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Maine College Republican group moves to the right, alienating some members

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 01:00

When the University of Maine College Republicans asked Amy Fried to be their faculty adviser, the group knew Fried was a Democrat who writes a progressive column in the Bangor Daily News.

Fried, the university's political science department chair, became the adviser for the UMaine College Democrats and the libertarian Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the university in October 2019. UMaine's College Republicans asked for her oversight shortly thereafter, when their previous adviser moved to another state. She agreed, but didn't last long. Fried resigned after a month, saying she wanting to disassociate with UMaine College Republicans’ hardline anti-immigration stance and use of social media to "get a rise out of people."

The group invited Michelle Malkin, a conservative columnist who was cut off from speaking at future Young Americans for Liberty, or YAL, events in November 2019, after she praised Nick Fuentes, a broadcaster who has been criticized for anti-Semitic remarks, Holocaust denial and interrupting speakers, The Hill reported. Fried takes issue with the way Fuentes and Malkin speak about immigration policy, and drew the line when student members of UMaine College Republicans appeared to show support for them, she said.

“There’s a difference between disagreeing on immigration policy and talking about immigration in these ways that are very negative, denigrating, demeaning and inaccurate,” Fried said. “At the same time [UMaine College Republicans] have every right to have their views and express their views … They have every right to exist and the best answer is for people to engage with them and express their own views, but I also have my own freedom of association.”

It was an “overwhelming support for free speech and free expression” that led Fried to agree to be listed as the group’s adviser, she said. Fried had overseen the same chapter from 2015 to 2018. But UMaine College Republicans have adopted a different set of politics since then. Fried described the group as "very Trumpy to alt-right."

Jeremiah Childs, the group's vice president, said they identify with President Donald Trump’s “America First” movement and are more socially conservative than the previous iteration of UMaine College Republicans.

“It’s really fallacious linking us to Holocaust denial,” Childs said. “The whole thing is very hyperbolic. We believe the Holocaust happened … I would not say that [Fuentes] represents us whatsoever. Our goal is to promote conservatism, the agenda, this is what we do. He is one person and is not representative of us. They’re doing this to delegitimize us because we’re popular.”

Some former members left the group to join other conservative organizations on campus, such as YAL. Some are considering forming a new College Republicans chapter, Fried said. About six members left last year. Childs said some joined Maine's chapter of Turning Point USA, another conservative campus group.

UMaine College Republicans take conservative stances on immigration, homosexuality and gender relations, and climate change. The group’s Facebook page had about 400,000 views in December, Childs said. In October, UMaine College Republicans published to Facebook a controversial post calling indigenous South American people “brutal societies … corrupted by rampant ritual sacrifice and cannibalism” in protest to the state’s renaming of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

The post drew a response from administrators, who in a universitywide message said that the post uses 15th-century Spanish propaganda and dehumanizes indigenous people, some of whom who have close ties with Maine, said John Bear Mitchell, coordinator of the university’s Native American waiver and educational program. Mitchell is a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, which is located nearly six miles from Maine’s Orono campus in Indian Island, Me.

“We fully understand that this sort of material is upsetting to many members of our community, and it does not align with our values or the stated values of the university,” the university’s message said. “UMaine is a community brought together in our differences, and some of our most highly held values are civility, inclusion, compassion, understanding and respect. When those values are called into question by the words or actions of others, the reverberations are real and widely felt.”

Mitchell questioned Maine’s decision to note UMaine College Republicans’ right to free speech in the university’s initial statement on the offensive Facebook post, which suggested “the best remedy for speech we do not like or disagree with is more speech.” But in addressing the post head-on and engaging in discussion with concerned students and the Native American community, Mitchell said the university helped make their voices heard.

“Racism and racial awareness is really out there, it’s really visible now,” Mitchell said. “Because it’s so visible and we see it happening, people feel visible.”

Fraught Relations With College Democrats

An indigenous student organized a protest of about 100 people on campus in response to the Facebook post. Members of UMaine College Republicans attended to disrupt it, Mitchell said. Later, members harassed and physically threatened the student organizer, and out of fear she did not attend classes for a week, Mitchell said. Margaret Nagle, senior director of public relations, said Maine does not comment on matters of student conduct when asked about the accusation of harassment. The group denied those allegations.

“This is not true at all, we’ve never harassed anybody,” Childs said. “Nobody in our group has ever been found guilty of anything … My members always treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Fried, who has taught at the university since 1997, said the discourse between college Democratic and Republican groups has gone downhill since her oversight of the group from 2015 to 2018, when leaders were friendly with each other and participated in constructive debate.

The Democratic group’s debates and conversations with UMaine College Republicans have been fraught, said Liam Kent, president of UMaine College Democrats.

“We have conversations but they’re not productive … they’re faux conversations to pass the time,” Kent said. “We try to be nice to them, we try to be cooperative with them and we try to keep it amicable between the groups, but they have stepped way over the line many times.”

Kent, who is gay, said his members do not feel safe in the same room as members of UMaine College Republicans and “fear that they will face repercussions for being who they are” when engaging with the group’s members. The only forum UMaine College Democrats will engage in is a formal debate, because those events are a “somewhat safe zone” with university security personnel, he said.

Because Fried resigned, the chapter of UMaine College Republicans is considered inactive by the university’s student government. It will need to reapply for recognition and be approved by a committee of student organizations and the Student Senate, Nagle said. Childs said the group has multiple candidates interested in becoming its faculty adviser.

UMaine College Republicans remains recognized by the College Republican National Committee, or CRNC, under the Maine Federation of College Republicans, said Childs, who is the federation's vice chairman. The CRNC did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Nagle said Maine had not spoken to the CRNC about the chapter’s behavior.

While the group is no longer recognized by the university, they can easily reorganize once they meet the student government requirements, Mitchell said.

“Any group that partakes in any racism or hate or direct threats to any students should be easily removed. But they’re not -- they’re protected,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that we should eliminate any Republican club. But anybody who engages in hate and racism should be removed, without question.”

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New presidents or provosts: New School Northeast CC NMC Paine Rockford Southwestern Michigan Tidewater Weber

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 01:00
  • Leah Barrett, vice president for student affairs at Northern Wyoming Community College District, has been selected as president of Northeast Community College, in Nebraska.
  • Marcia Conston, vice president for enrollment and student success services at Central Piedmont Community College, in North Carolina, has been chosen as president of Tidewater Community College, in Virginia.
  • Cheryl Evans Jones, interim president of Paine College, in Georgia, has been appointed to the job on a permanent basis.
  • Ravi Krovi, dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Akron, in Ohio, has been selected as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Weber State University, in Utah.
  • Dwight A. McBride, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University, in Georgia, has been named president of the New School, in New York.
  • Nick Nissley, executive director of the School for Creative & Performing Arts, in Ohio, has been selected as president of Northwestern Michigan College.
  • Joseph L. Odenwald, vice president of student services at Southwestern Michigan College, has been chosen as president there.
  • Michael A. Perry, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Rockford University, in Illinois, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.
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Traffickers exploiting student visas at global level, reports reveal

The PIE News - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 07:00

International students are at risk of workplace exploitation, and even more alarmingly according to a series of reports, of student visa routes being targeted by human traffickers.

Reports by the US Department of State, Polaris and The Times of London paint a picture of human traffickers are using student visas on a global scale to take advantage of vulnerable people.

“[Traffickers] will make use of anything that allows them to control people”

A US Department of State report – the 2019 Trafficking in Persons – released last June found that student visas are potentially used to traffic people in Australia, France, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Cyprus, the Philippines and Tunisia.

“Whatever way traffickers can find to organise transport into the country for which there is no legal way in – as in the case with Vietnamese students in the UK – they will use,” Jakub Sobik, communications manager at UK-based NGO, Anti-Slavery, told The PIE News.

Soubik was referring to The Timesinvestigation published in November which reported that gangs were using Tier 4 visas to traffic Vietnamese girls into the UK via independent schools.

“They [traffickers] will also make use of anything that allows them to control people,” commented Sobik.

“While education might not be the largest mechanism to recruit or entice people, it is certainly a method that is used,” he confirmed.

“The very regrettable historical cases of trafficking of students from Vietnam referred to in The Times’ recent article illustrate that systems, no matter how robust they are, may prove insufficient when faced with criminals intent on exploiting those systems,” said BAISIS chairman, Julian Baker.

“Since the time of these historical cases, recruitment from Vietnam has continued with caution to ensure criminal agents do not circumvent the country’s visa system,” he added.

