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Lawlessness gripping university campuses

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 07:02
Greece's universities are increasingly coming into the grip of lawlessness, as evidenced by a spike in attacks on students and staff. The assaults, most of which go unreported, are apparently ideo ...

Academics call for continued university collaboration

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 07:00
Myanmar academics have urged international universities to continue collaborating with local universities in order to strengthen educational development. Since 2013, universities in the United Kin ...

Ireland: International students awarded for undergrad research

The PIE News - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:25

Upwards of 130 students from higher education institutions across the globe gathered in Dublin, Ireland this week to be awarded for their exceptional research across various disciplines as part of the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit 2017.

UA is a world-leading awards program that aims to recognise top undergraduate work, share it with a global audience and connect like-minded students.

Following a first night welcome dinner at Dublin’s historical Smock Alley Theatre, the penultimate day of the summit gave 70 of the awardees an opportunity to present their papers to an audience of their peers, mentors, and invited academics.

With research topics ranging from James Joyce to Tinder dating, each participant was tasked with presenting their project work in three minutes or less.

“The purpose of the presentations is to encourage the audience to become as passionate about the student’s work as they are,” UA executive director Brenda Cullen told The PIE News.

She said the aim is for attendees to finish the day with a new understanding of different topics, and potentially some like-minded people to collaborate with.

“If someone studying law is listening to the presentation of a Renaissance literature student, they may be inspired by what the speaker is saying.

“It helps [the students] to expand their thinking and understand the importance of interdisciplinary dialogue across cultures and geographical boundaries.”

UA received 6,424 submissions from 299 universities across 48 countries

Founded in 2008 in Dublin, the UA initiative was initally open to students from Ireland’s seven universities.

Today UA accepts submissions from students in any HEI in the world, and in 2017 it received 6,424 submissions from 299 universities across 48 countries. 

Entrants can submit their work to one of 25 categories across a broad range of academic disciplines. The work is then anonymously assessed by a panel of 345 of international academics and industry leaders.

The best 10% of work is shortlisted as highly commended, and the top submission in each category is deemed the global winner.

All highly commended entrants receive a certificate of recognition, with global winners also receiving a gold medal.

While 150 awardees attended the event in 2016, visa delays meant that a number of awardees were unable to attend this year’s Summit in Dublin.

According to Cullen, the inspiration for the awards came from the realisation that millions of pages filled with the ideas of bright young minds were left to sit on a shelf gathering dust each year.

“What was discovered was that in the final year of their studies, many undergraduate students start to really engage with their subject and produce some good material,” said Cullen.

“The problem is that many exceptional students don’t go on to postgraduate level, they just complete their studies and disappear into the ether. And oftentimes, we don’t recognise the value of undergraduate coursework and research.

“So the awards were created to identify those outstanding students from all over the world, welcome them to Ireland and try to connect them with each other to spark new ideas and conversations.

“Oftentimes we don’t recognise the value of undergraduate coursework and research”

“It’s wonderful to have all these participants in Dublin being celebrated, enjoying themselves and getting a flavor of Ireland as a potential destination for studying, holidays or business.”

A colloquium in the official guest house of the Irish president on the final day of the summit featured a range of speakers, including Irish minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Addressing the crowd, Mitchell O’Connor commended the awardees for showing a “huge aptitude for personal growth and excellence”.

“Sharing information and ideas is the central tenet of this summit, as well as making international connections and friendships,” she said.

“Arts, creativity, and design all help to strengthen STEM into STEAM. These awards encourage students who are creative, innovative and have the capacity and confidence to work more independently.

“It is right that we recognise graduates who demonstrate a passion for their field of study and produce exceptional work, then through arts develop other passions and skills that are highly valued in the competitive world we live in,” Mitchell O’Connor added.

For a full list of UA global winners 2017, click here.

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First-of-Its-Kind ACE Report Finds MSI Completion Rates Higher Than Federal Data Indicate

American Council on Education - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 03:04
A paper released by ACE utilizes data from the National Student Clearinghouse to examine enrollment and outcomes at MSIs, painting a more complete picture of the contributions MSIs make to the communities they serve.

Belgian agencies join forces with new association

The PIE News - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 02:38

A group of eight competing Belgian companies have joined forces to create a new education agency association aimed at raising the profile and quality of Belgium’s study travel industry.

The ‘Association of Belgian Education and Language Immersion Operators’ is made up of some the country’s most renowned study and travel organisations.

Set to be launched in early 2018, ABELIO president and Information Planet Belgium director Jérémy Henry told The PIE News the association was created to lobby the Belgian government as one body and establish a platform where best practice can be shared.

“It took two years of discussion, but now we are beginning to develop our website and create the marketing material for ABELIO,” said Henry.

“As agencies, we all have to face the same challenges so it is good that some of the country’s biggest organisations in the sector are working together and sharing how we deal with the same issues,” he continued.

“The Dutch and French markets may be larger, but it’s good for the schools to have a diverse market and we want to put Belgium on the map”

“Our main aim is to lobby the Belgian government as one body because I think we are not really considered a specific market in Belgium; we are segmented into study travel or and tourism & travel agencies.”

Henry said another goal of ABELIO is to highlight all of the opportunities and programs available to the Belgium public.

“What we would like to eventually create is a quality level for the Belgian members and operators of ABELIO, which would work as a quality reference for the public and the clients.”

Asked if it was difficult for all eight member companies to come to an agreement on the best direction for ABELIO, Henry said that despite their differences, each member organisation wants the best outcome for the industry in Belgium.

He said an administration body made up of five members was created to make initial discussions easier before any final decisions are agreed upon.

In order to lower companies’ financial investment at this early stage of the project, the members are drawing on resources available to them in each of their respective companies.

“The initial membership fee is small, and all the members have resources we can use – for example, the skills for creating a website. So we are trying to use these resources where we can to lower our initial investment.”

