English Language Feeds

Almost 20% of Australian grads have an overseas experience 

The PIE News - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 05:58

Almost 20% (24,715) of all Australian graduates from an undergraduate programme have had an overseas experience, according to a survey of 36 Australian universities.

The i-graduate survey of Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum members shows that students who had taken part in some form of overseas study experience increased 19.5% to 38,144 students in 2015, compared to 2014.

With all other major study destinations amping up efforts to get more domestic students overseas, the report shows Australia is far outpacing its peers. Corresponding figures in the US show 15% of students study abroad, in the UK it’s 5% of graduates and in Canada it’s as low as 2.3% of domestic students.

“I’m not understating it when I say that the New Colombo Plan has changed the face of outbound mobility in Australia”

“I think Australia is doing so well in this area because we are a relatively small number of universities, that communicate and collaborate extremely well, that have the national-level support for mobility from the Foreign Minister down,” said Rob Malicki, director of AIM Overseas, a third party study abroad provider.

“Australia is quite unique in our level of collaboration, I think. Couple that up with now excellent national visibility and imperative and that’s why we’re cooking with gas.”

Malicki said Australia’s outbound mobility is “on the threshold of a tipping point” after “growing systematically” over the last decade. “The universities have been well invested in outbound mobility for the past 10 years and it is starting to really show,” he told The PIE News.

“All areas of mobility are improving: administration, programming, collaboration, marketing and research – how we capture our statistics. It has become a much more visible part of institutions’ missions and KPIs.”

Almost 40% of all overseas experiences were in the US, China, UK, Indonesia and Canada with the US proving the most popular, attracting 13% of all experiences, while China and the UK each attracted 9%.

But a huge part of Australia’s success is the New Colombo Plan, relaunched in 2013, that provides mobility grants to students to study and work overseas. The number of undergraduates studying in the programme’s “priority destinations” (China, Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia and India) in the Indo-Pacific increased 32% in 2015.

“I’m not understating it when I say that the New Colombo Plan has changed the face of outbound mobility in Australia,” said Malicki.

Similarly, Trevor Goddard, a member of the board of directors at the International Education Association of Australia and a member of the DFAT New Colombo Plan Reference Group, said NCP is “redefining mobility” in Australia.

“It’s starting to become woven into university marketing and recruitment, scholarship offices, alumni engagement, international and industry engagement offices and within the careers and leadership space – so not simply transforming students through their education, it is transforming institutional internal structures through capacity and services around student mobility,” he told The PIE News.

NCP’s influence has also gone beyond the traditional education sector, observed Goddard, with corporations such as the National Australia Bank aligning their Asian internship programmes with the NCP opportunities.

And the increased mobility to Indo-Pacific countries isn’t at the expense of US, Latin American and European destinations but rather indicative of increasingly career-savvy students, he said.

“Anecdotal studies show many students take several short-term mobility programmes throughout their degree”

“Alignment to the Indo-Pacific is not surprising considering the growing number of organisations with diverse operations across the region and in Australia.”

Among undergraduates, short-term study made up the majority (77%) of mobility programmes – 15,748 – followed by exchange programmes and internships or practical placements. Research-related experiences were most common among postgraduate students, making up 30% of all overseas travel in this cohort.

Discussions abound in the sector about the impact of short-term mobility programmes, but Malicki said international educators “shouldn’t be prescriptive” about which type of overseas study students undertake.

“I believe we are facilitators first and foremost and shouldn’t be zealots about ‘programme type x is better than program type y’. If the experience is a quality one, and it’s having a positive impact on participants, that’s about all I care about,” he said.

Goddard added that anecdotal studies show many students take several short-term mobility programmes throughout their degree, rather than semester or year-long stints overseas. “These experiences should be encouraged,” he said. “We should refrain from looking at these options as ‘an either or’  as there are strengths to both models.”

The post Almost 20% of Australian grads have an overseas experience  appeared first on The PIE News.

Montreal pips Paris in global 'best student city' ranking

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 05:18
There is something about the French that appeals to students, it seems. Though there are proportionately few major French-speaking cities, Montreal topped this year's QS Best Student Cities rankin ...

ACE Names West Virginia Resident Tara Turley 2016 Student of the Year

American Council on Education - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 03:01
​Tara Turley, a single mother and electrician who employed her skills to assist her flood-ravaged West Virginia community, is ACE’s 2016 Student of the Year.

Orange Coast College suspends student who secretly videotaped professor's anti-Trump comments that later went viral

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 01:00

The Orange Coast College student who videotaped a professor calling Donald Trump’s election as president “an act of terrorism” has been suspended. The status of the investigation into the professor of psychology who made the comments, Olga Stable Perez Cox, is unclear.

Orange Coast College Republicans, the student group that initially shared the video online, announced the suspension on Facebook, calling it “victim blaming at its finest.” The college “is making a clear statement that it doesn't give a damn about its students and is completely in the pocket of the teachers' union. We will continue to fight this and we will win,” the group said.

The dispute has become a flash point in campus culture wars since the election. To College Republicans, the case is about squelching their ability to raise criticisms of faculty members. But to many who back the professor, the case illustrates the ability of some students to violate college rules by secretly recording and possibly distorting an instructor's comments, leaving them vulnerable to harassment.

Caleb O’Neil, 19, was notified of his spring and summer semester suspension last week, via email, according to information from the group. He was accused of violating the Orange Coast’s Student Code of Conduct on two counts, unauthorized tape recording and unauthorized use of electronic devices.

In addition to his suspension, O’Neil faces one semester of disciplinary probation upon his return to campus. He must apologize to Cox and write a three-page essay on why he videotaped the class, the impact of it becoming public and how he’ll prevent such an episode from happening again.

At an on-campus news conference Wednesday, O'Neil said he was a known Trump supporter and pulled out his phone to document Cox's comments because “I was honestly scared that I would have repercussions on my grade."  He said he received an A in the class.

Three other students who were involved in the incident but who did not videotape Cox -- including one who hosted the video on his YouTube channel -- were not disciplined, following an investigation. The video has racked up several hundred thousand views on various channels and sites.

Cox has said she was forced to leave the state due to threats after the video went viral in December. The recording of her, made in November, begins midsentence with the words “white supremacist.” It continues, “And a vice president that is one of the most anti-gay humans in this country.”

She can be heard saying, “So we are in for a difficult time, but again, I do believe that we can get past that. Our nation is divided, we have been assaulted, it’s an act of terrorism. One of the most frightening things for me and most people in my life is that the people creating the assault are among us.”

Cox said the nation was “at civil war,” and that her hope was “we will get leadership to help overcome that. I will go over some coping skills, but before I do that I want you to know that the optimist in me -- first of all, we are the majority, more of us voted to not have that kind of leadership, and we didn’t win because of the way our Electoral College is set up, but we are the majority and that’s helping me to feel better.”

It's unclear from the video itself whether Cox was answering a question or decided to talk about the election on her own. Her faculty union, the Coast Federation of Educators, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, has said that Cox was teaching a human sexuality class at the time and often lets students submit questions on note cards anonymously for her to answer aloud.

The faculty union said in a statement on its website that it has no role in student discipline but that there are “continuing consequences to the hurtful choices these Republican club students made, and both faculty and students had their trust violated.”

Rob Schneiderman, union president and campus counselor, was unsure of the status of the investigation into Cox’s comments, but said he had been briefed on the matter and believed there was no evidence of wrongdoing by her.

College Republicans filed a formal complaint against Cox when they first posted the video online. The union promptly responded that the students had violated not only the Student Code of Conduct but California code, which prohibits “use by any person, including a student, of any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom without the prior consent of the instructor.”

The College Republicans have previously argued that O’Neil was within his First Amendment rights to film the class. William Becker, a lawyer representing O’Neil, told the Orange County Register that the student’s rights have been violated and he will continue to attend classes as he appeals disciplinary action.

“This is an attack by leftists in academia to protect the expressive rights of their radical instructors at the expense of the expressive rights of conservative students on campus,” Becker, president of Freedom X, a legal nonprofit, told the Register.

A college spokesperson said Wednesday that Cox is back in class, teaching a full course load this semester. He declined comment on investigations related to the incident, citing campus and college district policies. Cox did not respond to a request for comment.

Cox is not the first professor to be videotaped in class and later face public criticism. The American Association of University Professors released a recent statement urging institutions to defend professors against targeted online harassment, including by establishing regulations that “prohibit the surreptitious recording of classroom discourse or of private meetings between students and faculty members.”

