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Twenty-Five Institutions to Participate in ACE Alternative Credit Project

American Council on Education - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 03:01
ACE announced today that 25 colleges and universities are joining an alternative credit consortium as part of an innovative initiative to create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of nontraditional learners.

Call for papers IAU Horizons

International Association of Universities - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 02:57

The theme of the In Focus Section of the upcoming issue of the magazine is: Corruption in higher education.
* Deadline for abstracts: 20 March (50 words)
* Full papers : 20 April (800 words max)
* Publication: May 2017

Contact: Dr. Hilligje van 't Land, the Editor.

Michigan State will ban whiteboards from dormitory doors

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 02:34

The dormitory room door whiteboard, long a form of communication among students, will not be permitted after this semester at Michigan State University.

Officials told local reporters that the whiteboards have become a tool for bullying, some of it racist or sexist.

“In any given month, there are several incidents like this. There was no one incident that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Kat Cooper, director of university residential services communications, told The Detroit News. “Sometimes these things are racial, sometimes they’re sexual in nature. There are all sorts of things that happen.”

Cooper also said that whiteboards are no longer as central to student life as some may remember. “I know that when I was in school, whiteboards were an essential form of communication with other students,” Cooper told the News. “It used to be that their (appropriate) usage outweighed their abuse, and that’s just not the case anymore.”

While Cooper also said that there was no one incident that prompted the change, on the Facebook page of the Lansing NAACP, a posting noted a recent incident and suggested a connection to the ban.

The post said:"We had an incident at MSU where a young African-American honors student had 'The N Word' written on her dorm room whiteboard. It's been a while but MSU Police have informed us that ALL dormatory white boards will be removed asap. Victory!!!"

Michigan State officials told various media outlets that the ban would not be in place until next semester as current contracts with dormitory residents do not include provisions on whiteboards on doors. The whiteboards will still be permitted inside rooms.

Of the many incidents of bigotry being reported on campuses these days, a number do involve dormitory room whiteboards, where many campuses have seen incidents reported of someone writing racial slurs or swastikas or other offensive things. Of course many of these whiteboards have basic innocuous things written on them such as "studying in the library."

On social media, students and others were criticizing the ban, saying that it would not eliminate racist or sexist bullying, but would deny students a form of communication.

On the Lansing NAACP website, one person commented, "If someone writes on the door, will they remove everyone's dorm room door?" Another wrote, "How is this a victory when every dorm resident will be punished because of one racist idiot? What does this accomplish exactly? It seems to me you're giving more power to the racist. Should we have limited skyscrapers to only 10 stories after 9/11 in an effort to end terrorism? Help me to understand the reasoning and logic."

 

 

 

DiversityEditorial Tags: Student lifeImage Source: Getty ImagesIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Liberal arts students' fears about the job market upon graduation are increasingly informing what they choose to study, even as electives

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 01:00

Liberal arts colleges promise students a well-rounded education in core disciplines that will prepare them for a variety of careers and lifelong learning — not just a first job. Increasingly, though, even attending a liberal arts institution doesn’t inoculate students from anxieties about the job market that may push them toward the math and the sciences, at the expense of arts and humanities. 

“What liberal arts colleges historically have said to students is, ‘Do what you love, and the rest will take care of itself,'” said Sarah Bolton, president of the College of Wooster. Increasingly, though, that message isn’t resonating with students, who instead think they’ll be best served later on by taking as many quantitative courses as possible — including as electives, she said. So it’s statistics instead of theater, for example, or another science course over one in literature.

As a physicist, Bolton doesn’t object to more science — until it compromises a student’s overall experience. “I firmly believe that the sciences are part of the liberal arts, but I also believe that the arts are part of the liberal arts, as well,” she said.

Bolton said the challenge for colleges like hers going forward will be to encourage students to make the most of the curriculum based on what they want to do when they graduate, while not limiting themselves or sacrificing what they really want to study. Wooster is currently reviewing its curricular requirements to encourage students to do just that. It’s also gathering long-term data on enrollment and major choices. There’s already anecdotal evidence to suggest that some students are skimping on the arts and humanities courses they came to liberal arts institution to try out. 

At Wellesley College, that’s definitely the case. The college surveyed recent graduates and asked which of the 12 degree components they wished they’d taken more or less of. About half of respondents said they wouldn’t change anything. But about half said they would, with the most “wish I’d taken more” comments relating to the arts, languages and non-Western cultures. The most “wish I’d taken fewer” comments were about courses in math and the physical sciences. 

“I wouldn’t say it was students’ biggest regret, but when they looked at their academic programs, they wished they had done more arts and humanities,” said Ann Velenchik, dean of academic affairs at Wellesley and an associate professor of economics. 

Between 2008 and 2016, for example, there was a 14 percent decline in enrollments in the humanities and an 8 percent decline in enrollments in the social sciences. At the same time, there was a 29 percent increase in enrollments in math and the sciences, especially computer science and neuroscience. Interdisciplinary courses are also on the rise, with an 18 percent jump in enrollments.

In terms of majors, 27 percent of Wellesley graduates majored in the arts and humanities in 2008. In 2016, it was 23 percent. Social sciences, historically Wellesley’s most popular area, saw a smaller decline, from 44 percent 42 percent. Majors in math and the sciences jumped, meanwhile, from 18 percent to 23 percent. 

“There’s definitely been a movement from the humanities to the sciences,” Velenchik said. Yet she noted that enrollments in particular are more “balanced” than they used to be — meaning that they’re more evenly represented now across the arts and sciences.  

Is that good or bad? Velenchik was somewhat neutral, saying that at Wellesley, at least, students tend to “overfulfill” their distribution requirements, regardless of major. Those requirements include three courses in the humanities, three in the social sciences, three in math and the physical sciences, two years of a foreign language and a first-year writing course. 

William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life and current National Endowment for the Humanities-Hannah Arendt Center Visiting Distinguished Fellow at Bard College, was less neutral about national trends away from the humanities. 

“It's a terrible thing, and it bespeaks the destructive attitude that is ubiquitous in education today, which is that the sole purpose of education is to set you up for job and career and that you should therefore study something practical, understood in the narrowest terms,” he said.

Deresiewicz said he’s studied major — not enrollment — data at top-20 colleges and universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and noticed an “enormous shift” toward economics, even more so at liberal arts colleges than at research institutions. In 1995, for example, English was the most popular major at 9 of the top 20 liberal arts colleges, compared to just one in 2013. Economics and the other social sciences — namely political science — surged from the most popular majors at four colleges to 13 over the same period.

Because liberal arts institutions usually don’t offer the kinds of “explicitly vocational majors that most schools do (communications, education, business — the last of which accounts for between a fifth and a quarter of all majors across the country), students at fancy schools tend to choose one of the next best things: biology, engineering, computer science, and for those not inclined to the sciences, economics,” Deresiewicz added via email.

