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Data show international graduates of U.S. colleges are winning right to stay in country and work

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 00:00

Many international students who enroll at colleges in the United States long to get jobs in the U.S. after they graduate. And while there is no right to do so on the basis of student visas, a program that allows such employment -- and whose future is unclear during the Trump administration -- is growing.

The Pew Research Center on Thursday released data showing that the annual number of "optional practical training" approvals rose from 28,497 in 2008 to 136,617 in 2014. The OPT visas are a major incentive for students from some countries to enroll at American colleges. And some American experts on enrollment trends believe that uncertainty about OPT's future could be discouraging some international students from enrolling.

In many ways, the OPT program is consistent with some of what President Trump has said about visas, which is that they should favor those who want to work in high-demand fields. The OPT program favors those who work in science and technology fields, as visas for them can last for three years after graduation. For others, the program only lasts one year. But as the Trump administration's policies on immigration are fluid, many remain nervous about what could happen to the program.

STEM graduates are nearly half (49 percent) of those approved for OPT visas in the last three years. Since those in STEM can stay longer, the share of OPT visa holders in science and technology jobs continues to rise. By far, the top countries of origin for those winning OPT visas are India and China.

At the universities for which graduates have the most success at obtaining OPT visas, thousands have won them in recent years.

Top 10 Universities Whose Graduates Won OPT Visas, 2012-15

Rank University Number 1. University of Southern California 7,485 2. Columbia University 7,116 3. New York University 5,260 4. Carnegie Mellon University 4,485 5. City University of New York 4,329 6. University of Illinois 4,247 7. University of Michigan 4,216 8. Northeastern University 4,076 9. University of Texas at Dallas 4,039 10. University of Florida 3,742 GlobalEditorial Tags: Foreign Students in U.S.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

New presidents or provosts: Delaware County Gavilan Laurier Oregon State Reinhardt Saskatchewan Stetson Tiffin Vassar

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 00:00
  • L. Joy Gates Black, vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success at Tarrant County College District, in Texas, has been chosen as president of Delaware County Community College, in Pennsylvania.
  • Elizabeth Howe Bradley, the Brady-Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy at Yale University, in Connecticut, has been appointed president of Vassar College, in New York.
  • Michele Bresso, interim vice chancellor of educational services at Kern Community College District, in California, has been named vice president of academic affairs at Gavilan College, also in California.
  • Edward Feser, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as provost and executive vice president at Oregon State University.
  • Peter Holbrook, dean of the College of Business and Management and chief operating officer at Cardinal Stritch University, in Wisconsin, has been named provost at Tiffin University, in Ohio.
  • Deborah MacLatchy, provost and vice president, academic, at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Ontario, has been chosen as president and vice chancellor there.
  • Noel Painter, interim provost at Stetson University, in Florida, has been named executive vice president and provost there.
  • Mark Roberts, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Reinhardt University, in Georgia, has been promoted to provost there.
  • Tony Vannelli, dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, has been selected as provost and vice president, academic, at the University of Saskatchewan.
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Colleges Grapple With How to Help Students Still Left in Limbo by Trump’s Travel Ban

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Global) - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 13:45
With the academic year almost over, affected international students need housing, on-campus jobs, and other support during the summer.

HE improving but much remains to be done - World Bank

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 12:58
Providing good-quality higher education to low-income and middle-class students in Latin America and the Caribbean who are joining universities and technical colleges in droves, is a big challenge ...

Business schools not living up to their alumni network promises

The PIE News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 09:29

Business schools rely on strong graduate networks to attract prospective students and to serve as global brand ambassadors. However, a new global survey of graduates has found they are falling short when it comes to engaging with alumni.

Career support is a “critical” area business schools will need to improve if they want to create more engaged alumni, argues a report from education market consultancy CarringtonCrisp, which found just one in five alumni definitely agree their school has a strong alumni network

Business schools also need to put greater focus on maintaining online channels in order to reap the benefits of their global graduate networks and overcome the “tyranny of distance”.

More than a third of recent business school leavers said they were unhappy with the career support they received

Unsurprisingly, alumni who reported having a positive experience at business school are more likely to remain connected after they graduate – nearly 90% of engaged alumni said they were satisfied with their student experience overall.

But the survey of 2,635 business school leavers – whose graduation years date back to 1961 – found as many as half were unhappy with the career support they received.

Satisfaction levels have increased significantly over the last two decades, though there is still much room for improvement. Of the alumni who graduated within the last three years, 61% agreed that their institution’s career support was good, compared to 35% who graduated more than 20 years ago.

But there remains a gap between happy graduates and engaged alumni. Some 80% of survey takers said they are both positive towards their business school and proud to be associated with it, but half as many said they agree “to any extent” that they still feel engaged with their school.

These figures highlight “a significant reservoir of goodwill” that, if harnessed effectively, “can be leveraged to a school’s benefit”, argues the report.

“Many schools promote their alumni network to candidates as a key benefit, but progress is needed to ensure the reality lives up to the promise, with only one in five (21%) alumni definitely agreeing their school has a strong alumni network,” said Andrew Crisp, the consultancy’s co-founder and co-author of the report.

Alumni communities online and digital communication channels play a “distinctive role” in alumni engagement, according to the report.

The survey found that more than three quarters of alumni who regularly visit Facebook or LinkedIn groups agree their school’s alumni network is strong, compared to only 50% of those who never visit the groups, the survey found.

And 83% of graduates who visit their school’s alumni webpages – which often don’t provide any interaction with alumni – rate the network as very strong, compared to 40% of those who never visit the website.

But participation rates in online communities set up by business schools remain low – only one in ten people who took part in the survey were classified as regular users – and highlight the challenge schools face in encouraging active participation from their alumni.

It’s not enough to simply create digital spaces for graduates to interact with each other and the school, the report counsels, but how schools use them will be crucial.

“Schools need to consider how they can make better use of social media to cultivate greater alumni engagement and benefit from their support and loyalty,” commented Crisp.