Signs warning students not to record professors at Orange Coast without their permission went up earlier this semester.

Editorial Tags: Academic freedomImage Caption: Olga Perez Stable CoxIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Some Chinese students at UC San Diego condemn choice of Dalai Lama as commencement speaker

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 01:00

The choice of the Dalai Lama as this year’s commencement speaker at the University of California, San Diego, has outraged some of UCSD’s Chinese students.

In announcing the commencement speech by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, UCSD’s chancellor, Pradeep K. Khosla, described the Dalai Lama as “a man of peace” who “promotes global responsibility and service to humanity.” In awarding the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of "nonviolent opposition to China's occupation of Tibet," the Nobel committee praised the Dalai Lama as "a Buddhist advocate for peace and freedom" who "has developed his philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living and upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature."

But some Chinese students at the university don't see the Dalai Lama that way. They have condemned the choice of commencement speaker as culturally disrespectful and describe the Dalai Lama as a separatist leader intent on dividing their home country.

The Chinese Communist Party has long depicted the Dalai Lama in such terms. The Dalai Lama says he seeks autonomy for Tibet, not full independence.

In a statement it posted on WeChat, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at UCSD said it contacted the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles for guidance and engaged in negotiations with “relevant departments” at the university.

“The Dalai Lama is not only a religious personality but also a political exile who has long been carrying out actions to divide the motherland and to destroy national unity,” the group said in the statement, translated from Chinese by Inside Higher Ed. The group went on to say it would be “firm in boycotting any action taking any form, with unclear motives, that denigrate and belittle Chinese history, that recklessly disseminate provocative and extremely politically hostile discourse, in turn affecting the international image of China.”

The statement says "the various actions of the university have doubtlessly violated respect, accommodation, equality and earnestness -- the founding spirit of the university. Moreover, these actions have dampened the passion for learning in many Chinese students and scholars."

Six principal members of the CSSA at UCSD did not respond to an email message from Inside Higher Ed seeking comment on Wednesday. The group also did not respond to a message to its Facebook page.

The university’s announcement of the Dalai Lama as commencement speaker generated more than 1,600 comments on Facebook, some from individuals who described the Dalai Lama as a separatist or even a terrorist. “It is disrespectful to those Chinese students who fought so hard for these years in UC San Diego and just to find out that their commencement speaker is someone who wants to separate their home country,” wrote one commenter whose profile identified him as a UCSD student.

Writing for the main UCSD student newspaper, The Guardian, Ruixuan Wang wrote that the “main reason why many Chinese students are upset is that our university shows little consideration about cultural respect, as he is a politically sensitive person in China.”

Wang wrote, “Commencement is a landmark of our life. Our family members are coming all the way from China, flying for more than 10 hours to celebrate with us. The Dalai Lama, as a political icon, is viewed differently in our country. We want to spend a fantastic time with our family during the commencement, but his presence will ruin our joy. What we want to say is that objectively, he will be an excellent speaker for the commencement. Nonetheless, culturally speaking, his selection to be a presenter is inappropriate in such a situation, considering how many Chinese students and their families are going to attend this commencement.”

UC San Diego stood by its decision to invite the Dalai Lama in a statement.

“The University of California, San Diego, has always served as a forum for discussion and interaction on important public policy issues and respects the rights of individuals to agree or disagree as we consider issues of our complex world,” the university said. “Our 2017 speaker, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, carries a message that promotes global responsibility and service to humanity that is of great interest to the UC San Diego community and to our students as they enter their professional lives. As a public university dedicated to the civil exchange of views, the university believes commencement is one of many events that provide an appropriate opportunity to present to graduates and their families a message of reflection and compassion.”

The International Campaign for Tibet also issued a statement in support of the university, saying that the Chinese government should not be allowed to interfere with U.S. universities' academic freedom.

"By objecting to the invitation to the Dalai Lama, the CSSA of UC San Diego is doing the work of the Chinese government," the organization said. "The University of [California], San Diego’s invitation to the Dalai Lama is a reflection of the tremendous American public interest in and support for his thoughts and vision for the broader world; unfortunately, the CSSA is serving the shortsighted political agenda of the current Chinese leadership."

Robert Barnett, the director of the modern Tibetan studies program at Columbia University, said there are major principles at stake. "Does the university accept to be bullied by the foreign government in terms of who it selects as a speaker, especially when that subject of that foreign government’s bullying is almost certainly, without any serious question of all, not deserving of that bullying and is certainly being misrepresented and indeed demonized by the Chinese government?" he asked. "Do we allow the Chinese government’s propaganda to dictate major cultural decisions in other countries?"

“What’s interesting is San Diego hasn’t backed down; that’s an important position,” said Barnett. “But the way to move forward is dialogue, not grandstanding.”

Barnett said the university should immediately open up opportunities for dialogue with Chinese students and suggested it could, for example, try to arrange a private meeting with them and the Dalai Lama. "We have to be a little careful about demonizing the Chinese students' response," he said. "That’s inevitable given the fact that they are acting as an arm of the Chinese embassy or consulate, but nevertheless we have to also recognize that the university has taken a strong position here, one that many people will sympathize with, but which is a challenge to the position taken by the Chinese government and shared by some Chinese."

“So the question we have to consider is, in the society which we’re in, do we want to embrace that challenge, enable that conversation, encourage it to come to a resolution and understanding, or do we risk it just becoming a kind of confrontation, a marking of difference and of conflict? I think this is the underlying issue here, and I’m not sure this has been dealt with.”

GlobalForeign StudentsEditorial Tags: Academic freedomForeign Students in U.S.Foreign countriesChinaImage Caption: The Dalai LamaIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Community colleges step up outreach to Latinos

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 01:00

A year ago Addi Hernandez was an administrative assistant at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.

But as a graduate of the college and a Latina, Hernandez found Latino students on the Bowling Green campus would often approach her for advice on what forms they needed to fill out or what they needed to do to be better college students.

Hernandez remembered being in high school and wanting to go to college but struggling to find the help she needed for how to do so, so she started participating in the college’s Super Sundays. These are events where people from the college attend churches in black and Latino communities in an effort to bring college information to students and families.

“The impact of it didn’t happen so much at the church, but afterward by having a presence in the community,” Hernandez said. “Young Latinos knowing there is a person in higher education that can guide them through these things.”

More importantly, they know there is someone connected to the college who has a similar personal journey, she said.

Southcentral Kentucky started to see an increase in the number of Latino students showing an interest and then enrolling on campus. So Hernandez began doing Latino outreach for the college part time, eventually accepting a full-time position as a recruiter and Latino outreach specialist for the campus.

“She’s a wonderful asset. We’ve seen a 25 percent increase in Latino students in just one year of her being in this role,” said Phil Neal, the college’s president. “When she got in front of the congregation … she was a natural and comfortable with talking in front of a crowd …. Addi loved it, getting out and working with students and the community.” The campus had about 180 Latino students last fall.

Many community colleges across the country have seen growing populations of Latino and Hispanic residents in their regions. But that growth often hasn’t translated to increases in Hispanic enrollment on their campuses, especially as overall enrollments decline in a largely recovered economy.

Like Southcentral Kentucky, some colleges are learning that the key to reaching out to Latino students, in particular, requires more personal effort than just college fairs or new advertising.

“Fifteen years ago, when I came up through the student affairs world, we were very clear about training advisers and financial aid folks to really talk to the student,” said Deneece Huftalin, president of Utah’s Salt Lake Community College. “Often we had Mom and Dad come in with the student and want to be involved, and our goal was to pull the student away and say, ‘You’re an adult. We’re going to talk to you, not Mom and Dad.’ We wanted to empower this young person.”

Huftalin said today that approach doesn’t work with many Latino students. And it often doesn’t work with millennials, regardless of race or ethnicity, who want their parents involved.

“With the Latino population, it’s important to have Mom and Dad in the room, so we had to shift our perspective,” Huftalin said. “The family has become an important part of the decision, so recruiting goes beyond the old-school ways of going to high school and talking to the student. We’re in community centers … we’re more intrusive about going around and knocking on doors.”

Recruiters are finding they’re no longer just trying to reach the student, but they may also be turning the parents, siblings and cousins into potential students as well, she said, adding that the campus has hired bilingual students and more Latino faculty to assist in recruitment.