What Can Be Done? 

Part of Bolton’s thinking is informed by having served as dean until recently at Williams College. That campus has seen a decline the number of majors in a few humanities and arts fields — namely studio art and art history. But that's been coupled with a sharp increase in the number of students who choose to double major (currently 42 percent of students), with at least one major in the sciences, technology, math or engineering (STEM), according to information from Williams. So even as the sciences have surged, the net impact on the humanities has been minimal. 

Beyond encouraging students to double-major, George Shuffleton, associate dean and professor of English at Carleton College, advised talking to students about what they want to learn. “We work really hard to dispel the notion” that students have to fine-tune their studies to particular career aspiration, he said. “Students  come to a place like Carleton because they really are committed to getting a liberal arts education, and sometimes it’s a question of reminding them that if they’d wanted to pursue a narrowly professional education, there are other places they could have gone to instead. The mission is reminding them why they made that choice in the first place.” 

Carleton has seen slight declines in some non-physical science fields within the last decade. English accounted for 9 percent of majors in 2006, for example, compared to 6 percent in 2016; social sciences and history shrank from 31 percent to 26 percent of majors over the same period. But surges in STEM fields were centralized, seen in just math and computer science (the latter was 2 percent of majors in 2006, and now it's about 10 percent). 

To that point, Shuffleton said there was probably a something a bit more nuanced going on than a much-lamented decline of the humanities: gender. At Carleton and nationwide, more women are enrolling in disciplines in which they've historically been underrepresented, he said. “In fields like math and computer science, we see that as a success.”

Velenchik, at Wellesley, said trends toward the sciences probably also reflect her institution’s efforts to enroll more first-generation students — many of whom have a different, perhaps more practical idea of what college is and should accomplish than do students whose parents and grandparents attended liberal arts institutions. 

Silvia L. López, David and Marian Adams Bryn-Jones Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Humanities and director of the Humanities Center at Carleton, said via email that numbers alone don’t do the conversation justice. “Our curriculum design requires students to learn a second language and ensures that the students take classes distributed in all areas of knowledge and artistic practice offered,” she said, while about 75 percent of students go abroad. “Carleton's liberal arts education is exactly that: an education. It can't be measured by the number of majors in the hard sciences, but must be understood through the transformative experiences that students have in and out of the classroom that teach them that a rich and full life can only be one if lived in an examined and generous way.”

It’s true that many liberal arts colleges have distribution requirements that ensure students are learning within a variety of disciplines, regardless of their majors. Some colleges have also layered thematic requirements on disciplinary requirements. Barnard College, for example, this year debuted new curriculum called “Foundations,” which promoted six “modes of thinking” — technologically and digitally; quantitatively and empirically; social difference; global inquiry; locally (New York); and historical perspective — in addition to requirements in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. (Computer science enrollments and majors are up significantly at Barnard.)

Extracurricular opportunities — typically plentiful on liberal arts campuses — only enrich those studies. Some campuses also have added courses, majors and programs that ensure students are studying the liberal arts even when they’re not taking courses within the traditional liberal arts disciplines.

Carol Quillen, president of Davidson College, said her campus has moved increasingly toward problem-centered learning in recent years, such as by adding programs like digital studies. The minor emphasizes digital creativity, culture and methodology through coursework in design, ethics, quantitative literacy and other elements of the liberal arts. Health and human values is another popular program. 

“These are the kinds of questions that are inspiring faculty and students, and our curriculum is becoming and less departmentally focused,” she said. “We’re thinking about a liberal arts curriculum that looks much more transdisciplinary and pulls courses and faculty members from across the disciplines together.”

Liberal arts colleges, with their typically small faculties, are uniquely suited for collaboration and being nimble to students’ needs and interests, Quillen said. She noted that a group of faculty members had responded to waning interest in a four-semester Western traditions humanities sequence by cutting the time commitment and adding a global focus, for example. 

Surely such updates will draw criticism from those who advocate for a traditional liberal arts core, and who blame any decline of the humanities on new, more critical approaches. But Quillen said she had no patience for arguments that change inevitably waters down the liberal arts, and suggested that the key to maintaining educational quality is rigor, not stasis. 

The notion that adding Zora Neale Hurston, for example, to a course in Western literature — which traditionally would have been dominated by white male authors — somehow means sacrificing rigor “is ridiculous,” she added. “Plus we live in a world where fields of inquiry are constantly expanding.”

Carleton isn’t the only college adding new programs. Williams, for instance, has added a concentration in public health and new majors in Arabic, environmental studies and statistics in the past decade.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities, which promotes liberal education, advocates inquiry-based, integrative learning and high-impact teaching practices over core curricula and stringent distribution requirements, “where students’ proficiencies are practiced and demonstrated across all learning experiences,” said Lynn Pasquerella, president. 

General education now also requires “signature work,” in which students “integrate and apply their learning to questions that matter, she said. “Signature work prepares students to grapple with complex, unscripted problems for which the answers are yet unknown and to use strategies of inquiry, analysis and collaboration to construct a course of action and take responsibility for the results.”

Over all, the association’s vision for ged ed “is grounded in guided preparation for students to identify and build capacity for addressing significant questions and challenges that matter to the student and to the broader society,” Pasquerella said. Disciplinary work “remains foundational, but students are provided with practice connecting their discipline with others, with the co-curriculum, and with the needs of society — in preparation for work, citizenship and life.”

Teaching and LearningEditorial Tags: Liberal arts collegesIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Financial insecurity could keep some community college students from completing

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 01:00

Food, housing and other forms of financial insecurity are a major reason behind students’ inability to complete community college.

A new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement released during the 2017 Achieving the Dream conference today revealed that nearly half of community college students reported that a lack of finances could cause them to withdraw from their institutions.

“We can have all kinds of academic supports in place, but if we don’t come alongside them in this way also and help support them … it won’t matter how much else we do to prop them,” said Evelyn Waiwaiole, director of the center.

The annual CCCSE report surveyed nearly 100,000 community college students from 177 institutions and found nearly 4 in 10 receive federal Pell Grants. National data showed that nearly 61 percent of Pell recipients live below the poverty line. And of those who reported receiving Pell Grants, 40 percent say they rely on student loans, which may not be needed for tuition, to make ends meet.

Many of the students surveyed revealed they are living paycheck to paycheck, especially if they have dependent children.

The report also found:

  • Six in 10 students reported they would have trouble getting $500 in cash or credit in order to meet an unexpected need within the next month.
  • Those students receiving Pell Grants are more likely that those who don’t to aspire to an associate degree than a bachelor’s degree.
  • Nine out of 10 surveyed students said they need information about financial assistance.
  • Twenty-seven percent said the financial information they received from their college was inadequate.
  • More than three-quarters of students report that they have the skills to manage their own finances, however, more than half report struggling to keep up with bills.