“Many schools promote their alumni network to candidates as a key benefit, but progress is needed to ensure the reality lives up to the promise”

“Whilst social media and digital communication is key, it’s not simply about having a Facebook or LinkedIn page, but creating content that provides real benefits and value to alumni,” he said.

Gretchen Dobson, vice president of international alumni and graduate affairs at Academic Assembly, a global education operations management company, agreed online engagement requires more effort than traditional alumni newsletters or printed magazines.

“It is one thing to build a LinkedIn group of alumni members, but how many of these members return to the space and participate in discussions? How many alumni feel motivated to share an alum’s op-ed piece with their other networks?” she said. “I would encourage institutions to remain creative and continue to ask the alumni what they think works best.”

Dobson added that business school graduates are inherently more likely than graduates in other fields to expect and contribute to supportive alumni networks, underlining the importance of improving alumni engagement.

“Business schools attract students who understand that networking is part of the DNA of their program,” she said. “Some students choose their business school based on the reputation of esteemed alumni, faculty and the opportunity to network their way to an internship or a job. The alumni network becomes stronger with engaged students.”

The post Business schools not living up to their alumni network promises appeared first on The PIE News.

Ecuador waits for Lenín Moreno

Economist, North America - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 07:46

IN A burst of hyperbole and historical confusion, Rafael Correa compared the run-off election in Ecuador last month to “the battle of Stalingrad” in which his left-wing government was “fighting against the global right wing”. Yet the outcome was far from the rout achieved on the Russian steppes: rather, Mr Correa’s candidate, Lenín Moreno, achieved a narrow victory, by 51% to 49% over Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker. Even so, the result interrupted the recent ebbing of the “pink tide” in South America that has seen several electoral victories for the centre-right.

The prospects for Mr Moreno’s presidency, which begins on May 24th, are unusually uncertain. His first task is to establish his legitimacy in practice. Some in the opposition question his victory. The electoral authority’s computers briefly shut down with Mr Lasso in an early lead. The police raided Cedatos, Ecuador’s most reliable polling firm, confiscating its computers, after it published an exit poll giving Mr...

A journalist slain

Economist, North America - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 07:46

At least four Mexican journalists have been killed this year for their reporting, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Since 2007 66 have died violently. On May 15th unknown assassins murdered one of the finest, Javier Valdez, in the state of Sinaloa. Mr Valdez was a co-founder of Ríodoce, a weekly publication that covers corruption and the bloody wars between drug-trafficking gangs. The CPJ says he “combined the grit of the most battle-hardened reporter with the elegiac soul of a 19th-century Romantic poet”. The death toll is so high that earlier this month the attorney-general’s office replaced the chief of its division for “crimes against freedom of expression”.

Deadline pressure for Colombia’s peace agreement

Economist, North America - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 07:46

THE Tierra Grata encampment in the foothills of the Perijá mountains overlooks vast cattle ranches around the city of Valledupar. If the FARC guerrillas were still waging war on the government of Colombia, it would be the perfect spot from which to dominate this north-eastern area. But the 160 members of the FARC’s 41st and 19th fronts who occupy the hillside camp spent a recent Sunday preparing not for battle but for a football tournament with teams from nearby towns. They are among nearly 7,000 guerrillas in 26 camps across the country who are waiting to disarm and become civilians under a peace deal, ratified last December, that ends the group’s 52-year-long war against the state.

But even as the FARC footballers warmed up, there were signs that not everything was going to plan. The camp is still under construction, which should have finished last year. The FARC’s ammunition and 7,000 firearms should have been deposited in shipping containers secured by the UN by the end of April...

Leaked recordings are trouble for Michel Temer

Economist, North America - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 04:03

UNTIL now, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, has personally avoided the scandals that have engulfed his administration. The supreme court has authorised investigations into eight members of his cabinet, as well as 24 senators and 39 lower-house deputies for allegations related to the vast scandal centred on Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company. However, the president was not a target of the inquiries. And no one had suggested that he had committed any crimes during his term of office, which could lead to impeachment.

That changed with sickening suddenness on May 17th, when O Globo, a newspaper, reported that Mr Temer had been caught on tape endorsing the payment of hush money to a politician convicted of taking bribes. According to the newspaper, in March the president met Joesley Batista, a businessman whose family controls JBS, the world’s biggest beef exporter. The firm is being investigated over accusations of paying kickbacks to...

Elections loom over Germany-Kenya university

The PIE News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 03:12

With elections pending in both Germany and Kenya, work to establish the Eastern African German University of Applied Sciences is continuing apace amid concerns that a regime change in either country before final agreements are in place could scupper the initiative.

Working groups in both countries – which include representatives from Kenya’s Commission for University Education, the German embassy in Nairobi and DAAD – have drafted a bilateral agreement laying out how the institution will operate, as well as the two countries’ obligations in the process.

“Both panels are aware that priorities could change if new governments are elected”

The agreement has been submitted to the Kenyan government, which, along with its German counterpart, must give its sign off before universities can bid to host the institution.

At the moment, there is “tremendous goodwill” on both sides towards the project, Uwe Koppel, head of cultural affairs at the German embassy in Nairobi, told The PIE News.

“While it is not possible to put an exact date on when we should see the university up and running, the process is moving at a good pace.”

However, both working groups are apprehensive of policy or priority changes that might occur should the current administrations leave power.

Kenya will hold its general elections on August 8 this year, with Germany following in September.

“Both panels are aware that elections are coming up in both countries in August and September respectively, and aware that priorities could change if new governments are elected, they want to make sure that as much ground is covered and crucial [steps] are agreed upon in good time,” Koppel said.

Once the agreement is signed, tenders will be floated, inviting bids from both public and private Kenyan universities interested in hosting the applied sciences university. It had been decided that establishing an entirely new, standalone institution would delay the process of setting up the university, and so it will operate from an existing campus.

On the German side, a partner university will also be chosen to help with benchmarking and knowledge transfer.

The idea of establishing an institution using the German university of applied sciences model to teach students from across the Eastern Africa region was first mooted in 2015, and a declaration of intent was signed in February this year.

