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Colleges start new academic programs

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 01:00
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Chronicle of Higher Education: When Colleges Frown on Kids on Campus — or Even Ban Them

Academics take to social media to insist on the virtues of bringing their children to work.

Action needed to avert the crisis in UK language learning, report warns

The PIE News - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 12:53

A new Higher Education Policy Institute report has lambasted the UK’s current approach to learning foreign languages, revealing that just 32% of 16-to-30-year olds in the UK feel confident reading and writing in another language, compared to the rest of the EU’s 89% average.

According to the report, ‘A Languages Crisis?’  the UK total is less than half the level in the second-placed EU country Hungary (71%), and far behind France (79%), Germany (91%) and Denmark (99%).

However, the country is no stranger to being criticised for its lack of foreign language skills as studying a language at GCSE level has not been compulsory in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 2004.

“Brexit means it is more urgent than ever that we re-evaluate our attitudes towards languages”

Author of the report and third-year classics undergraduate at the University of Oxford, Megan Bowler, described it as a big mistake to scrap compulsory foreign languages at GCSE.

“Rather than continuing to present languages as not suitable for everyone, we need to include a broader range of pupils learning through a variety of qualifications geared to different needs,” said Bowler.

“Given the shortage of language skills in the workforce, we should safeguard higher education language courses, particularly those involving less widely-taught languages, and prioritise extra-curricular language learning opportunities for students from all disciplines.”

The report also calls for more flexible study options, varied course content and an increase in teachers including listing all language teachers on the Home Office’s Shortage Occupation List, where currently only Mandarin Chinese tutors make the cut.

“The cultural and political implications of Brexit mean it is more urgent than ever that we re-evaluate our attitudes towards languages,” continued Bowler.

Commenting on the findings of the report, HEPI director Nick Hillman described the decision to make GCSE languages voluntary as probably the single most damaging education policy implemented in England so far this century”.

“The problems this has caused are now hitting university Languages Departments hard.

“Student numbers for French and German have almost halved since 2010 and, for Italian, they have fallen by around two-thirds,” he said.

Fewer than half of GCSE pupils now take a foreign language, compared to 76% in 2002, with notable socio-economic and regional divides that led the British Council to warn last year against a “growing socio-economic division in language teaching”.

Most state schools offer language courses in either one or a mix of French, German and Spanish. However, the variation between schools means that in some areas there is no guarantee that the language can be continued at A-Level when a student transfers from secondary school to sixth form.

By contrast, more and more private and independent schools are offering courses in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian.

The report was released the day after an announcement that British MPs had voted against a motion requiring officials to negotiate continuing full membership of the Erasmus+ program, which offers exchange opportunities abroad for students.

“The assumption that ‘the rest of the world speaks English’ hinders new international collaborations”

Those that voted against it include former education secretary Michael Gove, current education secretary Gavin Williamson and minister of state for universities Chris Skidmore.

Despite the failings of the education system, there remains a demand and desire among British citizens to learn foreign languages.

According to an article in 2019, more than half of UK adults wish they had kept up the foreign languages they learned in school and regret not making the most of studying languages when they had the chance, while 77% believe language skills increase employability.

The report concludes that if the UK is to thrive outside the EU, language skills cannot be ignored.

“The assumption that ‘the rest of the world speaks English’ hinders new international collaborations and overlooks cultural and cognitive enhancement developed by learning. Political developments mean change is more pressing… the UK must address educational declines.”

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Tufts Report on Sackler Giving Offers Cautionary Tale for Dealing With Controversial Donors

Seasoned fund raisers who have read the independent report say they are surprised that the university courted the Sacklers even as Purdue Pharma’s legal troubles mounted and it signed an agreement t

read more

A crude attempt to stifle what’s left of Venezuela’s democracy

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 08:50

ON SUNDAY JANUARY 5TH Juan Guaidó found himself perched unsteadily atop the ornate wrought-iron railings outside Venezuela’s national assembly, being pushed back by the riot shields of the National Guard. Since Mr Guaidó is the speaker of the assembly and was due to be re-elected to the post that day, the image said everything about the assault on the last vestiges of Venezuela’s democracy by the regime of Nicolás Maduro, who rules as a dictator. It underlined that a year after Mr Guaidó proclaimed himself “interim president” of the country, on the grounds that Mr Maduro’s election for a second term was fraudulent, he has legitimacy but no power. And it suggested that Mr Maduro has no interest in negotiating a solution for Venezuela’s long agony.