“This doesn’t look surprising given what we know about current trends in higher education,” said Katharine Broton, a researcher at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “This comes to the larger issue of college affordability … what we call the purchasing power of need-based financial aid has fall.”

The HOPE Lab is working with the Association of Community College Trustees to measure food and housing security in 75 community colleges.

In the 1970's, the typical Pell Grant covered the total cost of attendance, including tuition and living expenses, at community colleges across the country, Broton said, but that’s no longer the case as students are forced to find money elsewhere or cut back on expenses.

“Another part of this is that we know college students have limited access to the publicly-funded safety net,” she said. “They have to fit the criteria to be eligible for [food benefits] … finances are so tight for students we see them sacrificing adequate food or shelter while pursuing goals.”

The CCCSE study also revealed that 30 percent of students choose to stay enrolled in college in order to receive the financial aid.

“We have a lot of conversations that students are just trying to get the financial aid paycheck,” Waiwaiole said. “We talk about that as if it’s a terrible thing.”

If students have that high of need that they’re staying enrolled to receive the money, they must really need it, she said.

“There’s also a lot of embarrassment,” Waiwaiole said. “No one wants to say, ‘I’m needy.’ It’s a delicate conversation. It’s one that as institutions we need to identify these students and how do we come alongside them and help them to where a stigma is not associated with it.”

But many of these students reported that despite struggling to make ends meet, they can manage their own finances.

Waiwaiole said institutions have to be cognizant of how complex and “murky” the issue can be for students.

Broton said there are some things colleges can do in the short-term to help students who are struggling financially like by using emergency grant aid.

“That’s making a big difference in the lives of students, but it’s a short-term fix,” she said. “We need to be thinking about the total cost of attendance, not just tuition and fees. There’s been a lot of awareness and evidence that tuition and fees have been rising over time, but we need to be increasing awareness that the cost of living, transportation, child care costs and other things have been rising significantly over time as well and that’s a large share of the cost of college.”

 

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Community collegesImage Caption: Amarillo College food pantry in TexasIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Q&A with the author of new book on 'how to fix' college sports

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 01:00

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has "placed commercial success above its responsibilities to protect the academic development, health and well-being of college athletes," a new book argues, and has let college sports fall into an "educational, ethical and economic crisis." The book, Unwinding Madness: What Went Wrong with College Sports and How to Fix It (Brookings Institution Press) was written by three college sports reformers -- Gerald Gurney, Donna Lopiano and Andrew Zimbalist -- who propose several ways to "fix" college sports, while arguing that the NCAA may not be up to the task.

Zimbalist, a sports economist and professor at Smith College, responded to questions about the book and the state of college athletics.

Q: The subtitle of this book is "what went wrong with college sports and how to fix it," so let's start with that question. What went wrong with college sports?

A: In a few words, college sports today is: One, financially unsustainable for all but a handful of schools. Two, materially exploitative of the leading athletes in high-profile sports, most of whom happen to be African-Americans. Three, ethically bankrupt. Four, deleterious to the educational process. And five, legally under assault. There will be significant change. The question is whether the system moves further toward a complete embrace of market forces and commercialism or toward a recommitment to its educational origins.

Q: You and your co-authors discuss how college sports has, in some ways, always been a commercial enterprise. The first college sports contest, a rowing match between Harvard and Yale, was organized by a railroad company. Is the current state of big-time college sports just the logical progression of how things began?

A: The commercialization of college sports is an evolutionary story, beginning in 1852 [when Harvard and Yale competed in their first rowing match] and proceeding step by step to where it is 2017. There were, however, a few key events along the way that were decisive in moving the NCAA toward the sharpening plutocracy that it is today.

Q: What would you say some of those key events were?

A: One of those events was the 1984 Supreme Court decision that declared the NCAA’s television monopoly over college football constituted an illegal restraint of trade. The result was that universities and conferences were free to set their own television contracts. This, in turn, led conferences to re-align away from their historically-driven geographical and educational affinities and toward a revenue-maximizing strategy to cover as many households across the country as possible. The upshot was growing inequality across conferences and schools, heightened incentives to build winning teams, and decreased attention to the professed educational goals of universities.

Q: As noted in the book, the NCAA moved to a model of presidential control two decades ago. You argue that this has had little to no effect in slowing the arms race in Division I's men's basketball and football and in improving the related issues. Why hasn't this worked? 

A: The “presidential control” model was promoted as a reassertion of the primacy of education over athletics. In fact, the 1996 reform promoted unbridled commercialization and, if anything, diminished the role of presidents in controlling college sports. Arguably, the notion of presidential control was put forward as a smoke screen for the real purpose of the reform which was to free up Division I to follow the mandate of commercialization. The 1996 reform ended the association-wide “one school/one vote” model in favor of divisional autonomy. Within Division I, the former subdivision IA (now the Football Bowl Subdivision) was given operational control and, eventually, within FBS, the Power Conferences came to dominate decision-making.

University presidents have always had the ability to control the NCAA. They have never chosen to exercise it. Presidents have a great deal on their plates -- fund raising, physical plant, alumnae relations, town-gown relations, building a strong faculty and staff, attracting and retaining worthy students -- before taking on the contradictions of college sports. Those presidents who have raised their voices about the urgent need to reform intercollegiate athletics have been criticized and not reappointed by their governing boards, and, moreover, they have had no lasting success.

Thus, with few exceptions, college presidents have abdicated athletic reform and have left sports governance to the athletic director and the coaches. The NCAA, in turn, has come to function as a trade association of the athletic directors, coaches and conference commissioners. The 1996 model of divisional autonomy has only reinforced this pattern.

Q: How does this get fixed?

A: There are a variety of conceivable fixes for college sports. The specific one we endorse in Unwinding Madness is for Congress to give the NCAA a conditional and limited antitrust exemption. This exemption would allow the NCAA to pass certain desirable policies, such as imposing limits on coaches’ salaries, who today are paid for the value produced by the players they recruit -- money the players are not allowed to receive. It would also allow the NCAA to impost limits on the length of season, the days of competition and the number of scholarships, without fear of antitrust prosecution. The NCAA would only receive this antitrust immunity if it met new standards of educational integrity and rigor, as well as new conditions to maintain athlete welfare.

Recognizing the complexity of the issues and political entanglements, however, [the book's authors] also support a bill introduced by Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican from Pennsylvania, during the last Congress, that calls for the creation of a presidential commission to study the problems of intercollegiate athletics and to propose remedies.

Q: Creating a presidential commission was an idea that found some traction in the past couple of years. Do you have a sense of whether the momentum has changed with a new White House and Congress?