The Eastern African German University of Applied Sciences will teach mainly engineering and sciences programs, as well as German to facilitate student and staff exchange. Students will also have the opportunity to spend time working in industry in Germany.

“Some talented students will be benefiting from attachment opportunities in Germany, based on merit, and this will be a huge advantage to their academic wok and future careers,” Koppel said.

The post Elections loom over Germany-Kenya university appeared first on The PIE News.

Advocates prod Stanford into better treatment of student veterans

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00

Stanford University is among the world's wealthiest educational institutions, with an endowment north of $22 billion. Which made it all the more disturbing to Adam Behrendt that the university appeared to be shortchanging undergraduate veterans like him out of the majority of their federal education benefits -- in ways that he and some supporters believed violated congressional intent.

Behrendt, a former U.S. Navy corpsman who enrolled as a transfer student at Stanford in 2015, has waged a relentless personal campaign to persuade Stanford of the error of its ways, advocating for individual veterans and prodding the university to make recruitment of military service members a higher priority. In bringing pressure to bear on Stanford officials, he has sought help from everyone from the U.S. attorney’s office to congressional aides, veterans’ groups and financial aid experts.

In recent months the university has altered some of those policies to make them more supportive of veterans, crediting some of the changes to Behrendt’s persistent pressure, and added veteran status to its nondiscrimination policy. Yet Stanford officials continue to defend their earlier practices and stop short of institutionalizing some of the changes that Behrendt thinks would make Stanford more veteran-friendly, as it was in the years after World War II.

“Over the years, we’ve allowed this leadership to slip away, to the detriment of students, veterans, and the civilian-military relationship in America,” Behrendt wrote in a recent proposal for Stanford’s long-range planning process. “Stanford could easily lead again. The opportunity exists to repair and reinvent this relationship, by making veteran reintegration a priority, by opening a pathway by which undergraduate veterans can access the university and by working as hard to identify, recruit, retain and advance veterans as we do for leaders in other underserved communities.”

An Accidental Advocate

Behrendt did not set out to be an advocate. The Wisconsin native enlisted in the Navy in 2007, after several years at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, was medically retired from the Navy in March 2015, and applied to Stanford with the goal of attending medical school.

The process of applying for financial aid exasperated him. The way Stanford applied the education benefits available through the Post 9/11 GI Bill did not make it financially feasible for Behrendt’s wife to give up her job in Wisconsin and move with him to California, and he struggled with the transition for much of that year.

During the application process, he connected with Service to School, a nonprofit that helps military veterans apply to and succeed in college. He began mentoring other veterans as a result, and when some of them ran into even more trouble than he did with Stanford’s financial aid policies, he fought on their behalf.

“I didn’t really do anything significant in the military, but here’s a guy who did, and Stanford admits him, then makes it almost financially impossible for him to go there,” Behrendt said of a fellow student veteran. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

He and others were negatively affected, they believed, by various aspects of the university’s policies, including those covering students with disabilities and others that apply to older and married students. But the policy with which Behrendt took issue most strongly was Stanford’s approach to applying educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Under the program, the Veterans Affairs Department provides both tuition assistance and a housing and living allowance to former service members to pursue postsecondary education. As recently as the 2016-17 academic year, Stanford charged roughly $72,000 for an undergraduate -- $47,000 in tuition, $18,000 in room and board, and about $7,000 for books and fees.

Under VA policy at the time, the typical undergraduate veteran at Stanford would be eligible for more than $50,000 -- roughly $25,000 in tuition and fees support and another $28,000 toward housing and living expenses.

For veterans who also earned need-based funds from Stanford, the university would apply the entire $53,000 from the VA, and reduce its own financial contributions as a result.

In Behrendt's view it made no sense for the university to take $28,000 in VA funds to cover $18,000 in room and board, and he points to better policies at Stanford Law School, which mirror his perspective by not counting the allowance. The living allowance the government sought to provide was designed to help cover a veteran's family's expenses, in exchange for the veteran's service to the country.

"These funds were legislated for veterans' benefit -- to ensure veterans education success -- not for subsidizing Stanford’s budget," he said. But the university was counting the housing allowance as a resource that the student veteran was bringing to the table in calculating financial aid.

In addition to tirelessly hounding Stanford to change its policies, Behrendt reached out to an enormous array of government officials, lawyers, policy analysts and, yes, journalists to try to draw their attention to the situation. Some of those people and organizations, like the Justice Department's civil rights division and the advocacy group Veterans Education Success, imposed pressure of their own on the institution.

Among those who offered their thoughts was David Bergeron, a fellow at the Center for American Progress who spent 15 years at the U.S. Department of Education, where he served as a liaison with the VA and the Pentagon on educational benefits for service members.

In an email last fall, Bergeron said that Stanford "appears to be excluding reasonable costs and effectively denying veterans the full benefit of the institutional resources and veterans' benefits that should be available to them, particularly when the veteran brings with him or her outside support. Such outside support should not be reduced, nor should it result in the institutional resources being reduced."

In an interview at the time, Bergeron said he was distressed but not surprised by Stanford's approach. "One of the problems we have with the financial aid system [is that] institutions have a lot of independence in the way they choose to implement federal programs, and they have essentially rigged the game so that their money goes into the game last," he said. "Stanford is basically saying, 'We're going to do this so as little of our money is exposed as possible.'"

Throughout much of last fall, Stanford continued to insist, to Behrendt and to anyone who asked, including Inside Higher Ed, that "we are following correct processes …. We double-checked with the VA and were advised that our position is correct," as Lisa Lapin, associate vice president for university communications, said in an email to this reporter in early October.

Days later, though, Stanford's general counsel noted in a letter to Behrendt that the university would no longer take more than the amount of the housing costs out of the VA's living allowance.

The letter also stated that the university would not use an outside donor's funds to meet a federal requirement that institutions match VA contributions under the Yellow Ribbon program, another practice to which Behrendt (and the outside donor) had objected.

Instead, the university agreed to use the donor's funds to ensure that all of its current undergraduate veterans were able to attend at no cost, essentially covering the $5,000 of their net costs that the university typically requires need-based aid recipients to meet, usually through performing some kind of work.