In December 2015 the opposition triumphed in a legislative election, the last fair contest the country has seen. It won 112 of the 167 seats in the assembly, a two-thirds majority and thus enough to change the constitution and appoint new judicial and electoral authorities. Mr Maduro’s regime went into action. The puppet supreme court barred three opposition legislators from taking their seats. In 2017 the regime set up a parallel “constituent assembly” of loyalists, which rubber-stamps its actions. The courts have stripped 29 opposition parliamentarians of their immunity. Two are in jail....

Justin Trudeau’s less ambitious second term as Canada’s prime minister

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 08:50

JUSTIN TRUDEAU returned from his Christmas break in Costa Rica with a new look. Canada’s prime minister has sprouted a salt-and-pepper stubble, making him look slightly less youthful. His makeover hints that he intends to govern differently in his second term, which began late last year. He has plenty of reasons to change his approach. The election on October 21st was a close shave. Mr Trudeau’s Liberal Party won 1m fewer votes than it had four years before and lost its majority in Parliament. He now leads a minority government dependent for support on other parties, especially the left-wing New Democrats (NDP) and the Bloc Québécois, which advocates independence for Quebec. The Liberals won no seats in the western prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Mr Trudeau interprets this setback as a rebuff to his governing style rather than to his policies. He was a global cheerleader for every progressive cause, from welcoming refugees to expanding transgender rights. This grated on some voters. Ethical lapses, especially demoting the justice minister after she refused to help a big engineering firm avoid prosecution for bribery, compounded the damage.

Mr Trudeau’s first-term policies are easier to defend. They included legalising cannabis; a new child benefit, which cut poverty and lifted middle-class incomes; a...

Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, outlines his plans

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 08:50

ALEJANDRO GIAMMATTEI, who will become Guatemala’s president on January 14th, did not have an easy ride to the top. The 63-year-old developed multiple sclerosis in his youth and walks with forearm crutches. His only previous government job was a brief stint a dozen years ago as head of the country’s prisons, which ended in his own incarceration. He spent ten months in jail during the investigation of the killing of seven inmates. Charges were dropped. He has a 20-year record of losing elections to be president and mayor of Guatemala City, the capital. This time, more popular rivals were disqualified.

The country he is about to lead is also bruised. Crime is high, corruption is unchecked and hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans a year seek better lives in the United States. Mr Giammattei’s answer, etched in English on a Guatemala-blue bracelet that he wears, is “hope”.

His predecessor, Jimmy Morales, failed to provide it. A former comedian and political outsider, he won the presidency in 2015 in a protest vote against corruption. But he sent home a UN-backed anti-graft agency, the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), which had investigated allegations that he had violated campaign-finance laws (which he denies). After handing power to Mr Giammattei, Mr Morales will scurry across town for a same-day swearing-...

UK parliament votes down Erasmus+ clause

The PIE News - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 08:32

UK members of parliament voted against a clause which would have required the government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Erasmus+ program.

News of the vote was met with ire online, however, the UK’s minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore, said that the vote did “not end or prevent the UK participating in @EUErasmusPlus after leaving the EU”.

“Without continued access to the Erasmus+ program, 17,500 students a year could lose out”

“We remain open to participation and this will be part of future negotiations with the EU- we highly value international student exchanges,” Skidmore wrote on Twitter.

Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International, said the organisation was pleased that the Universities minister has confirmed that the government is still open to participation in the program, and that it will form part of future negotiations with the EU.

Last night’s vote- game playing by opposition parties- does not end or prevent the UK participating in @EUErasmusPlus after leaving the EU. We remain open to participation and this will be part of future negotiations with the EU- we highly value international student exchanges

— Chris Skidmore (@CSkidmoreUK) January 9, 2020

“Without continued access to the Erasmus+ program, 17,500 students a year could lose out on the opportunity to gain international experience. Because Erasmus+ placements are funded, the students who stand to lose the most are those who cannot afford to travel without financial support,” she added.

Incoming Erasmus+ students in 2017 generated £420 million in income for the UK, UUKi said.

“The government must commit to continued study abroad funding, either through full association to the Erasmus+ programme or through a national replacement scheme,” Stern noted.

“The public response to last night’s vote, and to UUKi’s #SupportStudyAbroad campaign, shows just how important the Erasmus+ program is to thousands across the country and we urge the government to consider this as it moves forward.”