A: Charlie Dent intends to reintroduce his bill in the new congress. He has more supporters in the House than he did last year. We have spoken to some senators who also show a keen interest. I think at the moment people in DC are overwhelmed by the manifold issues surrounding the Trump transition, so that it will take a while for the dust to settle and legislation attention to less urgent matters rekindles.

New Books About Higher EducationEditorial Tags: AthleticsNCAAIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

International educators grapple with changed political and social landscape

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 01:00

WASHINGTON -- Attendees gathered here for the annual meeting of the Association of International Education Administrators annual conference grappled Monday with what Susan Buck Sutton, a senior advisor for international initiatives at Bryn Mawr College, described as a “chaotic mix of beliefs that challenge the work of international educators.” Those beliefs, she said in introducing a roundtable discussion on the U.S. presidential election results, “have entered into widespread discussion and politicized in new ways the work that we do.”

The beliefs she was referring to include the blaming of globalization for the loss of jobs, outright racism and xenophobia, and the singling out of China, Mexico, and Muslim-majority nations as problematic. Other beliefs include the idea that international relations is a “zero-sum game” with winners and losers and the conviction that an “inevitable violent clash of civilizations is headed our way.” Sutton mentioned as well an antipathy toward a broad category of “elites” – a group of “strange bedfellows” as she described them, which lumps together everyone from Wall Street financiers to academics and journalists, among others – and narrow ideas of who “real,” or “true,” Americans are.

The election of Donald Trump, and the anti-globalist, “America First” sentiment he rode to victory, has presented a broad challenge to American higher education and some of its key values like internationalism and multiculturalism. That challenge became more acute after Trump signed an executive order Jan. 27 barring entry into the U.S. by refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries. Enforcement of the entry ban has since been halted by federal judges, but the Trump administration has indicated it will issue a new order -- which the president has justified on the grounds of keeping terrorists out of the U.S. -- at some point this week. 

International educators in attendance for the packed roundtable discussion on Monday described a need for wider engagement with the public. At the same time, one attendee noted that universities shouldn't assume that "we don’t have significant numbers of Trump supporters in our student populations -- and what about them too?"

Other themes discussed included the impact of the election and visa policies on current international students -- an administrator reported that his students are feeling afraid -- and on future, would-be ones. 

“My university, we lose our international students, it becomes an existential issue," said one attendee.

Immediately after the presidential election AIEA put out a statement encouraging “international educators to stay abreast of developments that impact international education, to advocate for policies that support the education and preparation of students to live in our interdependent society, and to engage in positive, ethical, and respectful discussion and debate with those within and beyond our campus communities as we continue to provide leadership that brings those from different backgrounds together in support of our diverse students.”

AIEA also released a statement after Trump issued his executive order barring entry by most types of visa-holders from the seven Muslim-majority countries. The order directly affected U.S. higher education institutions, some of which had students and scholars from the affected countries who were outside the U.S. at the time the order was signed and found themselves temporarily unable to return.  Under the terms of the original, now halted-order, affected individuals already in the U.S. were not compelled to leave the country, but they would be unable to return if they left.

“We believe that international educators cannot be neutral in this case; we call for our colleagues to continue to advocate for the flow of people and exchange as vital to the continued advancement of knowledge and discovery, as well as greater human security and cultural understanding," AIEA said in its statement on the order.

"In this room, international educators, with ourselves and the people we work with, we have the capacity to give different frames for what global connectivity is all about,” Sutton said.

That doesn’t mean, she said, that international educators shouldn’t talk about the negative aspects of globalization. “I’m an anthropologist -- you know that I have railed against the bad aspects of globalization," she said. "But we also see the possibility for connectivity and mutual growth and benefit that are available to us through other forms of global connectivity."

2016 ElectionGlobalInternational Higher EducationEditorial Tags: Federal policyInternational higher educationForeign Students in U.S.Is this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

US university will not back down on Dalai Lama invite

University World News Global Edition - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 13:26
A university in California has said it will not back down over its decision to invite the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to this year's commencement ceremony, despite strenuous objectio ...

eLearnAfrica partnership to reach 10 million students

The PIE News - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 11:12

New online learning platform, eLearnAfrica, has partnered with the Association of African Universities to expand access to its courses to a targeted 10 million students across the continent.

Through this partnership, university students will be able to access courses offered through the platform online or through a mobile app.

The partnership means that Association of African Universities‘ 380 member institutions across 46 countries will also be able to offer courses through eLearnAfrica’s learning management system.

“The AAU is the most important higher education coordinating body”

Using the services provided by the online learning platform to expand their own educational opportunities will enable AAU’s members to expand their reach to greater numbers of students, particularly in more rural areas.

Etienne Ehouan Ehile, secretary general of the AAU, said Africa faces a constant challenge of having only limited access to quality higher education.

“Therefore building capacities of African universities to be innovative in their teaching and learning methods for increased access to quality higher education is top priority for the AAU,” he said.

“This partnership with eLearnAfrica will help us achieve this goal.”

eLearnAfrica currently offers over 1,000 courses from higher education institutions worldwide, as well as vocational courses in a number of professional development fields, including business administration and software development.

The online platform only launched in November last year. However, since its inception, the site has had close to one million visits.

“The AAU is the most important higher education coordinating body,” said Brook Negussie, CEO of eLearnAfrica. “We are looking forward to developing and delivering content with the member universities throughout Africa.”

With the demand for higher education far exceeding the supply on the continent, online delivery is increasingly being looked at as an alternative way to address capacity constraints.

“Online degrees are a great way for universities to extend and diversify their academic reach in a sustainable and scalable manner,” said Negussie.

“We hope to significantly increase the number of students earning degrees in the next few years by literally putting in the palms of their hands the tools they need to succeed.”

“Online degrees are a great way for universities to extend and diversify their academic reach in a sustainable and scalable manner”

eLearnAfrica also works with other MOOC providers, including UK-based FutureLearn, as well as US-based edX, to offer online courses from some of the world’s top institutions.

The platform also uses itSM solutions to deliver on-demand programmes in the medium of video.

In December, eLearnAfrica also partnered with Zambian Open University, which is now offering courses through the platform. The university enrolled around 3,000 students in 2016, and with this partnership, expects to grow numbers by another 50%.

Unicaf University has also recently signed up to offer courses through the website. Unicaf, which originated from Cyprus, provides scholarships for students in sub-Saharan Africa to study at its partner institutions online.

“Unicaf University is a leader in the provision of online degrees with world-class professors, made affordable through generous scholarships,” said Negussie, adding: “We are excited to offer Unicaf University’s programmes on eLearnAfrica.com and look forward to our mutually beneficial co-operation in the years ahead.”

The post eLearnAfrica partnership to reach 10 million students appeared first on The PIE News.

EduCo announces first Irish pathway partnerships

The PIE News - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 08:51

EduCo International Group, a global postsecondary education provider that operates pathways and managed campuses in Australia, the US and Canada, has announced its first pathway partnerships in Ireland.