In an interview in February about the changes, which the university detailed in a news release, Stanford officials said the policy shifts reflected the university's goal to "always try to be open to hearing recommendations about how we can do better," said Lauren K. Schoenthaler, the university's senior associate vice provost for institutional equity and access.

Karen Cooper, director of financial aid at Stanford, said the university's policies had "gotten out of sync" with those of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as the size of the housing allowance available through the program had "increased pretty dramatically." "When it was first created, it was a pretty good match for our housing expenses, but then last year we realized it had really gotten out of alignment."

So going forward, she said, Stanford would "ignore the portion of the monthly housing benefit that's greater than our housing costs," and let the veteran keep those funds.

In the interview, Schoenthaler was asked whether external pressure prompted the changes. "It is absolutely the case that students' experiences have motivated change," she said. "That's something we look for, celebrate." She noted that student advocacy had led Stanford to adopt its "transformational sexual assault prevention program."

"The Stanford position is always 'what else?'" said Schoenthaler. "And what else can we do? What else can we do? We're never satisfied with where we are. That's one of the reasons we've continued to try to get better."

Progress, Not Perfection

Better, yes, but not good enough, as Behrendt sees it.

He continues to argue, for instance, that Stanford should reimburse veterans who enrolled from 2008 to 2016 for the amount they lost in institutional scholarship money because the university replaced it with the VA living allowance.

More fundamentally, he argued in a memo to Stanford administrators last month that the university has abandoned the commitment it showed decades ago to being a "national leader in veteran reintegration," when the author Wallace Stegner founded the Stanford Creative Writing Program to help military service members returning from World War II.

The university compares poorly to many of its elite university peers in the number of veterans it enrolls, Behrendt said, with just 21 (0.3 percent of undergraduates) enrolled in the 2016-17 academic year. Columbia University, he notes, enrolls well over 400.

He would like to see Stanford make the sort of commitment that Cornell University did this month, when the New York university said it would more than quadruple (to 100) the number of undergraduate veterans it enrolls.

There, too, advocacy from student veterans brought about the changes.

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Indiana ban on sexual assault offenders applauded, but not adopted elsewhere

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00

When Indiana University at Bloomington last month adopted a policy barring athletes with a record of sexual violence, people questioned: Why aren’t all institutions doing so?

Amid high-profile cases and an increased awareness of sexual assaults perpetrated by college athletes, advocates have lobbied the National Collegiate Athletic Association to institute some sort of blanket measure.

The NCAA, and even individual conferences, has shied away from an associationwide decree, however.

A rule from the Southeastern Conference inspired Indiana’s policy, though Indiana’s is more expansive, said Jeremy Gray, Indiana’s senior associate athletic director.

Indiana disqualifies both freshman and transfer students who have been convicted of or pleaded no contest to a felony sexual violence charge, including dating or domestic violence and rape.

The SEC rule, though similar, applies only to transfer students across the conference.

Though an SEC working group composed of university athletic directors, administrators and college presidents has extensively discussed the prospect of extending the ban to freshmen, thus far the conference has been satisfied with the rule adopted in 2015, which some felt disadvantaged the conference competitively, said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

Concerns were raised that prospective first-year athletes may have committed offenses as minors, and so information may be shielded, Sankey said -- not so with a transfer who is being judged on their “adult record,” he said. Some states prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for certain charges, so there are people being recruited as new students who have records.

Back when the rule was first being debated, some believed that the conference shouldn’t take such a role, Sankey said. But he said that athletes with a history of sexual violence can present a safety concern to the rest of campus, as well as causing harm to an institution or the conference’s reputation.

A number of significant sexual assault cases in recent years have involved college athletes. Baylor University made headlines in 2015 when a Texas Monthly story detailed how the university recruited and enrolled athletes whose past records should have made the university hesitate. Other stories and an investigation followed; ultimately 17 women reported 19 domestic or sexual assaults by football players between 2011 and 2015. The University of Oregon found three basketball players responsible for sexual misconduct in 2014. One of the players had been accused of sexual assault at his previous institution before transferring to Oregon, and all three later transferred to other colleges and joined their basketball teams.

In an interview, Sankey would not endorse a NCAA-wide policy, saying though heightened attention to these issues is important, he said he would “want us to think carefully” before adding a rule across the entire association.

He did encourage respective conferences to consider a policy, calling the SEC’s “beneficial.”

Adopting such a policy like that communicates the seriousness of sexual violence and infringement of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the federal law barring gender discrimination, said Katherine Redmond Brown, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes.

Brown stressed, however, that nuances of a policy must be clearly defined and actually executed properly.

She said responsibility falls to the coaches and athletic directors to determine who vets athletes. Blue-chip recruits may naturally be afforded some leniency because they strengthen a college or university team’s competitive edge, Brown said.

Writing the specifics of a policy in a student or athletic handbook would help, Brown said.

She has urged the NCAA to embrace an associationwide policy, but also said that each conference adopting a policy would be more valuable than just at individual institutions.

A conferencewide policy would alleviate legal concerns or a student simply transferring to another institution, Brown said.

A representative from the Big 10, which Indiana is a part of, acknowledged by email he had been contacted for a story but did not comment further. The Big 10, unlike other conferences, does not have a rule on transfers with "serious misconduct" issues.

At Indiana, coaches and the sports administrators to whom they report investigate prospective athletes, Gray said.

Though a formal background check isn’t conducted during the recruiting process, many of these athletes are well-known and so information on them is readily available, Gray said.

The policy was instituted right away following the university’s Faculty Athletics Committee vote, Gray said. Thus far it has been generally well received, he said. The policy language was posted to Indiana’s website and then distributed to head coaches and other senior staff.

“It doesn’t necessarily link to their athletic ability, but it definitely links with how we want to represent ourselves as an institution,” Gray said.

The change grabbed headlines last month and criticism that such a ban was prejudicial against athletes, much like the initial conversations surrounding the SEC rule.

