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Canada: CIBT Education Group acquires KGIC’s assets

The PIE News - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 05:45

After years of financial turmoil for Canada-based education provider, KGIC, CIBT Education Group has announced it has acquired the company’s remaining operating assets.

The British Columbia supreme court approved the transaction yesterday for CIBT to acquire KGIC’s operating educational institutions, two months after it had acquired just over CAN$12m of the company’s debt.

The acquisition will see the company’s language schools and business colleges integrated into CIBT’s existing operations.

“KGIC management and school personnel have endured an extended period of financial hardship”

KGIC’s assets, as of January this year, comprised of 18 campuses in British Columbia and Ontario, under 10 different brands, including language schools, business colleges and career training programmes.

Due to the company’s rapid expansion, “KGIC had outpaced its ability to maintain a competitive position in the market and was no longer able to meet its financial obligations”, according to a statement from CIBT Education Group.

At the end of January, CIBT Finance, a subsidiary of CIBT Education Group, announced it had bought $12.3m of KGIC’s total debt, for $3.1m.

The entirety of the debt exceeded $42m, and CIBT did not acquire any of the outstanding debts following this transaction.

Toby Chu, president, CEO and chairman of CIBT Education Group, told The PIE News there was a need to consolidate KGIC’s various brands to “create camaraderie, synergy and bonding between the various schools and their staffs”.

“When former KGIC schools were marketed as 10 different brands, the cost was high, and they competed against each other.”

The language schools under the brands of KGIC, PGIC and SEC will be consolidated with CIBT’s existing language school, VIC Vancouver International College, and will operate under the name Sprott Shaw Language College.

The new additions will work with Sprott Shaw College, CIBT’s vocational arm, and other CIBT partner schools to develop college pathway programmes.

KGIC’s career and technological training programmes from MTI College in British Columbia will also be combined into Sprott Shaw College.

Meanwhile, its business colleges including KGIBC, UCCBT and VIA will join Sprott Shaw College’s international division – SSCi. This international arm has seen international student enrolment increase by 1,000% since 2008.

CIBT has already been involved in the restructuring of KGIC’s assets as one of its subsidiaries, Sprott Shaw Degree College Corp, was selected by the court-appointed receiver, BDO, to oversee KGIC’s assets during its period of receivership.

This month, three of KGIC’s schools in Toronto closed, as part of the restructuring that took place during the receivership process.

One of which, Cornerstone Academic College’s assets however, were not acquired.

Chu said the company looked at the lease expiry terms, number of students at each school, and “determined the most efficient way to reduce redundancies, and minimise the impact to the least number of students.”

“For Cornerstone, we organised the transfer of students to other schools with supervision and guidance by regulators. No abandonment or midnight closure,” he said.

The integration with CIBT will take place over three months. Human resources, technology, administrative support and executive management will all be consolidated and integrated with CIBT’s schools.

“The swift and precise execution of key measures helped us to ensure the welfare of students, employees, partners and other stakeholders”

“During the past two years, KGIC management and school personnel have endured an extended period of financial hardship creating tension in dealings with suppliers, creditors, students and their parents,” said Chu in the statement. “Upon closing of the asset purchase, we will work to rebuild the confidence of those parties in the coming months.”

The move will grow CIBT’s assets in Canada to total 16 domestic business colleges, six language schools, three international business colleges and one high school.

Overall, CIBT owns and operates 32 schools in Canada and abroad, and seven student housing properties.

With the addition of KGIC enrolments, CIBT’s total student numbers now exceed 15,000, of which around 65% are international students, and 35% are domestic.

“Our schools offer in excess of 150 programmes,” said Chu. “And we project that annual enrolment [prior to the acquisition] will grow from 8,000 to 20,000 students in the next 24 months.”

The acquisition of KGIC also triples the size of its student pipeline to the company’s student housing properties, according to the statement.

The company said it plans to acquire another student accommodation property in Vancouver this summer which will house 330 students.

The post Canada: CIBT Education Group acquires KGIC’s assets appeared first on The PIE News.

New ACE Paper Explores Challenges to HBCUs in Internationalization

American Council on Education - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 03:02
The paper is the culmination of a three-year research project that was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, where seven HBCUs worked with ACE to develop campus-wide internationalization strategies.

Appeal heard against international student fee ruling

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 02:45
The university that was successfully sued by an international student over the quality of its provision in a course for which she paid tuition fees, has been to the court of appeal to try to have ...

First Trump budget is expected to include deep cuts to many programs important to higher ed

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 01:24

President Trump will today release his first proposed federal budget -- and leaks of the documents overnight suggest big cuts will be sought for some student aid science programs on which many colleges and universities and their students and faculty members rely.

The leaks also indicate the earlier reports about the president's intent to kill such programs as the National Endowment for the Humanities and AmeriCorps were accurate.

Most of the programs the Trump administration apparently wants to eliminate, like the NEH, are relatively small. And large cuts to agencies such as the Education Department and the NIH -- even without eliminating those agencies or full programs, could a greater financial impact on higher education. The following is a summary of reports in The New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere -- all fairly consistent, and all based on access to specific budget proposal documents. Inside Higher Ed plans full budget coverage once the administration releases its proposals today.

For now, this may be what to expect:

  • A 14 percent cut in Education Department spending, according to The New York Times. The budget would "significantly" reduce the work-study program and eliminate Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, which go to low-income college students. While President Trump has been boasting about how he would help historically black colleges, their funding does not increase. Details are unclear at this time about Pell Grants, the largest program that supports low-income college students, but some observers believe that the cuts to other aid programs suggest that Pell may avoid cuts in the president's plan.
  • Job-training programs supported by the Department of Labor would face deep cuts. This may dash the hopes of some in higher education who have expected the Trump administration, with its emphasis on employment, to support such work.
  • A cut of about $6 billion -- nearly 20 percent -- to the budget of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is the largest federal supporter of research and development and its grants support research at universities nationwide. (Most NIH research is done through grants, and not at the NIH.) The Washington Post reported that the NIH cuts are part of "a seismic disruption in government-funded medical and scientific research." The Energy Department would see a $900 million cut to its science office. The Post said that documents it has obtained make no mention of the National Science Foundation. Within various agencies that support science, programs that relate to climate change and the environment are taking the largest cuts in the Trump plan.

Lists of programs slated for complete elimination include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Corporation for Community and Public Service, which runs AmeriCorps. Past Inside Higher Ed articles (the NEH here and AmeriCorps here) note the concerns in academe about these programs potentially being eliminated.

The Washington Post reported that the budget will also seek to kill the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, both of which support the work of scholars. Here is a background article from 2011, when Republicans int the House of Representatives tried to kill the peace institute, on how the agency supports scholars.

It's important to note that the budget plan to be released today no doubt has details not yet leaked. Further, Congress must approve the budget plan. Some of the programs that are targets for cuts -- such as the NIH -- have in the past enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and from prior presidents. However, both the Trump administration and the Republican leaders in Congress have vowed to spend billions more on the military, build a wall on the Mexican border, add funds for veterans and avoid tax increases. Such an agenda would not be possible without deep cuts to many domestic programs.

Early Criticism of Impact on Low-Income Students

New America, a Washington think tank, released an analysis early this morning that suggests that the cuts to work-study and SEOG may protect Pell spending, although the analysis suggested that Pell may still be vulnerable down the road.

The analysis notes that the programs being proposed for cuts or elimination serve low-income students -- with evidence that work-study a positive impact on graduation of the most needy students.

"SEOG recipients’ income levels are comparable to Pell recipients. Seventy-one percent of dependent undergraduate recipients from families making less than $30,000 per year and 76 percent of independent recipients earning less than $20,000," the analysis says.

As to work-study, New America noted concerns it finds legitimate, such as more aid going to private than public institutions and two-thirds of aid going to those with family incomes over $30,000. (Of course plenty of those with family incomes over $30,000 would have great difficulty paying for college.)