Henry said the biggest challenge to date has been the lack of data analysis on the Belgian market and its competition, which could be used by ABELIO to highlight the value of the industry to the government.

“I think Belgium is a small market, but when we talk to schools, universities and our partners, they are interested in having more and more students from Belgium,” added Henry.

“The Dutch and French markets may be larger, but it’s good for the schools to have a diverse market and we want to put Belgium on the map.”

The founding agencies of ABELIO are WEP, Information Planet Belgium, Langues Vivantes, ESL Education, Language Studies Brussels, EF Education, Kasteel van Velm and Languages & Travel.

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Senate tax bill has some but not all provisions that alarmed higher education leaders in House bill

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:44

The Senate tax reform proposal released late Thursday night includes an excise tax on large private college endowments that has been strongly opposed by higher ed groups.

The tax is similar to one in the House of Representatives bill. Private college leaders say the tax would effectively punish colleges that have built up endowments that support student aid, research and other functions of higher education. And while the tax would be applied only to the wealthiest colleges, many fear a precedent in which the assets of colleges -- traditionally exempt from tax -- are taxed.

The Senate plan would also eliminate the deduction on state and local taxes, in a measure that is similar but not identical to the House plan. Public higher education leaders are very concerned about any change in that deduction, which effectively encourages states to invest in public colleges and other state institutions. Eliminating the deduction could increase pressure to cut state spending.

But the Senate proposal appears to largely leave untouched many education tax credits and tax exemptions eliminated in the House GOP tax bill.

The House plan released last week eliminated several deductions that benefit both undergraduate and graduate students. Eliminating one of those deductions would mean tuition waived for graduate students is taxed as income. That prompted a campaign by graduate students on social media to push back against the provision.

The Senate bill does include some provisions that could be of concern to colleges. The proposal, for example, would treat any licensing of a college or university logo as an unrelated business tax. Many colleges and universities earn significant revenue through licensing of their logos.

Craig Lindwarm, director of congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said some of the most concerning provisions from the House bill were not referenced in the Senate proposal.

“However, colleges, universities and students should take nothing for granted,” he said. “The legislative process is just beginning, and some of the most concerning provisions can be added throughout this process.”

Lindwarm said it is critical that colleges and universities remain vigilant in advocating that harmful provisions of the House bill are not added later to the Senate proposal.

“A number of provisions that would seemingly be included would drive up the cost to universities to engage in our education, research and engagement mission. Ultimately, this would have significantly negative consequences on students through the services they receive and the tuition they pay,” he said.

Some advocates saw evidence that the Senate proposal showed members have heard many of the criticisms of the House tax reform plan.

“Although existing higher ed tax benefits could stand to be streamlined, simplified and better targeted, members of the Senate seem to have heard loud and clear how important these benefits have become for students, as well as for colleges and employers, and that gutting them to pay for corporate tax cuts while college costs and debt continue to rise makes no sense at all,” said Jessica Thompson, policy and research director of the Institute for College Access and Success.

Sam Leitermann, president and CEO of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, said the group was happy that the Senate version of tax reform does not include any provisions negatively affecting graduate education. 

"It's early so things can change on the Senate side, so we’ll keep pushing both the House and Senate to protect us," he said. 

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Knox College calls off Brecht play after complaints of racial insensitivity

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

Knox College in Illinois this week canceled a planned production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, based on student protests that it is racially insensitive. But unlike some faculty members involved in parallel controversies elsewhere, theater professors at Knox blame themselves for not properly framing the play for students, rather than students for being unwilling to deal with uncomfortable speech and ideas.

‘The Teaching Moment Was Lost’

“Given the level of emotion at the moment, we felt that the teaching moment was lost, and that we’d move toward creating a teaching envelope around these kinds of issues,” said Elizabeth Carlin-Metz, Smith V. Brand Endowed Chair in Theater Arts at Knox. “How do you prepare the students to engage with difficult texts, and basically lay the groundwork for addressing a play that is from a time when there were other standards -- standards which today we would find sexist or racist or any of those things. And how do we not eliminate our history?”

Brecht, an antifascist, anticapitalist German, fled his country upon the rise of Adolf Hitler and finished Szechwan while in exile in the U.S., in 1941. Rather than a study of China -- of which Brecht knew very little -- the play uses the country as an otherworldly backdrop against which to explore issues including morality, greed, commodification and love. The story itself follows Shen Te, a young prostitute who is treated so poorly by fellow townspeople that she invents a male alter ego to protect herself. Can a person be good in a world that isn’t, the play ultimately demands -- even a group of god figures want to know.

Brecht is considered a major figure in 20th-century literature, and this and other plays of his are regularly taught at colleges and universities.

Opposition to Brecht’s play -- first from theater students and then from others -- began months ago, when the theater department announced its decision to stage it during the winter term. Some had previously read Szechwan in a theater class and remained uncomfortable with its portrayal of Asians and Asian women in particular; the play is by design indifferent to its own setting, the characters all have stereotypical-sounding names and the main character is a prostitute.

A number of students also said they worried that a preliminary plan to adjust the setting of the play to Europe was a way to get around finding people of color to fill East Asian roles on a heavily white campus. (The play’s director, Neil Blackadder, professor of theater, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the controversy or why he’d considered changing the setting to Europe.)

Those concerns peaked during a student-faculty forum on the matter earlier this month. Knox's student newspaper backed the protesters in an editorial published on the same day as the forum. The editorial board said, in part, that “The theater department is a very white department -- like many departments at Knox -- and it needs to acknowledge that they are coming from a place of privilege and prejudice. They need to listen to their students when they voice their concerns about not only the plays the department produces, but interactions with insensitive faculty and problematic syllabi.” (The editorial noted that the theater department in 2015 had staged another “outdated” play, Pierre de Marivaux’s The Island of Slaves. Written in 1725, the one-act comedy depicts what happens to a small group of slave owners and slaves after a shipwreck -- namely that roles become reversed, and then reversed again.)