Salt Lake has made progress. In 2009, less than 9 percent of students enrolled at the college identified as Hispanic or Latino. That number had grown to 17.5 percent by 2016.

“We know this is a young population, but they’re a population that is low income, first generation, and they may be immigrants and don’t know the system,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and chief operating officer of Excelencia in Education, adding that Latinos tend to place a high level of trust in someone who has already vetted the system and can recommend good organizations, groups or institutions.

If the message isn’t coming from someone they trust or relate to, then recruitment is harder, Santiago said.

When institutions say they’ll invest $35,000 in translating their websites into Spanish instead of hiring a community liaison or hosting events in a welcoming environment, she said, they’re not going to see much improvement in Latino enrollment.

Unique Challenges

There are other challenges community colleges face when they want to encourage more Hispanic students to apply.

“This is part of the fear of the unknown,” Santiago said. “You can appreciate in our current environment that young people may not know what they don’t know and may feel uncomfortable asking their parents.”

When families may be relying on a third party to help them fill out tax or federal student aid forms, that process requires a heightened level of trust. Santiago said some companies have taken advantage of Latino families by charging them to fill out FAFSA forms.

“It might not be they are undocumented,” she said. “It could be they don’t know where to access the information and fear it may cause unintended consequences.”

Even for students whose families went to college in their countries of origin, trying to figure out the American higher education system can be daunting, Hernandez said.

“There’s always the assumption that if somebody is not knowledgeable and Latino they’re undocumented,” Santiago said. “We’re finding Latino students are feeling disconnected. They’re U.S. citizens and they’re being asked about their documented status.”

Just a few weeks into the Trump administration, Hernandez said the discussion around immigration and a border wall with Mexico are having an effect on both current and potential students.

“Students are getting discouraged, even with mixed immigration statuses, it’s kind of like they feel they’ll get discriminated against because of how they look,” she said. “People will look at you as Latino and automatically categorize you as illegal, so I think students are getting a little discouraged and they’re afraid to start talking about it.”

Even when immigration status isn’t an issue, there’s still a lot of misinformation about college and financial aid, she said.

“People just don’t know how to go to school,” Hernandez said. “They have this misconception that if you get Pell Grants, you have to pay them back. That was the biggest fear my parents had. They were scared I was going to get in debt. We just didn’t know.”

Reaching Latino students in Kentucky goes beyond the efforts at Southcentral. The state’s community college system has three Latino outreach coordinators, including Hernandez, in areas where the Hispanic population is growing.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington enrolled about 150 students who identified themselves as Latino in 2005. A Hispanic outreach coordinator was hired that year, and enrollment has grown to 500. Latino students now comprise 4.5 percent of the total enrollment at Bluegrass.

“It still seems to be pretty small when compared to densely populated areas like California or Texas, but if you look at the school district and the main ones that serve the Lexington area, the student population is 16.9 percent Latino,” said Erin Howard, director of Latino outreach and student services at Bluegrass. “The majority of those schoolchildren are in elementary and middle school. So we’re starting to see the shift in population, and we are a very young population.”

The average age of all Latinos in the state is 23, whether they’re native or foreign-born residents. But the average age of Kentucky-born Latinos is 13, Howard said.

While these colleges are seeing significant improvements in their recruitment of Latino students, they’re all also working on improving completion rates and closing the achievement gap between minority students and non-Hispanic whites.

“We still have room to grow,” Huftalin said. “We’ve had an achievement gap for many years with white students, and in 2015 our Hispanic students made significant improvements.”

In 2015, completion rates over six years at the Salt Lake institution stood at 23 percent for white students and 18 percent for Hispanic students. That’s after a seven-percentage-point increase for Hispanic students since 2011, she said, adding that more work needs to be done for all students.

Back at Southcentral, Hernandez said her next goal is not only to continue giving more Hispanic students information about their opportunities in college but helping them to stay and graduate.

“I want to help the students that are here,” she said. “There’s still a lot to learn about this job, and this is the first full year I’m doing it. But I want to know where am I needed. What do students here need and how can I help them.”

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Race and ethnicityCommunity collegesKentuckyImage Caption: Addi Hernandez helping a student.Is this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

French minister seeks to mend 'broken links' between academics and political leaders

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 01:00

Although many believe there is a disconnect between academics and wider society, the two sides are not diametrically opposed, and a strong relationship between scholarly research and policy-making circles can help our “suffering” democracies.

That is the view of Axelle Lemaire, the French minister of state for digital affairs, who believes that researchers can work in conjunction with politicians to help make evidence-based policy that leads to improvements in society.

Lemaire made the comments in an interview with Times Higher Education about how digital innovation can enhance the higher education sector. She was a key architect and advocate of France’s Digital Republic Bill, which came into law in October 2016. Among its key aims were bolstering the data economy and making government actions more transparent through the release of national data such as social security information or demographic statistics.

Academics have expressed their gratitude for the bill, she said, because it allows them to conduct research with previously inaccessible data.

“Many researchers tell me that it was good to put them in the light, to stress how important their role is, to bring human progress by using technologies,” she said. “What are the technologies for? What is research for? It’s to improve [and build a better world].”

“That can happen only if we trust the academics, the researchers. One of the reasons our democracies are suffering at the moment is because we’ve broken the links between researchers and politicians.”

With some of the “irrationalities” infiltrating politics at the moment, she added, research can “bring in objectivity.”

“In my ministerial experience, I realized that politicians do not foster dialogue with researchers. We know what research can bring, [so] I think governments should work closer with researchers,” she said.

“As politicians, we create policies that are not always based on facts [and] checked by academics and researchers. We shouldn’t have one administrative silo taking decisions on one side, and researchers researching on the other. The [French] government decided to open public data with the objective of providing researchers with the resources they need for their work.”

It is “extremely paradoxical,” Lemaire continued, that we live in a “post-truth reality” when we have more access than “ever before in history” to technology that can help to verify information and inform government thinking on how to improve societies through policy.

“We can have access to information and use the tools -- big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning -- to make use of these facts and information for the benefit of all,” she added.

Her comments were supported by Thierry Mandon, secretary of state for higher education, who said that researchers were “particularly keen” on exploring new avenues opened up by the bill.

“For French public research, it means nothing less than releasing the potential of big data for scientific use,” he told THE.

Mandon said that opening universities to the digital world is “absolutely mandatory if we want to foster innovation in our higher education institutions.”

“In France, the link between the digital world and higher education is mostly perceived through what it can bring to the learning experience, whether we talk about the tools or the processes,” he said. “However, when we encourage [higher education institutions] to invest in their digital transformation, it is not, and must not be, restricted to the pedagogical aspects.”

Some universities, he added, still considered digital technology to be a “support tool” and viewed “innovation as a risk and a cost” rather than an investment. The French government has been concentrating its efforts on providing help to institutions to “accelerate their digital transformation.”

“Digital technology is a lever of global transformation [for higher education] that involves pedagogy, services and research,” he said. However, “a one-size-fits-all model does not exist. Each higher education institution has to build its specific digital transformation strategy [based on its] own DNA -- defined by its population requirements, its social and economic environment, its internal skills.”

Lemaire also spoke of how the United Kingdom leaving the European Union might affect Franco-British academic relationships. Noting that many in the French sector were “very depressed” by the situation, she expressed her hope that the two countries would be able to collaborate through digital means.

“We need to keep in sight the values that lie behind the academic research and the aim for education for all,” she said. “That’s what I’ve tried to put into place with the bill, by arming researchers with the tools that they need to research in an open environment.”

With the bill’s open access provision, which gives researchers the right to share their research freely, academics should be able to take full advantage of “living in an open international world.”

Addressing the U.K.’s position in the European research area, Lemaire said that the first challenge facing the U.K. would be financial because of Britain’s longstanding success in securing European Union research funding.

“I think they’re present in over 40 percent of [European] research and development programs. What amount is [going to be] put on the table by the U.K. in maintaining that level of funding? Will the British government and people be ready to make that net contribution to support the sector, when there are also promises of lowering [corporate] taxes?” she asked. “That will be a political choice.”

“As far as I’m concerned, I will do my very best to foster the collaboration and cooperation between the two countries.”