The two new pathway programmes aim to ease entry to Maynooth University in County Kildare and Dublin City University for international students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

“EduCo is very proud to add Europe to our portfolio of destinations”

Students on the pathway programmes will be fully integrated into their chosen university’s campus, but will benefit from smaller class sizes.

The pathways “will provide unique and exceptional academic opportunities” as the company moves its pathway offering into Europe for the first time, according to the company’s CEO, Joff Allen.

“[EduCo] is very proud to launch the partnerships with these world-renowned universities and to add Europe to our portfolio of destinations,” added Allen.

“Ireland offers a remarkable combination of quality education, industry-linked universities and a safe and welcoming environment for international students.”

Explaining the decision to enter the Irish market, Jacob Kestner, managing director of EduCo International in Ireland, noted: “There is some uncertainty around traditional destinations such as the UK at the moment and the timing of the launch has created a lot of excitement.”

Unlike some other pathway providers, which operate branded courses on university campuses, EduCo acts as a white label partner, and so the new programmes won’t be marketed under the EduCo brand.

This also means the company won’t take over admissions for the new programmes, but will help with recruitment by promoting the courses in source markets and presenting qualified candidates.

As well as pathway provision, EduCo also operates student recruitment and conversion campaigns, on-campus academic provision and student support services.

Its existing partners include the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the US, Acsenda School of Management in Canada and Southern Cross University in Australia.

The post EduCo announces first Irish pathway partnerships appeared first on The PIE News.

What's Up With Hive, a Nascent Successor to Yik Yak

Yik Yak, an app notorious for anonymous gossip, generated controversy on campuses. Its successor focuses on productivity.

President of Trinity Washington is outspoken in criticism of Trump administration, including alumna Kellyanne Conway

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 01:00

Many college presidents avoid talking or writing about anything remotely political. They cite "institutional neutrality" and speak out only on a narrow set of policy issues, such as student aid, that directly relate to their institutions. Many presidents also demur if asked to criticize an alumnus, more so if that alumnus happens to be a donor.

But Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University since 1989, does not pull her punches. She is widely credited for shifting the university away from a traditional role of educating wealthy white women -- a market it was losing -- and toward a mission of educating low-income Washington women, including many black, Latino and immigrant students. Many alumnae were not initially sold on the shift, and McGuire had to fight for this vision of the college, one that is now widely praised.

In the early days of the Trump administration, McGuire has had much to say on Twitter about moves by the new president and his team that she finds dangerous and inconsistent with American values. But it was a blog post last week that now has people in higher education talking.

First McGuire used typically strong language to discuss concerns about truth and falsehoods in public life today.

"We Americans study the history of tyranny and exclaim, 'That’s terrible, but it would not happen here!' as we congratulate ourselves on the robust state of our democracy. The experience of the last few months now exposes this once-confident boast as terribly naive and perhaps even dangerous as a new administration indulges in a remarkable torrent of false and misleading statements as a basis for policy and action," she wrote. "The gravest lie we are grappling with at the present moment is the Trump Administration’s cruel and unreasonable war on immigrants -- mostly people who are black and brown, and Muslim -- Mexicans and refugees from central America, Syrian refugees, people from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa including Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia."

Further down in the piece, she criticized Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide and a Trinity alumna.

"Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trinity Class of 1989, has played a large role in facilitating the manipulation of facts and encouraging the grave injustice being perpetrated by the Trump Administration’s war on immigrants among many other issues," McGruire wrote. "She is one of President Trump’s primary spokespersons, an almost daily figure on cable news shows. Some people admire her staunch advocacy for her client’s positions, and others applaud the fact that she was the first woman to manage a successful presidential campaign. But in fact, as is true of many of President Trump’s statements, her advocacy on his behalf is often at variance with the truth.

"Ms. Conway invented the now-infamous phrase 'alternative facts' to defend Trump’s claims about the size of crowds at his inauguration, a thinly veiled autocratic scheme to try to claim that the Trump inauguration drew the biggest crowd in history when, in fact, it was on the smaller side. Ms. Conway has been part of a team that thinks nothing of shaping and spreading a skein of lies as a means to secure power. Perhaps the 'Bowling Green Massacre' comment was truly a mistake, as she claims, but she repeated that canard on three different occasions as an explanation for why the travel ban, an executive order that clearly discriminates against Muslims, was necessary."

When The Washington Post called Conway to discuss the matter, she didn't pull her punches either.

“It’s a disappointment to have the president of the university lift up other Trinity graduates who have a casual relationship with the truth,” she said. (As an example, she cited Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.) She also noted that McGuire had never called her to ask her to explain her comments.

McGuire never hesitated to call her to ask for donations to Trinity, Conway added. She and her husband donated $50,000 to a 1999-2002 fund-raising campaign. "My money was good," Conway said. “I get better treatment from Robby Mook [Hillary Clinton's campaign manager] than I do from the president of the university I attended.”

Others quoted by the Post were also critical of McGuire. “To me, university leadership has felt enormously partisan…” Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told the newspaper. “That factors into seeing this as cheap partisan thuggery rather than any serious commitment to robust civic debate.”

That comment prompted a series of tweets by Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at New America.

That @AEI would accuse a small women's college of "thuggery" is hard to swallow, even in these dissonance-drenched times.

— Kevin Carey (@kevincarey1) February 18, 2017

In subsequent tweets, he urged Hess and others to consider "the history of Catholic women's orders and social justice," and the role of the sisters who founded and for many years led Trinity. (Carey has written with admiration of Trinity in the past, such as in this article in The Washington Monthly.)

Just how strongly presidents should speak out on Trump administration actions has been heatedly debated. There is no consensus among college presidents, but the majority are far from where McGuire is. One exception is Macalester College's president, Brian Rosenberg, who went much further than other presidents in criticizing President Trump's executive order (currently being revised after courts blocked it) barring travel to the United States for people from seven Muslim-majority nations. Rosenberg called the order "cowardly and cruel." Many presidents have spoken out against that executive order, and some have used strong language, but many have not. Both Rosenberg and McGuire also have been presidents at their institutions longer than many of their counterparts elsewhere.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, McGuire said she wished more presidents spoke out with more force on a range of issues, although she acknowledged that this is difficult for some in public higher education.

Like other presidents, McGuire has criticized the Trump executive order. She said she viewed that as part of a president's role of "protecting my students."