A spokesperson from the UK’s Home Office told The PIE that the safety and welfare of children is a top priority when considering any student application, and written consent from parents and evidence of adequate childcare arrangements are required.

“If we have concerns around the genuineness of any of this information, we will either undertake verification checks or when appropriate interview the student or their parents.

“Educational establishments have a duty to report a lack of enrolment or disappearance to us. When the location of a child is unknown, this is referred to social services and the police,” they said.

In the US, the Polaris ‘Human Trafficking on Temporary Work Visas’ report identified 34 individuals who were enrolled between 2015-2017 on F1 visas, as confirmed victims of human trafficking.

Source: Polaris, Human Trafficking on Temporary Work Visas

According to the report, these individuals were identified via a “national hotline” and all exploitative work environments: 32% of those reportedly experienced sex trafficking or a combination of sex and labour trafficking. This was the highest percentage of sex trafficking victims of any of the visas included in the report. 

Nigerians were the most commonly impacted nationality, comprising 18% of all victims identified across the F1 visa category.

The US government Trafficking in Persons report, comprehensively assessing human trafficking in 187 countries and territories, found that in Australia, there have been cases of exploitation in the fruit picking industry.

Victims reported excessive work hours, deliberate underpayment of wages, falsification of records and unauthorised deductions from wages. 

Some victims paid significant placement and academic fees for their student visas. “Unscrupulous” employers coerce students to work in excess of the terms of their visas, making them vulnerable to trafficking due to fears of deportation for immigration violations.

The TIP report also noted that in France, Chinese victims often enter the country on short-term student or tourist visas and in Israel, traffickers in the agricultural sector recruit students from developing countries to take part in an agricultural study program on student visas. 

According to the report, in Taiwan, traffickers take advantage of the country’s “New Southbound Policy” visa-simplification program and lure Southeast Asian students and tourists into the country before subjecting them to forced labour and sex trafficking.

In the Philippines, illegal recruiters use student, intern, exchange program, and tourist visas, as well as social networking sites and digital platforms to recruit and circumvent the Philippine government and destination countries’ regulatory frameworks for foreign workers.

The TIP cited an NGO, saying that in 2017 and 2018, foreign trafficking victims arrived in Tunisia on a valid tourist or student visa and remain in an exploitative situation for an average of five to 13 months, surpassing the validity of their visa. 

“It’s important to look at more systemic problems that help facilitate these practices”

Sobik told The PIE that educating people to the risks of trafficking was crucial, but that more needed to be done in regards to how governments manage their immigration policies. 

“It’s important to look at more systemic problems that help facilitate these practices, such as a hostile environment with immigration systems that push people underground, outside of the law and into the hands of traffickers. 

“Without addressing that, we will never address trafficking and slavery,” said Sobik. 

The TIP report also noted that Japan’s fast-growing international student population is vulnerable to trafficking in the unskilled labour sector and that in New Zealand, some international students and temporary visa holders are vulnerable to forced labour or prostitution.

The post Traffickers exploiting student visas at global level, reports reveal appeared first on The PIE News.

English UK holds workshops in Taiwan, Japan

The PIE News - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 04:54

More than 50 Asia Pacific region agents joined English UK workshops in Taipei and Tokyo recently to visit member centres and find out more about ELT.

The format was designed to allow centres of all sizes and with a range of budgets to attend, and the educators attending came from the full range of English UK’s membership.

“With the education strategy of the Japanese government and the Olympics… it felt like the right time”

Agents were able to meet with a university, a further education college, seasonal multi-centres, owner-run boutique schools and large chains.

“This region has always been important for our members,” said Roz McGill, English UK’s market development manager.

“With the education strategy of the Japanese government and the Olympics in 2020, it felt like the right time to reinforce members’ partnerships in this key market, and Taiwan has great potential both in invaluable long-term adult students and growing demand for junior courses”.

Louise Gow, English UK’s agent relations manager said: “We always aim for a mix of agents that are already sending significant numbers of students to the UK, and those that are interested in opening up this market.

“Conversations that our team had with agents reflected this mix. We had experienced agents looking for new partners for specific courses – my first request was for English and fencing – as well as an agent who sends predominately to Australia, who was looking for a new market for her students.”

The format is designed to allow centres of all sizes and with a range of budgets to attend, and the educators attending came from the full range of English UK’s membership.

English UK’s 2020 Asia Pacific events will take place in Hanoi (23 – 24 November) and Bangkok (26 -27 November).

English UK will also accompany members to Argentina for a Latin American-focused event on the 20 and 21 April 2020 and plans to combine this with an exploratory mission to Ecuador.

The post English UK holds workshops in Taiwan, Japan appeared first on The PIE News.

First cohort of AIRC ISREP graduates

The PIE News - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 03:51

The American International Recruitment Council has graduated the first cohort of 13 international education professionals of its International Student Recruitment and Enrolment Planning program.

Consisting of seven modules, the ISREP course emphasises “deep understanding of professional guidelines, key concepts, and tools to improve international admissions strategies”.

“[It] gives recruiting professionals unprecedented access to AIRC’s expertise and resources”

“Our members and stakeholders look to AIRC to refresh their knowledge of the institutional and regulatory landscape, enhance their professional networks, and hone their skills,” executive director of AIRC, Mike Finnell said in a statement.

“At the same time, they are busy professionals whose time is largely devoted to achieving recruiting targets,” he added.

Via blended in-person and online learning, participants also create a strategic international recruitment plan and receives instruction and support from expert practitioners including Dr. George F. Kacenga of Purdue University Northwest and AIRC board member.

David Di. Maria from University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of North Texas’s Pia Wood and Michal Wilhelm of the University of North Carolina Wilmington are also part of the course’s faculty.

“The blended format of our Professional Certificate in International Student Recruitment and Enrolment Planning gives recruiting professionals unprecedented access to AIRC’s expertise and resources,” Finnell added.

One graduate, Samantha Lopez from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, noted that the course had helped her “tremendously to have a broader perspective of international student recruitment world”.

“This certification is helping me so much with creating a strategic international recruitment plan for my higher education institution,” Lopez said.

The 2020 course is fully enrolled with 24 students. Registration for the 2021 course is available through November 2020.

The post First cohort of AIRC ISREP graduates appeared first on The PIE News.

Annual Grapevine survey finds modest continued increases in public higher education funding

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 01:00

An annual survey of state funding for higher education released today documents modest continued increases in funding across most states.

Initially approved state appropriations grew by 5 percent in fiscal 2020 compared to the year before, representing the eighth straight year of annual increases and the largest annual percentage increase since fiscal year 2015, according to the annual Grapevine survey, a joint project of the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).

Only three states reported a year-over-year decline in state funding for higher education. By far the largest decrease -- 11.2 percent -- was in Alaska, the result of a gubernatorial veto that slashed funding to the University of Alaska system. Governor Michael J. Dunleavy initially vetoed $135 million in funding for the University of Alaska -- 41 percent of the university’s budget -- but the governor and university officials subsequently agreed on a compromise plan to phase in $70 million in cuts over three years.

Hawaii and New York had much more modest annual declines in state funding, of 2.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Funding levels for both states had already recovered to levels seen before the Great Recession of 2008.

Of the other 47 states and the District of Columbia, 25 reported annual increases in state funding of less than 5 percent, 19 reported increases between 5 and 10 percent, and four (Colorado, New Jersey, South Carolina and Utah) reported increases of more than 10 percent.

The fiscal year 2020 appropriations are 9.5 percent higher than the appropriation levels two years ago, and 18.8 percent higher compared to five years ago. The Grapevine data are not adjusted for inflation.

"It's a fairly positive report this year, with a 5 percent increase from last fiscal year to this fiscal year," said Jim Palmer, the editor of the Grapevine survey and a professor of educational administration and foundations at Illinois State. "And only three states indicated declines and two of those states registered relatively small declines. When you contrast that just a couple years ago, in 2018, about 18 states had reported declines in funding, so we see that funding increases are more evenly spread across the states."

"I think this is probably predictable given the state of the economy right now," Palmer continued. "In order for states to increase funding for higher education, two things need to happen. First, the states have to have the fiscal capacity to increase funding. And then of course, second, there has to be a political will to increase funding. I think that after several years of tuition increases, there is growing political pressure for states to perhaps increase funding and to counter the trend toward increased tuition."