To Brown, this sort of policy doesn’t discriminate against athletes but rather is in investment in risk management for a college or university. She noted that the recidivism rate for sexual assault offenders is high.

“That’s a big risk to bring on somebody with a history of violence, of sexual assault, of domestic violence. I think it’s seen as basic risk management and to ensure the students are safe. That’s a huge obligation,” Brown said.

Maintaining a position, ideally a woman, to serve as a consistent presence and mentor and to help athletes understand and work through these types of issues would change the culture in academe, Brown said. Athletes observing a woman in that type of role would benefit them, she said.

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Editor of new volume discusses his colleagues' attempts to explain the arts and sciences

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00

Dan Rockmore asks a seemingly simple question in the title of collection he has just edited, What Are the Arts and Sciences? A Guide for the Curious (Dartmouth College Press/University of New England Press). But the book is about disciplines, and not just the arts and sciences as a group. Twenty-six of his colleagues at Dartmouth College wrote chapters, explaining their disciplines for the nonexpert. Rockmore, a professor of computer science and mathematics, wrote the chapter on mathematics.

The chapters are of course in some ways minimalist -- biology can't really be explained in 12 pages, nor classics in 13. But the authors each explain a few concepts in their field to illustrate ways of thinking and paths forward for their disciplines. At a time of a lack of appreciation nationally for the arts and sciences, Rockmore hopes the collection will spur better understanding of their importance -- on campus and off. He responded via email to questions about the work.

Q: What gave you the idea of doing this book?

A: The book came from two separate but related ideas. I was enjoying reading E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World to my son -- and learning a lot! And I thought that it would be great if there were an analogous book that was something like a walk through the world of ideas, hopefully written in the same friendly, open and inviting manner for a broader but similarly motivated audience: the curious and eager learner of all ages.

This fed into a related constant little obsession of mine, which is an astonishment around how generally people of all ages have very little understanding or awareness of what it is that others do in their work, be they lawyers, marketing executives or bankers. This is especially true about academics -- just what is it that a math professor does all day? And moreover, even within the academy, it’s true among academics. The art historian may well have no idea of what the sociologist does all day and vice versa. What is it that they are studying?

I’ve devoted a fair amount of time to trying to break down those kinds of walls here at Dartmouth, and this book is a piece of that, but with a broader audience in mind. I’m a firm believer in the idea that most people are generally curious about the world of ideas and that all they need is a nonthreatening and friendly entree, and that we’d all be better off if that curiosity could be embraced, addressed and fostered.

Q: How did you select disciplines and authors?

A: I knew from the start that the book couldn’t be encyclopedic, and I figured I would start from traditional arts and sciences disciplines as a core and then add a bit around the edges, in some sense reflecting the way in which the academy has grown over time. So I had to make some hard choices -- and hope that I didn’t hurt any feelings along the way. For example, even though they are all different disciplines, I wasn’t going to have a chapter on each foreign language, and I chose only French. I chose English and not comparative literature.

There are now many different cultural studies majors, and I chose two of the earliest: African-American studies and women’s and gender studies. Engineering could be a book on its own. After choosing the subjects, I then had to choose among many colleagues for my contributors. I’m lucky to work on a collaborative and small campus where I know a lot of people. Even then I often found myself choosing among friends, many of whom would have done a great job. Dartmouth is known for its fine teachers, so it was an embarrassment of riches and forced some tough decisions.

Q: As you prepared the entry on mathematics, how did you pick the concepts to include?

A: I wanted to give a few examples that would give the reader a flavor for what doing math is all about and also to give an indication of just how broad and grand the discipline is. Math is maybe particularly challenging since some people come to it with some past and not always happy previous experiences. I also wanted to make this gentle introduction example driven -- to help the reader along with little puzzles and then explanations so that she or he could have the experience of actually (and successfully!) doing a little math while reading (no pencil and paper necessary!). Engagement is key. I have three examples there: the first is probably familiar (a famous formula for adding up consecutive numbers); the next probably unfamiliar but understandable, relatable and connected to some very interesting and super-relevant applied work (networks); and the last is really just “math for the fun,” which is the mystery of making sense of infinity.

These examples touch on some central ideas of mathematics: patterns in numbers, topology, infinity, graph theory, but more importantly, I hope that in the explaining they give some idea of what it’s like to do math and shed a little light on the process of abstraction. It’s really just the tip of the iceberg -- but that’s true with every essay. The goal is to give the reader a sense of what the discipline is about, a little insight into how those who engage with it do it and, finally, hope that with that taste, the reader might want to come back for more.

Q: These days, many politicians and parents seem to doubt the value of the liberal arts. Could the ideas in this book be used to change those attitudes?

A: I sure hope so! To start, I guess we need to be a little more precise about the question. For some people “the liberal arts” is code for “the humanities.” When I use the term, I mean the kind of educational context that we still require at Dartmouth -- a broad-based education where you major in a subject but you also require a sampling of course work from the sciences and humanities.

The book is not a polemic. I didn’t ask the authors to say why their discipline matters, but rather to try to answer the question “What is X?” where X is the discipline of choice, as if responding to a curious and interested friend or acquaintance. In this way, the book is like a collection of friendly conversations with a sampling of professors from around campus, and in that a microcosm of the liberal arts environment. I hope that the experience of reading the essays and engaging with the ideas within them generates sparks of excitement, interest and connection -- the same things we aim to inspire when we teach at places like Dartmouth. So that ultimately, the goal would be that a student thinking about a major or course of study, a parent or (even!) a politician -- or any reader -- would have those feelings and then realize that they derive from this collision of ideas. Plutarch wrote that “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Sometimes when people denigrate the liberal arts, they don’t even really know what it is that they are railing against. People spend a lot of money on college, so it’s reasonable to want to get something tangible out of the experience. Of course, that’s fine for some people and not for everyone. There are all kinds of minds out there. To give a variation on an old cliché, you can teach a person to fish, but you can also teach them about fishing, its history, connection to the environment, its place in different cultures across time, space and even art. The former puts food on the table today, and the latter would probably better for long-term understanding and planning. To the extent that you need a value proposition, both approaches have value, intellectually and in the marketplace. But of course I’m not the only person saying that -- even business magazines talk about the value of the liberal arts.

