time frame for the review, and the conference is now fast approaching.

The Guardian reported that Lisa Lapin, a spokeswoman for Stanford, at first denied that the university barred Dauber from using the materials. But after The Guardian shared Johnson's email with Lapin, she acknowledged that the university asked Dauber not to use the image, but said there had been no final decision.

On Saturday, Lapin emailed Inside Higher Ed to say the general counsel had reviewed the matter and determined that Dauber could use the image to publicize the conference.

"Stanford, like many universities, has long had a policy that, except in very limited circumstances, it will not provide formal endorsements of specific political or policy decisions. This reflects a belief that the university must remain a forum for open debate, even potentially contentious debate, and that refraining from institutional endorsements is essential to creating an environment where members of our community are empowered to advocate their own views," Lapin said. "In addition, as a nonprofit the university must comply with the law that prevents it from engaging in certain partisan activities. While the university does not take positions, individuals on our campus are encouraged to share their ideas."

She added, "Late Friday, when the general counsel had the opportunity to review the issue, the office determined that the use of the photo for this specific policy conference would be permissible under policy. The general counsel, however, did appreciate the law school's original concern that the photo could have created an appearance of partisanship at odds with the goal of creating an environment where all feel free to share their views, even on deeply contested matters, and that the law school could choose not to use the photo in promoting its event."

Via email, Dauber said that the issues involved here raise important principles. First, she said it was wrong for Stanford law officials to imply that the image is partisan.

"This photo -- which is clearly not partisan in any sense of the word -- is also possibly seen as critical or upsetting to some," she said. "Challenging content is not the same as partisan content. Difficult content and difficult conversations about controversial issues are what you are supposed to be able to have at universities. That's the point of academic freedom and the First Amendment principles that undergird it.

"Within broad outlines, speech that is challenging, speech that is critical, speech that gets students thinking about issues is what lies at the very heart of academic freedom. That is the opposite of what is happening here, which is censorship. The notion that a photo of the president of the United States, for which he posed and was paid to pose, is somehow itself 'partisan' when he is not even a candidate for office is not credible."

Dauber added that it was "particularly worrisome that they refused even my request to simply remove Stanford's name and logo from the flier and allow me to print and distribute it on my own and at my own expense. That improperly restricted my own ability to simply engage in free speech as a faculty member," she said. "It is the job of Stanford University to protect and defend faculty academic freedom. It is not the faculty member's job to have to constantly do battle with the university to have the right to speak on controversial topics like sexual assault."

On Sunday, after being told Stanford would let her use the image, Dauber said, "I have been working for months to get the university to allow the use of this image. I made many separate attempts over a four-month period after the initial decision to bar the image, including asking senior administrators to reverse the decision. I'm disappointed that it took media reporting in order for the university to honor its obligation to protect faculty academic freedom."

Hans-Joerg Tiede, associate secretary for academic freedom, tenure and governance of the American Association of University Professors, said via email (before Stanford said it would let the image be used) that he was concerned about Stanford's handling of the situation, which he said raised important academic freedom issues.

He said that the Internal Revenue Service has long recognized the "essentially educational role" of colleges, and that students and faculty members can critically discuss political issues and government leaders. This does not constitute partisan activity by the institution, and the IRS has never claimed otherwise, Tiede said.

"Clearly, references to statements made by President Trump that have been interpreted by many as describing acts of sexual assault are relevant to a conference on Title IX advocacy in the Trump era," Tiede said. "It appears that the decision by the Stanford administration may be an excuse for preventing political controversy from arising out of the use of this image."

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Students and sugar daddies in age of student debt

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00

Concerned about cash flow, Kenny, a closeted gay man and football player at a public Minnesota college, about a year ago signed up for Seeking Arrangement.

It's a website that promotes relationships between a younger, cash-strapped individual, a sugar baby -- stereotypically envisioned as an attractive woman -- and a wealthier, older man (or woman), a sugar daddy or sugar mommy. Sugar babies may be showered with cash or gifts and are spoiled and pampered in exchange for their company -- or more, depending on the circumstances.

Such an arrangement does perhaps appeal to the penniless college student, who may be weighed down by debt or trying to avoid debt. Data provided by Seeking Arrangement show that of its 3.2 million users in the United States, about 1.2 million, or a little less than 40 percent, identify as students. In the United States, the site’s roughly 2.3 million female sugar babies outnumber the 484,695 sugar daddies.

Recently, the website gained notoriety for its ties to a case at Coastal Carolina University. The entire cheerleading team was suspended, and an investigation by the South Carolina university unearthed evidence that team members participated in an escort service set up on Seeking Arrangement.