The New America analysis differentiated between reforming work-study and making deep cuts in the program. "[S]tudies of the Work-Study program have shown students receiving work-study are more likely to graduate and be employed after graduation. And these positive effects are larger for low-income students who attend public institutions. One-third of American undergraduates are working 35 hours per week and half are working at least part-time. Finding ways to help these students balance their jobs with their studies is more needed than ever. Reallocating the work-study allocation makes sense; cutting it significantly does not."


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Ideological odd couple Robert George and Cornel West issue a joint statement against 'campus illiberalism'

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:00

Stylistically and politically, Robert P. George and Cornel West don’t have much in common. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, is one of the country’s most prominent conservative intellectuals. West, a professor of the practice of public philosophy and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, is a self-described “radical Democrat” who, in addition to many books, once released a spoken-word album.

So when George and West agree on something and lend their names to it, people take notice -- as they did this week, when the pair published a statement in support of “truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought and expression.” It’s a politely worded denunciation of what George and West call “campus illiberalism,” or the brand of thinking that led to this month’s incident at Middlebury College, where students prevented an invited speaker from talking and a professor was physically attacked by some who were protesting the invitation.

“It is all too common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities,” reads the statement. “Sometimes this is done by questioning the motives and thus stigmatizing those who dissent from prevailing opinions; or by disrupting their presentations; or by demanding that they be excluded from campus or, if they have already been invited, disinvited.”

Sometimes, it says, “students and faculty members turn their backs on speakers whose opinions they don’t like or simply walk out and refuse to listen to those whose convictions offend their values. Of course, the right to peacefully protest, including on campuses, is sacrosanct. But before exercising that right, each of us should ask: Might it not be better to listen respectfully and try to learn from a speaker with whom I disagree? Might it better serve the cause of truth seeking to engage the speaker in frank civil discussion?”

All of us “should be willing -- even eager -- to engage with anyone who is prepared to do business in the currency of truth-seeking discourse by offering reasons, marshaling evidence and making arguments,” George and West wrote. “The more important the subject under discussion, the more willing we should be to listen and engage -- especially if the person with whom we are in conversation will challenge our deeply held -- even our most cherished and identity-forming -- beliefs.”

Such “an ethos,” they conclude, “protects us against dogmatism and groupthink, both of which are toxic to the health of academic communities and to the functioning of democracies.”

George said in an interview Wednesday that signatures for the statement were flowing in at rate of several per minute, and that the names reflect all points of the ideological spectrum. “We’re gratified,” he said, adding that the statement aims to “encourage -- put the courage in -- people to stand up for themselves” and for the values of the academy.

“The goal is a heightened sense among faculty, administrators and students -- all three categories -- that they must refuse to tolerate campus illiberalism,” George said. “It’s a shared responsibility of everybody to not only refuse to participate in it but to refuse to accept it. In order for colleges and universities to fulfill their missions, there has to be an ethos, an atmosphere, an environment, in which people feel free to speak their minds -- where people are challenging each other, and thus learning.”

The immediate impetus for the statement was indeed the shouting down of Murray, author of the controversial book The Bell Curve, at Middlebury; the professor who was injured at the protest is the next signatory, after George and West. But the authors say they’ve long been concerned with a turning tide on colleges campuses that’s led to the shouting down and disinvitation of invited speakers, and other forms of what is arguably intellectual censorship. They’ve been trying to model the kind of civil dialogue they’re advocating for several years, teaching and speaking together publicly about the benefits of a liberal arts education -- including recently at the American Enterprise Institute.

Yet college illiberalism continues to grow, in their view. Just recently, for example, George said, Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton, who has argued in favor of abortion and euthanasia for severely disabled infants in some instances, was interrupted by disability rights protesters throughout an appearance via Skype at the University of Victoria in Canada.

George blamed the phenomenon on a campus culture of rightful inclusion that has been somehow “corrupted into the idea that people have the right to be free from hearing positions they disagree with.” That’s exacerbated, he said, by an emergent “consumer model” of education, in which colleges and universities competing for enrollments don’t want to offend their “customers,” even if the product -- higher education -- is supposed to be “challenging students’ deeply held convictions and helping them to lead examined lives.”

Singer announced on Twitter that he’d signed the petition. George pointed out that Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, who is anti-abortion and in many ways Singer’s ideological opposite, also signed on.

I've signed on to this important statement from Robert George and Cornel West. Please join me: https://t.co/oPneLnNiYo

— Peter Singer (@PeterSinger) March 14, 2017

Two people who seemingly have little in common, George said, are “completely on the same page” when it comes to their responsibilities as members of the academic community.

George is also active on social media. He’s been tweeting that no one's yet been held "accountable" for the protest at Middlebury, which resulted in a concussion for Allison Stanger, Russell J. Leng '60 Professor of International Politics and Economics.

Stanger said she was asked to sign the statement first and did so, willingly. “It is beautifully written and badly needed, both for college campuses and the country at large,” she said via email. “Nothing good ever comes from demonizing our brothers and sisters.”

As for accountability, George said that students who intentionally disrupt educational opportunities in educational settings should be expelled. And where such protests turn violent, he said, the cases should be turned over to local -- not campus -- police and legal authorities.

Sarah Ray, Middlebury spokesperson, said Wednesday that the college has hired an independent investigator to look into what is “a very complex incident.” She reiterated a previous statement from President Laurie L. Patton that said Middlebury is a “determining a course of action for each individual understood to be involved in some way” in the events March 2.

Right now, she said, “we are gathering information and conducting a thorough investigation. This takes time, especially since so many people are involved.”

Samantha Harris, vice president of policy research at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and a former student of George’s at Princeton, approved of the statement. “It's critical for people to come together from across the political spectrum and agree to listen, and agree to disagree,” she said -- especially when they're defending the right to hear views that differ from their own.

The statement's lasting impact, however, will depend on “how universities respond to incidents like the one at Middlebury,” and whether there are especially serious consequences for protesters who turn to violence. Middlebury was a “watershed moment,” Harris added, because -- in contrast to the recent mob of nonstudents who protested a planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley, by the known provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos -- Murray, though controversial, “is a sober academic” and Middlebury is a “traditional liberal arts college."

Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University in State College, once led the Modern Language Association and has written on such issues as disability (at times disagreeing, albeit civilly, with Singer, for example). He called George and West “an unlikely tennis doubles,” saying he’d just seen the statement — and that it was "totally legit." 

“I’ve always believed that shouting down or disrupting speakers is a perfect way for the academic ‘left’ to advance the right's agenda,” he wrote in an email. “It plays right into the wrong hands.”

Bérubé said he’d draw the line at Yiannopoulos, “since his ‘lectures’ included vicious attacks on individual students. But his 15 minutes seem to be up, not a moment too soon. But sitting and listening to Murray or Singer? ...You might, as the statement says, even learn how to argue more effectively with people you disagree with.”

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Judge issues injunction against Trump's travel ban

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:00

A federal judge in Hawaii issued an injunction late Wednesday blocking the Trump administration from temporarily barring nationals of six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- from entering the U.S.

The injunction is against President Trump's revised travel ban, which he issued this month after federal courts blocked his first ban. While many in higher education said the second ban was in some ways better than the first, they still objected to its automatic refusal to allow some people to come to the United States to study or teach because of their country of origin.

The judge's order is likely to be appealed by the Trump administration. As with the first round of litigation, higher education is playing a prominent role in the legal arguments.

The state of Hawaii, in challenging the second ban, specifically cited the impact it would have on the University of Hawaii. Judge Derrick K. Watson based part of his decision -- on the crucial issue of the state's standing -- on the arguments involving the university.