While state funding has been steadily increasing over each of the past six years, a report released last April by SHEEO found that state funding had only halfway recovered from the deep cuts it sustained following the 2008 financial crisis. In essence, "the increases haven’t been as big as the decreases during the recession," said Sophia Laderman, a senior policy analyst at SHEEO.

The Great Recession accelerated the move toward growing reliance on tuition revenue to fund higher education. In 2008 student tuition accounted for 35.8 percent of total educational revenue at public colleges. In 2018, it accounted for 46.6 percent, according to the SHEEO report.

Laderman echoed Palmer's point that the widely seen increases in state funding this past fiscal year may represent a shift in political priorities.

"I think it very much differs across states, but generally over the last few decades as state support has declined, tuition revenue has gone up and tuition rates have gone up," she said. "There have been increased calls for affordability and a lot of attention to student loan debt, and I do think policy makers are hearing that and paying attention to that and trying to prioritize higher education."

Below is a chart from the Grapevine survey showing changes in funding levels for each state over the past one, three and five years. Just two states -- Alaska and Kentucky -- reported declines in public funding over the previous two-year period. Five states -- Alaska, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma -- reported declines over the previous five-year period.

State 1-Year % Change 3-Year % Change 5-Year % Change Alabama +6.9% +10.7% +20.6% Alaska -11.2% -9.1% -21.9% Arizona +9.4% +13.2% +5.7% Arkansas +2.7% +4.2% +3.2% California +6.7% +16.8% +37.2% Colorado +11.4% +23.7% +42.2% Connecticut +1.4% +4.6% +2.4% Delaware +4.1% +4.2% +9% District of Columbia +3.4% +15.5% +22.9% Florida +2.1% +8.3% +29.3% Georgia +4.8% +10.7% +31.3% Hawaii -2.2% +6.1% +32.6% Idaho +3.7% +8.9% +29.9% Illinois +9.8% +10.9% +4.8% Indiana +3% +3.3% +11.1% Iowa +4.5% +5.9% +0.5% Kansas +5.3% +10% +5.7% Kentucky +0.7% -1.7% -1.9% Louisiana +3.3% +4.9% +8.5% Maine +3.6% +5.3% +17.2% Maryland +2.8% +6.7% +18.6% Massachusetts +4.8% +7.6% +15.1% Michigan +1.1% +3% +10.7% Minnesota +4.3% +2.9% +17.6% Mississippi +5.7% +6.3% -5.2% Missouri +5.6% +6.7% +2.3% Montana +6.4% +7.7% +8.7% Nebraska +2.9% +5.2% +9.5% Nevada +7% +12.7% +43.9% New Hampshire +8.9% +9.4% +13.7% New Jersey +11.1% +15.9% +20.3% New Mexico +5.4% +9.4% +1.4% New York -0.3% +3.3% +10.8% North Carolina +0.7% +6.4% +18.6% North Dakota +5.9% +5.9% -7.3% Ohio +4.3% +4.2% +12.4% Oklahoma +3.3% +4.2% -18.6% Oregon +8.8% +14.5% +43.4% Pennsylvania +4.4% +7% +10.5% Rhode Island +2.3% +6.8% +23.6% South Carolina +10.8% +18.6% +34.2% South Dakota +5% +7.1% +15.3% Tennessee +9.8% +14.6% +33.9% Texas +5.6% +6.8% +16.8% Utah +10.1% +19.1% +38.2% Vermont +2% +2.7% +7.5% Virginia +7.5% +13.2% +26% Washington +7.8% +15.2% +39% West Virginia +7.8% +12.6% +4.1% Wisconsin +2.8% +7.1% +1% Wyoming +1.3% +4.3% +3.4% The Policy EnvironmentEditorial Tags: State policyStatesIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Are historians increasingly driven to weigh in on contemporary policy debates?

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 01:00

NEW YORK -- A retired historian in the audience stood up and thanked her peers for keeping things topical, following a panel discussion at this weekend's meeting of the American Historical Association.

Sandi Cooper, professor emerita at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said she’d joined the AHA in 1957 and found that annual meeting discussions rarely tackle anything that happened after the 1940s. This panel -- on the Nazi legacy in the Trump era -- was different, and welcome, she said.

Nodding heads and murmurs of agreement followed her statement, even if it wasn’t technically accurate. The AHA seeks to make its meetings relevant, such as with late-breaking sessions related to current events and plenaries open to the public.

Yet Cooper's comment wasn’t wholly inaccurate, either: AHA meetings aren't known for rousing policy debates. At this year's gathering, however, there was a sense that historians’ perspectives are sorely needed in current policy discussions -- and that historians are increasingly willing to step up.

“There’s an urgency,” said panelist David N. Myers, Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at the University of California, Los Angeles, following his remarks on the recent rash of anti-Semitic attacks, the "malleability" of Jewishness and President Trump’s recent, controversial executive order on anti-Semitism.

Myers said that weighing in on the present as a historian also means pushing back against the so-called humanities crisis, in that makes history vital.

In his George C. Marshall Lecture in Military History at the meeting, historian H.R. McMaster, a retired three-star Army general and one of President Trump's former national security advisers, also urged historians to overcome their reluctance to frame and inform contemporary issues of foreign policy and national security strategy. Without their measured input, he said, that work is left to those who haven't studied the lessons of history, especially as they pertain to the uncertainty of war. McMaster suggested that historians are well suited to promote what historian Zachary Shore has called "strategic empathy," and to avoid what McMaster called "strategic narcissism."

The Presentism Trap

Historians are, by training, often hesitant to analyze current events through that lens, lest they fall into the “presentism” trap of interpreting the past anachronistically. And historical expertise is not a crystal ball for predicting the future. But many historians are feeling less inhibited about sharing their perspectives on what’s happening right now.

Janet Ward, a professor of German history at the University of Oklahoma who chaired the Nazi legacy panel, said that historians “have to move beyond what we were trained to do.” And they “have to be braver.” Activism, for example, isn’t necessarily a bad word, she added.

Ward and about 25 colleagues nationally, including academics from other fields, have organized an outreach program, in response to the political moment. Their mission is to help preserve liberal democracy via education. They seek to address not only fellow faculty members but also students, military veterans and the general public.

Panelist Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan, asked what conditions might have allowed for Trump's election and similar political movements abroad, linking climate change and other factors to increased anxiety surrounding national borders.

Following the panel, Eley said that his role as a historian has morphed over his long career, in response to such major events as the fall of the Soviet Union and the advent of the internet and social media. Eley also said that the present always informs which questions we ask about the past. But he, too, used the word “urgency” to describe the need for historians’ involvement in political discourse today.

Fascism and Beyond

Fascism, including whether the U.S. is veering toward it, was the topic of several AHA panels this year. During what was billed as an “Oxford-style” debate on whether fascism is “back,” for instance, several scholars went head to head to advance “yes” and “no” positions. Federico Finchelstein, professor of history at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College, argued that fascism has not made a comeback -- yet. While fascistic elements are present in Trump’s leadership style and policies, he said, "populistic" is a more apt term as of now.

Quoting the adage that defeating one’s “enemies” requires understanding them, Finchelstein said, “This is work we should be doing as historians.”

While the fascism question obviously animated discussions, other contemporary questions were posed. Various panels focused on the border crisis, the Second Amendment and the separation of powers and impeachment, for instance.

During the separation of powers session, moderator Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, said that historians are increasingly in the "public eye" because "many of the political and constitutional questions we face, perhaps many of the crises we face, come down to a series of explicit historical issues related, in particular, to the separation of powers in our constitutional democracy."

Another panel highlighted how Trump’s recent proposal on immigrants as public charges would constitute a major departure from the U.S.’s historical approach. Dating back to colonial “poor laws,” panelists said, public charge exclusions and related deportations have not targeted the working poor or sought to prohibit or chill immigrants’ use of some social services. The current proposal, meanwhile, does all of that, speakers said.

Torrie Hester, associate professor of history at Saint Louis University and chair of that panel, said that proponents “have sought to justify the rule changes on the grounds that a sweeping definition of public charge is rooted in American history. And historical sources tell a very different story.”

Hester and some of her colleagues have also spoken out publicly against the changes, in op-eds and comments to the federal government.

Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history at Wesleyan University, edited a book last year called A Right to Bear Arms? The Contested Role of History in Contemporary Debates on the Second Amendment, to which her colleagues on the gun rights panel all contributed. She also wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post, pushing back on the narrative -- pushed by the National Rifle Association and others -- that the individual right to bear arms is rooted in the English Bill of Rights of 1689.