Beyond more communication and sensitivity, the editorial board suggested that theater and other departments at Knox “need to engage in planned periods and workshops of interactive dialogues with their students.”

Carlin-Metz, the theater chair, said the department plans to have those kinds of discussions with students and that it’s confident it will eventually be able to stage Szechwan. But the department decided -- with no external pressure -- that now isn’t the right time, she said.

Asked if there were any hard feelings, Carlin-Metz said, “Did we have moments of defensiveness? Sure. But that’s not going to get us anywhere … I’m old enough to have been around in the ’60s and ’70s, when I was equally unwilling to listen to grown-ups with their heads up a particular nether region.”

‘I Might Have Learned Something’

Some on campus haven’t been quite as understanding. Emily Anderson, an associate professor of English, wrote an op-ed in the student newspaper disagreeing with its position on Szechwan.

“Becoming thoughtful citizens of the world requires that we confront sexist, racist, classist and colonialist texts,” Anderson wrote. “It also requires that we confront the texts that upend our sexism, racism, classism and colonialism … If I, as a person identified as white, cannot rightfully teach Edward Said’s Orientalism because I am not Palestinian and did not suffer the cultural oppression that Said suffered, I cannot explain how his theory of orientalism undoes the arguments put forth by the white, imperialist critics who preceded him. Worse, my students can’t talk about it.”

Anderson noted that Szechwan literally acknowledges its own shortcomings, asking in an epilogue, “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be angry! Please! / We know the play is still in need of mending.” And then, “We’re disappointed too … / In your opinion, then, what’s to be done? / Change human nature or -- the world? Well: Which?”

She added, “There is plenty to criticize in Brecht’s plays, but we can’t criticize them if we haven’t seen them. There may have been plenty to criticize in this production of Szechwan, but as it will not be produced, we will be unable to criticize it. This is a pity, as I might have learned something.”

The Diversity Committee of the Student Senate responded to Knox in another op-ed, saying, "The operation of racism, sexism and colonialism within the arts does not merely exist in the past -- nonwhite writers, actors, artists continue to be pushed out today. This was also the context from which the students were protesting The Good Person -- it was not only a protest against this specific play, but the past and ongoing practices of racist casting and productions within the Knox theater department as well as the theater world beyond." Theater, the committee wrote, "is an embodied art -- it takes real people playing 'orientalist' roles within the setting of the problematic Orient. Would it really have been worth the emotional distress of students and the perpetuation of Asian stereotypes to put on a play so that it might be criticized?"

Carlin-Metz reiterated that the play and others like it will be staged, lest “We never read anything written before yesterday. And obviously that’s not going to happen.” Moreover, she said, “The dominant culture is afraid to talk about race. And we can't be afraid, because if we don’t talk about race we can’t fix anything.”

The key will be finding the right way to do so, she said, adding that the “landscape is changing every day.”

Knox said in a statement that it’s “proud of the open dialogue between our students and faculty, which addressed important issues and concerns that frame our faculty's teaching.” As a college that values inclusion and equity, it said, “we welcome disagreement, dialogue and debate among our community members. It is essential to our mission as a liberal arts college.”

Not the Only One

Szechwan wasn’t the only play canceled this week; Brandeis University also called off a play about the comedian Lenny Bruce, written by Michael Weller, a well-known playwright and alumnus. On that campus, however, both students and faculty members expressed concern about the play’s treatment of race. Brandeis said in a statement that “After receiving a draft script of Buyer Beware in early July, theater faculty members considered the challenging issues it raised. They felt that more time was needed to produce the play appropriately, and that its performance on campus should go hand in hand with robust educational programming.” Weller, citing concerns about the "creative environment," decided to stage the place at an off-campus professional venue.

Carlin-Metz noted the development with some irony, saying, “You don't get more left-wing than Lenny Bruce.”

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Study suggests it's not just students who have difficulty understanding free expression

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

Numerous incidents on campuses, along with national surveys of students, have led to complaints that college students don't value free expression. Pundits and politicians complain that students are so sensitive that they refuse to engage with ideas that make them uncomfortable. Many of the comments lament what is seen as a problem with the current generation of college students.

But a new survey suggests that the general public may be as conflicted and inconsistent about free expression on campus as students are.

The Bucknell University Institute for Public Policy commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of the public about campus speech, and responses were analyzed from a nationally representative sample of 1,200. The results were very similar to studies of students: broad support for the idea of free speech on campus, but also willingness to curtail some kinds of protected speech. The results were the same for Democrats and Republicans, but those of differing political views would permit speech on different topics to be restricted.

When asked a general question about free speech, 78 percent agreed that “in order to promote intellectual engagement, colleges should never prohibit speech for any reason.”

But when asked about specific scenarios, that absolute commitment to free speech gets a lot less absolute.

Asked if colleges should be able to restrict speech that is sexist, 55 percent of Democrats agreed, while 35 percent of Republicans and independents agreed. Asked about speech that is "offensive to racial minorities," 62 percent of Democrats agreed, while 31 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of independents agreed.

But asked if colleges should be able to restrict "the teaching of radical ideas," 65 percent of Republicans agreed, while only 41 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents agreed.

Chris Ellis, associate professor of political science at Bucknell, was the lead author on the research, which he described on the blog “Monkey Cage.”

In an interview, Ellis said the data suggest that it's unfair to imply that a lack of appreciation of free expression is unique to current college students. "Students are grappling with the complexity of this just as everyone else is," he said. Those who are concerned about support for free expression should consider the entire population, not just students, he said.

Notably, however, Ellis said that older Americans -- those who would have attended colleges in the ’60s -- were slightly more consistent in supporting free speech than were other adults.

Ellis said he hoped the study would lead to more "nuance" in discussions of free speech issues, and talking about real areas of concern without simply bashing the current generation of students.