She also said she cared deeply about all students at Trinity feeling free to disagree with her. Polling on campus during the campaign suggested that hardly anyone there backed Trump, but McGuire said all views were welcome. "We do have conservative alums, some of whom have written in recent days," McGuire said. But far more alumnae have been asking (prior to the blog post) why she wasn't speaking out about Conway. Many have noted the value of Trinity's honor code and its commitment to truthfulness. McGuire wrote in her blog post:

"The Honor Code says we must not look away from lies, that we must confront them and tell the truth as a matter of justice for the community. The truth of the present moment in our country is that the authoritarian impulse will prevail unless people of courage and integrity confront the outright lies and shady manipulation of facts. Social justice says that our first and most important duty is to be of service to those who are suffering and in need, to be our sister’s keeper, to stand in solidarity with all those who need our support and capacity to stand up to injustice. Justice demands that we be advocates for the truth."

As to Conway's suggestion that McGuire should have reached in personally before voicing concerns in public, McGuire said that Conway is a public figure, sharing views about other people on television on a daily basis, and so is subject to criticism in public.

Where McGuire said that the discussion on social media about her comments has been incorrect was in suggesting that she was engaged with political issues that somehow don't relate to her role as an academic leader. She also said that she differs with Pelosi on the Democratic leader's support for abortion rights, which runs counter to the Roman Catholic teachings embraced by Trinity.

Of her dispute with Conway, she said, "This is not a political cat fight," but is about "a core value" of higher education -- the truth.

"The issue with truth and truth-telling is central in all we do. If we academics don't stand for truth, what's the purpose of what we do?" McGuire asked. "I don't think it's outside our responsibility to stand up for truth and freedom. Fundamental democratic values are at stake. Academic freedom is at stake."

Asked if she would speak out in the same way if leading a college with a different study body, say wealthier and more conservative, McGuire said she couldn't really know. "I'm not sure I would ever be picked to be the president of that kind of college, nor would I seek it."

 

Editorial Tags: College administrationTrump administrationImage Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: Kellyanne Conway and Patricia McGuireIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Study suggests university presses publish fewer humanities books

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 01:00

The market for original humanities monographs may be shrinking, according to a report on the output of university presses.

After remaining stable from 2009 to 2011, the number of original works in the humanities published by university presses fell both in 2012 and 2013, according to estimates made by Joseph Esposito and Karen Barch, the two publishing consultants who wrote the report. Their numbers suggest presses on average published an estimated 70 such books a year between 2009-13, then 64 in 2012 and 55 in 2013.

The report, which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is an attempt to quantify how many books university presses publish a year. The authors surveyed 106 presses and received responses from 65 of them, a sample from which they extrapolated that the presses published about 76,000 books between 2009-13, or about 15,000 books a year. About 3,000 of them are primary humanities monographs.

The findings come with some significant qualifiers, Esposito said in an interview. For one, the authors do not feel comfortable concluding that the market is in decline based on two years’ worth of data. Additionally, reporting issues may have skewed the results. One major university press showed “remarkable falloff” in the data it submitted for 2012 and 2013, which Esposito said could have been an error on the press’ part.

“If you look at the data over five years, you see a modest decline,” Esposito said. “The issue there is that is five years enough time to make a generalization like that?”

If the market is in decline, it could be a sign that the university presses that publish those monographs are struggling -- and indeed many presses have closed or scaled back their operations in recent years. Earlier this month, for example, Duquesne University Press said it would close later this year. The press specializes in fields such as Continental philosophy, humanistic psychology and medieval and Renaissance literature studies.

But it could also hint at changes taking place in tenure and promotion processes in the humanities. While many scholarly associations have urged departments to expand beyond the monograph as the measure for tenure worthiness, many junior scholars report little change in attitudes, great pressure to publish monographs and a tough time doing so.

Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of American University Presses, said in a statement that the organization hasn’t heard anything from its members to suggest the market is shrinking. He said more data are needed before any conclusion about publication trends can be drawn.

Roger C. Schonfeld, director of the libraries and scholarly communication program at Ithaka S+R, a research and consulting group, echoed that sentiment. He said in an email that he did not wish to speculate about whether the decline in publishing output has continued beyond the authors’ data cutoff point.

“With relatively few years of data, it is hard to draw strong conclusions about any possible ‘decline’ in the market, especially given that there are other publishers of humanities works beyond the university presses studied in this project,” Schonfeld wrote, adding that he has not seen data that either corroborates or counters the white paper’s findings. “Even so, these figures can serve as an opportunity for reflection and assessment by the university press community, where many strong leaders have for some time been developing new models in support of humanistic scholarship.”

The Mellon foundation, for example, is one of the forces supporting digital scholarship in the humanities, and has for years funded projects in that space. Open-access book publishing is only one example -- other projects have explored more radical ways of rethinking what form digital-first research in the humanities should take.

Alan Harvey, director of the Stanford University Press, was also hesitant to describe the white paper’s findings as evidence of a shrinking market for humanities monographs, but said a potential decline could be attributed to strategic shifts.

Harvey said in an email that a potential decrease in output in humanities publishing could be the combination of several factors, including a shift away from limited-sale monographs, an expansion of discipline coverage and a growing interest in trade publishing.

“[W]e now work extremely closely with all our authors to ensure the broadest possible readership for their book,” Harvey wrote. “There is no dumbing-down, but instead an editorial effort to aid the author in structuring their argument in a style accessible to an intelligent, inter-disciplinary audience. The result of this is almost certainly that fewer books are being classified as ‘monographs.’”

Looking to the years ahead, Harvey said he expects to see a “blended market” with physical and digital books co-existing.

“Recall that 10 years ago we were convinced ebooks would dominate, but instead today we see a blended print and ebook market,” Harvey wrote. “I think monographic research in 10 years will similarly have a range of concurrent models for distribution. Our mission as a university press is to aid in this transition.”

Publishing IndustryEditorial Tags: HumanitiesImage Source: iStockIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Study: Tuition increases are not entirely explained by state disinvestment

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 01:00

State disinvestment isn’t the whole story behind rising tuition levels.

Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, makes that argument in a new study seeking to explain increases in college and university tuition levels. It’s in some ways a middle-of-the-road finding for a libertarian think tank weighing into a debate whose different sides have long been dug in behind their favorite narratives. But it is also a distinct attempt to shift the focus at a time when some believe state funding has received too much attention in the debate over college costs and tuition levels.

Many campus leaders and higher ed analysts argue that public colleges and universities have had to raise tuition to keep their budgets balanced amid a long-term trend of decreasing state funding per student. Others reject that narrative, instead arguing that tuition hikes go to pay for increasing and often unnecessary spending -- say, for posh new benefits for students, administrative bloat or inflated faculty salaries.

“I’ve heard what many times sounded to me like people saying inflation is explained by cuts in state funding,” McCluskey said in an interview. “And I just don’t think that’s an adequate explanation. I think that’s probably part of it, but it certainly doesn’t explain all of it.”

McCluskey ends his study with a more libertarian argument, though. He proceeds to suggest that colleges and universities also raise tuition because they’re always seeking more resources. If that’s the case, he reasons, federal student aid enables additional tuition increases by making more tuition money available to colleges and universities.