“Based on archival evidence,” Tucker wrote in that piece, “historians have found no record in English common law of an untrammeled individual right to bear arms. On the contrary, common law in England and 18th-century America always recognized that personal security was best protected through a well-ordered society in which the public carrying of dangerous weapons was closely regulated.”

Following her well-attended panel here, Tucker cautioned against thinking that historians have always shied away from policy debates. Many historians have dared to get involved, and some subfields “have always been politicized.” In the case of gun history, she said, “so much of what's wrong is that the field is that it's bedeviled by presentism and Second Amendment questions, where there are myths of history enshrined as facts.”

What's needed is more "rigorous historical scholarship on gun ownership, possession and use," she added.

W. Fitzhugh Brundage, William B. Umstead Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a speaker on the border crisis panel, said he’s “never been too worried about presentism,” as “well-argued and well-sourced scholarship should able to withstand any scrutiny.”

‘Of Contemporary Concern’

“I know it sounds trite, but I believe it," Brundage said. Echoing McMaster, he added that if "we historians don't address directly the relevancy of our scholarship to questions of contemporary concern, others will fill the void.” 

Given recent events, Brundage also said, it's “understandable” and “laudable that historians are speaking beyond the disciplinary silos" that circumscribed much of the scholarship the 1980s and 1990s. Most historians were "shocked and surprised” that history appeared to go “backwards” in 2016, with Trump’s election, he continued, and now they’re “scurrying to explain a historical trajectory that defied prevailing wisdom.”

James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, said that historians “always think about context.” And the point is not that history "repeats," but rather that we learn from the past.

That learning, Grossman said, “tells us that that this an unusual moment in American public culture." And while he hasn't been "among those who see fascism creeping into our political processes," he does "see something happening that differs from anything I’ve seen before.”

If a “clear and present danger does exist -- and I recognize the legitimacy and imperative of debate here -- then we must recognize the obligations of institutions of civil society when the rule of law itself comes under threat from those sworn to enforce it," Grossman also said via email. Under those circumstances, the AHA “has a responsibility to participate beyond its normal conventions.”

Cooper, the longtime AHA member, said later during the conference that history "is a window into where we are." Clarifying her earlier statement, she said she'd noted a "positive move in the AHA meetings towards including topics of contemporary importance and not treating history as some kind of disconnected narrative that feared touching the present."

FacultyEditorial Tags: HistoryFacultyIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: New SchoolSaint Louis UniversityThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUniversity of California, Los AngelesUniversity of Oklahoma-Norman CampusDisplay Promo Box: 

Technology is changing election polling by colleges

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 01:00

First, there was door-to-door polling. A pollster, clipboard in hand, might knock on doors and ask, "Who are you going to vote for?"

Today, many of the top colleges that do public opinion polling for elections instead connect with voters over the phone. Student workers call cellphones and landlines, ask questions from a script and record answers. The four institutions -- Marist College, Monmouth University, Siena College and Muhlenberg College -- that receive an A-plus pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight, a popular analysis website, all currently use live calling.

Poll center officials from several of those universities typically said live calling makes the process accurate and student centered. Siena’s poll center employs about 150 students, with paths to advancement from interviewing to other polling jobs. Marist employs about 300 students. The polls also bring a good amount of publicity to each university, especially when they partner with news organizations.

But the live-calling system is being squeezed, and some polling centers are looking to transition to different methodologies, like online surveys or automated calling.

Don Levy, director of Siena’s polling institute, said the response rate for live calling has been steadily declining in recent decades. A poll now takes longer to complete than it did even two years ago, he said. That increased time translates to increased labor costs.

“There’s a growing hesitancy of people to simply answer a phone if they don’t know who it is,” Levy said. “Unfortunately for us, there are so many different processes that exist right now that people experience as a threat, whether it be unsolicited robocalls or unsolicited sale calls.” Newer phones also can screen out calls from numbers that are not saved contacts.

Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg's poll center, said the college is planning to switch to online surveys over the next few years, a method that will almost certainly use fewer students.

Muhlenberg’s polling center currently employs about 40 to 50 students, with 25 to 30 others being involved through classes. While many do calling, others work on data analysis, payroll and other areas. Many are proud to see their work making an impact, Borick said.

“You’ve kind of built your career around certain methodologies that have worked for you,” said Borick. “The reality is, the nadir of technology and communication has pushed those methods to the edge of their effectiveness. And for us, we’re right at that edge.”

He hopes the new methods will continue to keep some students at the center of the work. Polling with online surveys requires creating a panel of people who are a representative sample of a population and have opted in to taking surveys online. Students will likely be involved in managing the online panel.

“These are tough choices that are facing a lot of people at academic research organizations,” he said. “No matter what, there will be a student-heavy presence in all operations.”

Keeping Students Involved

Muhlenberg plans to wait until after the 2020 elections to begin the transition. During nonelection years, Muhlenberg and other colleges do contract polling for companies, nonprofits, school districts and libraries.

Levy said Siena's center plans to use live calling for the immediate future. Still, the college is dealing with many of the same challenges as Muhlenberg and has experimented with different methods.

“Even though telephone polling is not as efficient as it once was and it’s progressively more expensive, it remains the best methodology to get the most representative sample,” Levy said. “Everybody who does what we do is beginning to pursue other options because of the growing cost.”

Emerson College, which has a A-minus pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight, already uses automated methods for polling. Most of Emerson’s election polls are done via a mix of online surveys and a method called interactive voice response (IVR), which prompts participants to press different buttons for different survey answers.

“We’re kind of an incubator of ideas in the survey methodology area,” said Spencer Kimball, director of the center.

Students are involved in the process by doing data analysis, writing press releases and conducting studies on different methods. The polling center at Emerson typically has six to 12 student participants.

“Everything is a progression,” Kimball said, noting that polling by phone seemed crazy before it became ubiquitous. “We know this is a pretty popular method in industry.”

Florida Atlantic University, which also uses automated calling and online panels, emphasizes that these methods can help eliminate bias.

“The use of an automated polling system eliminates interviewer bias as all questions are asked in a single voice in English or Spanish,” according to the poll center's site. “IVR may be used by survey organizations for asking more sensitive questions where the investigators are concerned that a respondent might feel less comfortable providing these answers to a human interlocutor (such as questions about drug use or sexual behavior).”

Officials at Marist said that for them, live calling is here to stay.

“Telephone interviewing is still really the gold standard of doing scientific research in public opinion,” said Barbara Carvalho, director of Marist’s polling center.

Lee Miringoff, her co-director, said live calling has been proven to be accurate while the other methods are still being modeled. He said the motivation for moving to online "has not been the inaccuracy of the traditional methods, but has been cost and speed.”

The college tries to keep students heavily involved in all aspects. “The collection of scientific research is so important to so many disciplines,” Miringoff said. “This is a project that has to teach the students.”

The poll center runs an additional project, the Marist Poll Academy, which offers free online video courses on polling. Students have created scripts and animations for the academy.

Marist has done some experimenting with other methods, but only in situations where they have proven to be accurate, such for a nonprofit when a membership list is available.

Levy said there is no doubt that the industry is changing.

“This is a really interesting, some would say difficult, some would say exciting time to be a pollster,” he said. “Folks who have been in it as long as I have may not be the right ones to figure out what comes next. But there will be a next.”

Editorial Tags: Liberal arts collegesStudent lifeImage Source: Bill Keller, courtesy of Muhlenberg CollegeImage Caption: Student supervisors Prianka Hashim (L) and Abigail Edwards (R) work with Professor of Political Science Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Emerson CollegeFlorida Atlantic UniversityMarist CollegeMonmouth UniversityMuhlenberg CollegeSiena CollegeDisplay Promo Box: 

New presidents or provosts: Claremont Lincoln Kentucky Wesleyan NVCC, Peralta Saint Francis Santa Fe College Susquehanna TTU UALR Virginia Highlands

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 01:00
  • Ann Bain, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has been promoted to executive vice chancellor and provost there.
  • Paul Broadie, president of Gateway Community College and Housatonic Community College, in Connecticut, has been appointed president of Santa Fe College, in New Mexico.
  • Tony Digiovanni, interim CEO at Claremont Lincoln University, in California, has been named CEO and president on a permanent basis there.
  • Adam C. Hutchison, provost at Texas State Technical College at Waco, has been chosen as president of Virginia Highlands Community College.
  • Anne M. Kress, president of Monroe Community College, in New York, has been selected as president of Northern Virginia Community College.
  • Thomas Mitzel, president of Dickinson State University, in North Dakota, has been chosen as president of Kentucky Wesleyan College.
  • Dave Ramsaran, interim provost and dean of faculty at Susquehanna University, has been selected for the job on a permanent basis.
  • Lori Rice-Spearman, dean of the School of Health Professions at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has been promoted to provost and chief academic officer there.
  • Regina Stanback Stroud, former president of Skyline College, in California, has been named chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, also in California.
  • Reverend Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer, associate teaching professor in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, has been appointed president of the University of Saint Francis, also in Indiana.
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Chronicle of Higher Education: Spending on Higher Education Keeps Rising, but at ‘Modest Levels’ for Most States

State appropriations to the sector rose by 5 percent over the last year, according to an annual survey.

