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Who will survive Brazil’s political cull?

Economist, North America - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 07:54

KNOWN, like Donald Trump, as the presenter of a local version of “The Apprentice”, a reality-television show, João Doria entered Brazil’s political firmament last year when he was elected mayor of São Paulo by a huge margin over his nearest rival.

He has the smooth charm of a professional communicator and, with his lithe build and V-necked navy-blue cashmere sweater, a metrosexual air. He is a workaholic who sleeps little. He recently received Bello at the city hall at 8.15pm, with two further meetings ahead.

“I am in politics, but not of politics,” he says. “I am a manager.” In his first five months in office he cut waiting lists at hospitals by persuading them to schedule tests and operations around the clock. His education policy consists of putting computers in schools by cadging donations from tech firms. He sent demolition teams to clear out Cracolândia, an area where drug addicts lived on the street. Critics say he merely dispersed the problem.

At best,...

Government to ban niqab at schools and universities

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 05:37
University and student leaders have voiced opposition to a government proposal, announced on 12 June, to outlaw the covering of the face in learning institutions, from kindergarten to universities ...

Agent use among US HEIs doubles in five years, survey shows

The PIE News - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 05:30

The number of US institutions using education agencies to recruit undergraduate and graduate students has more than doubled in the past five years, according to a survey from the American Council on Education.

In 2016, 30% of 1,164 universities said they hire international student recruiters to attract undergraduate students compared to just 11% in 2011. To recruit graduate students, 15% reported using agents up from just 6% five years ago.

Master’s institutions (institutions that award at least 50 master’s degrees and fewer than 20 doctoral degrees) hire agents more than any other type of college or university with just over half (54%) reporting they used agents to recruit international undergraduates.

“I do think that there is increasing attention in the international education field to engaging associate and special focus institutions”

Administered every five years to colleges and universities nationwide and in its fourth iteration, the survey includes all sectors of US higher education and is the only comprehensive study of its kind

The growing use of agents for international student recruitment is fueled by an “acceleration of internationalisation” on many US campuses, the report observes.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents indicated that internationalisation accelerated in recent years, and the proportion of institutions reporting ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of internationalisation rose from just over one fifth in 2011 to 30% in 2016.

Increasing study abroad and recruiting international students were the top two priorities for institutions’ internationalisation activities, according to the survey.

Not surprisingly, the percentage of respondents funding travel for their own staff to recruit overseas has nearly doubled at the undergraduate level (44%) and at the graduate level (23%).

The increase in the use of agents comes alongside the ongoing agent debate in the United States, brought to the fore most recently by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s proposal to prohibit institutions it accredits from providing incentive-based compensation in international student recruitment.

However, the figures from ACE’s survey suggest a softening of stances among higher education leaders on the issue and correspond to a 2015 survey carried out by the National Association for College Admission Counselling of four-year colleges and universities that found 37% worked with international student recruitment agencies, with an additional 20% actively considering using agencies.

Internationalisation activity varies by institution type, however. Doctoral institutions (universities that award 20 or more doctoral degrees) continue to lead the surge but the findings reveal progress has slowed, with 10% fewer saying they have a strategic plan or task force to carry out internationalisation activities.

Associate and special focus providers, meanwhile, have reported an increase for both indicators with more than 20% saying they have strategic plans and more than 40% having a task force in place.

To understand the divergence among provider types there needs to be more data, said Robin Matross Helms, director of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement and the report’s co-author.

“I do think that there is increasing attention in the international education field to engaging associate and special focus institutions, and addressing some of the unique challenges for institutions in these sectors when it comes to internationalisation,” she told The PIE News.

Data is also lacking on the impact Donald Trump’s presidency may have on institutions’ goals, as the survey was taken from February to December 2016.

The report observes, however, that the executive orders and policy statements related to immigration and foreign relations announced by the administration “will likely impact, perhaps dramatically, student mobility—the aspect of internationalisation delineated clearly by the data as the top priority for US colleges and universities.”

Matross Helms said institutions currently participating in ACE’s Internationalization Laboratory program could provide “a snapshot of campus responses to the political climate”.

They remain very committed to internationalisation activities, she said, adding that they are thinking about what adaptations may be necessary, as well as what potential opportunities could arise.

“We need to be sure that we are also adequately attending to the professional development needs of faculty”

“I think that commitment will persist, and that international education educators will continue to work diligently to keep internationalisation moving forward,” she said.