GlobalEditorial Tags: FranceTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Colleges award tenure

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 01:00

Harvey Mudd College

  • Vivien Hamilton, history of science
  • Gordon Krauss, engineering
  • Ben Wiedermann, computer science

Macalester College

  • Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, international studies
  • Rivi Handler-Spitz, Asian languages and cultures
  • William Hart, religious studies
  • Andrea Kaston Tange, English
  • Mark Mandarano, music
  • J. Ernesto Ortiz-Díaz, Hispanic and Latin American studies
  • Karin Vélez, history

Middlebury College

  • Maggie Clinton, history
  • Jeffrey Howarth, geography
  • Shawna Shapiro, writing and linguistics
  • Louisa Stein, film and media culture

Nazareth College

  • Marie Bell, nursing
  • Rose Hair, management
  • Nicole Juersivich, mathematics
  • Stephen Tajc, chemistry

Trinity Christian College, in Illinois

  • Clayton D. Carlson, biology
  • Erick Sierra, English
  • Keith Starkenburg, theology
Editorial Tags: Tenure listIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Descent into ignorance as critical voices are silenced

University World News Global Edition - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 06:50
Last year was difficult for Turkey in terms of academic rights and free speech violations and their possible consequences for the education system. Unfortunately, it seems 2017 will not be any bet ...

Lower Indian applications dampen New Zealand’s visa approval rates

The PIE News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 06:09

Declining visa applications from India have led to a 20% drop in the total number of students applying for a visa to study in New Zealand from offshore in 2016, according to new statistics from Immigration New Zealand.

Detailing the number of student visas granted and declined for offshore applicants during the 2016 academic year, the statistics show 11,000 fewer applications than 2015, down from 61,500 to 50,200. The decrease in turn resulted in 37,600 visas granted, a decline of 5,700 from 2015.

India, which saw significant growth in 2015, accounted for the majority of the 2016 losses, with 9,500 fewer applications (total applications made in 2016: 16,380) and 5,200 fewer visas granted (total visa’s granted in 2016: 7,562)  than in the previous year.

“The decline reflects a range of factors including greater scrutiny of student visa applications by INZ”

“The decline in [2016] student visas from India reflects a range of factors, including the change to Rule 18 (English language requirements for international students), and greater scrutiny of student visa applications by INZ,” a spokesperson for Education New Zealand and INZ told The PIE News.

Rule 18 previously allowed students to obtain a visa by showing evidence of instruction in English, rather than a formal test such as IELTS.

ENZ and INZ said while applications and grants were down when compared to the previous three years, the total number of student visas had continued to grow in line with expectations and the figures represented an anomaly.

“INZ received a surge in applications in 2015 from applicants who would have been affected by the change to Rule 18 in October 2015. This has somewhat distorted the application volumes as people that usually would apply in the first few months of 2016 applied before the rule change,” the spokesperson said.

The Philippines, which was also affected by changes to Rule 18, had the second largest drop after India, with 1,300 fewer applications (total applications in 2016: 1,677) and 1,100 fewer grants (total grants in 2016: 1,204), compared to the previous year.

Still, when numbers from India and the Philippines are removed from total figures, growth was weak throughout 2016, with a gain of just 591 visas granted.

Approval rates for both countries also continued to slide despite measures to counter it, however, overall rates improved from 70% to 75%.

Rachel Honeycombe, board member of private training establishment peak body, ITENZ, said her members had been mindful of upcoming changes and took “taken precautionary measures to ensure that the significant drop from India did not impact too much on their overall student numbers.

“Members are focusing on diversifying into new and emerging markets and are also working closely with INZ Mumbai to ensure clear communications and strategies are in place for processing enrolments from the Indian Sub-Continent,” she added.

Chris Whelan, executive director of Universities New Zealand, said universities had not experienced significant reductions in the number of visas granted to Indian students.

“Indian students are attracted to this country because of the quality of the education. We don’t see that changing”

“Eighty-three per cent of Indian students currently studying at New Zealand universities are doing so at postgraduate level,” he told The PIE News.

“They are attracted to this country because of the quality of the education. We don’t see that changing and so expect the numbers of Indian students at New Zealand universities to continue to grow.”

While he said there was an expectation for growth, he said universities like other sectors were aware of becoming too reliant on China and India as a source of international students.

“There is a need to diversify. This is not just for the benefit of international education as an industry, but also for the students. We want them to develop international networks and to be confident in working across cultures,” he said.

ENZ is currently developing a new international education strategy to see the country’s industry continue to grow and remain sustainable. It is expected to be released later this year.

The post Lower Indian applications dampen New Zealand’s visa approval rates appeared first on The PIE News.

British Study Centres expands into Algeria

The PIE News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 05:33

British Study Centres will open its first overseas franchise in Algeria, it has announced. The new location is set to begin operations in the second quarter of the year.

Located in the city of Oran in the northwest of Algeria, the new franchise will focus primarily on teacher training and will also offer corporate training courses.

BSC Algeria will operate out of the convention centre in Le Meridien hotel complex. It will have an initial capacity of 100, but there is potential for it to grow further in the existing facilities.

“It’s an exciting market and still very much a pioneering phase for ELT”

The franchise will offer the Cambridge CELTA course, in addition to ELT and in-company training.

There is great potential for ELT in Algeria, according to Steve Phillips, managing director of transnational education and pathways at British Study Centres.

“It’s an exciting market and still very much a pioneering phase for ELT, especially in Oran,” he told The PIE News.

BSC Algeria will begin operating in the second quarter of this year. It already has an initial corporate contract, but more are expected in the future, said Phillips.

British Study Centres was acquired by Real Experience Group last year, for an undisclosed amount, just after the group also bought Experience English. Combined, the group became the UK’s largest group of premium language schools with seven locations across the country.

The post British Study Centres expands into Algeria appeared first on The PIE News.

Sean Stimson, Redfern Legal Centre, Australia

The PIE News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 03:14
As the International Students’ Service solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre, a not-for-profit community centre based in Sydney, Sean Stimson looks after the legal needs of more than 240,000 international students across New South Wales. He says one of the biggest problems for international students is workplace exploitation. He spoke with The PIE about student exploitation and the work RLC is doing to prevent it.

The PIE: How did RLC become involved in international education?

SS: In 2011, after identifying high levels of exploitation in the local international student community, RLC established New South Wales’ first dedicated specialist legal service for international students (RLC International Student Service).

Since the introduction of the service, we have run a weekly advice night that assists international students with legal needs. This state-wide service conducts consultations via video link, telephone and face-to-face meetings. The service provides a comprehensive level of services, ranging from advice-based assistance through to full court representation.

The PIE: With the work you’ve done around workplace exploitation, do most of those services come after it’s occurred?

SS: Historically, I would have said yes, but when we started to look at what’s happening to international students, we decided that there were issues that related to conflicts with legislation. It’s those conflicts that I think allow for our students to present to us.

“A very high proportion of employers will deliberately try to get their international student employees to breach their visa conditions”

In the last few months, we have actually looked at policy review. We’ve broken down the issues in regards to legislation to see what protections should be put in place.

The PIE: What does workplace exploitation look like for international students?

SS: [International] students can work 40 hours a fortnight while in term. Outside of term, they’re unrestricted. Arguably, the government is taking a position that if you are paid the correct award, 40 hours of paid work a fortnight is enough for you to survive. I think that’s the issue international students are experiencing.

Are those hours enough for an international student to be able to survive? It depends on lots of variables.

What is impacting on the viability of a student to be able to study and survive is whether they are being paid the correct amount. They’re not. We’re seeing underpayment or non-payment of wages pushing an international student into a position where they need to work more in order to survive [violating the terms of their student visa].

There are also knock-on effects that happen with the underpayment or non-payment. If you have a job to help pay for your accommodation and you don’t get paid or you’re underpaid, it means your tenancy becomes an issue and you have the potential to become homeless. So then there’s another legal problem that starts to present itself.

Secondly, if you have to pay a proportion of your study fees, you might not be meeting those requirements, which then can affect your study progression. If that’s the case, then it becomes a visa issue.

“We’ll ask whether or not there are other people employed within that employer that are in a similar situation”

The PIE: Why does this happen?

SS: A very high proportion of employers will deliberately try to get their international student employees to breach their visa conditions. Then they use that as a means by which they can dictate back to the international student with that threat of a breach.

It’s almost become a business model. We’re seeing more and more of the same characteristics of an employer setting a chain of events in motion so that it leads to a potential breach of visa. That’s why we saw the need to look at policy review.

The PIE: What does RLC do to help international students who are being exploited?