Even though polls of students have shown their ambivalence about some matters of free speech on campus, Ellis said he thought it was unfair to imply that an entire generation supports things like disrupting speakers when students disagree with them.

Of those who disrupt, he said that "it's a small and loud group of students, but most students are much more willing to engage in different perspectives."

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Judge issues long-awaited ruling on black colleges in Maryland

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

A federal judge will appoint a third party to address segregation imposed upon Maryland’s public historically black universities, issuing a middle-of-the-road decision that does not completely fulfill the requests of either side in a bitter and long-running court case.

Judge Catherine C. Blake on Wednesday ordered the appointment of a “special master” who will create a remedial plan and monitor its implementation under court supervision. The plan is to create a new set of unique or high-demand programs that build on the strength of Maryland’s four public historically black colleges. It will also include a yet-to-be-determined amount of funding for marketing, student recruitment, financial aid and other initiatives over the next decade.

But the plan will not be allowed to include a proposal that had proven highly controversial among Maryland’s public higher education institutions -- transferring programs from some traditionally white state institutions to its historically black universities.

The judge’s ruling could prove to be the culmination of a lawsuit stretching back to 2006, when a group of historically black college and university supporters called the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education sued the state for violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution’s equal protection clause. At the heart of the suit was whether the state had effectively caused segregation at its historically black universities by allowing traditionally white universities to duplicate historically black institutions’ programs -- preventing the historically black universities from drawing a diverse set of students with successful programs.

In 2013, the court ruled unnecessary program duplication in the state’s higher education system has effects of segregation that the state could not justify. The parties subsequently went through mediation but could not agree on a path forward, and they submitted competing proposals to remedy the situation in 2015.

The case continued in court until Blake’s ruling Wednesday. She wrote that none of the proposed remedies were proper.

“The court finds that neither party’s remedy, as currently proposed, is practicable, educationally sound and sufficient to address the segregative harms of program duplication at HBIs,” the judge wrote. “At least in part, this results from parties’ failure or inability to consult with the other side in crafting their proposals.”

Nonetheless, advocates of the state’s historically black universities supported the judge’s decision. They welcomed the judge’s plan as one that should end harmful program duplication, provide historically black institutions with more resources and help those institutions stand out by creating in-demand clusters of programs.

“She’s putting an end to program duplication going forward, and so that’s a win,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, a public historically black institution in Baltimore. “I think it’s a win for the state, I think it’s a win for Morgan and it’s a win for taxpayers, because you don’t necessarily have to now pay two or three times over for programs that were being offered at Morgan.”

The court’s order requires Maryland to end the segregation-era policy, said the lawyer leading the case against the state, Michael D. Jones, in a statement.

“The most important area of inferiority was to deny the black schools exclusive, unique, well-funded programs,” said Jones, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. “With this order, Judge Blake brings that era to a close.”

In other statements, backers did not reference the fact that they had proposed transferring programs from other institutions to historically black universities. Instead, they focused on what the judge had decided.

“We are especially pleased that the judge’s order requires the development of several new and unique high-demand programs at each HBI and that those programs are to be funded by the state rather than the HBIs,” said David Burton, president of the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education. “That was one of our primary objectives in bringing this lawsuit.”

A spokesman for the University System of Maryland declined comment. A spokeswoman for the state’s Higher Education Commission did not respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

The coalition bringing the suit had proposed creating programmatic niches at each historically black institution, along with academic enhancements like additional funding at each institution, as well as reforms to the state process for new academic program approval. Niches would have been made by creating new programs at historically black institutions or transferring programs from traditionally white institutions to historically black institutions.

The idea was that niches would create unique institutional identities outside racial identities at historically black institutions, helping them attract students of different races. Some new programs would have been created from scratch, and others would have been moved from one institution to another.

At Morgan State, for example, the proposal would have created three programs: business and management; urban environment, health and sustainability; and engineering. That would have been done in part by transferring programs from traditionally white institutions.

The state first proposed creating a fund for collaborative academic programs, which would have taken the form of a six-year program to develop new programs between historically black and traditionally white institutions. It would have distributed $10 million in grants. The state also proposed summer academies for high school students at each historically black institution that would receive between $500,000 and $1 million per institution each year for four years.

But the state later replaced its proposal with one that would have provided $50 million over five years to the four historically black institutions. They could have used the money for enrollment management, student aid, campus inclusion efforts or summer academies.

The judge found the state’s remedial proposals were “neither adequate nor sufficiently specific.” She called the plaintiff’s proposal, which would have created areas of program concentration with new and high-demand offerings, promising but in need of more thorough discussion. She has also rejected an idea to have Morgan State University take over the University of Baltimore, a traditionally white institution.

The case, the judge wrote, is not about particular institutions. It is about students’ constitutional right to attend any public college or university without having to accept racial segregation. Maryland’s traditionally white institutions meet that requirement, the judge found. Its historically black institutions don’t, so a remedial plan needs to encourage students who are not black to attend historically black institutions.

Such a plan wouldn’t be sound educationally if it hurt students at integrated institutions, the judge wrote.

“Crafting such a plan is a daunting task requiring the good-faith collaboration of the coalition and the state,” the judge wrote.

The plaintiff’s proposal raised cost issues, accreditation complications and issues with the state’s process for approving academic programs, the judge wrote. She also pointed out that the state did not consult with numerous presidents at both historically black and traditionally white institutions when drafting proposals -- and that the plaintiff’s experts weren’t able to consult with presidents at historically black institutions when drafting theirs.

Testimony in the case revealed schisms within Maryland public higher education. Some presidents testified that creating new programs would increase the number of students in higher education. Others worried the state would take money from some institutions and give it to others in order to fund new programs.

Wilson had told the court that a viable remedy had to start with transferring programs. But presidents at traditionally white institutions said doing so would seriously harm their institutions. Kurt Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore, said proposed transfers could force the university to close its business school.