Another change in the landscape of international higher education marked by the quinquennial survey is a boost in professional development for faculty and staff.

Over half (56%) of respondents said they provide on-campus professional development opportunities related to internationalisation to staff who do not work in the international programs office. Another 34% said they offer similar opportunities abroad.

“I was surprised by the size of the increase in internationalisation-related professional development opportunities for administrative staff, which is particularly exciting given the trend toward internationalisation as an increasingly administrative-intensive endeavour,” said Matross Helms.

“As noted in the report, however, we need to be sure that we are also adequately attending to the professional development needs of faculty.”

The post Agent use among US HEIs doubles in five years, survey shows appeared first on The PIE News.

ACE Releases Signature Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses Report

American Council on Education - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 03:00
According to the latest edition of the report, internationalization is continuing to gain traction among U.S. colleges and universities, with nearly three-quarters of institutions reporting that it has accelerated on their campuses in recent years.

Twenty-Five Institutions to Participate in ACE Alternative Credit Project

American Council on Education - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 03:00
ACE announced today that 25 colleges and universities are joining an alternative credit consortium as part of an innovative initiative to create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of nontraditional learners.

Education Department to hit pause on two primary Obama regulations aimed at for-profits

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:00

The U.S. Department of Education is hitting pause on two of the Obama administration's primary rules aimed at reining in for-profit colleges.

Department officials said they will block a rule, set to take effect next month, that clarifies how student borrowers can have their loans forgiven if they were defrauded or misled by their college. The plan was first reported by Inside Higher Ed Wednesday.

The Trump administration will pursue a do-over of the rule-making process that produced that regulation, known as borrower defense to repayment, as well as the gainful-employment rule. The latter holds vocational programs at all institutions and all programs at for-profits accountable when they produce graduates with burdensome student loan debt.

While parts of gainful employment had already gone into effect, borrower defense was scheduled to become active on July 1. As that deadline approached, rumors had buzzed about the department’s plans for the regulations while politicians and advocacy groups weighed in with a flurry of letters.

Republican lawmakers have long been critical of both sets of regulations and made clear their intentions to roll them back after the election. Although gainful employment affects nondegree programs at many community colleges and borrower defense applies to all higher education institutions, the for-profit sector pushed back hard against both regulations. Consumer advocates view both rules as essential to protecting students against misconduct by colleges and have urged the administration not to walk them back.

The administration will issue a stay of borrower defense under Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act, which an Education Department official said allows federal agencies to halt the effective date of a rule pending judicial review. An association of California for-profit colleges is suing to block the rule. The official said the department is delaying implementation of the rule based on the lack of resolution of that case. (On Tuesday, Democratic attorneys general for eight states and the District of Columbia sought to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the rule.)

The Trump administration previously has cited that section of the Administrative Procedure Act to delay enforcement of other federal rules, including one from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The department will pursue an overhaul of the regulations by appointing separate rule-making committees to renegotiate the borrower-defense as well as the gainful-employment rules.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said fraud is unacceptable but that previous rule-making efforts missed an opportunity to get the regulations right.

“The result is a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs,” she said. “It’s time to take a step back and make sure these rules achieve their purpose: helping harmed students. It’s time for a regulatory reset. It is the department’s aim, and this administration’s commitment, to protect students from predatory practices while also providing clear, fair and balanced rules for colleges and universities to follow.”

The Do-Over Process

The rule-making process, which requires federal agencies to seek public input via hearings and to appoint a committee of experts and stakeholders, can stretch out for months. The new round of rule making will begin with public hearings next month in Washington and Dallas. Department officials, speaking on background, said it’s too early to say what solutions negotiators will reach with respect to either rule. Higher education groups, for example, have criticized financial responsibility requirements in the borrower-defense rule as being onerous. And for-profits have argued that the gainful-employment regulations should apply to all institutions, regardless of tax status.

But negotiated rule making gives the secretary considerable influence in shaping the eventual outcome. DeVos will appoint the negotiators of each committee and their recommendations will ultimately be nonbinding if they fail to reach consensus, allowing the department to make the final call. The Obama administration, for example, released final versions of the two rules after each negotiated rule-making process failed to reach a consensus.