Emma Meredith, international director at the Association of Colleges said that despite “understandable concern” it was “worth noting it’s not game over yet for UK participation in Erasmus+”.

Point 11 of the political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom notes that the parties will “establish general principles, terms and conditions” in EU programs including in areas such as science and innovation, youth, culture and education.

Non-EU member states that participate in the program currently include Norway, Turkey and Iceland, while it also has partner countries neighbouring the EU, as well as partners across other continents.

Talks on the possibility of the UK’s future involvement are expected to take place in March 2020.

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US: 65% of students from emerging markets look beyond political climate

The PIE News - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 06:26

The current US political climate has little effect on the interest of more than half (65%) of prospective students from emerging markets in Africa, Central America, and South America when considering the country for study abroad, a survey has found. However, students have raised concerns around visas and support services at US institutions.

Surveying 12,300 international students from emerging markets including Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil, the Intead/ FPP EDU Media ‘Know Your Neighborhood Emerging Markets Fall 2019’ report sought to understand the motivators, concerns, influencers, and areas of interest of prospective students.

Some 9% of respondents said they were “more interested in studying in the US” due to its current political climate, while one in four (25%) stating that they don’t like what they see happening in the country.

“There are Euro-American perspectives on the current administration’s rhetoric, and then there are others”

However, the US brand remains “strong, and students continue to apply and enrol”, the report read.

Speaking with The PIE News, Intead CEO Benjamin Waxman noted that there is “more acceptance of both the Trump administration and US violent crime reported in the news” by those students surveyed.

“After three years of the Trump administration, there just might be a level of recognition that, overall, the US and global systems of governance have withstood the initial shock and are for better or worse, continuing on,” he said.

Particularly in the case of some emerging markets, prospective international students may be more accepting of the current political climate in the US, Waxman indicated.

“There are Euro-American perspectives on the current administration’s rhetoric, and then there are others.

“In general, it appears that those who live in countries with higher rates of authoritarianism, corruption or crime may be taking the current US administration in stride more easily than others,” he explained.

While students noted safety concerns as influencing their study abroad decisions in earlier versions of the Intead report, there was more concern with being able to access visas in the latest findings.

US visa regulations have tightened in the past and then loosened again, Waxman said.

“The current administration is interpreting the rules in a much stricter way, and a larger percentage of student applications are being denied than in the past,” he told The PIE.

“That does not stop ambitious students from pursuing their dreams. However, it does stem the flow of international students in the near term.

“The economic and civic power of education can only be squelched for so long. The current visa scenario will change,” he added.

Given the US administration’s rhetoric and activity, it makes sense that students from countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have some of the highest concern for visa success.

Difficulty obtaining a visa was raised by 64% of Moroccan respondents and 62% of Tunisians, the report showed.

The survey also noted that despite students expressing less inclination for US studies in previous surveys, students “did not actually follow through” with what they said.

The 8% dip in Mexican students coming to the US between 2017 and 2018, although significant, was a “far cry” from the 80% of students who used the 2017 survey to voice their discontent.

Additionally, the report highlights the need for US institutions to be effective in their messaging to prospective students.

“Messaging is important [to students] and it must be presented creatively to stand out”

As well as staying on top of issues students are likely to care about such as immigration, work visa policies and currency exchange rates, it is essential for messaging to “acknowledge political realities”, as ignoring the political climate may be read as an agreement with certain attitudes.

“Messaging is important, and it must be presented creatively to stand out from all the others institutions seeking to do the same,” Waxman explained.

“There are many motivating factors that prompt prospective students to take the leap,” he said, adding that effective examples include Northeastern University’s response to the US Administration’s travel ban orders in 2017-2018.

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Ireland: European coding network opens campus

The PIE News - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 04:30

Major European coding institution, Wild Code School, has announced it is opening a school in the Irish capital Dublin with plans to expand to other parts of the country at a later stage.

Founded in France in 2014, Wild Code School operates campuses in 24 locations across Europe, all offering five-month coding bootcamps aimed at meeting skills gaps in the tech sector.

“In the wake of Brexit, I believe even more opportunities will open up in Ireland”

The company plans to eventually expand to Irish counties Cork and Galway and increase its student intake from 45 to 300 by 2025.

Speaking at the opening of the Dublin campus the organisation’s international founder, Anna Stépanoff, said the city was selected because of the ongoing growth in demand for skilled tech employees in Ireland.