The availability of federal aid could then also inspire states to curtail higher education appropriations. State lawmakers know that federal aid is available and believe it will cushion students from tuition increases that stem from appropriations cuts, according to McCluskey.

That’s a more controversial argument -- and it’s one McCluskey does not make in the study empirically. It does, however, stem from an evidence-based conclusion McCluskey draws about the relationship between state appropriations and tuition levels at public colleges and universities.

He starts by examining 25 years of data from the State Higher Education Executive Officers association. The data, showing public appropriations to higher education and tuition and fee revenue, is adjusted for inflation using the Higher Education Cost Adjustment. Some have criticized that adjustment, saying it is too heavily weighted toward employment costs and overstates inflation compared to the more widely known Consumer Price Index, which is more reflective of inflation students feel.

But McCluskey believes HECA is appropriate for his purposes because if it does overstate inflation, it would show a worst-case scenario for public colleges by overstating how much state funding has declined over time. His point is stronger if it can be proven even when considering that worst-case scenario.

The key parts of McCluskey’s study analyze per-student data instead of total state appropriation and tuition-and-fee levels. It’s an important distinction to draw because more students are enrolled in public higher education institutions today than were enrolled 25 years ago. Therefore, total funding levels do not demonstrate how much is actually being spent on every student. Any analyses that look at total state funding levels without taking into account the enrollment growth that most states have seen are unlikely to capture the degree of underfunding colleges say they experience. 

Net tuition and fee revenue has been increasing faster than state and local appropriations have been declining, McCluskey found.

Nationwide, tuition and fee revenue rose by about $107 per full-time-equivalent student per year over the last 25 years. State and local appropriations fell by about $73 per student per year. In other words, only 68 percent of the increase in tuition and fee revenue can be explained as covering losses in state and local funding.

Conditions in individual states varied significantly, however. More than half of states, 31, experienced tuition and fee increases outpacing appropriation declines per student. Another 11 were home to tuition and fees that did not rise fast enough to offset drops in appropriations. Meanwhile, six states experienced increases in both tuition and fees and appropriations, and two states had declining tuition and fees coupled with increasing appropriations.

McCluskey also compared the average appropriation changes and tuition and fee changes at the state level -- a slightly different metric than looking at the total changes of those measures across the country. He found the average state could explain only 57 percent of its increased tuition and fee revenue as covering losses in state and local funding.

“What all this strongly suggests is that yes, public institutions on a per-pupil basis have likely raised prices in part to make up for lost direct subsidies,” he wrote. “But even on a per student basis, they took in much more revenue than what was needed just to make up for lost appropriation dollars. In the aggregate, schools appear to have seen very large net revenue increases.”

The study goes on to say that other explanations likely contribute to the increase in tuition. One is William Baumol’s “cost disease” theory that higher education is labor-intensive and must pay its workers more to keep them from moving to other, better-paying industries. Another is William Bennett’s well-known “Bennett Hypothesis” that colleges will raise tuition when financial aid increases. A third explanation is that colleges and universities will take in as much revenue as possible as they seek to start new programs, build new buildings or do other work they see as valuable.

McCluskey continues by arguing that a key check on high prices is neutralized in higher education -- students do not foot the entire cost of their education, so they are less likely to resist high prices. Over time, that has allowed colleges to take more money in tuition. It’s also affected the choices of state policy makers who know federal aid will make up the difference in tuition changes that come about because of state appropriation cuts, he argues. Policymakers may be more willing to cut higher ed than they are other programs or entities that have no other revenue streams besides state funding. 

Mixed Reviews

Several analysts supported McCluskey’s reasoning, while others took issue with it. Representatives of the State Higher Education Executive Officers association -- which gathered the data on which McCluskey’s analysis is based -- took a nuanced view.

“I think there is obviously a direct relationship between per-student state funding and tuition increases, but it is certainly not the only reason that tuition goes up,” said Andy Carlson, SHEEO principal policy analyst. “It is very complicated. I’d be really cautious on anything that belittles the impact of state funding on tuition.”

Carlson, who was previously budget and financial aid director at the Colorado Department of Higher Education, has particular insight into the specific reasons institutions and educational systems raise tuition. They have to maintain certain levels of operations from year to year even though they don’t know how much money politicians will give them in the future -- or exactly which students will come to campus. Students pay different amounts of net tuition depending on how much financial aid a college awards them.

Some states limit tuition increases. That can incentivize colleges to take any increase available to insulate themselves against future financial shocks.

“There might be a 3 percent limit the next year, or a 5 percent limit, but there’s talk of a downturn coming up,” Carlson said. “What’s the incentive not to raise tuition if you don’t know what the next year is going to bring?”

The SHEEO data do not allow one to make an empirical argument that federal aid enables higher tuition levels, said David Tandberg, SHEEO's principal policy analyst. McCluskey has laid out an argument using logic, but it is an argument that is a point of debate.

“It seems like the best research argues that if it has an effect, it’s a small one,” Tandberg said. “But there are people who disagree with that.”

Some also disagree with what they see as McCluskey’s minimization of state funding levels as a driver of tuition increases.

Iris Palmer is a senior policy analyst in the Education Policy Program at New America. She pointed out that the Cato study uses two different calculations finding either 57 percent or 68 percent of annual tuition increases can be explained by drops in state and local appropriations.

“They sort of treat it as a not-high percentage,” Palmer said. “It seems to me, if state disinvestments are driving over 50 percent of public tuition increases, that’s a pretty big explanation.”

Palmer co-wrote a November paper that projected how a future recession would affect higher education finances. Only a handful of states would be able to keep per-student tuition below the current national average of about $6,000 if a recession hits within the next five years, it found.

Preston Cooper, an education data analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an email that the study is a valid rebuttal to the idea that colleges are raising tuition simply to compensate for state budget cuts.

But the study also has limits, according to Cooper.

“What it does not say definitively is how much of the increase in tuition is due to budget cuts, since we don’t know the counterfactual scenario in which per-pupil appropriations remain constant,” Cooper wrote. “Arguably this is the more interesting question.”

It’s also important to emphasize that state appropriations, tuition dollars and enrollment all fluctuate in different ways depending on economic conditions, according to Art Hauptman, an independent public policy consultant specializing in higher education finance. Those conditions changed multiple times over the 25-year period.

For instance, state higher ed funding per full time equivalent dropped by 25 percent during the economic turmoil between 2008 and 2013 as enrollments increased by 15 percent. About half of the decline in state spending per student during that time frame is attributable to enrollment increases, Hauptman said.

On the other hand, tuition and fees at public institutions were flat per full-time-equivalent student in the second half of the 1990s, when state appropriations per student generally increased.

Hauptman concludes that economic conditions have a major effect on state funding for higher education. State funding falls in bad times and rises in good times, he said. But tuition rises in good and bad times alike. It just rises faster in bad times.