After early speculation this year that Republicans in Congress would attempt to eliminate borrower defense via the Congressional Review Act, lawmakers never took action involving the rule and it became apparent that they would defer to the administration on the issue. Republicans also didn’t include budget riders to defund gainful employment in the May spending deal that funds the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

Focus on For-Profits

The Obama administration crafted both sets of regulations in response to developments within the for-profit sector. The collapse of the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges in 2015, which followed department sanctions, led to a flood of applications for loan discharge via borrower defense, a little-cited statute that took on renewed relevance after federal student loan debt ballooned in recent years. The existing statutory language was vague, however, and was based to a large extent on state law.

In response to Corinthian, the department sought to lay out a clear standard for students seeking loan discharge, which also held colleges accountable for fraud. In addition, the complex rule seeks to identify financially vulnerable colleges and to protect taxpayers and students in the event of their collapse. But many colleges complained that the language dealing with misrepresentations was too vague and that the regulations could have severe consequences even for colleges that did not intend to mislead students.

Under DeVos, the department’s efforts to stake out a strategy on the Obama regulations -- perhaps the biggest immediate issue in higher ed facing the new administration -- were likely hampered by the still low staffing levels for political hires. But the July 1 effective date for borrower defense provided a hard deadline for the DeVos team to sort out its approach.

Observers React to Suspension, Planned Overhaul of Rules

"We commend the department for moving forward to begin conversations that will really protect students from academic fraud," said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, in a statement. "Our sector has consistently supported this premise. Unfortunately, the Obama Department of Education chose to use this basic concept as a vehicle to continue their ideological assault on our sector’s very existence."

As the effective date for borrower defense drew closer, lawmakers, consumer advocates and higher ed groups weighed in. Senate Democrats last week wrote to DeVos last week asking her to confirm that she would implement and enforce the borrower-defense regulation.

The United Negro College Fund and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education -- known as NAFEO -- meanwhile, told DeVos in a letter this week that borrower defense would have a detrimental impact on their member institutions. The two groups together represent more than 185 historically black colleges and predominantly black institutions. A department official cited that letter as an illustration of the kinds of institutional concerns that a new negotiated rule-making process would address.

"We believe further and thoughtful review of the regulation will be beneficial," said Cheryl Smith, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs at UNCF. "We hope to be active participants on any new negotiated rule making committee that the department sets up."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who led the intervention in the California for-profit case, said she plans to sue DeVos and the department over the suspension of the borrower-defense regulations, which she called a violation of federal law.

"Once again, President Trump's Department of Education has sided with for-profit school executives and lobbyists who have defrauded taxpayers of billions of dollars in federal loans," Healey said in a statement. "This is a betrayal of students and families across the country who are drowning in unaffordable debt."

Persis Yu, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, said starting over with the rule-making process "wastes taxpayer money and creates uncertainty for students who are wondering how to protect themselves from being ripped off by predatory schools."

The largest higher ed lobby groups said they were prepared to work with the administration to make improvements to existing regulations. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, called borrower defense and gainful employment critical, if imperfect, consumer protections.

"Changes can be considered, but we should not go backward in protecting students from institutions with fraudulent practices and terrible outcomes," he said.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, said the group looks forward to working with DeVos while "focusing on ensuring that students are protected from unscrupulous institutions."

Questions Remain

Both critics and supporters of the move acknowledged that it left many questions unanswered. The department hasn't made clear its intent on what it hopes will emerge from the negotiation process. It's not clear, for example, to what extent it hopes committee appointees will focus on financial responsibility in borrower defense, one of the regulation's most controversial aspects, or standard of proof for claims. And it's unclear whether gainful employment would maintain sanctions for programs as well as transparency for program outcomes.

Department officials told Inside Higher Ed the letter from UNCF and NAFEO illustrate the kinds of concerns they hoped to see addressed in an overhaul of borrower defense. And they said the definition of gainful employment was in need of thoughtful review as well.

The department also plans to include in the borrower-defense rule-making process a reconsideration of guidelines for guarantee agencies' debt-collection practices. In March, the department withdrew 2015 guidelines from the Obama administration barring those guarantee agencies from charging high fees to borrowers who quickly begin repaying their student loans after defaulting.

Dennis Carriello, a former lawyer at the Department of Education who now advises institutions including for-profit colleges and served on the last borrower-defense rule-making committee, said he was pleased to see the announcement.

"This is a good step," he said. "It's a chance to do the process right so students are protected and the schools know what the requirements are."