Schmoke's position indicates just how complicated the situation has become, both legally and politically. He was the first African-American elected mayor of Baltimore, in 1987. Today he is not alone as an African-American leader at one of Maryland's non-historically black universities. Institutions like the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County have strong records of enrolling and retaining black students, meaning that harming those institutions would likely also harm black students.

Presidents at the traditionally white institutions testified that transferring programs would harm their colleges and universities by hurting their reputations -- and their ability to attract students and faculty members -- by harming partnerships they had with other institutions and by hurting the state’s ability to meet its work-force needs. Faculty members had already voiced opposition to moving, some said.

The judge concluded that creating new unique and high-demand programs at historically black institutions will mitigate, to the greatest degree possible, the effects of segregation from program duplication between institutions.

Program transfers do not need to be a part of the final remedy unless affected institutions agree to them, the judge decided. She cited the difficulty of the transfer process, its potential to hurt institutions losing programs and the possibility that transferring programs could hurt students at traditionally white institutions.

The state’s process for approving new programs is adequate, the judge decided. But she is still requiring consultation with the special master before future programs are approved, a measure backers of the historically black universities supported.

The state and coalition will be able to submit suggestions for filling the special master role.

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Head of higher ed research group calls out dominance of 'white power'

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

HOUSTON -- Shaun R. Harper has not been shy in recent months about calling out racism where he sees it in the academy. In August he told faculty at the University of Virginia that the white supremacists who had marched on the campus and in the city of Charlottesville with tiki torches days earlier were not the only ones in town. “Many more work and attend school here,” he said.

And in September he told a group of admissions officers that it “would be nice if a mostly white professional association and its members more powerfully, more responsibly and more loudly advocated for racial justice on behalf of those who don't have the resources that they deserve in high schools across our nation.”

Harper, a professor at the University of Southern California's school of education and executive director for the university's Race and Equity Center, turned it up a few notches Thursday in his presidential address at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Taking the stage as Kanye West's "Power" pulsed in the background, Harper said he felt obliged -- to relatives in the impoverished rural Georgia town where he grew up, among other people -- to use his platform as a highly visible scholar and president of the association to "try to ignite a paradigmatic shift in the study of higher education" and to identify white power "in academia and even, yes, in the study of higher education."

Harper dispassionately documented the ways in which he believes American higher education was historically and continues to be dominated by "white power" -- architecturally, compositionally, curricularly and editorially.

It was “racist and exclusive from the start,” he said, conceived when African-Americans were enslaved and Native Americans were being slaughtered. “White people determined what a university is, what its culture will be, how it will be arranged.”

Compositionally, it “remains an overwhelmingly white profession,” and given that reality, “it is white people who get to determine who gains access, how many of us are let in. It is white people who determine the metrics of deservingness to have a seat at the table.”

Curricularly, white supremacy is evident in fact that white people "determine what is worthy of being taught and learned," and "whose voices are legitimized."

And "the leading journals in our field are led and edited by white people," Harper said. "They work hard, and they are good citizens of our field. They are also really powerful. They have the power to determine relevance and rigor in what is published."

The Kanye West song contains the line “no one man should have all that power.” “No one racial group should have this much power and this much of a stronghold on an enterprise,” Harper said.

The implications of that concentration of power are significant because of the ways those in power acculturate and socialize those who enter the profession.

The mostly white faculty "pass on certain norms and expectations and patterns" to the graduate students they train, and the socialization norms, Harper argued, "have a hypnotizing effect on people of color," discouraging them from being too "flashy" or "loud," from writing about topics they perceive as being "too narrow" or from using their scholarship to advocate for underrepresented or disadvantaged groups.

With the world "on fire" now, Harper said, citing mass shootings, sexual harassment and attacks on immigrants, this is not a time when scholars can or should sit back and "write stupid, pointless, unimportant papers," Harper said.

"I have too much power to do that," he said. Researchers like those in the audience need to "do a better job for the people, upholding our commitment to the statement of purpose that brought us to the study of higher education … The world needs us to ask better questions."

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For-profit medical schools are now operating in U.S.

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

If medical school students at Ross University were expecting to study on the beach, their plans changed in September when Hurricane Maria slammed into Dominica, the Caribbean country that hosts the for-profit institution.

Currently, students find themselves studying on a cruise ship. Their next stop? Knoxville, Tenn.

The university is relocating more than 1,400 students, faculty and staff to Lincoln Memorial University, a private, nonprofit institution, after the fall semester aboard the cruise ship wraps up. Regulatory approvals are still being finalized, Ross spokeswoman Nicole Pride said via email, and although Ross will being using Lincoln Memorial's space and anatomy lab, it will continue teaching its own curriculum.

Autry O. V. DeBusk, chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees, said that the Ross students would be on campus for approximately a year and that getting them a temporary space was the right thing to do in the wake of a disaster.

“It is the right thing to do to help these students, and we are confident that the people of Knoxville will welcome them with open arms,” he said in an email.

The arrangement makes for an odd pairing -- a nonprofit and a for-profit medical school teaching side by side -- but it’s indicative of for-profit medical schools’ expanding presence onto the U.S. mainland after a long practice of accrediting regulations exiling them to foreign shores, often in the Caribbean.

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s 2007 opening in Colorado is credited as the first for-profit medical school established in the U.S. in modern times, reversing a century-long drought of the institutions. Ross’s relocation -- though temporary -- is the latest.

Since 2007, a handful of for-profit medical schools -- both ones that grant doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees and others that grant traditional doctor of medicine degrees -- have popped up in the U.S. Critics have shunned their corporate structures, academic rigor and debt loads that graduates sometimes incur. Advocates, on the other hand, say they provide a market need where others don’t -- or won’t -- invest, especially in rural areas that are facing physician shortages. Colorado Northstate University School of Medicine and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, in New Mexico, are two such examples.