Q: Of the entries that you didn’t write, were there one or two that surprised you? How?

A: So, just to be clear, I only wrote the math entry. Twenty-six of my colleagues (OK, two are now former colleagues) wrote the others! I learned so much by reading and editing the essays.

You put me in a tough spot by asking me to pick one or two, but I’ll try. I suppose that the essay that I learned the most from was Derrick White’s contribution, “What Is African-American Studies?” I only had some vague sense of the field, and Derrick does an extraordinary job in his essay of articulating the importance and subject matter of the discipline, discussing its origins, all while surveying some of the enduring subjects of study within it. I found it to be extraordinarily inspiring and thought provoking. Ada Cohen’s essay “What Is Art History?” is also a favorite. I am forever amazed at how much can be learned by looking closely at a work of art or, for that matter, any kind of image or object and am in awe of those who can read a painting like I read a book or an equation.

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Data show small improvements in accessibility of course materials

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00

Much of the debate about accessibility issues in higher education in recent years has focused on audio and video -- take, for example, the high-profile lawsuits against prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.

But new data from Blackboard show that the most common types of course content that students use on a daily basis -- images, PDFs, presentations and other documents -- continue to be riddled with accessibility issues. And while colleges have made some slight improvements over the last five years, the issues are widespread.

The findings come from Ally, an accessibility tool that Blackboard launched today (the company in October acquired Fronteer, the ed-tech company behind the tool). Ally scans the course materials in a college’s learning management system, comparing the materials to a checklist based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative. If any issues arise, the tool flags them and suggests accessible alternatives.

As part of the launch, Blackboard released a brief look at how course content accessibility changed between 2012 and 2017. Although the data come from only 20 institutions, the analysis covers 21 million course content items used in 700,000 courses.

Blackboard did not say which 20 institutions were included in the study but added that they were selected to provide a “good mix” in terms of geography and Carnegie classification in order to “provide insight into most of North American higher education.”

The findings paint a mixed picture. On one hand, colleges are using fewer scanned documents (12.8 percent of all documents, down from 13.4 percent), untagged PDFs (44.6 percent of all PDFs, down from 52.5 percent) and images without alternative text (77.9 percent of all images, down from 80 percent) than they did five years ago. Those issues make it difficult, if not impossible, for screen readers to convert the files into text. On the other hand, the number of documents with contrast issues or without headings has increased slightly.

The average overall accessibility score -- which is intended to give colleges a high-level estimate of the accessibility of their course content -- has risen from 27.5 percent in 2012 to 30.6 percent. That does not mean that less than one-third of course materials are accessible to people with disabilities, however. The accessibility issues flagged by Ally are weighted differently. For example, a scanned document that is completely unreadable to a blind student has a greater impact on the score than a document with contrast issues, Blackboard said.

“We are seeing over the last five years a very slight improvement, but over all the improvements are small,” said Nicolaas Matthijs, a product manager at Blackboard who helped develop Ally. “We’re still far away from where we ideally want to be.”

In a statement, the National Federation of the Blind also lamented the “glacial progress” seen in the data.

“These findings confirm that there is definite progress in the higher education community with respect to providing content that is nonvisually accessible,” Chris Danielsen, director of public relations, said in an email. “They also demonstrate that institutions are becoming more educated about accessibility and its importance. However, this progress is extremely slow, and all the while blind students continue to struggle.”

The NFB is one of several organizations pushing for the passage of the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act, which would develop and promote voluntary accessibility guidelines for course materials.

Matthijs said the data don’t properly capture the fact that an increasing number of colleges are taking steps to make course content accessible to students with disabilities (although some of the institutions may be doing so because of the looming “threat of some sort of legal action,” he said).

“As accessibility has become a bigger issue, we’ve seen an average improvement, which in many cases can be tied back to institutional initiatives,” Matthijs said. “But the progress has been slow.”

Margaret Price, associate professor of English and director of disability studies at Ohio State University, said in an email that she is concerned that the gap between the colleges making an effort to address accessibility issues and those that aren’t may be widening.

“We may be perceiving the emergence of a new digital divide -- a divide between those who create content that is accessible from the start … and those who assume that accessibility must be extremely difficult or expensive, and not worth the effort,” Price said. “That's simply not true, but it's a myth that I seem to be running into with increasing frequency -- even as I am also running into more and more professors and students who are excited to think about access in creative and generative ways.”

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Franco-Canadian pact to address teacher shortage

The PIE News - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 09:10

A new agreement between three higher education associations in Canada and France aims to create a single solution to two problems: a lack of French teachers in Canada and a lack of teaching jobs in France.

The letter of intent, signed at the French Embassy in Ottawa on May 16, will encourage students enrolled in French universities to teach in francophone Canada. It will make up for a lack of sufficient French language teachers in Canada, while fulfilling a need for more professional opportunities for students.

“We sincerely believe that this memorandum can contribute to the development of teaching in French in Canada”

The deal aims to facilitate collaboration between the 34 member universities of the Conférence des présidents d’université in France, the Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne and Universities Canada.

Through the agreement, students and graduates of French universities will be encouraged to complete supplemental training at a Canadian institution, before taking up teaching positions in schools that offer French immersion courses or as French language teachers in primary or secondary schools.

Though the purpose of the agreement is primarily to address a teacher shortage in Canada, it will also encourage Canadian students to gain work experience in France.

Concerns about the supply and quality of francophone teachers have proliferated in Canada in recent years, as interest in French immersion has increased sharply. Enrolment climbed 41% in the decade leading up to 2014/15, according to Statistics Canada.

“We sincerely believe that this memorandum can contribute to the development of teaching in French and the French language in Canada by fostering student mobility between our two countries,” commented Dominic Giroux, vice-chair of the Universities Canada board of directors and president of Laurentian University.