“Ireland has been established for a number of years now as a hub for international tech companies, and that brings with it huge demand for workers with up-to-date tech skills,” she said.

“In the wake of Brexit, I believe even more opportunities will open up in Ireland for those with the skills that leading employers need.

“That’s why we’ve selected Dublin as the location for our newest Wild Code School campus, and why we have set ambitious targets for growth across Ireland in the coming years,” Stépanoff continued.

Since it was established in France, Wild Code School has trained over 2,000 developers across Europe.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Can a Different Approach to Testing Help Students Remember What They Learn?

An accounting professor, who has long worried about how much students forget after taking an exam, trades midterms for weekly quizzes and additional homework.  

Proposed split of United Methodist Church over LGBT issues is welcomed by Methodist college leaders

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 01:00

Leaders of Methodist colleges welcomed a recent proposal to split the United Methodist Church as a possible resolution to conflict over whether to remain affiliated with the church after it moved last year to strengthen prohibitions on the ordination of LGBT individuals and the performance of same-sex marriages.

The proposal to separate the church, announced on Friday, would allow for the spinoff of a “traditionalist Methodist” denomination while enabling a new U.S. regional conference of the UMC to repeal the LGBT-related prohibitions.

Methodist colleges and seminaries broadly oppose the restrictions on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriages. Three institutions, Baldwin Wallace University, Randolph College and the University of Mount Union, formally disaffiliated, describing the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues as incompatible with their own institutional values of inclusion and nondiscrimination.

If the separation protocol is approved at the church’s general conference in May, it will likely prevent other colleges from also disaffiliating from the UMC, Methodist college leaders said.

"There is widespread hope among Methodist college presidents that this proposed resolution will be adopted," said Rock Jones, president of Ohio Wesleyan University. Ohio Wesleyan previously requested a postponement of its decennial site visit by the church's University Senate -- a condition for continued affiliation -- "in hopes that a resolution would be achieved that would preserve the United Methodist Church as a fully inclusive institution and thus one that Ohio Wesleyan would wish to remain affiliated."

"This proposed resolution seems to do that," Jones said.

Jones added, however, "The anxiety that I hear is among presidents who are in regions of the country where the majority of Methodists would choose to not remain United Methodist but move away with the traditionalist denomination, and presidents of colleges in those regions are feeling an anxiety that the rest of us don’t feel as strongly."

Methodist college leaders have publicly spoken in a unified voice in calling for more inclusive policies within the church. The 93 college presidents in attendance for a meeting of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) in January 2019 unanimously issued a statement opposing the church’s adoption of new restrictions on LGBT+ clergy and same-sex marriage.

The leaders of the 13 theological schools also unanimously opposed the restrictions, which were approved by a vote of the church’s general conference last February.

“The presidents feel like the action of February 2019 put us in a situation of making a determination regarding affiliation with the church,” said Scott D. Miller, president of Virginia Wesleyan University and of NASCUMC. “The feeling was that the policies and the penalties that were associated with it really were a form of discrimination, and United Methodist higher education stands for inclusiveness and fair treatment of all.”

Miller said that in addition to the three institutions that disaffiliated, at least 12, including his own, put their relationship with the church on hold in hopes there would be an amicable resolution at this year’s general conference.

At their meeting on Jan. 4, 85 NASCUMC college presidents signed a statement endorsing the creation of a U.S. conference of the Methodist church, which is one aspect of the proposed separation protocol. Miller said this step would "bring renewed hope to our schools for a future United Methodist Church that supports the kind of open and inclusive environment that’s so vital for our campuses and the work that we do to shape principled leaders of the future."

“A lot of things can happen between January and May,” when the church's general conference meets, Miller said. “But we are very much encouraged and supportive of the protocol that came from the mediation.”

Miller noted, however, that if a separation is reached, the church that emerges will be smaller, and Methodist-affiliated colleges will likely receive less financial support from the church.

And while it's clear that Methodist higher education institutions, as a whole, support more inclusive church policies, Miller said about five Methodist-affiliated institutions may choose to depart the United Methodists and affiliate with the "traditionalist Methodist" denomination after its establishment.

“While the presidents of those institutions are strongly aligned with us on the NASCUMC statement and position, they understand that some of the characteristics of their own institutions may lead them to be with the new denomination,” Miller said.

It's unclear if some colleges that disaffiliated in protest of the church's stance on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy may choose to affiliate with the United Methodists again in the future.