The trickle of for-profit medical schools was made possible because of a 1996 legal ruling against the American Bar Association opened up the possibility of accreditation for for-profit law schools. With that legal precedent looking like it might favor for-profit medical schools as well, medical school accreditors soon abandoned similar policies that previously made forming a for-profit medical school a nonstarter.

Still, the number of for-profit medical schools launching in the U.S. has looked like a trickle since the 1996 ruling, rather than an opening of the floodgates. Some of this is due to stigma and some of it is due to the investment risk, said Eli Adashi, a professor of medical science at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, who along with two co-authors wrote about the resurgence of for-profit programs earlier this year in Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The stigma [surrounding for-profit medical schools] exists, this is true,” he said. “Whether it’s warranted or not is another question.”

Adashi said many of the stigmas surrounding for-profit medical schools are based on institutions that operated in the U.S. more than a century ago. Additionally, he said, an institution being organized as a nonprofit doesn’t guarantee success or rigor by itself.

More importantly, though, having medical schools -- which have small classes and need expensive equipment -- rely solely on tuition can be a risky business bet, which makes starting new ones in the U.S. difficult, Adashi said. Most nonprofit medical schools have major research operations, landing grants that help finance the institutions.

“Not everybody sees this as a tremendous investment opportunity,” he said.

Still, he thinks it’s possible for for-profit institutions to find a place in the medical school market. For-profit medical schools, he said, are often similar to nonprofit schools that aren’t affiliated with large universities.

“The Harvards of the world can do a whole lot more. And for some people, that would be important, and a preferable route,” he said. “There is room for both.”

For-Profit Higher EdMedical EducationEditorial Tags: For-profit collegesImage Caption: Ross University School of Medicine, in DominicaIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: 

Black faculty members will soon outnumber white professors at South Africa's universities

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:00

Black academics will outnumber their white colleagues in South African universities within the next decade as thousands of older white lecturers retire, research shows.

At present, some 49 percent of academics in South Africa are white, compared with the 35 percent who are black, while another 10 percent are of Indian descent, says a new demographic profile of the country’s 25 universities.

However, the gap between black and white academics has closed substantially since 2005, when 60 percent of academics were white and just 26 percent were black, according to the paper, “The Changing Demography of Academic Staff at Higher Education Institutions in South Africa,” published in Higher Education.

That “upwards trajectory of black African academics” and a “concomitant downward trajectory of white academics” between 2005 and 2015 is likely to continue and possibly accelerate in coming years, say the paper’s authors, Gregory Breetzke, from the University of Pretoria, and David Hedding, from the University of South Africa.

That is because the “age trends of black African academics are the direct opposite of white academics,” with black African academics having a mean age of 40 and “becoming younger,” whereas white academics were on average 47 and “becoming older,” the two geographers state.

With more than 4,000 largely white academics -- about 27 percent of the total -- set to retire over the coming decade, this will create opportunities for a growing cohort of younger black academics to enter more senior positions, they add.

In fact, black academics are set to outnumber white scholars in South African universities at some point between 2020 and 2025, Breetzke told Times Higher Education.

“Regardless of the exact date, this will be a major milestone,” he said. However, there is “still a long way to go when you consider that over 80 percent of the population in South Africa is black African,” he added.

The paper stresses that the “true transformation of academic staff is not a numbers game” and raw numbers alone may hide major racial imbalances in the country’s academy.

For instance, while 64 percent of academics at historically black universities are black, up from 55 percent in 2005, just 20 percent of staff at historically white universities are black, up from 14 percent in 2005. And while 15 percent of professors are black -- compared with 75 percent who are white -- half of all black professors are located at three historically black institutions, the Universities of South Africa and Limpopo, as well as Walter Sisulu University.

“Transformation across all ranks, but particularly at the level of professor, will be crucial going forward,” Breetzke told Times Higher Education, adding that “traditionally white universities should continue with transformation initiatives and investigate mechanisms to recruit and retain promising black African academics.”

One of the “primary” hurdles to the career progression of black African academics was the low rate of Ph.D.s among staff, with only 34 percent of black academics holding a doctorate.

The government was “starting to address [this] through programs, [but] such is the demand for highly qualified black African professionals in the private sector, that universities often struggle to compete financially to attract and retain black African academics once they obtain Ph.D.s,” Breetzke added.

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Why Faculty Members Still Aren’t Sure What to Make of Education Technology

Their mix of skepticism and enthusiasm results in what one researcher calls “some very weird doublethink.”

International students foot the bill for UK research

The PIE News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:06

A shortfall in the UK research budget has led to international students footing the bill with their fees, according to a new report by think tank, Higher Education Policy Institute.

On average, each non-EU international student contributes over £8,000 to UK research, states the report, citing ONS statistics which are ‘available upon request’.

With no guarantee of the number of non-EU international students, the report reveals that any drop in international enrolments may harm the funding structure of research and development.

In the paper’s preface, HEPI director Nick Hillman states that not only does the UK government not fully fund university research, but “the shortfall is partly made up by international students, who pay more than the full economic cost of being taught”.

The paper points out that UK HEIs complete world class research, perhaps more than can be expected with the number of universities in the nation. But government research spending is seen to be “consistently below” the OECD average.

The latest HEFCE data shows the effect of low central government funding. Across 2014/15 there was a research deficit of nearly £3.3bn. That equates to 37% of all research income.

On average, each non-EU international student contributes over £8,000 to UK research

This funding gap is filled by the fees surplus as paid for by non-EU international students. Across the country, institutions make a 28% surplus on non-publically funded teaching, such as for non-EU students, which is then used to fund research.

The report compares the UK system to the Australian HE and research funding model, and points out that international students there have paid for research through their fees for many years.

In fact, the teaching surplus is so high that one in every five dollars spent on research is part of the cross-subsidy research funding that has hit 21%.

As fears of Brexit mount and global competition (especially from Australia) threatens the UK’s position as second most popular study travel destination, the report says “the UK is in danger of stagnation”.