"The university is an arm of the state. The university recruits students, permanent faculty and visiting faculty from the targeted countries. Students or faculty suspended from entry are deterred from studying or teaching at the university, now and in the future, irrevocably damaging their personal and professional lives and harming the educational institutions themselves," the judge's ruling says.

"There is also evidence of a financial impact from the executive order on the university system. The university recruits from the six affected countries. It currently has 23 graduate students, several permanent faculty members and 29 visiting faculty members from the six countries listed. The state contends that any prospective recruits who are without visas as of March 16, 2017, will not be able to travel to Hawaii to attend the university. As a result, the university will not be able to collect the tuition that those students would have paid," the ruling adds.

The judge also noted with approval the state's argument that "the university will also suffer nonmonetary losses, including damage to the collaborative exchange of ideas among people of different religions and national backgrounds on which the state’s educational institutions depend. This will impair the university’s ability to recruit and accept the most qualified students and faculty, undermine its commitment to being 'one of the most diverse institutions of higher education' in the world."

Further, the judge's ruling says, the travel ban would "grind to a halt certain academic programs, including the university’s Persian language and culture program."

The kinds of impacts faced by the University of Hawaii, the decision says, are similar to those cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit when in February it upheld an injunction against Trump's first travel ban. That case was brought by Washington state and cited the impact on the University of Washington and Washington State University. And the ruling says that the concerns raised by the state of Hawaii over its public university system would be addressed by an injunction.

The injunction ordered by the judge is national and started late Wednesday, hours before the new Trump travel ban was due to take effect.

'Unprecedented Judicial Overreach'

In a rally in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday night Trump blasted the judge’s ruling as “unprecedented judicial overreach” and said he would appeal it “all the way up to the Supreme Court” if necessary.

Trump has justified the travel ban as necessary to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. -- though a draft Department of Homeland Security memo, reported on by the Associated Press, found that citizenship status is an “unlikely indicator” of terror threats and that few people from the countries singled out for the ban have been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S.

“The best way to keep foreign terrorists -- or as some people would say, in certain instances, radical Islamic terrorists -- from attacking our country is to stop them from entering our country in the first place,” Trump said at the rally.

Elizabeth Redden contributed to this article.

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American Public U's new competency-based degrees do not rely on credit-hour standard

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:00

A large for-profit university is trying an emerging form of competency-based education with the launch this month of four online bachelor’s degrees that ditch the credit-hour standard.

Officials with the publicly traded American Public University System, which enrolls roughly 90,000 students, said the company isn’t chasing a fad with its foray into so-called direct assessment.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” said Cali Morrison, director of alternative learning at APUS. “This isn’t a pilot.”

Hundreds of colleges have worked on introducing competency-based credentials in recent years. But only a handful offer direct-assessment degrees, a more aggressive (and controversial) version in which students must demonstrate mastery of a degree program’s required competencies but do not have to progress through credit-based course material or be taught by faculty members in the traditional sense.

Another publicly traded for-profit, Capella University, was one of the first to gain approval for direct-assessment programs -- following shortly behind Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, which in 2013 was the first institution to get a green light.

Laureate Education’s U.S.-based Walden University also has a direct-assessment program. But, like Capella, the for-profit Walden’s program is for graduate students. And while other for-profits, particularly Rasmussen College, have substantial competency-based degree programs on the books, APUS appears to be the first to go big on direct assessment for undergraduates.

Advocates for competency-based education have been careful to shepherd its growth while seeking to prevent low-quality providers from entering the market and sparking a backlash. So even while APUS is generally considered to be a solid performer among for-profits, deeply negative views about the sector among consumer groups and Democratic policy makers might make some nervous about the company’s move into competency-based education.

However, American Public has yet to secure approval of the new degrees from the feds, which means students will not be able to use federal financial aid to help pay for the programs.

Critics of for-profits generally focus on federal money that flows to what they say are often lower-quality offerings that can saddle students with debt while not helping them get a well-paying job. But without being able to accept Pell Grants, federal loans or even military tuition benefits (at least for now), that won’t be a problem for the competency-based programs at APUS.

Yet despite its lack of federal aid eligibility, American Public is confident the degrees will be affordable. Tuition in its new “Momentum” programs is a flat rate of $2,500 for a 16-week term in which students can complete an unlimited number of competencies.

“The more they complete, the more valuable their degree,” said Morrison.

The company’s national reach could help it achieve a scale that so far has been rare in competency-based education, several experts said, with the notable exceptions of Western Governors University and a few others that enroll several thousand students and are still growing, including the University of Wisconsin System.

Most competency based programs remain fairly small, in part because of the complexity of explaining how the model works to students. But APUS may have an advantage in tackling that challenge.

“For-profits have money for marketing,” said Charla Long, executive director of the Competency-Based Education Network, a group of colleges that formed in 2014 to help its members develop competency-based credentials. “It really is encouraging, provided it’s done in a high-quality manner, to see an institution with commitment and resources to try direct assessment.”

Federal Roadblocks

One reason relatively few colleges have tried direct assessment is that the Obama administration at times sent mixed signals about competency-based education.

The Obama White House and high-ranking officials at the U.S. Department of Education were big supporters, saying the delivery method can be particularly good for adult and returning college students. But critical audits by the department’s Office of Inspector General about competency-based education and the federal approval process for this form of credential, including an as-yet unreleased audit of Western Governors, have had a chilling effect on colleges and accreditors.

For example, in 2015 the Higher Learning Commission, the largest regional accreditor, temporarily froze its approval of new competency-based offerings after being dinged by the inspector general. New direct-assessment degrees in particular were stuck in limbo.

In response to the uncertainty, Long said some colleges instead opted to create competency-based programs that rely on courses and credits while waiting on the regulatory environment to catch up.

However, last November the Higher Learning Commission approved APUS’s new direct-assessment degrees. And while it’s unclear whether the Trump administration’s Education Department will favor this form of credential, APUS is hoping to make a go of its direct-assessment programs even without federal aid.

American Public appears well suited to competency-based education, said Richard Garrett, chief research officer at Eduventures, a higher education research and advisory firm. That’s because of APUS’s size, history of relatively low tuition and high enrollment numbers of veterans and active-duty members of the military, who may be attracted to direct assessment because it is a way to recognize the skills and knowledge they picked up while serving, said Garrett.

“If anyone can pull it off at scale,” he said, “they’re the ones to do it.”

Regular and Substantive

APUS is now offering four direct-assessment bachelor’s degrees, in criminal justice, fire science management, emergency and disaster management, and retail management. Each of the programs requires mastery of 61 or 62 competencies.

An important eligibility requirement for the programs is that students must hold a previously earned associate degree, either an associate of arts or of science.

As a result, by offering the equivalent of the last two years of a bachelor’s degree, the program in some ways is an adult degree-completion track. And adult students with an associate degree under their belts tend to be more likely to succeed than those who enroll without any college experience.

Students in the new degree programs must complete a minimum of three competencies in a 16-week term. They can register for up to 12 at a time, completing as many as they can during the term. New competencies can be added any time until the 14th week of a term.

By completing 15-17 competencies during a 16-week session, APUS said students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in four terms -- roughly 15 months -- with a total tuition price tag of $10,000.

American Public is telling prospective students to expect to commit 16-20 hours per week to their studies. The university system also is encouraging students to have on-the-job experience in the degree’s subject area.

The programs feature an adaptive platform provided by RealizeIt, which the company customized for APUS. Adaptive learning is a buzzy technology that personalizes the student experience. In a direct-assessment program, that means giving a boost to student engagement, in part through helping students work through learning material to help them pass assessments.

“We had to make a lot of changes,” said Manoj Kulkarni, RealizeIt’s chief executive officer, when describing how the platform will work for APUS compared to in a course-based setting. “Competency-based education and traditional education seem like two different universes.”

Students take a pre-assessment at the start of each competency under the APUS model. A subject-matter expert will work with them to develop a plan to study content to prepare for a final competency assessment, in which students will be asked to apply knowledge and skills to a real-world situation.