SS: It varies. We’ll look at what breaches may have occurred in regards to the visa, we will assess based on those breaches and we’ll ask whether or not there are other people employed within that employer that are in a similar situation.

What we’re finding more and more often is there are multiple international students who are employed by that one employer who are in a similar situation. We will then take that client or clients on and pursue it through remedies.

Those remedies can be a letter of demand as a first initiative. The second is to the Fair Work Ombudsman; and then obviously through the courts themselves. We’ll assist all the way through. What we’re trying to do is highlight to employers that if the conduct you are overlaying with international students is part of your business model, we will pursue you.

The only way we’re going to create any change is to actually prosecute someone and take them through the courts so they can see there’s a detriment. We will have a client come in and the employer is an employer we’ve had an issue with before. [The employer’s] business model is: “Let’s get away with what we can because the detriments to us are very light. It’s still attractive to our bottom lines to adopt this business model, it doesn’t matter even if we run through the courts and get a fine.” It’s been broken down to the extent where they can actually work out their profit and losses against having this business model.

“More and more employers are starting to look at international students as incredibly vulnerable”

The PIE: Is RLC advocating for tougher penalties for employers who are repeatedly doing this?

SS: As much as we’d like to see employers being penalised more for their conduct, and there’s a lot of laws in place to do so, I think if an international student knows they can come forward without the fear of DIBP taking a position, that’s where you’re going to create some form of change. Employers know that international students are unlikely to seek legal advice from RLC or approach the Fair Work Ombudsman because they know they have breached their visa conditions.

That’s the thing you’ve got to overcome, because as soon as you know that as an employer, you’re likely to adopt that business model yourself because it’s very attractive for your bottom line. The downside is, what we’re seeing now is a race to the bottom.

More and more employers are starting to look at international students as incredibly vulnerable and a means by which they can make their bottom line more attractive for themselves. That is why I think we’re seeing more and more systemic issues than we had in the past.

The PIE: Does this have repercussions for the domestic job market?

SS: I think yes. I really do. I think if you have a business model that is a race to a bottom, then ultimately what you are doing is undermining the domestic market. An employer knows they can get away with paying as little as A$8 an hour, where if you had a domestic student who knows the minimum wage is $17.29 (in 2016), then ultimately they’re going to employ the international student who’s prepared to work for less.

I don’t think the international student is undertaking the paid work for less purely on the basis of they are cheap labour. It’s because they actually don’t understand. I think if you spoke to the majority of my clients and said you are entitled to $17.29, without exception, they’d say: “We didn’t know that. We were told the hourly rate was $8, or $10, or $12 per hour.”

If you have it so that everything’s on parity, so everybody knows the minimum amount they should be paid is whatever it is, you’re going to be in a position where an employer will employ the person who has the best skill sets for that particular position.

All the time you’re not legislating and you’re not suing the employers it’s going to have a detrimental effect on the domestic marketplace.

“We actually have orientation weeks where we will head out to the providers and we provide information on site”

The PIE: Is it difficult to get education providers to understand and listen to the importance of the work RLC is undertaking?

SS: Not really, no. We deal with a multitude of the universities and smaller and private education providers. The majority of those refer students to us on a regular basis. We have good communications with them. We actually have orientation weeks where we will head out to the providers and we provide information on site. That is usually at the request of the education providers themselves.

I don’t think that’s a problem. They know what’s happening and they want to do everything they can to assist international students in their plight.

The PIE: What will RLC be focussing on in the future?

SS: Addressing the legislation and actually putting reviews in place. That’s what we’ve been working on over the last six months internally with the employment practice as well.

Until there is some form of protections that will allow for an international student to approach the Fair Work Ombudsman without fear possible breaches to any visa conditions will have ramifications for them, we’re always going to see those clients.

The post Sean Stimson, Redfern Legal Centre, Australia appeared first on The PIE News.

U of Chicago debtes whether Corey Lewandowski should speak -- and whether reporters should be barred

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 01:46

The University of Chicago likes to boast of its commitment to academic freedom and the exchange of idea is absolute. A dean set off a national debate in August by sending a letter to new students, warning them not to expect "safe spaces" at the university, and that Chicago does not cancel controversial speakers who have been invited to campus.

So somewhat surprisingly, Chicago finds itself in the middle of a debate over a controversial speaker who will be appearing today. The speaker is Corey Lewandowski, who was President Trump's campaign manager during the Republican primaries that put him on the path to the White House. But only some of the debate is of the standard "should he be allowed to speak?" variety. Much of the discussion is over the way he will speak -- in an off the record, no journalists allowed session with students. Critics -- some of whom defend the right of Lewandowski to appear -- say that all of the rhetoric about free exchange of ideas requires public awareness of what Lewandowski says.

The university is focusing its public comments on the right of Lewandowski to appear, and the wide variety of political views reflected in speakers who come to Chicago each year. Officials also note that the off-the-record approach is one used by courses in the university's Institute of Politics, and is nothing new. Chicago distinguishes between public speeches, which are open to all, and visits to fellows of the institute. Lewandowski will be the guest of a fellow, Robert Costa of The Washington Post, who will ask questions of his visitor, even if they are off the record.

An editorial in The Chicago Maroon, the student newspaper, noted that the institute has long held such events. But the editorial questioned whether these encourage true discussion of which the university boasts or just create "a chummy club-room" for politicians and future politicians.

The editorial also called Lewandowski "a uniquely bad guest to take off the record."

The Maroon explained: "It does not make sense for the IOP to put him in a room with students and remove the most powerful check on inappropriate behavior: the ability of the press to make it known to the public. He ran an influential campaign that stretched the truth and flat-out lied countless times. We know this because he was on the record when he did so, and the media documented it. It’s also hard to justify why any fellows seminar should be off-the-record. During an off-the-record seminar, a fellow or a guest can do or say anything, and everyone in the room has to pretend like it never happened."

Several student groups at Chicago are vowing to protest today and say that Lewandowski never should have been invited.

“Nothing about a firm commitment to free expression obliges us open our doors to (much less to provide platforms for) those who incite hatred and violence against refugees, immigrants, and minorities — that is, against our students, teachers, co-workers and neighbors,” says a letter sent by student groups to the university.

The letter notes that Sean Spicer, President Trump's press secretary, spoke at Chicago before the inauguration. And the letter suggests that Trump's aides should not be welcome at the university.

"By hosting figures like Spicer and Lewandowski the Institute of Politics suggests that the ideas and ideologies they represent are debatable positions within the range of normal politics. Indeed, holding these events as closed door collegial 'conversations' suggests that such positions are not only debatable, but legitimate and respectable. They are none of those things," the letter adds.

The university released the following statement in response to the letter: “The University of Chicago Institute of Politics is non-partisan and since its inception has hosted hundreds of speakers from across the political spectrum, including supporters and vocal critics of the Trump administration. With any administration, we would be remiss if we did not invite guests who could provide insights into the administration’s thinking and approach to governing. In Wednesday’s seminar, students will have the opportunity to question Corey Lewandowksi on these and many other topics related to the Trump campaign. Consistent with the values of the university and the IOP, people are free to contest, criticize, and protest views expressed on campus so long as they do not obstruct or interfere with the freedom of others to express their views.”


Editorial Tags: Academic freedomImage Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: Corey LewandowskiIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Gender pay gap persists for higher education administrators

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 01:00

Higher education administration is still a man’s world if you’re measuring pay and position title.

A gender pay gap at the top levels of higher education leadership has persisted over the last 15 years, according to new research released Tuesday by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, known as CUPA-HR. A gulf between the number of men and women in the most prestigious, highest-paying jobs has not closed significantly, either.

Women working in administrative positions mostly filled by men did earn relatively more than many of their peers who work in positions largely filled by women -- and in a handful of cases, those outnumbered women earned more than their male counterparts. While that may offer little or no comfort to women administrators who believe in equal pay for equal work across the board, it could show that colleges and universities are attempting to recruit and keep women for positions in which they are underrepresented.

The new research on women’s pay and representation in the top ranks of colleges and universities comes at a time when discussions of equality are common and many in higher education seem to recognize the benefits of diversity, said Jacqueline Bichsel, CUPA-HR director of research. Research shows that a diverse staff can help more students succeed and improve institutions’ research ability, she said. That diversity includes gender diversity.

Yet several key indicators have changed little since the start of the century.

“We’ve had this wage gap for so long now, and nothing has been done about it,” Bichsel said.