A drop in international student numbers would have the knock-on effect of damaging research, due to the deficit created by the lack of fees paid.

Some argue that simply amplifying recruitment efforts to boost international students numbers in the UK is the cure for the research deficit.

It is not the first time international students have been floated as a potential aid to funding issues. Lord Adonis, for example, has said he’d like to see an increase in non-EU fee paying international students in order to subsidise lower or non-existent fees for UK-domiciled students.

Reacting to the report, the Russell Group’s head of policy Sarah Stevens praised the role international students play in the UK’s HE and research investment.

“Overseas students help to increase cultural diversity and enrich the learning environment at UK universities, meaning home students have the opportunity to develop internationally-relevant skills.”

She added that, “as HEPI’s report demonstrates, overseas students also play a critical role in supporting the financial sustainability of universities and underpinning the UK’s excellence in teaching and research.”

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Meghann Curtis, International Exchange Programs, CIEE

The PIE News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:52
As the largest sponsor for US J-1 visa programs, CIEE helps nearly 35,000 international students participate in exchange programs each year. Executive VP of International Exchange Programs at CIEE, Meghann Curtis, told The PIE News about her views on the potential impact of these cuts on US businesses and international students.

The PIE: The Trump administration is reportedly floating cuts to the J-1 visa. What is your view on this?

MC: The White House initiative of looking at foreign workers taking full-time jobs from Americans is looking at the wrong program.

While it is a cultural exchange program first and foremost, there are thousands of businesses across the country that are completely reliant on summer work and travel workers to help them surge during peak season.

The PIE: In September, the Senate Appropriations Committee amended a State Department spending bill mandate to ensure any changes to the J-1 program be done publicly. What could that mean for the future of these programs?

MC: The Appropriations Committee amendment said any changes to the J-1 program would need to go through a formal process, requiring the executive branch to brief America on the changes, issue an opportunity for the public to weigh in and give feedback.

It really forces them to step through a lengthier and democratic process to make any changes.

The PIE: Is this welcome news?

MC: It definitely is. The amendment was supported by many senators of the Appropriations Committee who strongly support the J-1 program, both Democrats, and Republican.

Informally lots of members of Congress have been reaching out to the White House and to other executive branch federal agencies like the State Department, Department of Commerce and Homeland Security to let them know that [restricting these programs] would be a grave mistake.

“We’ve seen some foreign governments – such as Ireland – get involved and engage with The White House”

Outside of Congress we have seen an outpouring of activity from stakeholders across the board. There was a call from The White House recently with nearly 300 employers joining.

Stakeholders see it as an important source of labour, but also think it enriches their communities and their businesses.

The PIE: CIEE has been highlighting the importance of these programs with campaigns such as the #SaveJ1 advocacy campaign. Does this campaign have support beyond the educational sector?

MC: Yes, I think this campaign has highlighted that a huge network of people, businesses and local economies rely on these programs. I don’t know if there was necessarily that awareness before.

There is growing recognition of how important and effective these programs are at bridging divides and overcoming boundaries.

I also think some people probably dismissed the public diplomacy impact of the program. They may have been thinking that these students just came here to work, and are not really experiencing or learning about America’s values and culture.

The PIE: How has this campaign changed those viewpoints?

MC: This movement has really proved that hypothesis wrong. Alumni around the world have spoken out about how transformational the J-1 programs were in their lives. To this day they maintain friendships and relationships across the US, even though they are now back in their native countries.

These programs are a huge tool in our public diplomacy kit.  If you were to wipe out thousands of visas every year, a lot of bridges would be erased.

The PIE: How have alumni been supporting the campaign?

MC: On instagram alone, alumni have posted 5,000 photos talking about how important and transformational J-1 was for them and what a tragedy it would be if the program was cut.

I think some people were taken aback by how much support there is for this program, not just from the public but as a critical piece of our economy.

While that is good news, I don’t know if we are in any less danger but this level of activity and coordination is certainly helpful and we hope it does alter the outcome.

The PIE: What concerns have been voiced by agents and government outside of the US?

MC: Overseas partners and agents who work with us on these programs have been asking questions and speaking out about what a bad decision canceling these programs would be.

We’ve seen some foreign governments – such as Ireland – get involved and engage with The White House. These programs are really important to [foreign governments] as a means of relationship building with the US; it is a huge platform for the exchange of ideas and friendship for them.

The PIE: What have you been doing to encourage confidence in the market?

MC: CIEE has introduced a blanket refund policy to all our agents in case the program is canceled or restricted in some way. We expect it to be extended to their students.

We hope this policy demonstrates our confidence that these programs will be productive and that we are committed to keeping going despite the uncertainty ahead.

The PIE: What’s next for the campaign?

MC: We may not know what the timeline will be, or what we are up against in some ways, but we have to continue with the program and recruiting students.

All of our overseas partners know they need to operate as though nothing’s changed; they’ve got to get out there and start recruiting for next year.

I really hope that students will not be discouraged from considering applying for a J-1 exchange and come on one.

One of the of the worst outcomes would be for people to think the threat against this program means that it is over, and to walk away from it.

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The FARC is now a political party. Get used to it

Economist, North America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:48

A STORM that filled Bogotá’s streets with ice on November 1st was the second freakish event of the day in Colombia’s capital. The first took place in a hotel conference room, where the FARC, a guerrilla army turned political party, announced its candidates for presidential and congressional elections to be held in 2018. Before a screen emblazoned with the FARC’s pacific new logo—a rose with a red star at its centre—its leaders did their best to sound like normal politicians. Imelda Daza, the vice-presidential candidate, promised a “more inclusive model” of government that would overcome poverty, hunger and barriers to education.

Most Colombians know the FARC as a lawless army whose 52-year war against the state was at the centre of a conflict that caused more than 200,000 deaths and displaced 7m people. The party is not trying hard to disguise its origins. Its new name, the People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force, uses the old bloodstained acronym. Its presidential candidate, Rodrigo Londoño, aka Timochenko, has led the FARC...