A spokesman for Baldwin Wallace, Shawn Smith Salamone, declined to comment on whether the university might choose to reaffiliate if the proposed separation becomes a reality. He noted the absence of a final decision.

"At the current time, we continue to believe that we can best support our values and the active faith lives of our community as an independent university," Salamone said.

W. Richard Merriman Jr., president of the University of Mount Union, which also disaffiliated, said it’s probably too early for the university’s Board of Trustees to consider reaffiliating with the United Methodists. However, he said a university committee on ministry and mission will recommend next week to the board that Mount Union rejoin NASCUMC, the Methodist college group. NASCUMC member presidents voted on Jan. 4 to open membership to colleges that are formally affiliated with the church as well as colleges that have been historically related to the church.

Meanwhile, Southern Methodist University, which in November amended its bylaws to make clear that its Board of Trustees, and not the church, is the university's sole governing authority -- the subject of an ongoing lawsuit -- said it would not revisit that action.

"The Board of Trustees’ action was taken to bring SMU into compliance with state law and our own policy of nondiscrimination," said Dianne Anderson, a spokeswoman. "SMU is committed to maintaining close connections with the church, including all branches of Wesleyan theology."

Presidents of two theological schools -- which train future United Methodist Church ministers -- praised the proposed separation plan as good for Methodist higher education.

"The younger generation will not want to continue to be involved in a church that continues to discriminate against the LGBQIA community," said the Reverend Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, the president of Claremont School of Theology. "This will allow for our seminaries to focus on our mission in training leaders regardless of human sexuality."

Lallene J. Rector, the president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, said the institution's LGBT students "have been very anxious about whether they would have a place to serve as ordained persons in the church."

“I am so heartened by the prospect of getting this resolved in a way that is respectful and that leaves the United Methodist Church intact with a capacity to keep educating and being part of higher education without this horrible blanket of worry," she said. She added that the reputations of church-affiliated colleges have been hurt by the ban on gay marriage and ordination.

"With regard to the higher education institutions, in particular, I do think that if indeed this process plays itself out, such that the protocol winds up being adopted and implemented … that would likely stem most further action regarding disaffiliation by educational institutions," said Mark Hanshaw, associate general secretary for higher education at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, a UMC agency. He said specific details still need to be ironed out.

"The protocol provides some broad-brush guidance around the future structure of the denomination, and there will need to be a lot of work done to further define the details that flesh that structure out, so we will have to see how that plays out," Hanshaw said. "But I will say that the denomination has really been divided over the issue of human sexuality since 1972. That was the year in which exclusivist language related to LGBTQ individuals was inserted into the Book of Discipline.

"This issue has really been a point of contention within the denomination ever since, and it has taken a lot of energy out of the denomination, energy that could have been well spent in other places," Hanshaw said. "So I don’t think anyone is excited or happy about the prospect of seeing a portion of the community break away. However, I think on almost all fronts there is a desire to try to figure out how to move past this issue in a way that can allow individuals to continue to work together and to continue to support projects that have been important to the denomination, like educational accessibility."

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Iowa State University policies stifle free speech, lawsuit says

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 01:00

Students and free speech advocates are accusing Iowa State University of stifling speech by banning political messaging on campus less than one month away from the state Democratic caucuses. ​

The university implemented an interim policy on Nov. 11 to limit chalking, a popular practice in which students write political commentary and slogans in chalk on the sidewalks of the campus in Ames, Iowa. Only registered student organizations will be permitted to chalk under the policy, and messages can only advertise upcoming events and consist of the organization’s name and the location, time and title of the event -- in no more than seven words.

The university said that chalking that does not meet the guidelines would be erased and the students or groups who violate the policy punished. The policy allows for sanctions such as fines and loss of status as an officially registered and recognized organization.

The Democratic caucus is scheduled for Feb. 3.​

President Wendy Wintersteen said in a written statement that Iowa State “does not punish individuals for their constitutionally protected rights to expression, nor do we have policies or practices that prohibit expression based on the content of the expression or the viewpoint of the speaker.”

She said that as a public institution, “Iowa State University fully embraces its role as a First Amendment campus and is deeply committed to constitutional protections of free expression” and “the ‘free marketplace of ideas’ that is a fundamental characteristic of university life … Unfortunately, our campus has also experienced bigoted, hateful, racist and anti-Semitic messaging that, while protected by the First Amendment, is also hurtful and harmful to many students.”