Chronicle of Higher Education: What I’m Reading: ‘The Checklist Manifesto’

Given the pressure to get things right the first time, higher-education administrators might do well to borrow a tool from the field of medicine.

Travel bans, adventure and isolation: study abroad in North Korea

The PIE News - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 07:38

China’s Hanban, the agency which oversees the country’s Confucius Institutes, opened a new centre at the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies in neighbouring North Korea in 2019, marking the reintroduction of foreign-funded language centres following the end of the British Council’s operations there two years ago.

Despite its reputation for being closed off and current sanctions, North Korea – or the DPRK, as it prefers to be known – is increasingly opening up to international educational opportunities, including hosting international students. But for the few students who do go there, it’s an experience unlike any they’d get elsewhere.

“We had classes in our own classroom building, not together with the North Korean students. Outside, they didn’t talk to us,” Hui Qi, a Chinese student who spent 193 days as an exchange student at Kim Il-Sung University, explained in a post on WeChat.

“[The North Korean students] didn’t talk to us”

According to Hui, although they were able to move freely around the city and had access to nightclubs that were off-limits to locals, most of their time was taken up by studying – lessons ran from Monday to Saturday morning – and there were no societies or clubs to join.

Students were also supervised by buddies from “good family backgrounds”, who were assigned to them by the school administration.

“They lived with us in the same building but on different floors. They help us with our studies and life but also had the purpose of keeping an eye on us.

“Every so often they switched the students and after the change, they weren’t able to keep in contact with us because they would be in danger of being accused of treason.”

Numbers on how many international students there are in North Korea are not readily available, although most attend either the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies or Kim Il-Sung University. The latter was until this year the place of study of Alek Sigley, an Australian MA student who had written for newspapers such as The Guardian about “being the only Australian in North Korea”.

He was later detained and deported, becoming yet another in a long line of foreigners that have fallen afoul of the local authorities.

But for the adventurous, short term study has recently become a possibility, with agencies such as Young Pioneers Tours organising trips. According to DPRK managing director of YPT, Troy Collings, 16 people joined the study tour this year.

“Koreans are extremely proud of their culture, country and history. Having the opportunity to teach foreigners their language is something they take pride in,” he told The PIE.

“The study tours are still a new product though and it takes time to build trust and co-operate on deeper levels with DPRK institutions.

“Koreans are extremely proud of their culture, country and history”

“Over time we’d like to improve the access we have to the campus and spend more time engaging with local students at the universities and other schools we visit.”

The country’s leader Kim Jong-Un said in September last year that the country “lags far behind” global educational development trends and has called for greater academic cooperation with the international community.

Aside from the obvious issues such as the country’s record on human rights and controversial nuclear program, however, some worry that poor infrastructure and restricted internet access would make working with the country difficult.

That said, it was visited by three Nobel laureates (and an accompanying prince from Liechtenstein) in 2016 and several universities – including the Freie Universität Berlin – told The PIE they had signed cooperation agreements with local counterparts.

But perhaps most surprising is that North Korea began offering English-taught courses almost 10 years ago with the opening of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Located on the outskirts of the capital, its unlikely founder, James Kim, is a South Korean and one-time political prisoner of the regime.

The school itself is staffed by a number of foreign volunteer teachers and its funding mainly comes from Christian groups abroad.

“At the moment we have about 25 to 30 foreign staff members, but it should be nearer to 80,” Colin McCulloch, director of external relations and professor at PUST’s college of business, told The PIE.

“The US government implemented a travel ban two years ago so Americans can’t teach with us anymore. They also make it impossible to use normal financial channels.

“Everybody basically has to bring bundles of money in cash into the country because it’s cut off from the banking system,” he added.

With several hundred students, teachers live on campus with the students, giving them a unique chance to interact with and get to know local North Koreans.

“They come in as freshmen at around 17 or 18 years of age. They’ve had a lot of information about the outside world, for example, they know what the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower is and can distinguish between the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace,” McCulloch added.

“But they know less about culture and values and so they very often take some time to open up to that.”

North Korean society is strictly segregated depending on the family background of an individual. When the system, known as songbun, was established in the 1970s, 27% of the population was considered part of the hostile class, 45% part of the wavering class and 28% the core (loyal) class.

According to a report by Korean security issues expert Robert Collins, those with higher songbun classification receive much greater access to education.

“They know less about culture and values and so they very often take some time to open up”

“PUST students basically come from the section of society where there’s nothing wrong with their background,” explained McCulloch.

“It’s not necessary that they’re from the very top. But the mother is perhaps a kindergarten headteacher and the father is a scientist in a government lab or something like that.”

Materials and courses must be vetted before being taught and some topics are off-limits. Supplying resources is also restricted.

“We don’t deliver computers, for example, because to supply computers to North Koreans from the outside world is not allowed anymore. If they acquire them somehow that’s their business,” said McCulloch.

Despite the fact that most citizens will never have the chance to go abroad, language learning isn’t being neglected either.

NK News runs a popular column in which defectors can answer questions from readers about life in North Korea. In 2015, one reader asked defector Kim Yoo-Sung, who left the country in 2005, about language education in the country.

“There is an agreed-upon notion [and] widely accepted view among North Koreans that English is an international language everyone must know and be able to speak,” Kim explained.

“Most schools in North Korea teach English and Russian. Even if students are enrolled in the same year, some study English while some others study Russian.

“Since the early 2000s, as the Chinese economy has grown dramatically and its influence over North Korea has grown and grown, learning Chinese has become even more popular than English.”

“Learning Chinese has become even more popular than English”

There are those that argue that North Korea should remain politically isolated due to its human rights violations. However, those working there believe business and visits to the country should be encouraged.

“You can’t change something if you don’t interact with it,” Troy Collings said.

“Regardless of your stance on the DPRK, 70 years of sanctions and enforced isolation have delivered no discernible results, unless you count a successful nuclear and missile program, which is what the sanctions are ostensibly designed to prevent.

“The Koreans are keen to build international links and I think it should be encouraged.”

The post Travel bans, adventure and isolation: study abroad in North Korea appeared first on The PIE News.

Almost 19K students globally receive IB results

The PIE News - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 06:05

More than 18,700 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students around the world have received their results from the November 2019 examination session.

Last year, the November DP and CP cohort grew by 3.9% and more than 86,000 examination papers were processed in 14 languages.

“You have been taught valuable skills for your future in the fourth industrial revolution”

Some 2,545 examiners across the world worked collaboratively to establish an international standard to which grades were awarded for each subject.

“I warmly congratulate all DP and CP graduates,” said Siva Kumari, director general of the IB.

“I know that your hard work and commitment will be rewarded – both in the immediate term, with the highly-deserved award of your diplomas, and in the future, with enhanced prospects for your further education, your careers, and your lives as a whole.

“You have been taught valuable skills for your future in the fourth industrial revolution, in which you will face wholly new contexts and challenges.

“ I am confident that you’ve been exceptionally well prepared to make the most of new opportunities, and I wish you all the best in whichever direction you choose to follow,” Kumari added.

This year saw the IB eliminate its candidate registration fee (US$172) to give more students the opportunity to access an IB education.

Paula Wilcock, IB chief assessment officer, added: “Congratulations to the students who are receiving results today. We know that the past two years of study have prepared you to move into further education or employment and wish you every success on your journey in a highly connected, digital world.

“Thank you to our network of over 10,000 examiners who ensure that we are able to deliver valid and fair results year after year,” Wilcock added.

In 2018, the IB celebrated its 50th Anniversary – read our analysis here

The post Almost 19K students globally receive IB results appeared first on The PIE News.

NTU welcomes bilingual bank to campus

The PIE News - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 02:55

National Taiwan University in Taipei City is to host E.Sun Commercial Bank’s first bilingual branch on its campus, aiming to improve services for the university’s international students.