“The disinvestment argument is phony,” he said. “It’s a myth, and I think it’s perpetuated by folks who want the states to provide more money.”

Analysts also pointed out other limitations in the debate. The Cato study’s 25-year period starts in 1990. But there is nothing to say whether state funding for higher education was at an appropriate level then. McCluskey says his study does not make an argument about what an appropriate level of funding would be.

Nor can it be said that the optimal balance between state funding and tuition funding is the same today as it was 25 years ago. The student population has expanded and changed.

“When you have a large share of state appropriations, we find that those dollars tend to flow toward areas of student support and academic services,” said Tandberg, SHEEO’s principal policy analyst. “High tuition rates tend to restrict access. The mix, it actually does matter.”

Tandberg does not want to be seen as an apologist for higher education institutions. In many cases, colleges and universities can spend money more efficiently than they are today, he said.

Yet he also points out that broad policy analyses can obscure individual situations. In many states, flagship research universities have been able to greatly increase tuition, but smaller state institutions have not. That leaves flagships with more overall funding per student than smaller institutions, which are more reliant on state allocations and can struggle.

Over all, Tandberg would like to see a more measured discussion of tuition and state funding in the future.

 “I just really, really hope it isn’t the same black-and-white debate and narrative we saw before the recession,” he said. “I hope it’s more nuanced and reflects the realities of diversity in revenue sources across institutions.”

Administration and FinanceEditorial Tags: Business issuesFinancial aidState policyImage Source: Cato InstituteIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Quinnipiac drops logo opposed by students for lack of capital letters in "university"

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 01:00

Uppercase letters are back at Quinnipiac University.

In September, the university introduced a new way that its name would appear (above left). Students quickly noted and mocked the use of only lowercase letters to spell university.

Hundreds signed a petition demanding the return of uppercase. "The outrageous decision not to capitalize the 'U' in university (a proper noun), reflects poorly on everyone affiliated with this institution of higher learning. We feel that the most basic components of English grammar must be recognized in all settings, regardless of stylistic intentions," said the petition.

The university said at the time that it was not looking to make any changes, with a vice president telling WTNH News: “We have no intentions of looking back, only forward as we work to improve Quinnipiac’s stature and visibility in the higher education community."

But on Friday, uppercase letters were restored -- and not only to the U but to all the letters in university (above right).

The university statement on the shift said the following: "As part this process, we achieved additional design knowledge as we applied the new design elements across hundreds of different applications. As a result, we determined that our secondary and full wordmark 'Quinnipiac University' appears substantively different from our primary wordmark by giving too much weight to the word 'university' at a time when our goal is to shift attention to the 'Quinnipiac' brandmark. Therefore, today we are announcing a redesigned 'Quinnipiac University' full wordmark that achieves significantly better alignment with our primary wordmark, which simply uses 'Quinnipiac.' This new wordmark design structure is also more closely aligned to higher education industry convention -- namely how other prestigious institutions apply the word 'university' to their primary wordmarks."

Asked about the role of the students in protesting the September version of the name, Keith Rhodes, vice president for brand strategy and integrated communications at Quinnipiac, said via email, said that "to comment on the case of letters in a wordmark seems arbitrary given the level of disruption that higher education will experience over the next 10 years." Asked again about the student role in criticizing the earlier design, Rhodes said that the statement "doesn't say anything about lower or uppercase letters."

Brett D. Segelman, the student who organized the petition, said via email that the university "will never admit it," but students created pressure to change the September design.

On the petition website, he posted this note: "For those that have been close to me this past semester, you know that this has been a passionate cause of mine, out of a love for our school. Today, Quinnipiac revealed a new logo that achieves everything our petition of 1,200 signatures from September requested. If you signed, thank you. We did this together! Capitalize the U!"

Editorial Tags: MarketingIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Report Recommends Ways for Higher Education Leaders to Harness Data to Improve Student Outcomes and Innovate With Integrity

American Council on Education - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 03:01
The report finds that financial decision making is best guided through business model approaches that prioritize data transparency, providing stakeholders a look into the connections between expenses, revenues and education outcomes.

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia Elected ACE Board Chair

American Council on Education - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 03:01
​ACE's membership also elected Judy C. Miner, chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District, vice chair, and Edward J. Ray, president of Oregon State University, secretary.

Fayetteville State University and Newbury College Receive ACE/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation

American Council on Education - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 03:01
The awards were presented at ACE2016 and were accepted by Fayetteville State University Chancellor James A. Anderson and Newbury College President Joseph L. Chillo on behalf of their respective institutions.

Casteen Receives 2016 ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award

American Council on Education - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 03:01
​John T. Casteen III, president emeritus of the University of Virginia, was presented today with the 2016 Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award during the opening plenary of ACE2016.

Trump list of programs to kill includes AmeriCorps, NEH and NEA

Inside Higher Ed - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 04:49

The Trump administration is circulating a list of programs to eliminate -- and it includes the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that finances AmeriCorps, which places young people in service positions in which they earn money for student aid or to repay student loans.

The list, revealed by The New York Times, also includes the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, previously reported to be targets for elimination in the first Trump budget. Both the NEH and the NEA support campus programs, and their advocates in higher education are already seeking support to save the agencies.

The Times article noted that the list indicates that final decisions haven't been made, but all of the programs on the list have for years had conservative critics who want to end them.

In the case of AmeriCorps, the program was a major initiative of President Clinton, and has long been associated with him. Hillary Clinton, in her campaign, vowed to expand the program. While many have praised the program for promoting service among young people and providing them with money for college, the program has been stymied by tight budgets and has never become as large or influential as President Clinton envisioned. (Here is a background article from 2014 about the program on its 20th anniversary.)

AmeriCorps has been a meaningful source of money for college for its participants. For a year of service, students can receive a grant equivalent to the maximum Pell Grant to use for future college costs or to repay student loans, and students may receive up two of these educational awards. (The maximum Pell Grant for 2015-16 was $5,775.)

Since 1994, about 1 million people who were AmeriCorps participants have received education grants that total more than $2.4 billion. The value of the grants is even larger at the many colleges and universities that match AmeriCorps education awards.

The programs on the list obtained by the Times are all relatively small, but the article suggested that the administration wants to find any savings possible in domestic spending and to eliminate programs when  possible.

As word spread Friday night of AmeriCorps as a target, its program participants and alumni took to social media to talk about what they had done in the program.

 

I served 3 terms in AmeriCorps with a program that taught underserved children how to read. https://t.co/VJPBE48U9J

— Sara Galactica (@saraGalactica) February 18, 2017

 

 

@TUSK81 I'm an AmeriCorps alum. I mentored Appalachian children in the foster care system.

— Amber L Adams (@THEamberadams) February 18, 2017

 

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