Ryan Hurley, president of the College Republicans chapter on campus, said the organization opposes the restrictions. He described chalking as a significant part of students' political activism.

"I don’t mind when I walk to campus and I see Bernie [Sanders] things or Elizabeth Warren things, because that’s how I know that my fellow students are engaging in politics," Hurley said. "At this point in time, everyone needs to be, and this is an amazing way to show off and help others be aware."

The College Democrats chapter uses chalking as a strategy to encourage students to vote during election season, said Taylor Blair, former president of the chapter. But chalking is only one strategy, he said, and if restricting it can reduce incidents of hate-filled messages on campus, the organization would prefer students feel safe, Blair said.

"People did chalk, 'Steve King 2020' and 'Trump 2020,' and those messages were right alongside 'It’s OK to be white,'" Blair said. "They would say 'Trump 2020,' then right next to it there would be, 'HH' for 'Heil Hitler.' To say that it’s all about writing 'Trump 2020' ignores the fact that it was always paired with hateful and demeaning things."

The chalking policy was put in place by the university after neo-Nazi and transphobic messages were found written in chalk on campus sidewalks in October 2019, said Mason Zastrow, a sophomore and representative in the Student Government Senate. The incidents were followed by days of student protests. ISU Students Against Racism, which was formed in response to the hate messages, delivered a list of demands to Wintersteen, calling on administrators to implement a “zero tolerance policy to hate speech” that included chalking, according to the demands published on Iowa State’s Campus Climate website.

The chalking policy was unanimously approved by the 33-member student senate after it heard from ISU Students Against Racism about how the hateful messages affected students at whom the messages were directed, Zastrow said. The student representatives were willing to sacrifice one aspect of political activism to prevent future slurs and conflict, he said noting that. a student senate committee is drafting a permanent chalking policy that it will suggest university administrators adopt.

“If you’re trying to say that this policy makes it more difficult for students to express their ideas, that’s in part true, because it’s a medium that they can no longer use,” said Zastrow, who was speaking for himself and not the Student Government Senate. “But if you’re trying to change minds, [chalking] is not going to be as effective as in-person anyways, and we’re not discouraging that. We’re discouraging the medium itself, which we think is more distracting than it’s worth … If there’s a slur that targets someone’s identity, they now have the choice not to see it.”

The policy is only the first step to remedying the struggles of underrepresented students on campus, ISU Students Against Racism said in a statement.

"Under various administrations the university has repeatedly failed to take leadership on the issue of white supremacy on campus … The priority has always been to deny and suppress the underlying issue of white supremacy," the statement said. "Therefore, Students Against Racism stands on its position that the chalking policy is a response -- but not a solution to the continuous activity of white supremacists at Iowa State."

Speech First, a national advocacy association for student, parent, faculty and alumni members concerned about free speech on college campuses, started getting complaints about the chalking ban soon after the policy was announced, said Nicole Neily, president of the organization. Most of the students who complained have been “right of center” politically, which Neily found disappointing because of the impact the policy has on all campus speech, she said.

The proper response from Iowa State to counter the hateful messages would be to allow for more speech, Neily said.

“There is going to be unpleasant language on college campuses,” she said. “This is not language I support, but the right solution to dealing with this is not to ban it. It’s an opportunity for dialogue, education, programming … The point of college is to have those arguments.”

Neily said the ban would not change the minds of students who believe the racist, transphobic and anti-Semitic sentiments that led to the policy.

“I understand the impetus behind it, but I don’t think it’s a good method, and unfortunately, it’s an unconstitutional method,” she said.

Chalking has been a common way for students to get involved in local politics, Hurley said. The policy “can be used to stymie free speech on both sides,” he said.

“From what I’ve seen, essentially every political activist is upset with it,” Hurley said. “They’ve had their freedoms stripped, and I think that’s been done very maliciously because it’s such a vague policy.”

Chalking was one of the major ways Rachel Junck, a 20-year-old senior at Iowa State, garnered support for her 2019 election to the Ames City Council, Hurley said. Junck became the youngest woman ever to be elected to public office in the state, according to the Des Moines Register.

Chalking is also often used to advertise opportunities for students to meet U.S. presidential candidates visiting Ames ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Neily said. The chalking restrictions could limit students’ knowledge about political campaign events and their ability to plan protests, Neily said.

The College Democrats said in a written statement that it would like to work with administrators to form a permanent policy that offers an exception for political speech and focuses more directly on hate speech.