Jair Bolsonaro hopes to be Brazil’s Donald Trump

Economist, North America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:48

IN THE arrivals hall of Belém’s airport the excitement is palpable. Hundreds of supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, a seven-term congressman and would-be president, gather under the steady gaze of a squad of policemen. Some hold banners with Mr Bolsonaro’s campaign slogan: “Brazil above everything, God above everyone”. A few wear “Godfather” T-shirts, with his face in place of Marlon Brando’s. When the candidate finally emerges through sliding doors the crowd surges forward, straining for a glimpse. While bodyguards forge through the scrum, the crowd hoists Mr Bolsonaro aloft as if he were a homecoming hero.

The visit to Belém, the sweltering capital of the Amazonian state of Pará, is an early stop in Mr Bolsonaro’s campaign to win the presidential election due in October 2018. A religious nationalist and former army captain, he is anti-gay, pro-gun, and an apologist for dictators who tortured and killed Brazilians between 1964 and 1985. He rails against the political elite, whose...

UK: net migration issue back in the news

The PIE News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:41

The ongoing debate of whether international students should be included in the net migration target has been reignited in the UK, with the Financial Times running a story that home secretary Amber Rudd is pushing to remove students from the migrant count.

Rudd is reported to be keen to detach students from the net migration count, given the imperative of ensuring the UK continues to welcome foreign students in a post-Brexit immigration regime.

The FT quoted an “ally” of the home secretary saying, “We’re going to have to do something about this ourselves, or we will be forced into doing it” – suggesting that a post-Brexit immigration bill might be defeated in parliament if the Conservative’s coalition party DUP sided with Tory rebels on a bill that deters migrant-students.

The UK is keen to reduce net migration yet continue to attract genuine international students who value the UK’s academic reputation.

In August, Rudd commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake a detailed study into the impact of international students in the UK.

This occured at the same time as a Home Office report was published, revealing almost 97% of foreign students – without further leave to remain – depart the country upon completion of their studies.

This blew apart a position held by some that the student visa route remained a back door route for would-be overstayers.

“Removing students from the net migration target is something that the government should look at closely”

At the Russell Group of universities, head of policy Sarah Stevens was keen to point out how valuable international student fee income is to the network of prestigious, research-intensive universities.

“Every seven international students who start an undergraduate degree at a Russell Group university generate £1m in economic impact for the UK,” she said.

“We need an immigration system that allows universities to continue to recruit the best students from around the world. Removing students from the net migration target is something that the government should look at closely.”

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NZ to review offshore education agent regulation

The PIE News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 04:25

The New Zealand government will undergo a review of offshore education agents, with a potential introduction of regulatory measures in the future, according to Labour minister, Priyanca Radhakrishnan.

Speaking at a rally organised by the Migrant Worker Association, Unite Union and Auckland Unitarian Church, Radhakrishnan said the Labour-led coalition government wanted to prevent fraudulent behaviour of agents.

“We have concerns about offshore education agents who are acting illegally and unethically in many cases, and potentially doing all sorts of things without the students’ knowledge as well,” she said.

“We will review this, and we may consider regulation as well. The Labour Party is absolutely clear that these offshore education agents [must] act legally, ethically and appropriately.”

The announcement appears to be in response to an incident last year in which around 150 Indian students were found to have fraudulent visa documentation and subsequently deported, a circumstance the students claimed was due to actions undertaken by their education agent.

If implemented, the regulations would be a New Zealand first, which Radhakrishnan acknowledged.

“We have concerns about offshore education agents who are acting illegally and unethically”

“Previous governments, and this is both National and Labour governments, haven’t regulated offshore education agents,” she said.

Universities New Zealand executive director Chris Whelan said his organisation welcomed any move that would ensure prospective international students receive clear and accurate information from offshore agents.

“Universities have long been concerned by the actions of some less than genuine private tertiary providers, and some less than scrupulous agents, whose focus has been finding a fast track to New Zealand residency rather than tertiary education,” he told The PIE News.

While overall positive, Whelan added that “the devil will be in the detail of any changes” and ENZ would keep an eye on any government proposals to identify any unintended consequences to the sector.

“We will want to see a process that ensures we are attracting genuine students looking for a high-quality education. Conversely, we don’t want the process to become artificially onerous,” he said.

“We recognise that offshore agents not only promote New Zealand, but also our main competitor markets: Australia, Canada, USA and the UK. If regulations are too onerous then agents will simply stop recommending New Zealand.”

Radhakrishnan’s comments further solidify the newly-elected government’s intent to scrutinise New Zealand’s international education industry, following its election policy in August to reduce net migration primarily through international student numbers.

“Universities have long been concerned by the actions of some less than genuine private tertiary providers”

While there was a level of uncertainty from industry stakeholders at the time of their taking office due to the complicated nature of a coalition – New Zealand First has formed government with both major political parties – the government appears to be sticking by the policy, a decision new education minister Chris Hipkins said would cost around $130m.

Stakeholders have now pledged to work closely with the government to ensure the ongoing success of the industry, with ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson issuing an open letter.

“Our immediate priority at Education New Zealand is to ensure we are well positioned to advise our new Minister, and to ensure a smooth transition of administration,” he said.

“We are keen to engage with incoming Ministers on the long-term picture for international education and the broader benefits it delivers to New Zealand, in particular on delivering an education to be proud of and driving sustainable growth especially in the regions.”

Earlier this year, INZ data revealed offshore visa application to New Zealand had declined by 20% in 2016, primarily driven by declines from Indian students.

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ACE to Launch Multi-Year Initiative to Examine Equity Gaps in Higher Education

American Council on Education - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 03:04
ACE today announced an initiative to examine gaps and progress in educational attainment for historically underrepresented student populations.