Carriello said to improve on the previous rule-making process, negotiators appointed by DeVos should include a diversity of experience and expertise as well as institution type.

Compared with other possibilities -- including elimination of borrower defense through the Congressional Review Act -- another round of rule making isn't the worst outcome for proponents of the regulations, said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

"I feel like of all the scenarios to dramatically alter a regulation, having a negotiated rule making is the most transparent and is far better than just having Congress wipe it out entirely," he said.

But the process does create more uncertainty, he said, including for student borrowers who have already sought to clear their debt via borrower-defense claims.

In announcing the changes to the borrower-defense rule today, the department restated its commitment to discharging loan debt held by students who were already promised relief by the previous administration. And staff will continue to review pending applications for loan discharges. Congressional lawmakers and Democratic attorneys general have repeatedly sought updates in recent weeks on the department's progress -- or lack thereof -- in getting the loans of those borrowers discharged.

“Nearly 16,000 borrower-defense claims are currently being processed by the department, and as I have committed all along, promises made to students under the current rule will be promises kept,” DeVos said. “We are working with servicers to get these loans discharged as expeditiously as possible. Some borrowers should expect to obtain discharges within the next several weeks.”

But suspending the new borrower-defense rule removes a tool designed to help expedite processing of those claims. It's not clear whether the department under DeVos will be open to granting discharge to groups of students or will insist on processing those claims individually.

The department is looking to begin the rule-making process by this fall. But even under the rosiest of projections, new borrower-defense and gainful-employment regulations wouldn't go into effect until 2019. Under that timeline, the department would have to complete that process and publish a new rule by Nov. 1, 2018 -- the deadline for regulations to go into effect the following July.

Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said he was willing to give the Trump administration a chance. But Nassirian, who participated in previous rounds of rule making, said he worried about how a delay in regulations would affect student borrowers already suffering from debt they cannot repay.

"Justice delayed is justice denied for a lot of these folks who are living hand to mouth and really do have very strong arguments in favor of having their debt discharged," he said.


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MLA votes by large margin to 'refrain' from backing Israel boycott

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:00

By a large margin, members of the Modern Language Association have voted to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” of Israeli universities that has been pushed for years -- including within the MLA -- by advocates for Palestinians.

For years, the MLA's Delegate Assembly has debated various measures related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In January the Delegate Assembly rejected a resolution endorsing the boycott of Israel, and then by a narrow margin approved a resolution that the MLA should refrain from endorsing the boycott. Under MLA rules, measures that are approved by the Delegate Assembly are then sent to the full membership for approval. Ten percent of MLA members must vote in favor of a resolution for it to become association policy -- a bar that few resolutions have been able to get over.

This year, the MLA announced Wednesday, there were 18,279 eligible voters, so 1,828 votes were required to ratify the resolution. The measure for the association to refrain from boycotting Israeli universities was passed by a vote of 1,954 to 885.

The move to boycott Israeli universities has for years had strong support in British academe, but had been less evident in the United States. That changed in 2013, and about half a dozen U.S.-based scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, have backed the boycott. Those votes led many college and university presidents to issue statements opposing the boycott. The boycott movement attracted little support in the physical and biological sciences and technology fields, where ties between American and Israeli institutions have been growing.

But starting last year, the boycott movement lost significant momentum -- even in academic groups that have many members who are critical of Israel's policies. The American Anthropological Association last year narrowly voted down a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. And now the MLA has adopted as official policy an anti-boycott stance.

Russell Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, as well as a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, has been among the leaders of those opposing the Israel boycott.

"This is a good outcome for the MLA and for higher education," Berman said via email. "It affirms the principle that scholars should not boycott scholars. The MLA membership does not want to be pulled into political controversies that have little or nothing to do with the mission of the association. Instead, at a time when the humanities face major threats, we have crucial battles before us concerning funding for public universities, the status of non-tenure-track instructors, and the future of the NEH. It is time to put the divisive boycott debate behind us and to unite as a professional association to meet these challenges."

Rebecca Comay, professor of philosophy and comparative literature at the University of Toronto, and a supporter of the boycott movement, had a very different reaction.

"This is a shameful moment for the MLA," Comay said. "It will contribute to the climate of repression on campuses everywhere. It will serve to undermine the efforts of pro-Palestinian human rights activists. It sends out a clear message to the membership that the priority of the association is to protect the privilege of Israeli and American scholars."