The faculty role in competency-based education is a sticking point for its critics, including the department’s inspector general, who has raised questions about whether there is “regular and substantive” contact between students and faculty members in some programs.

APUS said each student will work closely with both a faculty mentor and subject-matter experts, with mentors being assigned to students for at least a full term. Students also will have access to career services advisers.

Kevin Forehand, APUS’s program director for retail management, said he volunteered to be a faculty mentor for students in the direct-assessment track. His role will be as a “guide on the side,” Forehand said.

“I’ll have the opportunity to be with the student through their entire time” in the program, he said. “They know exactly who they can come to, and that’s me.”

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Russia focuses on soft power in its international student strategy

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:00

Russia is recruiting international students to strengthen its “soft power” in former Soviet states rather than gaining any significant income from foreign enrollments, a study suggests.

About 283,000 international students studied at Russian universities last year, making it the sixth-largest market for globally mobile students, behind only the United States, Britain, China, France and Australia, figures gathered by the Institute of International Education’s Project Atlas study show.

That represents a fourfold increase since 2001-02, when about 72,000 international students were based in Russia, with numbers increasing by 13 percent between 2014-15 and 2015-16 alone -- the fastest growth of any major higher education sector.

However, 69 percent of these students came from Azerbaijan, Belarus and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States that were previously part of the Soviet Union, with some 10,000 students from former Soviet states receiving scholarships from Russia, according to an analysis by Alena Nefedova, a researcher at Moscow’s National Research University Higher School of Economics.

In terms of attracting international students, “Russia is not about making money -- it is about soft power and influencing people through education,” Nefedova told Times Higher Education.

“U.K. and U.S. universities will use international students to gain money, but Russian government universities are mainly exporting education because of [state] pressure,” she added.

For instance, a 2014 survey of 540 Russian universities with international students found that exactly half derived no income from these enrollments, said Nefedova. The total income derived by those that did charge fees stood at just 49 million pounds ($60 million) -- or about £208,000 ($254,000) per university, she added.

Despite this meager international income -- the Russian sector has about six million students overall -- the country’s universities are still keen to recruit foreign students because it improves internationalization indicators used to rank institutions globally, with high performers likely to receive more state funds, Nefedova said.

“It is about the rankings game -- the more institutions rise up the rankings, the more money they will receive from the 5-100 program,” she said of Russia’s flagship higher education funding project that aims to have five universities in the world’s top 100 by 2020.

“Everyone understands [that] this aim is nearly impossible,” Nefedova added.

The 5-100 investment had been beneficial for Russian higher education in other ways, such as encouraging universities to become more international in their outlook and concentrate on their research strengths, she said.

However, Russia is failing to capitalize fully on its support for international students, owing to its failure to bring more of the highly skilled international graduates that it had trained into its labor market, Nefedova said.

“We have interviewed many international students who have said, ‘Russia has given me a quality education for free and I want to work here, but they have made it impossible for me to stay,’” she said.

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New presidents or provosts: Duke Flagler Halifax Hastings Hollins Mercy ONU Piedmont Pomona Valdosta

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:00
  • Richard A. Carvajal, interim president of Darton State College, in Georgia, has been named president of Valdosta State University, also in Georgia.
  • Maria Cronley, associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs at Miami University, in Ohio, has been selected as provost/vice president for academic affairs at Ohio Northern University.
  • Michael Elam, former president of Roanoke-Chowan Community College, in North Carolina, has been appointed president of Halifax Community College, also in North Carolina.
  • Travis Feezell, provost and chief academic officer at University of the Ozarks, in Arkansas, has been chosen as president of Hastings College, in Nebraska.
  • José Herrera, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western New Mexico University, has been selected as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Mercy College, in New York.
  • Joseph G. Joyner, superintendent of schools for St. Johns County District, in Florida, has been named president of Flagler College, also in Florida.
  • Pareena Lawrence, provost at Augustana College, in Illinois, has been selected as president of Hollins University, in Virginia.
  • Maria Pharr, executive director of the BioNetwork and Life Science Initiatives at the North Carolina Community Colleges System, has been named president of South Piedmont Community College, also in North Carolina.
  • Vincent Price, provost at the University of Pennsylvania, has been appointed president of Duke University, in North Carolina.
  • G. Gabrielle Starr, dean of New York University’s College of Arts and Science, has been chosen as president of Pomona College, in California.
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Trump rhetoric hitting hard in the UK, says NUS president

The PIE News - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:36

The anti-immigrant rhetoric expressed by US president Donald Trump is taking effect in the UK, Malia Bouattia, president of the UK’s National Union of Students, has charged.

“This doesn’t start and stop with this one man,” Bouattia said at an NUS summit on Brexit and Trump in London March 12, underlining the negative impact it could have for international students studying on UK campuses.

Speaking with The PIE News, Bouattia described a previous split in perception of good and bad migrants across the UK. “A good migrant was the international student, a bad migrant was the cleaner, was the asylum seeker, was the refugee. And now they’re all bad migrants. They’ve all essentially been put into one big pile and you start to see the trends between the US rhetoric and our very own practices.”

“All migrants have essentially been put into one big pile and you start to see the trends between the US rhetoric and our very own practices”

Referring to Trump’s travel ban of six majority Muslim countries, Bouattia argued similar restrictions are also enforced in the UK. “Theresa May is championing an agenda ensuring that Muslims are silenced, they become suspects, they’re interrogated, and at times even deported. She’s attempting to ban them from all aspects of society and demonise them to non-existence.”

Both EU and non-EU international students could be met with the same hardline treatment refugee and asylum seekers are facing in the UK, she argued. “While we recognise and must understand the intersections and complexities of a Syrian refugee in comparison to an EU student, and the privileges that come with that as well at times, we need to see the fight as collective.

“You might have it slightly better than others within the migrant collective now, but what’s to come is going to be worse because if any section of our migrant communities faces the brunt of something it will follow and will seep down to the rest.”

“The task now is to intensify on our campuses anti-deportation campaigns and international student support”

In his address, Mostafa Rajaai, the NUS’s international students officer, agreed that international students are privileged among migrants. “But that doesn’t mean our rights haven’t been taken away,” he argued, citing the abolishment of post-study work rights, the accusations of fraud of almost 50,000 international students in the TOEIC scandal, no work rights for internationals studying at FE colleges and strict attendance monitoring.

“The treatment is far from welcoming,” he said. “We need to educate people on our campuses so they learn what international students struggle with.”

He suggested three ways institutions could make it easier for their international students: become a guarantor if students are renting in the local area; make sure mental health services are nuanced and accessible and end attendance monitoring systems that “treat students as if they’ve committed a crime”.

The NUS is rallying support for international students as the country prepares for its exit from the EU. “The task now is to intensify on our campuses anti-deportation campaigns and international student support,” Bouattia told student members.

These campaigns are raising awareness of what’s at risk if EU migrants are forced to leave, she said. “People are slowly recognising that when we’re talking about migrants we’re talking about a huge section of our society and our society cannot exist and cannot function or run without them.”

The post Trump rhetoric hitting hard in the UK, says NUS president appeared first on The PIE News.

Ultra-wealthy drawn to UK schools

The PIE News - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:26

The number of ultra-high net worth individuals worldwide has jumped by 42% in the last decade to 193,000, and these super-rich are looking overseas to educate their children, according to Knight Frank’s 2017 Wealth Report.

In a survey of nearly 900 private bankers and wealth advisers, almost half with clients in Africa said the super-rich individuals they work with – earning $30m or over – are more likely to look overseas for a good school for their children than to educate them in their own country.

For those with clients in Latin America, the figure was 45%; the Middle East, 40%; and Asia, 38%.