The bank’s services – including opening an account, making deposits, transferring funds and loan applications – will be offered in English by 13 employees who have passed the Test of English for International Communication.

“The service is expected to make banking “more convenient””

The branch has 13 employees who are fluent in English and who have scored an average 850 points in the Test of English for International Communication, E.Sun Financial Holding Co president Joseph Huang told a press conference.

The service is expected to make banking “more convenient” for international students and faculty members, he said.

According to the Ministry of Education, NTU hosted the highest number of international students of Taiwan’s universities in the 2019 academic year.

Enrolling 2,970 international students, NTU welcomed more than fellow national universities National Cheng Kung University (1,899) and National Chengchi University (1,581).

Private higher education institutions, Ming Chuan University and Tamkang University held the top two places, hosting 1,957 and 1,868, respectively.

Department of Higher Education Director-General Chu Chun-chang noted that the total number of international students visiting Taiwan is expected to rise as the government promotes the New Southbound Policy and internationalisation in higher education increases, the Taipei Times reported.

 

The post NTU welcomes bilingual bank to campus appeared first on The PIE News.

Fiduciaries should know fossil fuel investment returns data are mixed, new working paper says

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00

Last month, climate change protesters stormed the field at the annual football game between Harvard and Yale Universities, delaying play for nearly an hour.

Fossil fuel divestment groups urging the two universities to stop investing in companies producing fuels like coal, oil and natural gas organized the protest. They forced the game to be finished in darkening conditions, because the Yale Bowl has no stadium lights.

The protest received national attention. It also illuminated a financial and governance issue: calls for divestment are forcing colleges and universities to navigate a difficult space between students' concerns and administrators' fiduciary duty to prudently manage endowments.

It's a difficult spot because no firm consensus exists about whether fossil fuel divestment hurts endowment returns in higher education. One 2015 paper commissioned and funded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America estimated fossil fuel divestment could cost Harvard more than $100 million per year. On the other hand, a 2018 paper in the journal Ecological Economics examining divestment more broadly found fossil fuel stocks don’t outperform other stocks and don’t provide many benefits from a diversification standpoint.

A new working paper being presented today for discussion at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting seeks to fill in some of the gaps. It looks at hundreds of college and university endowments in order to compare the performance of those that did not divest from fossil fuels with those that did.

The main takeaway is that college leaders worried that divesting from fossil fuels will hurt their endowment returns might want to hold off on reaching a final verdict. Authors Christopher J. Ryan Jr. and Christopher R. Marsicano weren’t able to conclude divestment has a discernible effect on endowment returns.

“That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, that just means we couldn’t find one using the methods we used,” said Marsicano, a visiting assistant professor of educational studies at Davidson College in North Carolina. “But that’s a pretty stark indictment of the idea that divestment could hurt an endowment financially.”

Marsicano and Ryan, an associate professor of law at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, attempted to look at college and university experiences after fully or partially divesting from fossil fuels. They used two modeling techniques known as difference-in-differences and synthetic control.

Ryan and Marsicano combined data from the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System with data they received from the National Association of College and University Business Officers for the period from the 2000 to 2017 fiscal years. A total of 527 institutions were in the data sets.

Full divestment and partial divestment from fossil fuels caused negative consequences for university endowments’ fair-market values, according to the difference-in-differences analysis. On the other hand, the synthetic control analysis suggested there is no negative effect for midsize and large endowments that divest and that negative divestment effects might be overstated in the near term.

The authors are quick to reiterate that the paper is in the preliminary stages and hasn’t been peer reviewed. They’re seeking feedback and want to perform future robustness checks on their findings.

Challenges include the fact that colleges and universities generally offer little visibility into their endowment holdings. The authors are taking institutions at their word when they say they divest. It’s also possible that the colleges and universities saying they are divesting have already divested at some point in the past, which could skew findings. Or those colleges may have had very few fossil fuel-related holdings in their endowments in the first place.

Also, a relatively small number of colleges divested during the time period studied, making it harder to draw widespread conclusions. The authors counted 16 U.S. colleges and universities fully divesting between 2011 and 2015, plus another six partially divesting from fossil fuels. Then 13 more institutions divested between 2016 and 2018. The authors performed the synthetic control analysis on four institutions.

“This is our best shot,” Ryan said. “We think this is a good start at addressing a really timely issue. There are important caveats. We don’t have the perfect data set. I don’t know if we ever will, but we are really trying to get at the heart of this question about the effect of divestment.”

An outside expert who reviewed the working paper raised some questions.

“It will be difficult to pick up the effect of divestment at this level of analysis without more details on the size of divestment in each portfolio,” Brad M. Barber, chair in finance at the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management, wrote in an email. It’s more informative to simulate how an investor’s risk-return portfolio would change if that investor invested in the market portfolio versus a market portfolio lacking fossil fuels, he said.

A group linked to the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which has labeled fossil fuel divestment as costly for institutions, criticized the working paper as having several holes.

“Of the few schools the authors characterize as having fully divested, many never had investments to begin with, or merely sold off their direct holdings without addressing commingled funds,” Matt Dempsey of Divestment Facts, which is an IPAA project, wrote in an email. “The few that carried out a limited divestment plan typically did so on a five-to-15-year time horizon, so the negative impacts of divestment would not be immediately detected. The paper certainly doesn’t account for transaction fees and active management costs which an endowment would incur if it were to be truly fossil-free. Simply put, our initial review shows this paper is lacking and fails to do the deeper dive other papers have done to date.”

The paper’s authors nonetheless hope they’re contributing to the conversation about higher education endowments and how institutions can weigh different factors when picking investments. Environmental, social and governance factors, or ESG factors, are drawing interest from many different types of investors.

ESG factors are also actively being discussed in fiduciary law, Ryan said.

Where scientists might point to consensus on climate change, no consensus exists about what institutions’ fiduciary responsibility is when it comes to divesting from fossil fuels.

“What factors should they be considering in making their decisions?” Ryan said. “Should it be total return based on investing -- the modern portfolio theory model? Or should it be something like total returns with a conscience?”

Editorial Tags: EndowmentsImage Source: Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesImage Caption: Harvard and Yale students protested during halftime of the college football game at the Yale Bowl on Nov. 23, demanding the universities divest from fossil fuels.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Free law textbooks raise questions about OER

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00

Law school is notoriously expensive, but a growing number of professors are pushing back on the idea that law textbooks must be expensive, too. Faculty members at the New York University School of Law have taken matters into their own hands by publishing their own textbooks at no cost to students.

Barton Beebe, a law professor at NYU, published the sixth edition of his trademark-law textbook last year. Fellow NYU professors Jeanne Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman also published the first edition of their copyright-law textbook in 2019. Both titles are available to download electronically at no charge and are already in use at dozens of universities. Print copies of the textbooks can be ordered on demand through Amazon for the bargain-basement price of $20.26 and $15.40, respectively. The authors make no profit from these sales.

Professors authoring free textbooks isn’t a new concept. The open educational resources (OER) movement, which depends on faculty members sharing their work with the public for no personal monetary gain, was established over a decade ago. But law professors have been slow to embrace the OER movement, preferring to assign titles from well-known publishers that typically charge students in excess of $200 per book. At NYU, law students are advised to budget $1,450 for books and supplies each year on top of their $66,000 tuition.

Whether the free textbooks that Beebe, Fromer and Sprigman authored should be considered OER is a surprisingly complex question. The term “OER” is noticeably absent from the university’s promotion of the free textbooks, despite the textbook authors themselves embracing the term. Yes, the textbooks are free, but are they open?

Definitions of OER vary, but many advocates agree that OER content must be openly licensed to make clear that users can revise and remix the content however they desire. Creative Commons licenses requesting that users provide attribution to the original author, or preventing them from selling the work commercially, are common for OER materials. But licenses stating “no derivatives” are not. These licenses prohibit users from sharing content they have modified without prior permission, even if their changes improve the original material.

While Beebe’s textbook allows derivatives, Fromer and Sprigman’s book does not. Fromer said she has no problem with other people modifying or adapting the content, she just wants to know about it first. On the Amazon description for the copyright-law textbook, the authors ask users to note that the license "does not permit you to make modifications to the textbook or to create derivative work. That said, there are a wide variety of derivatives that we would gladly permit. If you want to make modifications to the textbook, please contact us."