The agreement will also have a wider impact, added Allister Surette, co-chairman of the ACUFC and president of Nova Scotia’s Université Sainte-Anne.

“The partnerships and agreements between French and Canadian universities which will emerge from this letter of intent are sure to be beneficial not only for our educational establishments but also for the communities where we live and work.”

The letter of intent builds on a long history of Franco-Canadian mobility, including a longstanding youth mobility agreement to facilitate the movement of 18-35 year olds between the two countries.

A common language means France is a popular study destination for Canadian students, attracting 108,217 for-credit students in 2015. France was the third-largest source of international students for Canada in the same year, sending 20,136 students to study there.

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Vietnam: local enrolments at foreign schools expected to grow after cap removed

The PIE News - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 08:15

The international schools market in Vietnam is expected to see a surge in enrolments following the announcement of a draft decree which will uncap local student enrolments at foreign-invested schools.

The draft decree, which was announced earlier this year, will replace decree 73, which currently enforces a cap on the number of Vietnamese students enrolling at schools below higher education level established through foreign investment.

The cap currently dictates that only 10% of enrolments can be Vietnamese children at primary schools, and 20% at the high school level.

The new draft decree will allow institutions to decide on the ratio of domestic to international students themselves.

“If the government makes the improvements it is planning this will certainly help supply to meet the demand”

Sami Yosef, head of South East Asia research at ISC Research, said that it can be challenging to establish and operate an international school in Vietnam in the existing regulatory climate.

“The country currently ranks 78th in the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business index,” he said. “This, along with the strict restrictions of decree 73, have severely hampered developments for foreign-owned international schools in Vietnam.

“If the government makes the improvements it is planning, including actively supporting education investment, this will certainly help supply to meet the demand.”

The latest ISC market intelligence report for Vietnam shows that growth in the country’s international school market has been relatively slow, restricted by some of the conditions of decree 73.

Between 2011 and 2016, there was an increase in the number of schools from 84 to 109 (29.8%).

The growth is initially expected in student enrolments in the existing foreign-invested institutions, commented Yosef, as spaces will become available for those on waiting lists.

“Then we would expect to see gradual expansion of existing schools and the addition of new foreign-invested international schools, particularly those offering affordable school fees,” he continued.

“Especially if the Vietnamese government takes the expected steps to actively support foreign direct investment in education.”

The decree only applies to those schools which have been set up through foreign investment rather than Vietnamese-owned international schools.

“These schools are in demand but also hard to come by,”  Yosef commented.

Vietnam is a growing student source market across many levels of study for top destination countries. But with more Vietnamese students likely to be enrolled at foreign-invested schools due to the removal of the local student quota, there may be more incentives to stay.

“The government is hoping that more K-12 international school options for local families will encourage more to stay in the country”

“The Vietnamese government is hoping that more K-12 international school options for local families in Vietnam will encourage more families to stay in the country, at least until higher education, if not beyond,” said Phan Manh Hung, the attorney supporting the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training to draft the new decree.

Yosef added: “It is certainly reasonable to assume that some families who would have otherwise sent their children abroad for pre-university schooling, will choose to keep them at home and send them to a local foreign-invested international school instead.”

Hung said the cap was a barrier to further development of foreign institutions outside of the most-populated cities in the country, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially.

The decree also lays out changes for foreign investments in higher education by increasing required minimal investments to around three times the current amount of 300 billion dong ($13,225).

And lecturers at foreign-invested universities will need to hold a degree at master’s level, with around half also holding a doctorate.

The draft decree is expected to be implemented later this year.

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Tatsuhiko Hoshino, JAOS, Japan

The PIE News - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 04:22
As Japan aims to boost tourism ahead of hosting the 2020 Olympics, the government has implemented a number of initiatives to increase English proficiency in the country. Tatsuhiko Hoshino, executive secretary of the Japan Association of Overseas Studies, tells The PIE how these efforts affect outbound study, and why some new destinations are on the agenda.

The PIE: How has JAOS grown over the past 25 years?

TH: This is our 26th year – last year was our 25th anniversary. In the late 1980s, as our economy was booming, what we call the ‘bubble economy’ happened in Japan from the late 80s to early 90s, like five or six years. And we saw so many Japanese students looking for education overseas at that time, and the number of Japanese going to study abroad increased rapidly.

Naturally, the agency business was kind of created then. As agents sent more students overseas, we had more complaints. The number of the complaints grew, and sometimes they were very serious, and created some problems in our society. Then the government started realising they had to do something to this industry. Before the government stepped in, some of the owners of the study abroad agencies at that time thought it better for us to create some platform so that we could have a dialogue among friendly competitors, to level out our services, make guidelines, and so we could talk to the government. We wanted to say ‘It’s okay for us because we take care of ourselves, look at these guidelines’.

“Outbound numbers hit rock bottom five years ago and agencies suffered”

So JAOS was created in that sense. We only had 10- 15 agencies, but we gradually grew as Japanese students going to study abroad were increasing up until 2001. But after that it decreased. Then it hit rock bottom five years ago, then study [abroad] came back again. So agencies suffered from decreasing student numbers. At that time, we thought we needed something more, on top of just making guidelines.

So we have done several things in the market. One, we created a certification course, a training course for study abroad counsellors. Another thing we did is we created opportunities, and found a place where we can have dialogues [with those] who are in charge of promoting education in Japan like Austrade, Education New Zealand… and we’ve made the dialogue meeting annual. We had this meeting in February, that was I think the 20th anniversary. JAOS members and officers from specific countries came together – one full day – and exchanged information.

The PIE: What was discussed in the last meeting?

TH: The topic we featured was new destinations like the Philippines, because other countries’ officers are very curious about how much that new destination has developed. As a matter of fact, the Philippines is a growing new destination for the Japanese market. Many of our members started sending their students to the Philippines.

The PIE: Why do you think the Philippines is gaining popularity?

TH: One, the majority of instruction is provided on a one-to-one basis, maybe 80% of instruction is individual. But it’s a very reasonable price, maybe half the price of Western countries. And it’s close. So it’s kind of a very good destination for beginners and intermediate students.