Women administrators in higher education earn 80 cents on the dollar when compared to men, CUPA-HR found. That’s narrowed by only 3 cents since 2001, when women administrators earned 77 cents on the dollar versus men. It’s also largely in line with the gender pay gap for all full-time workers in the United States, which shows women earning 79 cents for every dollar men earn.

The pay gap between female and male higher education administrators seemed to be shrinking at a faster rate in the early 2000s. Then the Great Recession hit. Drops in higher education funding during the recession might have prevented the gap from narrowing further, as recessions tend to have a greater economic impact on women and minorities, according to CUPA-HR.

In 2016, women made up approximately half of higher education administrators across the country, despite some variations regionally. Women made up a little more than half of administrators in the Northeast and slightly less than half of administrators in the Midwest, West and South.

But the percentage of women drops dramatically in administrative positions that are considered more prestigious -- and are typically higher paying. For example, more than 50 percent of department heads are women. But less than 30 percent of top executives are women.

Although there are fewer women in top-paying positions, those who hold those jobs generally experience a narrower pay gap. Women top executives earn more than 90 cents on the dollar when compared to men. Department heads earn only about 85 cents on the dollar.

For a few specific positions, like chief facilities officers, women administrators who are steeply outnumbered by men earn more than men. For example, men outnumber women chief facilities officers by a ratio of more than nine to one, but women in such positions make $1.17 for every dollar men make.

That could indicate that institutions are trying to recruit and retain women leaders in positions where they are sharply underrepresented. It appears to be one place higher education stands out from other types of employers, Bichsel said.

“In those positions where women are extremely underrepresented, there does appear to be an effort to pay them more,” she said. “I wasn’t able to find that evidence in private industry. At least in higher ed, there is an effort being made.”

Still, female administrators in many other positions where women are more prevalent are paid substantially less than men in the same roles. Women earn a lower median salary than men in 12 of 15 executive positions reported. In half of those 12 positions, the salary difference is more than 10 percent.

“There might be a perception that they’ve taken care of whatever discrimination might be going on simply by representing women,” Bichsel said. “You can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re still underpaying them even if we’re representing them well.”

Women aren’t paid highly in all of the roles where they are underrepresented. Women make up just under 40 percent of chief financial officers. But chief financial officers had the highest pay gap between men and women, with women making just 77 cents for every dollar men made.

Women hold more than half of the available jobs in only a handful of executive positions: human resources, libraries, public relations, institutional research and student affairs. Women make up more than 70 percent of administrators in only one of those areas, human resources. Meanwhile, male presidents outnumber female presidents by a ratio of more than two to one. Male chief information officers and chief athletics administrators outnumber women by a ratio of more than four to one.

Breaking down the administrative pay gap by years of service showed the gap decreasing as seniority rose -- up to a point. The pay gap began increasing again for women with more than 17 years of service. Several factors could be behind that trend, including more barriers for women from older generations, ageism and a general U.S. pay gap that is wider for older women, according to CUPA-HR.

The higher ed administrative pay gap varies little by region, CUPA-HR found. The Midwest has closed it the most in the last 15 years, with women’s pay rising by 8 cents on the dollar men earn, from 74 cents to 82 cents. The West, which had the highest women-to-men pay ratio in 2001 -- more than 80 cents on the dollar at the time -- has gone through the least change since then.

CUPA-HR suggests institutions examine their own data to determine how well women are represented and compensated in administrative positions.

DiversityAdministrationEditorial Tags: College administrationImage Source: iStockIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

For-profits say Obama administration data error undermines borrower defense and gainful employment

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 01:00

A data mistake the U.S. Department of Education made last year has become a rallying cry for critics of regulations the Obama administration created to rein in for-profit colleges.

Just before President Trump’s inauguration, the department disclosed that a coding error in its College Scorecard had substantially inflated colleges’ student loan repayment rates. One expert estimated that when the correct data were considered, the national three-year repayment rate (meaning the proportion of borrowers who have repaid at least a dollar of their principal loan balance) fell to 41 percent from 61 percent.

While embarrassing, the department said its goof does not affect any of its other tools for measuring student loan repayment rates or other data in the Scorecard.

For-profit-college officials and several lawyers have a different take. They say the error calls into question a specific standard the department set for determining relatively low repayment rates under the borrower-defense rule, which is designed to help students who have been defrauded or misled by colleges have their federal loans forgiven. The rule requires for-profits (and only for-profits) to notify current and prospective students if they fall below the repayment-rate threshold.

More broadly, some critics say the department's mistake on the Scorecard undermines the Obama administration’s overall justification for its regulatory focus on for-profits through the borrower-defense and gainful-employment regulations.

Consumer groups, however, say the for-profit advocates are grasping at straws. They argue that the mistake is isolated to a corrected Scorecard metric and that for-profits look worse now that the numbers are accurate.

Both sides agree that the repayment-rate error is likely to be cited as a factor as congressional Republicans and the Trump administration seek to follow up on their promises to repeal or roll back gainful employment and borrower defense -- or to make those rules apply more evenly across all sectors of higher education.

Marc Jerome is president of Monroe College, a New York-based for-profit. He also participated in the federal rule-making committee that tried and failed to come to a consensus on a gainful-employment rule.

Jerome said he and other officials at Monroe quickly suspected something was wrong with the Scorecard’s repayment rate, in part because Monroe’s reported number was higher than the college’s own data showed.

During 2009 negotiations over proposed gainful-employment regulations, the department released an overall repayment rate of 25 percent for Monroe. That rate more than doubled, to 57 percent, on the Scorecard (and has subsequently been changed to 31 percent).

Last August Jerome submitted a formal comment to the Education Department to oppose the borrower-defense rule in which he questioned the repayment-rate discrepancy.

“When the department published the Scorecard repayment rates, Monroe College attempted to verify our published rate by replicating the data the department presented. To date, we have been unable to reproduce the department’s published rate,” he wrote, adding that “we are unsure of what accounts for the dramatic increase in published repayment rates.”

Flawed Assumptions?

While the department has fixed its mistake -- albeit months later -- Jerome said the feds’ sloppiness with the metric calls into question both borrower defense and gainful employment.

The Obama administration crafted its borrower-defense rule with the backing of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and other Senate Democrats. The collapse of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes helped spur the creation of the complex rule, which replaced vague, rarely used federal guidelines.

During the rule’s rollout, department officials said it was aimed primarily at for-profits, in part because those institutions perform relatively poorly on loan-repayment rates.

“It really is the proprietary sector where most of the risk exists,” Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education at the time, said during a June call with journalists.

As a result, the department included a requirement that for-profits with subpar loan-repayment rates must warn all current and prospective students about that deficiency. The threshold the department set for that requirement is a three-year repayment rate of less than 50 percent.

The department cited a preliminary analysis of the College Scorecard’s repayment rates in setting that threshold. The draft version of the rule said 70 percent of colleges with a five-year undergraduate repayment rate below the 50 percent mark were for-profits, and that 40 percent of for-profit institutions fall below that level.

The final version of the rule did not use Scorecard data to measure repayment rates. Even so, Jerome said the rule's repayment rates closely mirror those of the Scorecard. And, more importantly, he said the 50 percent threshold used for the for-profit repayment-rate notification was set using deeply flawed assumptions, as the national average for all colleges now falls below it.

“The error in the data on the Scorecard repayment rate should give everyone pause,” he said, adding that the department’s process with borrower defense was a “rush to achieve an outcome without paying enough attention to the data.”

Likewise, Jerome said flawed assumptions about the sector's relative shortcomings and inappropriate data also taint the gainful-employment rule.

“The best policy for students is one where outcomes are available for all programs across all sectors,” he said. “Neither the borrower-defense rule nor the gainful-employment rule follow that principle.”

Mike Goldstein is senior counsel and higher education practice leader at Cooley, a law firm based in Washington. He agreed with Jerome that the repayment-rate mistake bolsters the case against borrower defense and gainful employment.

Goldstein said the Obama administration’s focus on higher education performance metrics was needed and overdue. But he criticized its use of weak data that had not been well parsed to justify regulations that single out for-profits.

“The data have always been questionable,” Goldstein said, “so the underlying premise is also suspect.”

Several consumer advocates disagreed.

“This is the reddest of red herrings,” said Pauline Abernathy, executive vice president of the Institute for College Access & Success.

She called Jerome’s argument misleading and one “based on a coding error that has no bearing on the regulation.”