Sprigman explained that he and Fromer didn’t want to risk their reputation by having their names associated with content that other people had created, particularly if these modifications introduced errors or espoused views on the law that they don’t support. In law, perhaps more than any other field, “words really matter,” he said.

Beebe said he would also consider using nonderivative licenses in the future for this reason.

“When you write a book like this, you want to give students a balanced understanding of what the law is about," he said. "There are ways in which you can explain things which can shape people’s understanding.”

Beebe published the first edition of his free textbook in 2014. He felt frustrated by the “exploitative” prices that publishers charge for casebooks, which consist primarily of public-domain material such as court opinions. “The value that publishers add for these kinds of books is negligible,” he said.

His textbook is now being used at over 40 institutions around the world.

Fromer and Sprigman said they also wanted to reduce costs for their students, who often take on significant debts to attend law school. Their textbook is already in use at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; William and Mary Law School; National Law University Delhi; and many other institutions.

Fromer and Sprigman took particular care to make the textbook look good, hiring a graphic designer to improve the layout and design an attractive cover. All three have received thoughtful feedback on how to improve their textbooks and will continue to update them as needed.

The NYU professors are optimistic that more of their colleagues will start to create free content under Creative Commons licenses. Sprigman, a former board member for Creative Commons, said it is curious that these licenses that were “thought up and drafted by lawyers have been taken advantage of by other scholarly communities more than our own.”

“As more people do this, as conversations start to happen at conferences and people start to get ideas of their own, this is going to grow,” said Sprigman. “It’s just come a little late to law.”

Lisa Petrides, founder and CEO of ISKME, the education nonprofit behind OER Commons, a digital library, said early efforts to develop OER content were concentrated in entry-level courses with large numbers of students.

“Now the low-hanging fruit is gone, we are starting to see the expansion of OER into other fields,” she said.

There may not yet be much OER content for law students, but that could change, said Petrides. She noted that OpenStax, a popular publisher of OER textbooks, published its first law textbook in September 2019.

When it comes to which licenses should or should not be considered OER, Petrides said she is "more on the agnostic side" of the debate.

“Our goal as an organization has been to get faculty engaged in the adoption of OER. There are some libraries and some organizations that say creators can’t come in unless they use an open license such as CC-BY," she said. CC-BY licenses require users to provide attribution to the original authors of the content but have no other restrictions on use. Petrides said if the OER Commons had started out with this restriction that it would have no content now, as professors want the freedom to experiment and exercise their author rights in different ways.  

Gerry Hanley, executive director of MERLOT, a digital library of OER content led by California State University, shared a similar perspective.

Concerns from professors that people who modify OER content might introduce errors should be taken seriously, they said. Science professors, in particular, are often concerned about the fidelity of remixed or revised content -- particularly the accuracy of formulas and equations, said Petrides.

“The real strong advocates of CC-BY licenses ignore these concerns to their peril,” she said.

Books and PublishingDigital LearningEditorial Tags: Digital LearningOERTextbooksImage Caption: The cover of Fromer and Sprigman's free textbook on copyright law. Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Community college looks abroad and to faith groups to boost enrollment

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00

Like many two-year colleges, Hudson Valley Community College in upstate New York is struggling with declining enrollment.

Unlike many colleges, it's reaching out beyond the usual strategies to find ways to survive and thrive.

Under the leadership of Roger Ramsammy, who became president in 2018, the college known locally as "Harvard on the Hudson" is forming partnerships with other countries, investing in its more popular programs and working with faith leaders to recruit students.

Hudson Valley has gone from an enrollment of almost 13,000 students in 2013 to roughly 11,000 in 2018 as low unemployment spurred more people to work than go to college, and amid population declines in the Northeast. Ramsammy is hoping to fill that gap with students who are enrolled in the college's programs abroad.

What's different is Hudson Valley's approach, he said.

"All major schools just do recruiting," Ramsammy said. "For us, we are becoming part of the infrastructure of the education systems in these countries."

To do this, Ramsammy hosted United Nations ambassadors from the Caribbean and Latin America in November, opening up a dialogue with countries' leaders. So far, HVCC is working with representatives from Costa Rica, Ghana, Hungary, the Philippines and Trinidad to create partnerships.

One of the models being built in several of the countries would have the college's faculty members teaching students using video technology, but in real time. Another model sends faculty to the countries to "train trainers" for soon-to-be burgeoning industries, like electric automobile manufacturing. Students also will have the option to attend HVCC in person, and they could eventually transfer to the State University of New York at Albany for a four-year degree because of its transfer agreement with the college. Advocates expect the programs will help fill skills gaps that aren't addressed by other institutions.

"HVCC has many associate degrees and certifications via the workforce program that are well suited to the types of education and training required for the projected economic growth in Costa Rica," said Peter Stember, a consultant for the college on its Costa Rican partnerships. "The HVCC program provides students with options that are currently not offered outside the traditional four-year university in Costa Rica."

While Ramsammy's model for "transnational education" may be unique in the United States, other countries have used it for some time, according to Richard Garrett, chief research officer at Eduventures, a higher education research and consulting company.

"There’s great potential for a variety of U.S. institutions to think about these kinds of arrangements," Garrett said, adding that the current political climate and increased competition from other countries makes it somewhat necessary. "It wouldn’t surprise me if more U.S. institutions are saying, 'We need more tools in our tool kit.'"

It's not a quick fix, though, Garrett said. He called it a "risky bet" because other countries are already in that space, and some of the countries that HVCC is partnering with are relatively small.

But, if the college enters the space to build its brand and expand its reach for the long term, the effort might be worthwhile, he said.

"Pursue it, but pursue it for broad reasons that include revenue but aren't dominated by revenue," he said.

For now, Ramsammy said the college is focused on recouping costs and doesn't expect to profit from the ventures for five years.

"It’s all about the global community. As a community college, we reach out to the community, but what is my community nowadays?" said George Raneri, interim department chair for the automotive, manufacturing and electrical engineering technologies department at HVCC. "As we’ve been approached by these other countries, it’s an exciting time to be able to step up and say, 'We can help you with that.'"

Reaching Out to Faith Groups

Closer to home, Ramsammy said one of the college's largest initiatives is its faith-based recruiting efforts.

The college's leaders went to various faith organizations for their weekly congregations and spoke for 10 minutes about the college and what it could do for those who need support. HVCC held a summit with about 200 faith groups on its campus, from various religions and denominations, and gave them information to bring back to their communities.

The summit also gave the college input on what needs communities have. One of the largest takeaways was the need for more English-as-a-second-language programs, for those who are immigrants or refugees. In response, the college held a second summit for organizations that serve communities that need more ESL programs.

The approach has "let us connect with leaders in the community who share our commitment to community service," said Dennis Kennedy, a spokesman for the college.

HVCC is updating its data-tracking system, Ramsammy said, so they can see who is enrolling because of the college's work with faith-based organizations.

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Authors discuss their book on science and architecture

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00

What kind of building leads to science breakthroughs? That's the topic of LabOratory: Speaking of Science and Its Architecture (MIT Press).

Its authors -- Sandra Kaji-O'Grady, professor of architecture at the University of Queensland, and Chris L. Smith, associate professor of architecture at the University of Sydney -- are Australian, but their book is global in its perspective. They responded via email to questions about it.

Q: How are today's great laboratories different from earlier ones?

A: Earlier laboratories were much less engaged with the public -- they tended to be introverted, pragmatic and buried deep in university campuses or outside of city centers. Organizations that are not dependent on public support, for example, Janelia Farm, funded by the foundation established by the estate of Howard Hughes, maintain the older "island" mentality of a separate and intense world for science.

But for most contemporary research organizations, private philanthropy and investment, as well as broad public support for their experimental programs, is crucial to their existence. They tend to be urban and architecturally expressive. Even though the public aren’t able to just wander into the bench space where scientists are working, a great deal of effort is made to communicate their activities and to reassure the public that scientists aren’t cooking up Frankenstein in some hidden basement. We look at the many different ways in which architecture is used to express the ideologies and ideas of science in our book, including the application of scientific motifs to a building’s facade, the use of glazed walls to permit views in and out, and the addition of semipublic social spaces such as auditoriums and galleries.

Q: Why do laboratory architects always say that their designs will eliminate boundaries, communicate the benefits of research programs and foster collaboration?