“Having your children make friends with people from lots of different nationalities is considered very attractive”

And the survey revealed that the UK is becoming especially attractive to the ultra-wealthy, now that the fallen value of the pound has made it cheaper to send their children to UK private schools.

Currency, quality of life and access to the best universities are the key trends boosting demand for a British education, according to Ed Richardson, director of education at Keystone Tutors.

“Ambitious families in Singapore have traditionally sent their children to schools in the US, not necessarily because they think they are better, but because of the cost. Now, they are telling me that the fall in the value of the pound is making the UK look much better value.

“That sentiment will be echoed in many other places,” he added.

Independent Schools Council data shows that international demand for UK independent schools has risen significantly over the last ten years. This phenomenon is especially notable among students from China, Russia, Africa and the Middle East.

“While growth in the Russian market has slowed right down over the past few years, I am seeing a sharp rise in the urgency of enquiries from Turkish families,” observed Petty.

“In September last year people were expressing interest, but by December it was: ‘Can we come right now?’ Some people are looking for boarding schools, but others are looking at London day schools with the whole family coming over.”

Private boarding schools in the UK are still seen as the “gold standard” internationally, according to the report.

And although a number of schools have opened franchises overseas, especially in Asia and the Middle East, “the genuine article [in the UK] is still the preferred choice for those who can afford it”, it adds.

“It’s not just about the teaching, it’s about quality of life and the extent of extra-curricular activities available,” commented Richardson.

“Certainly in China there is a feeling that if you’re going to spend money on Western luxuries it is better to buy them in the West,” he said. “More credit will be given to Harrow itself than Harrow Beijing.”

Forging international friendships is another perk ultra-high net worth individuals value about sending their children for overseas study. “In a world where business is becoming increasingly global, having your children make friends with people from lots of different nationalities is considered very attractive,” commented William Petty, of advisor Bonas MacFarlane.

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Ama de-Graft Aikins, University of Ghana

The PIE News - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 06:50
What’s at the top of the University of Ghana’s international agenda? Attracting more graduate students and getting everyone on campus to think globally, says Ama de-Graft Aikins, dean of international programmes. She also discusses meeting Africa’s huge demand for HE and the threat private providers could pose to systems across the continent.

The PIE: Compared to other African countries, Ghana is quite advanced when it comes to internationalisation and partnerships with universities around the world. So what’s the next step?

AGA: We started out life as a college of the University of London, so we’ve always had internationalisation at the heart of what we do. My office is the International Programmes Office, it’s 20 years old next year. That’s 20 years of essentially forward-thinking activities around making UG internationally credible, internationally situated, and so on. We’ve always had interest from American universities to send students for study abroad programmes, a year on campus, that sort of thing. We always have had research partners, including the Universities of London, Cambridge, Yale, and Princeton.

“The general wisdom is you have a few strategic partnerships that are productive and sustainable – that’s what we’re aiming for”

UG is now number seven in the African university rankings and two of the indicators that pushed us into the top 10 were internationalisation and visibility in the international world, as well as research. These are two benchmarks key to our strategic plan, which is running from 2014-2024.

My task is to recruit more foreign students, and that’s a major challenge. Every university is doing that now. We’ve talked to Japanese universities who are interested in doubling their numbers of internationals; everyone is scrambling around for foreign students.

We also want to strengthen our research partnerships. We have MOUs with lots of universities, many of which are dormant. The general wisdom is you have a few strategic partnerships that are productive and sustainable over the long-term – and that’s what we’re trying to aim for. We’re looking at our portfolios, seeing which MOUs have been sustainable, strengthening those and layering on some of the more interesting activities like faculty and student exchange. So we’re trying to go deeper rather than expanding.

We also want to internationalise our campus, make internationalisation an entity that people imbibe rather than a theory. We want everybody including cleaners and porters to understand that ‘OK it’s a new multicultural era so you have to understand how you relate to foreign students’. It’s basically trying to be prepared.

The PIE: And where are you hoping to recruit the foreign students from to come to your campus?

AGA: From the subcontinent, Nigeria sends us the most students and has for a number of years. The medical school, for instance, is populated with Nigerian students. We’re getting students from Gabon, a few from Cameroon. At last count, we had students from 58 countries.

“Do African universities engage in the global ranking system or do we want to set up our own continent specific approaches?”

There have been interesting multi-country research projects that have also shaped student mobility into Ghana. Projects from the College of Basic Applied Sciences around climate change, agriculture and food security have attracted students from Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, but these are graduate students. So we want to strengthen the pull from Nigeria – UG is competing with other universities in Ghana for Nigerian students – and we have to strengthen our recruitment strategies for other African countries.

The PIE: At what level of study are you hoping to get more international students?

AGA: For our 38,000 student population, the majority are undergraduates. Just under 5,000 are graduate students but we’re transitioning into becoming a research intensive university, so graduate study is becoming the priority. There are dwindling numbers of Ghanaian students enrolling on graduate programmes, which means we’ve got space to accommodate foreign graduate students and that’s what we need to start working on.

The PIE: And how focused are you on rankings?

AGA: Very much so.

The PIE: Why?

AGA: They are the language of global higher education, even though the benchmarks have problematic elements. Issues such as: how do you measure international profile? How do you measure students’ satisfaction? How do you measure the impact of research? Journal impact factors, for example, are very tricky to pin down. But if you’re number one or number five it sticks in everybody’s head, right? And the average person who doesn’t know the politics and policies around university management is just looking at the optics. Number one in West Africa, number seven in Africa – what’s not to like?

“We want everybody, including cleaners and porters, to understand how to relate to foreign students”

The debate in Africa is: do African universities engage in the global ranking system? Let’s take the Times Higher Education rankings – do we really want to subject ourselves to that or do we want to set up our own continent specific approaches, given the particular problems that we face? At the moment, South African universities are always at the top, and we all agree that they should be at the top of certain benchmarks; but it’s when you start looking at say Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana that you begin throwing in all the noise. ‘We don’t have electricity, we don’t have capacity in terms of teachers teaching, we don’t have access to journals’ – these are some of the reasons why African universities aren’t performing as they should, according to regional critics of the rankings system.

But you do need to know what a university is good at. So, I’m pragmatic about rankings, but I’m not ideologically impassioned about it. I just think if you want students you’ve got to prove that you’re good, that you produce what you claim you want to produce.

The PIE: What about sending Ghanaian students overseas?

AGA: Ghanaian students typically travel abroad as part of a degree requirement for a year to brush up on a language or because they have the money to go abroad. We have a range of funded exchange programmes, such as the Erasmus mobility schemes, but these do not accommodate large numbers of UG students.

We also have students going out as part of research partnerships. UG research institutes like the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Regional Institute for Population Studies tend to have very strong partnerships with African, European and American universities. Through those, they are able to send graduate students out for a year abroad and to work with colleagues in partner institutions. Ghanaian students can’t afford to pay exorbitant fees to study in the US, the UK or other European universities. Moving forward, those are the kinds of arrangements that we would like to have because they are equitable.

The PIE: How is UG confronting the huge demand for higher education in Africa?

“Ghanaian students can’t afford to pay exorbitant fees to study in the US the UK”

AGA: Well across the continent, there is an explosion of private universities because there is this growing demand from young people to get a university education, but not all are equipped and have the capacity to deliver credible degree programmes. So it’s a problem that I think politicians and educators have to grapple with. They have to figure out how to manage a very complex situation that can undermine higher education in Africa.

In Ghana, we have seven public universities and seven times as many private universities. One wonders where private universities get their lecturers from. Ghana is an attractive destination for other African students, particularly from Nigeria and other West African countries. All universities are competing for these students because they bring revenue. It’s one thing to attract students, but quite another to ensure the quality and credibility of education students get.

The PIE: What are your thoughts on the proposed pan-African passport that will allow free movement of Africans from one country to another across the continent?