The PIE: What other changes are there in the Japanese outbound market?

TH: We see many universities, Japanese universities, sending their students overseas, so in a way, they are rivals to agencies. But we try to have a good relationship with the universities, so that they can outsource to us. But we see that trend, many universities sending their own students.

The PIE: In terms of language study abroad, how much is demand increasing for English overseas?

TH: It’s always there. But our Ministry of Education has decided to change our national entrance exam system, in regards to the English test. So far, we don’t test speaking ability for the entrance examination to universities. But they decided to add a speaking part of the test into that. It will change in five years, so every high school, junior high school, preparatory school is now in the process of changing their teaching methods. So it’s a big thing for Japanese parents and the students. Japan has six years compulsory English study, but yet we cannot speak good English. So it’s going to be changed. So that’s why the Philippines became very popular, one-to-one and training to speak English.

“Changing the English requirement in the national entrance exam is a big thing. It will have a big, big impact”

The PIE: So changes to the national entrance exam are quite significant.

TH: It’s a big thing, it’s like changing the format of the examination for SATs, or something like that. It will have a big, big impact.

The PIE: What else is happening in the market?

TH: Again, our Ministry of Education decided to start English teaching from third grade of elementary school. It’s now fifth grade, but they will make it younger by two years. So it’s changing a lot for English study, because we’re welcoming the Olympic Games and everything.

The PIE: The Japanese government is trying to attract more tourists into the country for the Olympic Games. How does this tie in with language learning?

TH: Our government is very keen to raise Japanese English ability, so one is adding the speaking part to the examinations, and elementary schools’ English classes. Naturally, we need teachers to do that, so teacher training. And our Tokyo metropolitan government is also very keen to build an English village where native speakers come and that particular area is all English. No Japanese allowed! We invite native speaker teachers and everything, so that elementary school, high school trips, they go to that village and they experience native speakers.

The PIE: What do you think will shape the future of the outbound market?

TH: I think we’ll see more and more Japanese going to new destinations like the Philippines or Malaysia. Those who are going to those new destinations tend to be beginners – they are potential students. There are so many potential students, but they used to not study abroad because they may not have confidence or because they don’t have enough money. But now the Philippines and Malaysia are attracting those kind of potential students. It’s good for the current traditional destinations as well, because once they build that confidence in the Philippines or Malaysia, they can move on to other destinations, final destinations, traditional countries.

“Once they build that confidence in the Philippines or Malaysia, they can move on to other traditional destinations”

The PIE: What other motivations are there for Japanese students to learn English?

TH: For the Olympic Games, and the tourists that we are welcoming. Last year, for the first time, there were more than 20 million tourists from overseas. And our government set a new target to double the number by 2020 – so 40 million. And those 20 million don’t come only to Tokyo; other parts of Japan are having more and more tourists. So they suddenly realise the importance of learning English – not only Tokyo, not only Osaka, not only Fukuoka, Nagoya – those major cities. But there are many, many unknown cities, in the countryside of Japan. That’s why they started realising it’s very important for them to learn English. In addition to the Olympic Games.

The PIE: What’s next for JAOS? How do you see the association growing?

TH: Last year, we started working with the British Council. We had a junior summer study campaign run jointly with the British Council, and this is our second year to promote that. So we’d like to have that kind of relationship with other destination countries and agencies like Austrade, Education New Zealand, IALC. We can promote the destinations, we can promote their schools and that impacts Japanese audiences – they think ‘maybe I should go to study abroad’.

The PIE: How did you get involved in international education?

TH: I used an agent when I studied in the United States in California because I had no idea at that time. It was like 35 years ago, no internet, no information. It was very difficult for us. But this particular agent helped me adapt. So I graduated university, I came back to Japan, I was looking for a job, and I applied to agencies. And for this career, I can make use of my experience, English, and everything – that really motivates me.

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ACE to Honor University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann With 2015 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award

American Council on Education - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 02:59
​The award was presented at ACE's 97th Annual Meeting, which began March 14, 2015.

U of Illinois calls off James Watson lecture over his racist comments

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 01:37

A research institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invited James Watson, a Nobel laureate whose work is credited with discovering the structure of DNA, to give a lecture there. But the event was quickly called off amid faculty concerns about whether it was appropriate to host someone like Watson, whose statements have been widely condemned as racist.

Watson has made numerous controversial comments over the years and also has been condemned for being sexist and homophobic over some of those comments.

But his comments on race have led many to say he should be shunned.

In a 2007 interview, he said that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really." Further, he said that while people hope that all groups are equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." (He also said that some black people are smart, and has apologized, although many question the sincerity of his apology.)

Since then, many groups have stayed away from Watson.

The Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois, however, announced that it would host a talk by Watson next month.

Gene Robinson, director of the institute, told The News-Gazette that Watson had reached out to the center and then agreed to make a "narrowly focused scientific talk" about his cancer research, and that institute researchers reached out to colleagues because they were aware of Watson's reputation on issues of race.

But the institute backed away from the plans after a number of faculty members took to social media to condemn the plans to have Watson speak on campus.

Kate Clancy, an associate professor of anthropology at Illinois, was the most vocal, posting a series of tweets, some with links to articles with critiques of Watson's comments on race and other issues.

 

@IGBIllinois @laurahelmuth I am ashamed to be faculty at @Illinois_Alma if they support @IGBIllinois's upcoming talk, and plan to organize against it.

— Nasty Kate Clancy (@KateClancy) May 16, 2017

@IGBIllinois Exhibit A on why I don't want James Watson being endorsed by @IGBIllinois: https://t.co/48abYzV9nl

— Nasty Kate Clancy (@KateClancy) May 16, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robinson, talking to the News-Gazette, said that "In hearing the faculty's concerns, we decided that the right thing to do was not to have the lecture."

The institute announced its decision on Twitter:

 

@KateClancy thank you for making your concerns known. IGB takes these matters very seriously, and in light we have cancelled the lecture.

— Genomic Biology (@IGBIllinois) May 16, 2017

 

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