The debate within the MLA and other scholarly associations has always been about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and also about the role of scholarly organizations.

On the former set of issues, proponents of the boycott have said that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories -- now in place for 50 years -- is a moral outrage on which professors should take a stand. The growth of the boycott movement in American academe has come during years that the Likud Party has controlled the government of Israel, and the optimism that followed Camp David and Oslo has been long forgotten.

Opponents of the boycott movement have frequently stressed that they, like their opponents on the issue, oppose many Israeli policies and favor Palestinian statehood. Many anti-boycott speeches at MLA sessions started with variations of "I don't support the Israeli government, but …"

While critics have generally focused on arguments about the role of the MLA, many have also said that the pro-boycott side has made exaggerated criticisms of Israel and singled out that country in a way that is unfair. Many have also said that academic boycotts violate principles of academic freedom and make a false assumption that academics back the political leaders' positions. (In Israel, many of the staunchest supporters of Palestinian rights are within academe.)

With regard to the role of scholarly associations, supporters of the boycott have said that academic groups can exercise influence by taking stands on important issues. But critics have said that academic groups should focus on subjects on which they have unique expertise and should avoid contentious political issues that (even if they have an impact on academe) are not fundamentally academic issues.

Debate over these issues is not unique to the MLA or the Middle East. For example, members of the American Historical Association in 2007 voted to condemn the war in Iraq, and the debate featured hardly anyone in favor of the war, but many who worried about potential downsides to the AHA taking any position as an organization on the subject.

The debates in various associations over the Israel boycott have also renewed deliberation over whether those who attend various events at scholarly meetings reflect their disciplines as a whole.

In the case of the MLA, a narrow vote for the refrain resolution at the Delegate Assembly was followed by a 2-to-1 vote in favor when all members were invited to participate. In the case of the anthropology association, the full membership's very narrow vote against the boycott followed an overwhelming vote in favor of boycott -- 1,040 to 136 -- by attendees of the annual meeting.

Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the MLA, said in an interview that "if you look at the fewer than 200 delegates who participate" in the Delegate Assembly votes, "that's going to be a different conversation than if you open it up to the whole membership."

The MLA leadership did not take a stand on the vote, but has been studying the issue of when the association should speak out on public issues, she said.

Feal noted the contrast between the debates on the Middle East in the Delegate Assembly and much of the rest of the MLA convention. The Delegate Assembly typically features long discussions of professional issues, such as the treatment of non-tenure-track faculty members. Indeed, those discussions may not capture public attention. And the vast majority of those at the MLA's annual conclaves are attending sessions about literature or language or teaching, or are serving on search committees -- and many pay little attention to the political debates in the Delegate Assembly.

In advance of this year's vote to refrain from the Israel boycott, some supporters of the boycott said that the measure would limit their rights of free speech.

Timothy Brennan, a professor of comparative literature, English and American studies at the University of Minnesota, wrote on the website of MLA Members for Justice in Palestine that the resolution, "which suppresses debate over Israel within the MLA and, indeed, is intended to prevent any public statement by the organization critical of the Israeli state is itself an outrage and a betrayal, of course, of everything the MLA nominally stands for … It is a mood very much in the spirit of the United States’ more general rightward turn, but now taken up enthusiastically, it appears, by a frustrated sector sick and tired of critical thought, angry at its own professional disenfranchisement, and eager to get revenge on the humanities’ earlier progressive commitments."

Feal said she did not believe anyone's right to expression was being denied. She noted that MLA members maintain the right to repeal the resolution. Further, she noted that the resolution was narrowly focused on the Israel boycott, and did not preclude resolutions that are critical of Israel, or sessions at MLA meetings that feature criticism of Israel.

Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been a prominent anti-boycott voice in the MLA. His position has surprised and angered many of his longtime allies within the MLA. Via email he said that the key to the vote's outcome was an effort by boycott opponents to encourage people to participate in the referendum.

"We believed from the outset that the majority of members did not want to debate an MLA foreign policy, that they wanted to concentrate instead on defending an imperiled profession and helping its most vulnerable graduate student and contingent members," Nelson said. "The challenge was to get out the vote, and many of us worked hard at that task. But MLA members also do not believe that Israel is the Darth Vader of nations; they have lent their voice to the growing chorus of those who do not want to boycott Israeli universities but instead choose to talk with their students and faculty about literature and to work with them to promote the cause of peace."