AGA: It’s a good idea. I remember going to Morocco a few weeks ago for a conference; my Ghanaian colleagues needed a visa and a Nigerian colleague was actually turned back because he didn’t have a visa. I found it absurd that that would happen. If you can travel freely, it eases relationships. So if something can happen continent-wide that would be brilliant. We already have a problem with travel being quite stressful. You’ve got to go through two countries to get to a country in your sub-region. We have to figure out how we forge stronger relationships with fewer obstacles.

The PIE: Of all the objectives you’ve mentioned – student mobility, research, internationalisation on the campus – what would you say are your biggest challenges to achieving those goals?

“If you’re trying to create an enabling environment for internationalisation, you do need funding.”

AGA: I guess the first thing would be funding, because if you’re trying to create an enabling environment for internationalisation, you do need funding. It’s simple things like, for instance, the language of instruction or making sure there’s enough accommodation for the increasing numbers of students. If we’re going to expand, say, our study abroad programmes we need to create more cultural activities. And that requires money.

I think the second thing is building capacity at faculty level. There’s this rhetoric around getting foreign students, but then you have departments that are quite fixed in the way they interpret our public status. So, they say ‘Well hey – University of Ghana is a public university and you serve Ghanaian students first.’ So, we have to make a strong case for securing spaces for foreign students for high demand courses like medicine and law.

The thing really is to merge the theory and the practice. If we want more foreign students, how do we get deans to open up space for more foreign students in our classrooms? This is a micro political problem  – you’ve got to talk to people and strategise.

The post Ama de-Graft Aikins, University of Ghana appeared first on The PIE News.

Warning - Fake International Handbook of Universities

International Association of Universities - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 04:58

A fake version of the IAU-UNESCO International Handbook of Universities is currently being sold by a fraudulent company on Amazon and on a website purporting to be part of UNESCO.

Please be aware that the genuine 2017 edition of the Handbook, published by Palgrave Macmillan, can only be purchased on the publisher's website. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Judy C. Miner, Chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Elected ACE Board Chair

American Council on Education - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 03:02
ACE's membership also elected Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University, as vice chair; and R. Barbara Gitenstein, president of The College of New Jersey, secretary.

Association of African Universities (AAU) - Partnership with eLearnAfrica

International Association of Universities - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 02:02

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. Etienne Ehouan Ehile, Secretary-General of the AAU, mentionned that 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 and that this partnership with eLearnAfrica will help them achieve this goal.

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How St. Olaf scrubbed from a building the name of a revered professor accused of sexual misconduct

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 00:00

Sometimes the darkest and most brilliant aspects of a college's history are embodied in the same person, as St. Olaf College recently found out. The institution said this month that a campus arts building will no longer bear the name of a late professor of art and Norwegian who was a Nazi-era resistance fighter, following an investigation into “credible” allegations of his repeated sexual misconduct.

The professor’s family has criticized the decision, but St. Olaf’s faculty seems to back it.

“We live in a world in which two things that just don’t make any sense together can both be true at the same time,” David R. Anderson, St. Olaf’s president, said in an interview. “It’s confounding and disconcerting, and nevertheless you have to do the best you can to find a way forward.”

Revered Professor

Reidar Dittmann, who died in 2010, looms large in campus mythology. Born to Lutheran parents in Norway in 1922, Dittmann sympathized with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and was first arrested by occupying German forces for organizing the singing of anti-Nazi songs.

After a brief imprisonment, he joined the Norwegian resistance and helped sabotage a shipyard. His activities landed him a life sentence, and he became a political prisoner. Eventually, he spent 30 months in captivity in the concentration camp at Buchenwald.

“Above the gateway, emblazoned in brass letters, was the motto of the camp, and it said, ‘Right or wrong, my country,’” Dittmann said in a 1997 interview with Minnesota Public Radio.

Released in 1945, Dittmann emigrated to the U.S. and joined the St. Olaf faculty two years later. He co-founded the college’s international studies program and led students on annual tours abroad. He became the college’s first director of international studies and received the St. Olav's Medal from the Norwegian king in 1977 -- no small nod at a college founded by Norwegian immigrants. Dittmann also was a frequent lecturer on the Holocaust and took part in opening ceremonies for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

After his retirement, in 2002, the college named the building that houses its art, art history and dance programs after Dittmann.

Allegations Surface

Cut to last year, when St. Olaf -- like many other institutions -- initiated a review of its politics and procedures surrounding sexual misconduct. The process involved creating an independent working group on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender discrimination in education, and gathering input from students, faculty and staff.

Several alumni came forward with reports of sexual misconduct involving faculty and staff members from up to decades ago. Some said they now felt comfortable sharing their experiences “after observing a change in St. Olaf’s culture,” according to information from the college.

An unspecified number of those reports centered on Dittmann. St. Olaf has released no detailed information about the nature of the claims against him, but Anderson said the accusers described behavior that “was wrong then and wrong now. This is not a question of 21st-century political correctness.”

The college investigated the claims, including through interviews with the alleged victims, and found what Anderson, the college's president, called “highly credible evidence” against Dittmann.

Carl Crosby Lehmann, general counsel for the college, was involved in the process. He declined in an interview to elaborate on the claims against Dittmann, citing promises of privacy to the alleged victims. But, in general, in any investigation, he said, it’s “significant” when multiple allegations from “individuals who don’t appear to have known each other come forward, and they’re saying, ‘I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one.’”

Questioning the College

Last week, St. Olaf told people on campus and alumni about its decision to remove Dittmann's name from the building. Members of his family criticized the college, saying in a statement that they are “shocked and dismayed by the turn of events that has resulted in stripping his name from the Art and Dance Center at St. Olaf College. The allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago deeply trouble his family, many members of whom proudly attended the college and grew up with it as an integral part of our lives. We abhor sexual misconduct without exception, but we are also devastated by the impossibility of due process for the person we knew and loved.”

There are “many other aspects of this case that should be disturbing to anyone who cares about civil liberties: the recklessness on the part of the college in allowing its alumni database to be used to distribute anonymous allegations and to solicit more allegations from a targeted group of alumnae; the college's secrecy about the allegations and the process used to indict our father posthumously; the haste with which the college reached its conclusion; and finally, the public humiliation our family is experiencing as a result of the college's communications of their actions,” the statement reads. “While we understand that the college needs to find a path forward, we are deeply saddened at this outcome, which provides no closure for us.”

Asked about due process for Dittmann, Crosby said that “when we receive allegations, we don’t take them at face value. We can’t ignore them, either, based on the fact that the accused person is not available to respond.”

Anderson said alumni have come forward with reports about late staff and faculty members beyond Dittmann, but his case has become public because of his significance on campus.

“It would be impossible to keep that name on the building” out of respect for victims, he said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Confronting the Past

Facing increased pressure to confront the darker parts of their legacies in recent years, institutions have responded in different ways.

Yale University, for example, last month announced that it would remove the name of John C. Calhoun, an alumnus who was the seventh U.S. vice president and an outspoken proponent of slavery, from a residential college (the decision reversed an earlier one to retain Calhoun’s name). Clemson University, meanwhile, decided to retain the name of a campus building honoring Benjamin Tillman, a notoriously racist politician who represented South Carolina through the early 20th century.

“Every great institution is built by imperfect craftsmen,” Clemson’s Board of Trustees said in a 2015 statement about their decision. “Stone by stone they add to the foundation so that over many, many generations, we get a variety of stones. And so it is with Clemson. Some of our historical stones are rough and even unpleasant to look at. But they are ours, and denying them as part of our history does not make them any less so.”

Some academics have argued against removing monuments that recall slavery or civil rights violations, saying it could amount to erasure instead of a teaching opportunity. Of course, at St. Olaf, the allegations are about the conduct of a professor against former students of the college.