A: The drive to harness architecture as a management tool comes from laboratory clients as much as from the architects that serve them. Scientific discovery is commonly mythologized as the unpredictable product of individual genius, accident or the serendipitous meeting of scientists from different disciplines recognizing a novel connection between their work. Coincident with this narrative is the fact of slow, incremental labor employing large teams of scientists working with masses of data using precise equipment and adhering to repeatable experimental protocols. Laboratory buildings must provide for both narratives -- they have places for the arduous process of experimentation as well as spaces for scientists to meet informally over lunch. Architecture can’t make scientists talk about their work over coffee, rather than their hobbies or children, but it can reinforce the idea that spending time away from the bench with colleagues is a part of the working day.

Q: What are some of the buildings that you think reflect these values?

A: Buildings such as the Blizard Building in Whitechapel [in London] do a magnificent job of challenging the boundaries that traditionally defined laboratories. The Blizard Building occupies an urban site and is split into two sections in order to integrate with the street and provide a new public alley or "mews." This mews breaks the scale of the laboratory and also welcomes the public in. Inside the laboratory are numerous floating pods that contain meeting and educational spaces that cater to groups of schoolchildren who come to learn about the biosciences and to observe what it is the scientists are doing. The children can look down on the scientists as the scientists themselves peer down into microscopes and petri dishes. The Blizard Building contains and controls the work of biological research whilst giving an impression of openness and pleasure. The architecture helps to transform science into spectacle, and in doing so makes it seem accessible to the untrained.

Another laboratory we write about is the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon. This building, designed by the architect Charles Correa, could be the set for a minimalist science fiction film with its long and rolling white walls with ovoid openings. It produces a singular and stark architectural image but brings together very different scientific and medical functions. The key collaboration fostered in this bespoke building is one between scientists, clinicians and patients. Scientists work on upper levels of the building conducting research into the diseases that patients are being treated for on the lower levels. And though it speaks in different ways to different users, it also serves to unite all users in a common purpose -- defeating disease.

Q: How does cost factor into laboratory design?

A: We are seeing incredible investment in the design of laboratory buildings. Partly, this is because the stakes are so high. It makes no sense to have a shoddy building that deters good employees or slows down scientific discovery, especially when the operational costs of running a laboratory and securing and paying for talented scientists over a couple of years might be equal to the cost of construction. More critically for architects, a very high proportion of establishing a new laboratory lies in the mechanical plant, services and equipment, data and security -- aspects that are sometimes invisible but operationally critical. This means that architectural features that might seem extravagant on say, a school, represent a comparatively minor part of the construction cost of a laboratory.

Q: What are your favorite designs in North America?

A: We managed to visit and write about only a handful of projects in North America. There were many laboratories deserving of our attention or still under construction that we missed. But of those we know well, we admire the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building at the University of British Columbia for its dramatic atria, the clarity of its organization and the architectural refinement of its detailing. Its architects, Saucier and Perrotte, got the balance between aesthetics and functionality just right. It’s a building that could work well anywhere, but other laboratories interest us because they are so specific to their circumstances. The quirky retro-village styling of the Hillside Campus at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, for example, would make no sense anywhere else.

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Colleges start new academic programs

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00
  • Ferrum College is starting its first graduate programs: a specialist in education in teacher leadership and coaching, and a master of science in psychology.
  • Naropa University is starting a master of arts in yoga studies.
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology is starting a professional science master's degree program and professional graduate certificate in cell and gene therapy.
  • University of Georgia is starting an M.F.A. with a focus of film, television and digital media.
  • Vanderbilt University is starting a Ph.D. program in health policy.
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Fiduciaries should know fossil fuel investment returns data are mixed, new working paper says

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 01:00

Last month, climate change protesters stormed the field at the annual football game between Harvard and Yale Universities, delaying play for nearly an hour.

Fossil fuel divestment groups urging the two universities to stop investing in companies producing fuels like coal, oil and natural gas organized the protest. They forced the game to be finished in darkening conditions, because the Yale Bowl has no stadium lights.

The protest received national attention. It also illuminated a financial and governance issue: calls for divestment are forcing colleges and universities to navigate a difficult space between students' concerns and administrators' fiduciary duty to prudently manage endowments.

It's a difficult spot because no firm consensus exists about whether fossil fuel divestment hurts endowment returns in higher education. One 2015 paper commissioned and funded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America estimated fossil fuel divestment could cost Harvard more than $100 million per year. On the other hand, a 2018 paper in the journal Ecological Economics examining divestment more broadly found fossil fuel stocks don’t outperform other stocks and don’t provide many benefits from a diversification standpoint.

A new working paper being presented today for discussion at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting seeks to fill in some of the gaps. It looks at hundreds of college and university endowments in order to compare the performance of those that did not divest from fossil fuels with those that did.

The main takeaway is that college leaders worried that divesting from fossil fuels will hurt their endowment returns might want to hold off on reaching a final verdict. Authors Christopher J. Ryan Jr. and Christopher R. Marsicano weren’t able to conclude divestment has a discernible effect on endowment returns.

“That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, that just means we couldn’t find one using the methods we used,” said Marsicano, a visiting assistant professor of educational studies at Davidson College in North Carolina. “But that’s a pretty stark indictment of the idea that divestment could hurt an endowment financially.”

Marsicano and Ryan, an associate professor of law at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, attempted to look at college and university experiences after fully or partially divesting from fossil fuels. They used two modeling techniques known as difference-in-differences and synthetic control.

Ryan and Marsicano combined data from the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System with data they received from the National Association of College and University Business Officers for the period from the 2000 to 2017 fiscal years. A total of 527 institutions were in the data sets.

Full divestment and partial divestment from fossil fuels caused negative consequences for university endowments’ fair-market values, according to the difference-in-differences analysis. On the other hand, the synthetic control analysis suggested there is no negative effect for midsize and large endowments that divest and that negative divestment effects might be overstated in the near term.

The authors are quick to reiterate that the paper is in the preliminary stages and hasn’t been peer reviewed. They’re seeking feedback and want to perform future robustness checks on their findings.

Challenges include the fact that colleges and universities generally offer little visibility into their endowment holdings. The authors are taking institutions at their word when they say they divest. It’s also possible that the colleges and universities saying they are divesting have already divested at some point in the past, which could skew findings. Or those colleges may have had very few fossil fuel-related holdings in their endowments in the first place.

Also, a relatively small number of colleges divested during the time period studied, making it harder to draw widespread conclusions. The authors counted 16 U.S. colleges and universities fully divesting between 2011 and 2015, plus another six partially divesting from fossil fuels. Then 13 more institutions divested between 2016 and 2018. The authors performed the synthetic control analysis on four institutions.

“This is our best shot,” Ryan said. “We think this is a good start at addressing a really timely issue. There are important caveats. We don’t have the perfect data set. I don’t know if we ever will, but we are really trying to get at the heart of this question about the effect of divestment.”

An outside expert who reviewed the working paper raised some questions.

“It will be difficult to pick up the effect of divestment at this level of analysis without more details on the size of divestment in each portfolio,” Brad M. Barber, chair in finance at the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management, wrote in an email. It’s more informative to simulate how an investor’s risk-return portfolio would change if that investor invested in the market portfolio versus a market portfolio lacking fossil fuels, he said.

A group linked to the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which has labeled fossil fuel divestment as costly for institutions, criticized the working paper as having several holes.

“Of the few schools the authors characterize as having fully divested, many never had investments to begin with, or merely sold off their direct holdings without addressing commingled funds,” Matt Dempsey of Divestment Facts, which is an IPAA project, wrote in an email. “The few that carried out a limited divestment plan typically did so on a five-to-15-year time horizon, so the negative impacts of divestment would not be immediately detected. The paper certainly doesn’t account for transaction fees and active management costs which an endowment would incur if it were to be truly fossil-free. Simply put, our initial review shows this paper is lacking and fails to do the deeper dive other papers have done to date.”

The paper’s authors nonetheless hope they’re contributing to the conversation about higher education endowments and how institutions can weigh different factors when picking investments. Environmental, social and governance factors, or ESG factors, are drawing interest from many different types of investors.

ESG factors are also actively being discussed in fiduciary law, Ryan said.

Where scientists might point to consensus on climate change, no consensus exists about what institutions’ fiduciary responsibility is when it comes to divesting from fossil fuels.

“What factors should they be considering in making their decisions?” Ryan said. “Should it be total return based on investing -- the modern portfolio theory model? Or should it be something like total returns with a conscience?”

Editorial Tags: EndowmentsImage Source: Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesImage Caption: Harvard and Yale students protested during halftime of the college football game at the Yale Bowl on Nov. 23, demanding the universities divest from fossil fuels.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

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