Cheerleaders were paid between $100 and $1,500 per "date" and collected shoes, clothes and designer handbags as compensation, the investigation found. The university was tipped off to the operation through a letter from someone described as a concerned parent, who alleged that team members were engaging in prostitution.

Coastal Carolina spokeswoman Mona Prufer responded to request for comment with an emailed statement: “Coastal Carolina University is still conducting an investigation. The cheerleading team remains suspended from cheer activities. The university, as an institution, has an interest in upholding its educational mission and its Code of Ethical Conduct.”

The cheerleaders interviewed for the investigation said they didn’t have sex with the men, and Seeking Arrangement has fought back against the characterization that the team members were prostitutes. But even the founder and chief executive of the website, Brandon Wade, has admitted previously, in an opinion piece on CNN's website in 2014, that his creation toes a line between empowering mutually beneficial relationships and facilitating the world’s oldest profession.

"Accusations of prostitution have clouded Seeking Arrangement since its inception, and I'll admit there is a fine line. But my intentions are pure. Why must we define a lifestyle we don't understand as unsavory?" Wade wrote.

The mission of Seeking Arrangement seems closer to the purpose of an escort service, which tends to be pricier than street prostitutes and provides a degree of emotional support and affection, like nonsexual massages, per a description of escorts included in a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies. One of the authors of that study, Tammy Castle, an associate professor of justice studies at James Madison University, was quoted in an Atlantic article calling sugar babies "escorts." Castle said Seeking Arrangement was attempting to avoid the negative stereotypes associated with prostitution, but sometimes money was exchanged for sex.

Wade launched the site in 2006 amid his own frustrations wooing women. Though the wealthy Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus found success in business, he still found he lacked confidence to approach women, and spawned the website to give them financial motives to date men like him.

As the site expanded, students flocked there, said Brook Urick, a Seeking Arrangement spokeswoman. The website’s leaders decided to offer free premium memberships for students, which grants additional search features to anyone registered with an “.edu” email.

Part of the draw for students can come from being able to dodge debt and pay for tuition, Urick said, but the appeal extends much deeper.

“Sugar daddies, sugar mommies, they’re businesspeople, they’re CEOs and entrepreneurs,” Urick said. “They have life experience, a wealth of experience, and they can mentor sugar babies who are in college. Sugar babies in college may not be finding satisfying relationships with the men, or women, with the people their age. College graduates will buy you a $1 beer; a sugar daddy, sugar mommy will buy you a $20 martini at a high-rise location or whatever. It’s an elevated dating experience.”

Such incentives are advertised through the site's Sugar Baby University page, specifically for college students, that describes "crippling" loans and a way to help through "alternative means."

Urick attributes growth on the site to more people rejecting the stigma surrounding sugar relationships, a conquering of philosophical barriers for the site.

Asked about the Coastal Carolina case, Urick dismissed the notion that the cheerleaders are prostitutes and called the controversy “ridiculous.”

The website is properly regulated, Urick said, with certain language being flagged for review. She declined to discuss in depth the site algorithms that “keep the water clean.”

At the same time, Urick made clear that Seeking Arrangement can only control the confines of the site; it can’t bar the actions of others in the outside world. She presented a scenario: If two people meet in a bar but have an altercation later, is the bar at fault for providing that space?

In his CNN commentary, Wade wrote that dozens of prostitutes and escorts are kicked off the site every day.

“When you are providing a platform to meet successful and wealthy men, you will not always attract genuine hearts,” Wade wrote. “There are always going to be people in the world who are looking to take advantage of your generosity. But to put all users in one box marked ‘escort’ is simply unjust. Seeking Arrangement is a dating site, which means most of the men here are eventually hoping to have sex. Isn't that the point of dating? But this is not prostitution.”

Inside Higher Ed contacted nearly three dozen sugar babies on the website and offered them anonymity to candidly discuss their experiences. Few responded, and many that did asked to be paid for an interview. Inside Higher Ed declined to pay anyone quoted in this article, but did grant anonymity.

Kenny says he can’t find time to work, between football practice, his double major and caring for his mother, who is fighting stage-four breast cancer. He was adopted and, at age 15, disowned by his adopted father after he learned of Kenny’s sexuality.

An athletic scholarship and federal financial aid covers most of his college expenses, but Kenny’s bank account remains drained and leaves him unable to afford even some basics, like textbooks or food.

“When I first joined, I thought that maybe I could meet a good guy to get to hang with, get to know, have fun with, meet up with, be mentored by, etc., and also have a little help from,” Kenny said in an interview.

But he found little success.

Most of the sugar daddies are after a particular type of man, thin with a model face, Kenny said. Many are married, so their wives would notice large chunks of money being sent to the sugar babies.

Scammers are rampant on the website, Kenny said, and he’s been tricked into wiring money to a sugar daddy, losing about $500.