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For-credit MOOC proves popular among MIT students

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:00

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s catalog of publicly available massive open online courses is typically marketed toward the non-MIT public. Last fall, however, the university experimented by offering the MOOC version of a popular class for on-campus students, for credit, in an attempt to help students facing scheduling issues.

A recently released study of the class found students not only performed well but also -- at an institution known for its rigor -- reported feeling less stress and having more flexibility.

MIT’s circuits and electronics class was offered in a MOOC format, supplemented by a private discussion forum specifically for enrolled students, both semesters this academic year. Some professors across the university use the MOOC format to supplement in-person classes, but this course was the first of its kind in the sense that the MOOC model completely replaced the in-person model.

Students in the fall MOOC -- which the study notes was taught by a different instructor than the in-person course, with “different styles and/or topics of focus” -- reported the circuits and electronics class was “significantly less stressful” compared to their various in-person classes, according to the study. While the study on the spring session isn’t completed, the study on the fall class has MIT administrators thinking about what can be done to create a more flexible, digitally enhanced learning atmosphere for students and professors. The MOOC pilot came about after students reported frustration with scheduling conflicts.

“As you can imagine, MIT students are a very active bunch,” said Sheryl Barnes, director of digital learning in residential education. “And they expressed frustration they couldn’t resolve scheduling conflicts by having more flexibility.”

The course itself was a good benchmark to use for an experiment because of its history at the university and as a MOOC, Barnes said.

“The class itself is quite significant,” she said. “MIT and the faculty have invested a lot in the class, and it’s been refined through this [online] delivery. A lot more students have taken it and experienced it -- that refinement had some benefit.”

The study’s sample size is small -- 31 students started the class, and 27 students completed it -- and there were slight differences in the homework and exam format compared to the in-person class, but the study reported that the difference in the distribution of final grades wasn’t statistically significant between the in-person and MOOC groups. The MOOC homework sets and exams allowed for multiple tries on a question if the student got it wrong, although that also meant that questions were all-or-nothing, with no partial credit. MOOC students were also unable to review graded exams to figure out where they had strayed off course.

MOOC students did have opportunities to meet with professors and the TA, although the study reported “few opted to attend office hours.”

One of the students quoted in the study said the instant feedback of the homework was a key to lowering stress.

“I really like just getting the instant feedback of knowing that after the homework is done I know I’m done now, and I don’t have to worry about, like, ‘Oh, but what if this question was wrong?’ And then you’d have that in the back of your mind, and so you turn it in,” the student said. “That’s stressful, and it was nice just getting that feedback.”

The study notes that instant online feedback for homework is available to students who take in-person classes that use MIT’s MOOC system as a supplement, so its use is not necessarily unique, although it was a factor for every student in the circuits and electronics class in this study.

The same student also identified the instant feedback of the homework as being helpful for learning. To protect their privacy, students were anonymous.

“Another thing that I really liked is just getting the answers right away, so if I tried a question, and I’m like, ‘Oh, whoa, I got that, but I don’t really know exactly why this worked,’” the student told researchers. “I could go back instantly when I’m involved with a question, and it’s still fresh in my mind, and, like, look at the solution, and be, ‘OK, that’s how they did it.’”

The study comes just after a Brookings Institution report, created with data from DeVry University, cast doubt on how well less prepared students do with traditional online classes. The Brookings study and the MIT study are both full of caveats -- they use data limited to one university each, and MIT’s study was done on a MOOC course, not a traditional online course. But MIT’s study seemed to support another finding in the Brookings study, which was that well-prepared students don’t suffer the same negative effects from taking online classes that less well-prepared students do.

As for MIT, the study was conducted primarily because of scheduling concerns from students, not specifically to look at how much the university can or should shift the balance of online versus in-person course work, Barnes said. She said that based on the studies results, those questions may arise, but any proliferation of MOOC courses on MIT’s campus would have to come from the bottom up.

“[Expanding MOOC offerings] will be defined by what individual faculty want to do at MIT, and the faculty committee that determines the curriculum,” Barnes said.

As for the advantages of the MOOC apparently easing students’ stress?

“Students had reported [in 2014] that flexibility in the curriculum had been one of the key areas for MIT to explore. That was a broad report, not just [the Office of Distance Learning], but it’s gratifying to help be able to meet some of these key areas,” Barnes said, calling the MOOC “one more tool in the tool box.”