Anderson said St. Olaf isn’t attempting to erase Dittmann, and that it “couldn’t, even if you wanted to, because of the remarkable 46 years of service he contributed to this college.” He underscored that that history of service doesn't “make sense” in light of the allegations against Dittmann, but said that “colleges and universities are human organizations made up of humans, and so they’re going exhibit the best and worst of us. Our greatest and weakest strengths are mirror sides of each other.”

In any case, Anderson said, “we are not seeking public approval and congratulations for being ‘such good people.’ It’s a sad day for the college that this actually needed to talked about, but we could not have taken the action that needed to be taken without public awareness of it.”

Shock, Sadness, Support

Anderson said he’s tracking the many responses he’s received on the matter from faculty, alumni and staff. There’s lots of shock, sadness, support and “thankfulness that the college did take this step,” he said, in that it’s “doubling down” on its values.

Kari Lie Dorer, chair of Norwegian studies at St. Olaf, used some of those words to describe the general reaction of the faculty, which was not involved in the decision; professors were briefed on the news a few hours before it went public. Though few professors still teaching knew Dittmann, she said, the faculty response was “first shocked and, second, thankful for how our administration dealt with the allegations from start to finish. … I do believe that our faculty trusts our administration in this decision.”

Nevertheless, Dorer said, Dittmann remains an “important part of my department's history,” and he's still remembered for his contributions to teaching and study abroad.

Anna Kuxhausen, chair of Russian and director of women’s and gender studies, congratulated Anderson on his leadership -- especially because the facts of the case will not be made public. That's consistent with Title IX procedures, she said, but surely problematic for some observers.

“The decision to rename this building is appropriate and courageous; it sends a strong message to survivors of sexual misconduct at St. Olaf that the college will not protect known perpetrators -- or their legacies,” Kuxhausen said via email. “Given [Anderson’s] statement, we can conclude that the allegations against Dittmann were substantiated to a degree that warranted this dramatic action.”

Asked what advice he might have for other institutions weighing aspects of their histories, light and dark, Anderson said, “You have to start by going back to the mission and stated values, and you have to behave according to them. That’s where the sadness and pain might come in. But, you know, we’re 142 years old, and I don’t think you’ll find many institutions that are 142 that don’t have complicated histories.”

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Pitzer students debate free speech, student safety and cultural appropriation

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 00:00

Pitzer College maintains a free wall where students are invited to paint whatever they would like. A recent critique of white women who wear hoop earrings has attracted far more attention than most writing on the wall -- and the debate has escalated well beyond jewelry.

College officials have seen and are investigating written threats -- including some that could be read as death threats -- against the Latina students who wrote the critique on the wall. And Pitzer's president, Melvin L. Oliver, has issued an open letter condemning "a cycle of violent hate speech that threatens the safety and well-being of every member of our community."

The students, whose identities Pitzer declined to confirm, citing their privacy rights, are fearful for their safety, the college says. But others say Pitzer is unfairly blaming a conservative student newspaper for the students' problems.

Here is how the controversy has played out.

The line that was written on the wall was simple: "White girl, take off your hoops."

After that went up on the wall, students on an all-campus email asked for clarification about what it meant.

Two of the three Latina students who were involved wrote back in other all-campus email messages, in which they explained that they viewed white women wearing hoop earrings as engaging in cultural appropriation, which is when a privileged group adopts part of the culture of an oppressed group and in so doing erases the role of the oppressed group.

As one of the students wrote, "If you didn’t create the culture as a coping mechanism for marginalization, take off those hoops, if your feminism isn’t intersectional take off those hoops, if you try to wear mi cultura when the creators can no longer afford it, take off those hoops, if you are incapable of using a search engine and expect other people to educate you, take off those hoops, if you can’t pronounce my name or spell it … take off those hoops … I use 'those' instead of 'your' because hoops were never 'yours' to begin with."

The campus email exchanges were civil, even as some students disagreed with the call for white women to stop wearing hoop earrings.

Things changed when The Claremont Independent, a conservative student newspaper, wrote about the debate and the story quickly spread to the conservative blogosphere.

At that point, the three Latina students who responded to the all-campus emails started to receive hostile email messages, which the college believes are from people not connected to Pitzer or the other Claremont Colleges. Some of the messages college officials have reviewed appear to go beyond criticism, to harassment and threats, including a message with an individual pointing a gun.

At that point, Oliver posted his statement, with the headline "Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech."

College officials said his reference to hate speech was about the threats, not disagreement with the students who made the statement about hoop earrings.

Oliver wrote, "Coverage in a local publication of a recent posting on the free wall has ignited a cycle of violent hate speech that threatens the safety and well-being of every member of our community. Some students are experiencing harassment and death threats. As a place of higher education, we strongly cherish and defend intellectual curiosity, productive discourse and opposing views that may broaden our perspectives as global citizens. However, when speech resorts to hate, violence and threats, we will not tolerate these acts nor the perpetrators of these actions …. Every individual is entitled to freedom from fear and stigma, and with the respect of others to pursue a life of meaning and purpose. Pitzer College supports greater acceptance, not less."

An editorial in The Student Life, the student newspaper at Pomona College, another of the Claremont Colleges, criticized the Independent for drawing attention to the students who wrote on the wall.

The goal of journalism "can be to inform, expose, criticize -- anything in service of the audience," the editorial said. "But when the action directly results in harm to somebody else, especially the subject of the story -- especially when that subject is already enduring racism, sexism and/or other forms of oppression, which made their story relevant in the first place -- that article is doing work to harm someone."

Not everyone agrees with the criticism. One response posted to the Student Life website said, "If these students want to publicly engage in racist rhetoric, then they should expect to be publicly ridiculed for it. This is the same logic you would hold for anyone who isn't a progressive and you are only complaining about this because the purveyor of racism is on the left and the news source that exposed it has a conservative bent …. We can agree that the threats from third-party scum are a legitimate problem, but to insinuate that such threats should curb the journalistic pursuit of the Claremont Independent's writers is beyond the pale."

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Presidents need wide range of skills, panelists at ACE conference say

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 00:00

WASHINGTON -- College and university presidents need an ever-widening skill set to succeed amid quickly mounting pressures and fast-changing demands, experts said Tuesday, the final day of the American Council on Education’s annual meeting.

Presidents have to find ways to prepare students for the fast-changing world of work. They need to please or placate a broad range of constituencies, from students to donors to legislators. They must practice financial discipline in often-tight fiscal environments, and presidents face the ever-looming threat of unexpected issues spinning out of control on social media -- sometimes before they even know those issues exist.

Those changes come as presidents are spending fewer years leading colleges or universities before moving on to other jobs or presidencies at different institutions. In short, the role is a crucible, one that is very different from 100 or even 10 years ago.

The pathways to the presidency are also unsettled. Boards and search committees are increasingly looking for nontraditional candidates, including those who were chief business officers or come from outside higher education. Fewer presidents from within higher education are coming from provosts’ offices than in the past.

An ACE panel explored those issues as well as the traits a president needs to perform at a high level in today’s college environment. It’s important to develop talent in a broad range of potential future leaders so they have the skills necessary to lead colleges and universities, said Lynn M. Gangone, vice president of ACE leadership. But for prospective presidents, the job descriptions and institutions’ goals can seem overwhelming at a time when many presidents feel pressed for time and money.

“You read the prospectus, and often it’s someone is walking on water,” Gangone said. “Can one individual do all of those things that all of those [prospectuses] say about who we are and who we need to be in that role?”

Gangone believes it’s important for presidents to plan in multiple ways. They need to consider strategic planning, how to handle institutions’ budgets and recruiting diverse faculty members. They also need to be prepared for unexpected phone calls at 3 a.m. about a death on campus.

Gangone called on leaders to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses. They should build out their cabinets with others who complement those strengths, she said.

Successful leaders must strike a balance, according to Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute, which has researched successful community colleges and their leaders.

Presidents who succeed are often those who lead change and take risks -- but not those who are too disruptive, Wyner said. It’s a difficult path.