Urick said just like any other website, Seeking Arrangement sees its share of phishers and scammers, but that the site warns people not to share bank account information. After a certain number of people report an account, it’s automatically suspended, she said.

“We advise common sense,” Urick said. “Not sharing banking information -- common sense -- some of what these people are doing are sharing passwords and usernames. I can’t help you if you’re doing that.”

Another sugar baby, Desmond, was told by one man that he would wire money to Desmond’s account. It never posted to the bank, and the man instructed Desmond to send him some money instead, an attempt to fool him. Desmond refused.

A 23-year-old who previously attended the University of Arizona, Desmond tried Seeking Arrangement to defray school and living expenses. He had also racked up about $25,000 in credit card debt.

He connected with a Philadelphia-based sugar daddy, 55, who would fly Desmond out to Pennsylvania every month and help pay Desmond’s bills. He and Desmond were “intimate” only a couple times in the almost two years they remained in contact.

Eventually, Desmond moved back to his hometown of Pittsburgh to enroll in a local college.

“I feel like it's useful but it's also not,” Desmond said about Seeking Arrangement. “It can turn someone into a material person if they aren't already, and I don't know how to change back. It helped and hurt me. I ended up back home because I hated living in Arizona.”

Tammy, 21, a George Mason University student, had little to say about her past on the site other than she joined to try to earn substantial money, beyond what a campus job could bring, to afford her classes. She takes out federal loans, but that won’t cover her whole tuition, or gas for her car. She didn’t respond to further questions.

Seeking Arrangement released a list of the colleges and universities that were the fastest growing on the website in 2016. The top three were Temple University, with 296 new sign-ups, New York University, with 244, and Arizona State University, with 163.

Temple’s website states it enrolls a little more than 38,200 students -- as of Jan. 27, when Seeking Arrangement published its list of popular colleges, 1,068 Temple students had registered on the site, a little less than 3 percent of its overall student body.

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Coloring book offers academics chance to be creative while poking fun at their lives

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00

Julie Schumacher is not your typical writer when it comes to depicting (and poking fun at) academic life. Dear Committee Members, her 2014 work, was an epistolary novel written entirely in the form of letters of recommendation. All the letters are from Jason T. Fitger, professor of creative writing and English at fictional Payne University.

Now Schumacher is back with Doodling for Academics (University of Chicago Press), which is described as a "coloring and activity book."

Pages have images that reflect life in academe. There are two pages called "Financial Priorities." The first invites readers to color in two buildings: a humanities building (cracks in the wall, old-fashioned blinds, a tree stump) and a science building (shining glass facade, shrubbery and, of course, trees on the roof). The second invites readers to color in the new football stadium.

While administrators take plenty of grief in the book, the humor also points out foibles of faculty members and of those who love them. One page, called "Cheering Section," has speech bubbles to color in featuring quotes from relatives of a professor.

They include questions like, "Your cousin Bix already finished his law degree" and "That must be nice, working only a few hours a day." A page on fashion invites the reader to match various accessories (a whip and a bong, among others) with various personae of academe: grad student, donor, department chair and so forth.

A page inspired by the board game Life features squares saying things such as, "Vengeful colleague -- go back one space" and "Failure to publish -- stay here forever." Those whose rolls of the dice succeed eventually hit full professor, followed by death.

Schumacher, a professor and director of creative writing at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, wrote the text. Lauren Nassef did the illustrations. Schumacher responded via email to some questions.

Q: How did your colleagues react to Dear Committee Members? Did any come forward to suggest too close a resemblance to any characters?

A: I was very conscientious about not portraying real-life people, especially my colleagues, in Dear Committee Members. I love my job at the University of Minnesota and am not interested in endangering it. And my colleagues were very happy about the book; the dean even threw a party for me! One or two of my colleagues did ask me, after the book was published, whether I had used them as a model for Character X or Character Y, and I always, truthfully, said no. The only real resemblance is between Jay Fitger and me. He is the small, evil voice inside my head that I typically keep locked securely away.

Q: What led you to pick the genre of coloring and activity booklet?

A: The University of Chicago Press -- and editor Christie Henry -- came up with the idea and contacted me. At first I thought it was ridiculous, then I realized that it might be amusing. At a certain point in my writing career, having experienced the usual frustrations, I decided not to engage in projects unless they offered me some degree of pleasure and surprise. Doodling for Academics offered a good deal of both.

Q: Do you think professors who read this will actually color? Or just chuckle at the suggestions?

A: I know professors who do needlepoint or knit during faculty meetings; plenty furtively read email or doodle. Pulling out a coloring book and a set of crayons might raise a few eyebrows, but who knows? I think some newly minted Ph.D.s may be receiving the book as a gift.