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Connecticut lawmakers want universities to publish transfer credit data

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:00

A pending Connecticut law will now mandate that the University of Connecticut and the state’s four other public universities publicly release data on which transfer student credits they accept and which they reject.

Supporters say the bill, which the Legislature passed last week, would make transfer between the state’s community colleges and universities more transparent and clear for students, researchers and the state’s legislators.

“There has been a lot of incorrect information about student transfer, therefore we support the Legislature’s decision to request annual reports using accurate and qualified data for these programs instead of relying on anecdotal evidence,” Maribel La Luz, director of communications for the state’s community college and university system, said in an email.

Beyond reporting which credits are accepted and rejected, the universities -- Southern, Central, Western and Eastern Connecticut State Universities, along with UConn -- also would have to publicize their transfer graduation rates.

“I don’t know of any other state where the universities are required to report which credits don’t transfer and on the graduation rates of transfer students,” said Davis Jenkins, senior researcher at Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College, adding that Washington and other states offer the information voluntarily. “But I think this is an important piece of consumer news, because students are concerned about their credits.”

Last year CCRC released a study measuring the effectiveness of states and institutions in helping community college students earn four-year degrees. Connecticut ranked 30th out of 43 states in the study, which found that the state's 12 community colleges had a 29 percent transfer-out rate and a 34 percent transfer-out bachelor's degree completion rate.

The legislation is connected to a new state system announced in April called Transfer Tickets. Prior to the bill, the universities didn't have to report transfer statistics, but Transfer Tickets will help solve that problem. The system creates a community college transfer pathway from all 12 two-year institutions to the public universities. Similar to UConn’s Guaranteed Admission Program, the Transfer Tickets allow students to transfer entire programs of study. Those students are guaranteed full junior status and can complete a bachelor’s degree in their major without losing any credits or being required to take extra credits.

At Central Connecticut State University, which received about 900 transfer students this fall, of which up to 45 percent are from the community colleges, Transfer Ticket is expected to help identify students in the application process and provide clarity to students on how credits are transferred, said Larry Hall, director of recruitment and admissions at Central Connecticut.

"This gives students hope that they can complete at one of the public state universities in Connecticut," Hall said. "It's very clear and transparent how things should be moving, so they don't have to question and it creates a positive pipeline in a collaborative effort between our community colleges and four-year institutions."

Some of the universities already do much of what the bill requires, although now they’re mandated to send annual reports to the state, and the data they send will be comparable across the system.

UConn, for instance, has been providing the state with transfer reports for the last few years, said Nathan Fuerst, the university's assistant vice president for enrollment and director of admissions, adding that the problem over the last few years has been a lack of data to compare the state’s other public universities with UConn on transfer.

“We’re excited that there will be a comparable report for other universities,” he said. “We’re issuing a report to help people get better information about what credits will be taken, and right now there’s no one else to hold that up against.”

UConn already has the Guaranteed Admission Program, which is an agreement between the state’s community college system and the university to provide a seamless transfer for students who enroll in a liberal arts transfer program at a two-year institution and continue to earn a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, agriculture, health or business.

Each year about 900 new students transfer to UConn, with about one-third of them coming from the state’s community colleges. The Guaranteed Admission Program only accounts for about 100 of those students a year, Fuerst said.

But over all, the six-year graduation rate for UConn’s transfer students is about 70 percent, compared to 82 percent for students who enrolled at the university first.

“We want to make data-driven decisions, and knowing what the numbers are is a reasonable expectation,” said Lauren Doninger, program coordinator for liberal arts and sciences at Gateway Community College, adding that a pending merger of the state's community colleges into the same system with the universities also should provide more clarity.

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British election has restored debate on free tuition

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:00

British university leaders must recognize young voters’ anger about tuition fees in the wake of the success of the Labour Party’s policy to introduce free higher education in England, according to members of Parliament who believe that the Conservatives’ “outdated market-driven” approach to funding is now under pressure.

Labour pulled off some stunning wins in university seats in the Britain’s general election, depriving the Conservatives of a majority, as young voters turned out for the party in high numbers. Polling by YouGov found that the public judged Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s 11.2 billion pound ($14.3 billion) policy to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce student maintenance grants in England to be the party’s most memorable manifesto pledge, with 49 percent seeing it as a “good idea.”