Repayment rates currently are not part of gainful employment’s enforcement mechanisms, she said, and the borrower-defense rule’s repayment metric is not related in any way to the corrected Scorecard rate.

“It’s lead and water,” she said, adding that to argue otherwise “makes no sense.”

Ben Miller, senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress and a department official during the Obama administration, said the repayment-rate error was a highly technical one that affected everyone equally.

“But it's important to remember what it showed. It is not that the Education Department was intentionally hiding good performance on repayment,” he said via email. “Rather, the results are way worse than any of us ever realized. That should speak even more to the need for students to know their odds of paying back their loans.”

For-Profit Higher EdEditorial Tags: For-profit collegesFederal policyEducation DepartmentImage Caption: U.S. Department of EducationIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

At a Pennsylvania community college, plans to sponsor refugee family are on hold

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 01:00

Faculty members, staff and students at Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley have everything they need to help resettle a newly arrived refugee family. Everything but the family.

The Northampton group has raised thousands of dollars and collected in donations all the items on a list provided to them by a local refugee resettlement agency -- a kitchen table and chairs, dishes and silverware, pots and pans, beds, blankets, pillows, and lamps -- and some that weren’t (televisions, comforters and couches, chairs and end tables). They’d identified a lead on apartments through a friend of a father of a former student. A professor of political science and the coordinator of the college’s global studies program, Kiki Anastasakos, had written the refugee resettlement project into her syllabi as a service learning requirement for two of her classes.

Having worked through the fall to prepare, they’d told the agency, Bethany Christian Services, they’d be ready to sponsor a family any time after Feb. 1. On Jan. 27 President Trump signed an executive order suspending entry of all refugees for 120 days, and the admission of all refugees from Syria indefinitely. The order also cut the number of refugees the U.S. would admit in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000 -- less than half the target of 110,000 refugees set by the Obama administration -- and, in an action that has had broad effects for colleges and universities, barred entry by nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“We were ready to go yesterday,” Charlie Rinehimer, the head of Northampton’s biology department, said Feb. 2, “but this beat us to it.”

Enforcement of the entry ban has been temporarily halted by federal courts, and, as the Trump administration considers its legal options -- including the option of issuing a brand-new order -- it remains unclear whether the group at Northampton will be able to sponsor a family sooner rather than later after all. In the meantime the donations they have collected are sitting in storage or at various people's homes.

It’s frequently churches and civic groups that sponsor refugee families, but some colleges have as well. Rinehimer had the idea for Northampton after hearing an NPR interview with Diya Abdo, a professor of English at Guilford College and the founder of the Every Campus a Refuge project, which calls on every campus to host a newly arrived refugee family and assist them in resettlement.

Guilford, a Quaker college in North Carolina, has hosted a Ugandan man and two Syrian families. It is currently hosting an 11-member family from Africa. (Abdo said for confidentiality reasons she can’t be more specific while the family lives on campus.)

“In a nutshell, Guilford provides free rent and utilities, Wi-Fi, and our own communities provide everything else,” said Abdo.

For the current 11-member family, she said, “Every Campus a Refuge paid less than $300 out of its funds to completely furnish the house from top to bottom with all of the needs of all the children. It all came out of donations, either monetary or in kind.” That doesn’t just mean furniture, she added: that includes car seats, strollers, bicycles, even groceries for a couple of weeks.

Abdo said a proposed minor at Guilford growing out of the Every Campus a Refuge project is pending approval by the college’s curriculum committee. The 16-credit minor includes two required, two-credit courses in which students receive training from partnering refugee resettlement agencies and volunteer for 40 hours with recently resettled families, participate in 10-15 hours of Skype conversations with Syrian refugees, study topics related to forced displacement and immigration, and complete an advocacy, problem-solving or other type of project related to the Every Campus a Refuge initiative. In addition to the core courses, students enrolled in the proposed minor would also select one of several courses in three areas: on causes of forced displacement (students can, for example, take a class on genocide), on voices and perspectives of immigrants and refugees (such as a course on immigrant and refugee literature), and on community organizing and advocacy (such as an introduction to civic engagement class).

Abdo said she was still processing its effects of the executive order directing a temporary entry ban on refugees (enforcement of which, again, has since been halted temporarily by the courts). “I want to say that I think it can have the effect of making people want to be even more involved, want to advocate more, want to volunteer more, want to donate more,” she said.

“If refugee resettlement agencies have their funds decreased because of this, then I think institutions of higher education can play a really big role. We have resources: they were needed before, they’re even more needed now. We can provide housing, we can provide volunteers, we can provide skills -- all of those things they would need us to provide,” Abdo said.

Another college that has dedicated housing space to refugee families is Rollins College, in Florida, which hosted a three-member family from Colombia in a two-bedroom apartment on its campus last fall. That family moved to an apartment of their own at the end of last semester.

"In terms of status of the initiative here at Rollins, we are in a bit of a holding pattern because of the recent executive order and have not received a new family," said Lauren Bradley, a Rollins spokeswoman. "Our president and campus community are very much in support of this program, and we have everything in place so that when another family is available we are prepared to house and provide for them under our agreement with Catholic Charities [of Central Florida]," its partner in the project.

Agnes Scott College, a women's college in Georgia, has made a house available and committed to providing six months of free housing for one to two refugee families but has not yet had a family arrive. "My team furnished the entire duplex. It’s completely ready to go. We just need a family," said Leila Chreiteh, a senior human rights major at the college and the director of the Every Campus a Refuge campaign there.

"We're following the International Rescue Committee's lead and waiting for them to match us with a family," Chreiteh said. "We were matched with a Syrian family, but their tickets were canceled in light of the immigration executive order."

At Northampton, in contrast to the other efforts, which are all at private institutions, the project to aid a refugee family is not a formal college-sponsored project, but rather an initiative by individual faculty and staff members who have led private fund-raising efforts. Marla Sell, the site director for Bethany Christian Services’ Allentown, Pa., office, said Northampton is the first college the local agency office has worked with in terms of co-sponsoring a family. What that entails, she said, is “working together with us to provide all the services that we normally would provide to a refugee. Housing is a big one, housing and all the donations that go along with housing, providing ESL classes or tutors, helping them get hooked up with a doctor, with a dentist, with schools for children, with jobs.”

Sell said that Bethany has rebooked travel for families whose original travel had to be canceled due to the executive order but has scheduled the arrivals of new families yet. So Northampton is still waiting for news of an arriving family. The phrase Deb Bohr, the director of the college’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement, uses is that the project is “on hold.”

The week after the executive order was signed -- Trump signed it late on a Friday afternoon -- some students, faculty and staff staged a silent sit-in. The Monday immediately after, Bohr, who has been organizing the donations for the family, reported that “students were coming in and giving me money and saying, ‘I’m doing this because of what happened this past weekend.’ I explained to everybody we’re on hold right now, just so you know. They said, ‘No, no, I want to give it to you.’”

“It’s a disappointment,” Bohr said of the delay, “but we’re moving forward.”

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: ImmigrationImage Source: Courtesy of Deb BohrIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Krislov to move from Oberlin to Pace

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 01:00

Marvin Krislov is in for a dramatic change of scenery.

Krislov, the 56-year-old president of Oberlin College, was announced on Tuesday as the next president of Pace University, effective Aug. 1. The move will have him leaving a 3,000-student liberal arts college and conservatory in northern Ohio that’s known for sharply leaning to the left in order to lead a professionally oriented 13,000-student university with two campuses, in Manhattan and New York’s Westchester County.

The differences don’t stop there. Oberlin’s student body is decidedly whiter, richer and more traditional than Pace’s. While Oberlin reports that 20 percent of its student body consists of students of color, Pace says its undergraduates are 49 percent white. At Oberlin, 9 percent of first-time undergraduates received Pell Grants in 2014-15, indicating they came from low-income families. The portion of first-time undergraduates receiving Pell Grants at Pace that year was 34 percent, according to federal data. Pace also has more than 3,500 graduate students and more than 500 law students.

It’s not the typical next step for a college president in Krislov’s position. He announced in September that he would be stepping down at the end of this academic year after a decade as Oberlin’s president. But one might expect his career arc to bend more toward another liberal arts college or a widely known research institution next. He was a finalist for the president’s position at the University of Iowa in 2015.

Instead, Krislov sees Pace as an opportunity to grow personally. He hears tremendous concern right now over whether higher education is providing students with enough opportunity, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Krislov sees Pace as a place that has traditionally helped first-generation students, students from working-class families and immigrants.