“That is rocket science in a lot of ways,” Wyner said. “It is not easy in a decentralized institution, which higher education institutions inherently are, where departments control curricula, where you’ve got, often, divisions between academics and student services.”

Wyner also discussed findings from recent interviews with 35 college presidents -- a group made up of roughly equal numbers of leaders from community colleges, small liberal arts institutions, research universities and regional public universities. Those findings include that leaders need to be skilled in finance, creating a vision, communications, marketing, fund-raising and dealing with lawmakers.

That won’t surprise anyone, as they’re skills presidents have long needed, Wyner said. But he also laid out a series of new and emerging competencies that are necessary in light of changes happening in society and on campuses.

Those competencies included improving student success markers like graduation or job-placement rates. They also included holding costs down, adapting to changes in student population demographics and handling social media crises.

Gone are the days when a president is the first to know about issues, Wyner said. Now, a president may very well find out about an issue after thousands of other people are buzzing about it online.

That can put pressure on presidents of higher educational institutions, which have long relied on slower, deliberative processes between faculty members and other constituents.

“Some of those relate to just the speed of decision making,” Wyner said. “Things are happening very quickly now, and the decentralized and consensus-building processes on college campuses often are at odds with the speed at which change is happening in the external world.”

Presidents also need to connect to the world of work in order to prepare their students for careers, Wyner said. Expectations are placed upon presidents to set up partnerships with outside organizations and to prepare students for workplaces that will be drastically changed by technology.

Panelists also discussed the fact that presidential tenures are shortening. It usually takes five years to plan changes and implement them with an institution's constituent groups, Gangone said. That means many institutions lose momentum when presidents move on after a short period of time, said Jeffrey J. Selingo, a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities and the author of There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow.

The Pathway to the Presidency

Selingo and his fellow panelists also discussed how the pathway to the college presidency is changing. Selingo conducted research expected to come out in mid-April attempting to assess from where the next generation of college presidents will come. That research included an analysis of more than 800 sitting presidents’ curriculum vitae.

“One of the things we found from our CV data mining is that in recent years, the pathway to the presidency is increasingly skipping the provost’s office,” he said. “One of the most popular routes is now from dean to president, especially at smaller institutions.”

More men are taking the dean-to-president route, Selingo said. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to become provosts before moving on to presidencies.

Even as pressures mount on institutions to change, many boards aren’t fully considering the need for change-management skills when they pick a new president, Wyner said. Trustees are often former students at an institution, and they tend to look at it nostalgically, as something that should remain the same as they remember it. Many times, they simply don’t think about a president’s capacity to drive or navigate change.

“Boards tend to care about relationship building and fiscal strength of the institution when they’re doing their searches,” Wyner said. “They tend to not pay much attention to the change-management ability of the individuals.”

Selection committees are starting to more frequently say they want candidates who already have presidential experience, Gangone said. That’s a problem for the cause of increasing diversity among college presidents, because it makes it harder for women and minority candidates who have not been presidents previously to break into the role.

Yet interest in nontraditional candidates from outside higher education is high. Those from other fields can bring important skills to the table, Wyner said. But they can also encounter trouble stemming from the fact that they are not familiar with higher education and its intricacies.

Wyner suggested yearlong fellowships to help train nontraditional candidates who are interested in entering presidential roles at colleges and universities.

“We’re going to have nontraditional presidents from outside the academy who become presidents,” he said. “The question is, are they going to flame out, or can they be transformational leaders?”

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Study shows widespread food and housing insecurity for students

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 00:00

Community colleges that want students to graduate increasingly focus not just on academic needs, but on transportation, housing and food issues.

A report released today by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and the Association of Community College Trustees reveals that many community college students are dealing with a lack of basic needs.

The report -- "Hungry and Homeless in College" -- surveyed more than 33,000 students at 70 two-year institutions in 24 states and found that two-thirds struggle with food insecurity, half are housing insecure, one-third are regularly hungry and 14 percent are homeless. The report defines food insecurity as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and homelessness as a person without a place to live or residing in a shelter, automobile or abandoned building.

“We have more detail and information, particularly about homelessness,” said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and the founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. “These students do have financial aid and they are working and they’re still not able to make ends meet. It’s not like they’re lazy or sleeping a lot of the time. … What we see is a portrait of a group of people who are trying hard and still falling short.”

Goldrick-Rab said past surveys may be underestimating the number of students who are food and housing insecure because many of these students drop out in the first weeks of a new semester, however, for this survey researchers were able to reach students early.

The report found that there was very little variation in homelessness and hunger between community college students in urban, rural or suburban areas of the country. One-third of students who identified as food or housing insecure were both working and receiving financial aid.

Those students who identified as homeless were also more likely to work longer hours at their jobs.

“The profile of homeless students in particular shows they’re just as likely as other students to be working, but they’re less likely to be paid a real wage -- less likely to make $15 an hour,” Goldrick-Rab said. “Work doesn’t pay and college prices are too high and the cost of living is too high.”

As for those 28 percent of students surveyed who are also parents, 63 percent were food insecure, 14 percent were homeless, but only 5 percent received child-care assistance.

“One of the hardest things about serving people on the margins is finding them, and it’s becoming apparent these colleges have an opportunity to do some good here,” Goldrick-Rab said. “Now whether or not the college itself pays for it or the services are paid for by something external and located at the college is something to be worked out.”

There are a handful of colleges that are actively connecting low-income students to tuition, child-care assistance, food services and subsidized health insurance.

Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, points to Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland as an example of an institution that did its own analysis and found that many of its students were financially insecure. So the institution integrated access to public benefit services into its financial aid office, she said.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of colleges take that on across the country,” she said. “The fact is that Pell [Grants aren't] keeping up, state financial aid programs are insufficient, and the degree of institutional aid is either nonexistent or inadequate.”

Not every type of service has to happen at once, she said. In one region of Kentucky, which saw a high number of men who were laid off from work coming into the community college system, there was a stigma around accepting most public benefits. But those same men were happy to learn they qualified for subsidized child care.

Still, many college administrators and faculty members feel providing these services or opening access to them shouldn’t be the college’s responsibility, Duke-Benfield said.

“We can talk about reforming developmental education until we’re blue in the face and have the academic side of a college be a well-oiled machine that meets all the academic needs of students, but if we still have students who are hungry or housing insecure, you’re still going to have a completion issue,” Duke-Benfield said.

A recent report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement, for instance, revealed that nearly half of two-year students reported that a lack of finances could cause them to withdraw from their institutions.

And with the focus on performance and outcome-based funding, colleges no longer have the luxury of ignoring these issues, Duke-Benfield said.

There are a number of initiatives that colleges and nonprofit organizations are taking on their own to combat student hunger and homelessness, like the Working Students Success Network, which is run by Achieving the Dream and 19 colleges across the country and helps connect students to public benefits, financial education, job training and placement.

There’s also the College and University Food Bank Alliance, which has more than 450 institutions as members.

At Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, the institution is piloting a food voucher program that gives 100 low-income students $7 a day to purchase food from the institution’s cafeteria. The pilot program -- One Solid Meal -- is funded by donations.

“But this is a short-term solution,” said Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill. “A longer-term solution would be some form of free lunch or some form of [food assistance] program that would help students in college, not only community colleges, but the four years as well.”

Eddinger, along with Achieving the Dream and the presidents of North Shore and Berkshire Community Colleges in Massachusetts, recently sent a letter endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office to the U.S. Government Accountability Office in an effort to encourage a national study of the issue.

Eddinger said it’s difficult for people to acknowledge the problem because hunger and poverty, especially among adults, is stigmatized.

“Everyone wants economic growth for our country and everyone wants a larger middle class, and one way to do it is through education,” she said. “If community colleges have 50 percent of all undergraduates, then that’s our solution.”

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