"Making sure our campus is a safe and welcoming place for all, but particularly for people of marginalized identities, is extremely important to the ISU College Democrats," the statement said. "We welcomed the temporary chalking policy as an immediate solution to stop the hateful, racist, neo-Nazi, transphobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic messages that were overwhelming our campus this past fall … Iowa State does not have a free speech problem -- we have a white supremacist problem."

Speech First filed a lawsuit against the university on Jan. 2 and requested a preliminary injunction on Jan. 6 to challenge three of Iowa State’s policies and practices: the chalking restrictions, a 2012 policy that prohibits using university email addresses to “solicit support for a candidate or ballot measure” and the university’s Campus Climate Reporting System, which is used to respond to incidents of bias. In the lawsuit, the Washington, D.C.-based organization argues the university's definition of a bias incident -- speech seen as “demeaning,” “taunting,” “bullying,” “verbal harassment or “intimidation” -- is a "content-based and viewpoint-based restriction."

“Iowa State and its officials have created a series of rules and regulations designed to restrain, deter, suppress, and punish speech concerning political and social issues of public concern,” the lawsuit states. “And they do so despite Iowa’s central role as the ‘first in the nation’ to weigh in on presidential primary elections. The university’s policies plainly violate the First Amendment.”

Both Hurley and Zastrow said they were unaware of the university email policy until it was publicized in the lawsuit, and they have doubts it is enforced.

Students Against Racism said Speech First does not represent the interests of Iowa State students and "wants to have a role in shaping policies that disproportionately affect students from minority communities."

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, supports Speech First's lawsuit and hopes it "results in policies at ISU allowing broad space for student discourse and debate, as the Constitution requires," said director of litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon in a statement.

"This is particularly crucial in a presidential election year when robust political discussion among college students will play an important role in shaping our democratic future," Beck-Coon said.

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New polls document opposition to Chinese enrollment quotas

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 01:00

Academics have called on China to phase out its university enrollment quotas after a rare study explored the depth of public opposition to the policy.

Xiaolei Qin of Nanjing Normal University and Ross Buchanan of the University of Texas at Austin describe the provincial quotas linked to the notoriously stressful gaokao admissions tests as “a blatant violation of citizens’ rights to educational equality granted by China’s constitution."

Writing in Higher Education Policy, they say the quota system “strongly favors” students from the three big cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, who can typically enter top universities with “dramatically lower” gaokao scores than those from 23 provinces, even though provincial students already have “fewer education resources at their disposal.” About 10 million young people take the test each year.

The inequalities are particularly marked when considering admission to universities in the top-tier Project 985 excellence initiative and the second-level Project 211 scheme: for example, about 5.6 percent of gaokao entrants from Shanghai entered Project 985 universities in 2016, say Qin and Buchanan, compared with 1.2 percent of their counterparts from Henan Province.

The disadvantages have given rise to “gaokao migration,” where families leave low-quota provinces and move to more privileged cities, and have been a factor in some wealthy parents’ decisions to send their children to study overseas.

At times, unrest has spilled on to the streets. In 2016, the Ministry of Education ordered cuts to enrollment quotas in many populous provinces but not in the big cities, resulting in thousands of parents protesting in Hebei, Hubei, Henan and Jiangsu Provinces.

The authorities swiftly moved to reassure parents that the admission rate for first-tier provincial universities would not be lower than it was the year before, Qin and Buchanan write.

However, despite modest reforms, the government “still mostly preserves the jealously guarded privileges of the regime’s favored constituencies,” the pair continue. In supplementary materials, they note that a “large segment of China’s political and economic elite live in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai,” giving them “obvious incentives … to preserve their privileged status.”

Lacking high-quality surveys from which to gauge public opinion, Qin and Buchanan -- who, in an unusual twist, received funding from a Chinese government agency, the National Planning Office for Philosophy and Social Science -- turned to sources such as the search index of Baidu, a popular Chinese search engine.

They found widespread unhappiness with the quota system outside the three favored cities. Participants in online communities “loudly express their grievances on social media,” referring to big cities as “paradise” and some provinces as “hell,” according to Qin and Buchanan, who found that changes in quotas could be linked directly to outpourings of complaints online.

Qin and Buchanan call for “deep reform” to phase out the quota system, with the exception of preserving modest advantages given to ethnic minority autonomous regions with “especially poor higher education resources.” Recruitment to first-tier universities should better reflect the proportion of gaokao takers in each province, adjusted for local government investment, they say.