“I think higher ed is changing,” he said. “I think Pace may be the model for the kind of college or university we’re going to need more of. I’m excited about building a different model and taking this opportunity.”

Krislov sees himself as a longtime advocate of opportunity for those who are disadvantaged and for civil rights. At Oberlin, he created an access initiative that eliminated loan requirements for Pell-eligible students. Before that, he was among the leaders of the University of Michigan’s successful legal defense of affirmative action in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when he was that university’s vice president and general counsel.

Pace’s institutional values fit with Krislov’s, he said. He also pointed out that Pace has a liberal arts core, arguing that there are similarities with Oberlin.

Yet Krislov returned to the fact that he is interested in working with different types of students at his next stop.

“There are students who are working, and then there are also non-traditional-aged students,” he said. “That’s a population that I’ve had less experience with at Oberlin, I’ve had some experience with at Michigan. But that’s something I’ve been thinking more about, is the role of higher education in providing opportunities for older students.”

At Oberlin, Krislov was noted for his fund-raising successes, defense of the liberal arts and success with construction and renovation projects. He shot past a $250 million goal in a comprehensive campaign, eventually raising $318 million. He built a new jazz studies building, natural gas power plant and stadium complex.

But he also came under scrutiny amid several recent controversies at Oberlin. His handling of a situation in which an assistant professor made anti-Semitic statements on her Facebook page was scrutinized. He decided not to directly respond to demands from some black students, arguing that those demands were not consistent with the ideas of collaborative engagement and shared governance. He was also in charge when Oberlin offered employee buyouts last year in an attempt to save millions of dollars.

He will have the chance to put his reputation as a fund-raiser and a builder to the test at Pace. The university is starting a $190 million plan to expand and renovate its Manhattan campus. Pace recently performed millions of dollars’ wroth of renovations on its Westchester County grounds.

Pace faculty members seemed pleased with Krislov’s hiring. Nancy Reagin is a professor of history and women’s and gender studies who chairs the Pace New York Faculty Council. She was also on the presidential search committee.

Reagin commended Krislov’s commitment to diversity and fund-raising credentials. Krislov was the search committee’s unanimous first choice, she said. But search committee members were aware that Pace wasn’t a traditional next step for a president in Krislov’s position.

“We were very excited about his application, but he also had to persuade us he was interested,” Reagin said. “He wanted a change, and we’re certainly a change. I think a lot of the things going on here are attractive.”

Faculty members in Westchester are supportive as well. Padma Kadiyala is a professor of finance who is the former chair of the Faculty Council in Westchester.

“His past and most recent experience at Oberlin College, I think that would serve him very well,” Kadiyala said. “We do have a very strong liberal arts program.”

Krislov will take over at Pace from Stephen J. Friedman, 78, who is stepping down after 10 years as president.

Editorial Tags: New presidentsImage Source: Pace UniversityImage Caption: Marvin KrislovIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

FutureLearn secures its first US partners

The PIE News - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 07:18

FutureLearn, a MOOC platform owned by the UK’s Open University, has announced five US universities will be offering courses through its system, marking the first time it has partnered with educational institutions in the US.

American University, Colorado State University, Penn State University, Purdue University and University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business will all be offering a number of courses on the platform this year, further expanding FutureLearn’s global reach.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said the company has been working towards bringing on US educators for some time. The new addition will help to accelerate the platform’s growth in the US, one of the biggest markets in the world for online learning, he said.

“We want to create portfolios of more professionally relevant courses and qualifications”

“I think it will broaden our reach in the US, but also increase our credibility all over the world by having these prestigious new institutions alongside our existing partners,” he told The PIE News.

With its new partners and courses, the company is aiming to tackle the challenge of upskilling the workforce, both in the US and internationally.

“We want to create portfolios of more professionally relevant courses and qualifications that people who work, or are about to enter work, or are trying to get jobs, can use to develop further their skills,” he said.

“Not to the exclusion of the broader range of content we offer, but definitely we think that this is one of the most important areas of value we can bring to learners.”

The US institutions have already announced five courses in subjects including persuasive communication and data science, with several more expected in the coming months.

Tom Steenburgh, senior associate dean for executive education and non-credit at UVA’s Darden School of Business, said FutureLearn’s focus on the community of learners aligns with the school’s “collaborative and participative approach to business education”.

“Darden looks forward to the partnership providing another avenue for the school to drive innovation in pursuit of transformational learning opportunities for all,” he said.

In December, FutureLearn announced a partnership with Deakin University, its first with an Australian institution, to offer a series of postgraduate degrees to online learners.

The platform now has a total of 119 partners, of which 70 are universities.

The post FutureLearn secures its first US partners appeared first on The PIE News.

Low mobility of young scientists may hamper innovation

University World News Global Edition - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 06:35
Low mobility among young researchers within Asia and globally may be hampering wider research collaboration, exchange of ideas and more creative and innovative research, says a wide-ranging new st ...

Apollo Education Group acquired for $1.14bn

The PIE News - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 06:04

Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix and BPP Law School, has been taken off the public market in a $1.14bn acquisition by a group of investors, who have pledged to raise estimations of the US’s for-profit education sector.

The acquisition of the for-profit provider is led by private equity giant and McGraw-Hill Education owner Apollo Global Management (no relation to Apollo Education Group), with The Vistria Group and Najafi Companies completing the consortium.

The $10-per-share deal was approved by Apollo Education Group’s shareholders on May 6, 2016.

“This transaction will allow us to accelerate our efforts to improve outcomes for all of our students”

This is despite some resistance by its top two shareholders, who argued they would lose out on future profits.

UK asset manager Schroders, which owned more than 13% of Apollo Education, wrote to its chairman urging the board “to reject any proposals that would deny shareholders the opportunity of benefiting from this significant recovery potential,” Bloomberg reported.

“We see the potential for multiple hundreds of percent of upside in Apollo [Education]’s stock from current levels over a period of years,” Schroders’s global value team wrote.

First Pacific Advisors LLC, the company’s second-biggest investor, also objected, claiming Apollo Education is worth about $29 a share and telling its clients a $1bn deal “would be unquestionably rejected by us, and we hope every other shareholder would reject it”.

The total value of the deal, though huge, is nevertheless worth just half of the $2.1bn the company generated in net revenue in FY16.

The acquisition was expected to be completed by the end of the company’s fiscal year in August 2016, but was delayed by a lengthy review by the Department of Education.

The for-profit education sector in the US is undergoing extreme scrutiny at the moment, and the University of Phoenix, one of the country’s largest for-profit providers, has faced controversy of its own. It was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission in 2015 to determine whether its recruiters had engaged in “deceptive or unfair acts or practices” in advertising its programmes and their future job prospects.

Announcing the proposed deal in February 2016 – then valued at $9.50 a share – the buyers hinted they intended to work to rehabilitate the for-profit sector.

“For too long and too often, the private education industry has been characterised by inadequate student outcomes, overly aggressive marketing practices, and poor compliance. This doesn’t need to be the case,” commented Tony Miller, COO and partner at The Vistria Group and former deputy education secretary at the US Department of Education.

Miller has now been named chairman of Apollo Education Group’s board of directors, indicating the consortium will forge ahead with this plan.

“Too often, the private education industry has been characterised by inadequate student outcomes and poor compliance”

“We believe we are uniquely positioned to enhance efforts by University of Phoenix and the other Apollo Education Group schools to improve student outcomes,” he said.

Apollo Education Group’s CEO, Greg Cappelli, confirmed that the buyout would enable the company to complete a “transformation plan” at the University of Phoenix.

“This transaction marks a significant milestone in our company’s history, and will allow us to accelerate our efforts at [our subsidiaries] University of Phoenix, Western International University, College for Financial Planning and Apollo Global to improve outcomes for all of our students in the US and around the world,” he commented.

Apollo Education Group operates education brands including Bridge School of Management in India, Brazilian post-secondary education provider FAEL, and UK-based BPP Holdings, through an 80% ownership of Apollo Global (no relation to the management group) a joint venture with The Carlyle Group which owns 20%.

Apollo Global acquired BPP for £303.5m in 2009, four years before it was granted university status.

The same day Apollo Education Group went private, another for-profit giant, Laureate Education Group, issued its second IPO in a bid to raise $490m.

The post Apollo Education Group acquired for $1.14bn appeared first on The PIE News.