Q: You have a bunch of pages (such as "Financial Priorities") that skewer inequities in higher education, in this case the relative comfort of buildings that house different kinds of departments. Do you think campus leaders might be moved by your critique? Any concerns administrators may not love the way their values are portrayed?

A: There are inequities in higher education, and, at the current moment, there is an emphasis on the STEM fields while the arts are often considered gratuitous. I direct the creative writing program at the University of Minnesota, and I know that literature and the arts help to make people's lives meaningful and worth living. We are not all cut out to be scientists or engineers, and higher education should, I believe, encourage intellects and abilities across the spectrum of disciplines.

Q: Will you move on to another genre for your next work on higher education? Any ideas?

A: I've written short stories and novels and five books for children, as well as a coloring and activity book. I'm open to almost anything.

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California appeals court rules Deep Springs College may admit women

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00

A California appeals court ruled 3 to 0 last week that Deep Springs College, the smallest college in the United States and one of the most rigorous, may admit women.

The board of Deep Springs voted in 2011 to end its policy of admitting only men. But litigation from some alumni opposed to admitting women has held up the admission of women -- even as the student body, faculty members and many alumni have strongly backed the switch.

Deep Springs is a two-year college in the high desert of California with an enrollment of 26 and an unusual curriculum and history. But the focus of the legal fight has been less on the merits of single-sex education than on an issue that affects many colleges of all types: the circumstances under which a trust that sets up a program may be changed.

The alumni who challenged coeducation have argued that L. L. Nunn, the industrialist and educational thinker who founded Deep Springs in 1917, wanted to educate only men. And there are references in the trust documents to a mission of educating men.

But the college's leaders have argued that the unique style of education is the true mission of the college, not educating only men. The college has admitted very small classes of highly intelligent men, who take intense courses while managing both the college and its farm. Students who complete the program are admitted as transfer students to some of the most competitive colleges in the country. All students receive a full scholarship.

There are only a few other all-male colleges (besides seminaries) left in the country: Hampden-Sydney, Morehouse and Wabash Colleges and Saint John's University in Minnesota. Morehouse and Saint John's have close relationships with adjacent women's colleges. All the all-male colleges, except Deep Springs, want to remain that way.

The California appeals court noted that Deep Springs has in fact already changed in ways that deviated from Nunn's original vision. For instance, Nunn promoted religious instruction, which was dropped early in the college's history. Further, while Nunn advocated that students should govern themselves in their dormitory, the college now involves students in managing all aspects of college operations, giving students a managerial role -- including oversight of admissions and participation in the hiring and oversight of faculty members and administrators -- that is far beyond what Nunn envisioned or the norm in higher education.

The key finding of the appeals court was that a lower court had been within its discretion to approve a change in the trust guidelines for the college from promoting "the education of promising young men" to "the education of promising young people." There was no evidence, the appeals court said, that the lower court had exceeded its authority to determine which trust provisions were "administrative" (such as the reference to men) and which ones were focused on the central mission of the college (the overall approach). The lower court also noted arguments that admitting women would help Deep Springs advance its mission in that some prospective students and faculty members (male and female alike) won't consider a single-sex institution.

It remains unclear if last week's ruling will end the litigation. Those challenging coeducation and their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Dave Hitz, the chair of the Deep Springs board, sent this statement to those affiliated with the college: "I am happy to announce that the appeals court ruled in favor of coeducation at Deep Springs. All three justices agreed. What does this mean? Is the lawsuit done? That depends. Until May 23, 2017, the objectors have the right to petition the California Supreme Court for review. If they do, we don't know if the court will accept the case for consideration or not. Never trust predictions about the legal system. Delays are common. Decisions can be overturned. That said, the trustees remain hopeful. This ruling is an important step toward a coeducational Deep Springs."

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:00
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ACE Launches Moving the Needle Campaign to Achieve Higher Education Leadership Gender Parity

American Council on Education - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 03:01
A new campaign that asks presidents of colleges, universities and related associations to commit to helping achieve the goal that by 2030, half of U.S. college and university chief executives are women.

Attacks on universities, scholars, students unabated

University World News Global Edition - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 02:32
Even as the international community is raising its voice against the killing of higher education professionals in Pakistan, the assassination of intellectuals and violent killing of students conti ...

Can Lessons Learned From Fighting Al Qaeda Apply to Higher Education?

William H. McRaven, a retired admiral in the U.S. Navy who is now chancellor of the University of Texas system, describes the value of a “team of teams” and the role of the university as a home for dissent.

India to deepen university and training collaboration

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 11:16
India has pledged to work with the Australian government, universities and vocational education trainers to establish themselves in India following the two-day visit to Delhi of a 130-strong deleg ...

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