Furthermore, they argue that changes should be made publicly and openly, and by an independent body that takes in and acts on input from academics and the public.

Yu Zhu, professor of economics at the University of Dundee, said several studies had shown that “less privileged students are finding it increasingly difficult to enroll in the most selective universities.”

He is the co-author, with academics from Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, of a separate study that showed the effects of those inequalities on Chinese graduates by calculating the increases in monthly salaries associated with each extra year of higher education.

Students attending colleges and “ordinary universities” had returns of 8 percent to 10 percent, while those from key prestigious universities enjoyed returns of 12 percent to 16 percent.

The study, published last month in Studies in Higher Education, shows that the expansion of China’s tertiary sector over the last two decades has resulted in reduced returns for all graduates, except students of certain subjects at leading universities.

“While higher education has become more accessible in China as a whole due to expansion, it is probably also getting more competitive than before for the most prestigious institutions and/or subjects,” Zhu said.

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Colleges award tenure

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 01:00

Colby College

  • Megan Cook, English
  • Christel Kesler, sociology
  • Dale Kocevski, physics and astronomy
  • Damon Mayrl, sociology
  • Loren McClenachan, environmental studies
  • Gianluca Rizzo, Italian studies

Williams College

  • Michelle Apotsos, art
  • Corinna Campbell, music
  • Charles Doret, physics
  • Susan Godlonton, economics
  • Leo Goldmakher, mathematics
  • Pamela Harris, mathematics
  • Greg Phelan, economics
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Philippines: AIM pushes for more foreign faculty

The PIE News - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 22:37

The Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines has set its sight on attracting and retaining more foreign academics and teachers in a bid to continue its goal of improving teaching and learning, through a new partnership with US-based workflow processes company, Interfolio.

The partnership, finalised in late 2019, will see AIM implement Interfolio’s Faculty Information System to standardise workflow processes for faculty as well as improve their ability to communicate their research accomplishments, conference attendance and other scholarly activities.

“If we’re trying to attract foreign faculty we need to be using this”

“As a truly international institution serving executives and aspiring business leaders from nations across Southeast Asia, it’s imperative that we recruit and cultivate an academic workforce as global as the students we serve,” said AIM associate dean Jammu Francisco.

“Our engagement with Interfolio will enable us to maintain our competitive edge by attracting internationally-recognised research and teaching talent while empowering current faculty with the tools to focus on teaching, scholarship and service.”

Francisco added the implementation of the new system would help AIM meet its goal of becoming a “world-class institution” and offer services to faculty at the same level as other providers.

“In the Philippines and in a developing country context, this isn’t a very common platform or solution used, but if we’re trying to attract foreign faculty we need to be using this,” he told The PIE News.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is, that when we say we’re a world-class institution, you pretty much expect the same thing that you can get in another university elsewhere.”

Andrew Rosen, chief executive of Interfolio, said lecturers and teachers were increasingly looking for institutions that could better help them communicate their academic credentials and achievements, such as tenure and research accomplishments.

“Talent knows no borders when it comes to a world-class faculty,” he said.

“As graduate institutions operate in an increasingly global context, innovation in faculty recruitment and engagement is fast becoming a prerequisite for competing on an international stage.”

Edtech has become a significant focus point within international education in recent years, with UK-based Atom Learning announcing expansion into Asia, Africa and the Middle East in late 2019.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: The MLA Started Publishing Job-Searching Advice More Than 50 Years Ago. Here’s How Things Have Changed.

Six points of interest show how the job market, demographics, and norms about work and life have shifted, all worth considering as the association’s annual meeting opens on Thursday.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Transitions: St. Thomas Aquinas College Names New President, Cornell College Selects Chief Academic Officer

Kenneth Daly, an energy executive, will take the helm at St. Thomas Aquinas. Cornell College has named a new vice president for academic affairs.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Student at Center of ‘Napping While Black’ Furor Lashes Out at Yale Officials and ‘Woke Intersectional Feminists’

The woman who complained to the campus police about a black student sleeping in a dormitory common room says in an essay that she was “cybermobbed and defamed” as a result of the episode.

New Law Creates Working Groups on Foreign Influence on Campus

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Global) - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 14:04
Defense legislation signed into law by President Trump sets up two new working groups to tackle the issue of foreign influence on American campuses. And more news of global higher ed.