University leaders now see tuition fees as “back on the agenda,” according to sector leaders, particularly with an autumn election a possibility and Labour potentially within striking distance of victory. Some worry that it is “inconceivable” that Labour would be able to replace all income from student fees and maintain funding at present levels.

Gordon Marsden, Labour’s shadow higher education minister, said that the election result had shifted the debate on university funding.

“Of course vice chancellors have to think about their financial base, but they need to also be thinking about the conditions and welfare of their students,” Marsden said.

He added, “People in the sector need to wake up and smell the coffee. What the outside world is saying, what young people and adult students are saying, is that we have now got a fee regime that is more stringent and potentially more off-putting to would-be students than any [other] in the Western world.” Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development figures have shown that England now has the most expensive public universities among its member nations -- and in the world.

“The reason we did very well with students … and the parents who are affected by this is that we had a coherent narrative that said that -- whether we’re talking about adult learning, college learning, traditional cohorts of young people going into higher education -- at every point we wanted to lift the barriers, lift the financial burdens and make this a step change in terms of social mobility and the skills that we [the nation] need,” Marsden continued.

“The Conservatives didn’t do that. They stuck to an outdated market-driven, end-of-the-line version of Thatcherism -- and they’ve been duly punished for it.”

Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, who boosted his majority over the Liberal Democrats from 599 to nearly 12,661, said of the fees pledge, “For an election campaign, it was really smart politics: a good offer, a simple thing that people understood. But obviously it is more complicated than that -- that’s what we can perhaps spend some time finessing.”

Zeichner said that it was “quite clear” that the status quo of £9,250 fees “tied … to the teaching excellence framework [with] still the hint in the background of completely variable fees: that is not the way that most young people want us [in England] to go.”

“I can quite understand why universities would have been nervous” about scrapping fees, Zeichner added. “It’s quite clear that it is a very popular policy, but we’ve now got to … explain exactly how it would work.”

Wes Streeting was another Labour MP who saw his previously wafer-thin majority surge, from 589 to 9,639 in Ilford North, again a seat with high numbers of young people and students.

The former president of the National Union of Students said that the fees pledge “wasn’t just popular with first-time voters, it was popular with parents and grandparents.”

“This is something Jeremy Corbyn has always campaigned on and always believed in,” said Streeting, a long-standing advocate of a graduate tax. “I don’t see [the policy] changing while he is leader.”

He also said, “The message here for the sector is that there are huge numbers of people among the general public who do not believe that £9,000 tuition fees are fair or equitable [or] represent value for money.”

Benjamin Bowman, teaching fellow in comparative politics at the University of Bath, predicted that turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds would top 70 percent when figures are finalized, which would represent “an earthquake."

Labour “have lost the parliamentary election, they are not the largest party, but they have got a new movement and a new base of voters … now’s the time to organize them,” he said.

“There’s no better place to start that than with students: they are a bloc, they are geographically contained [as] they are in university seats, so what [Labour] need to do is mobilize them and organize them.”

If Labour does indeed focus on a student vote bloc in future -- persuading them to vote as a bloc in university seats rather than at home, as Bowman believes happened in this election -- that is another reason to believe the party’s popular policy to scrap fees is here to stay.

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Canada eases entry for foreign researchers

The PIE News - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 10:48

Foreign researchers coming to work at public Canadian universities for short periods no longer have to apply for a work permit, as part of the government’s Global Skills Strategy launched this week.

Universities have welcomed the inclusion of the work permit exemption for academic stays of up to 120 days in the strategy, which also introduces expedited visa processing for some highly skilled professions.

Foreign researchers working on projects at a publicly funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution will be eligible for one 120-day stay in Canada every 12 months.

And universities will also be able to access a dedicated service channel that will support employers and provide guidance on visa applications for foreign talent.

“We must ensure that our country has the right people with the right skills so that it can grow”

The Global Skills Strategy, which came into force on June 12, aims to boost the Canadian economy by filling skills gaps with international talent.

“We must ensure that our country has the right people with the right skills so that it can grow,” commented Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.

“Our government will make it easier for companies to bring in highly skilled talent,” he added.

The inclusion of measures to help universities attract international talent demonstrates that “the federal government recognises the important role Canadian universities play in ensuring Canada can compete in the global research and innovation race”, according to Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada.

“These measures will make Canadian universities even more attractive to the brightest minds in the world, building universities’ capacity to advance knowledge, foster innovation and build prosperity,” he added.

As well as the short term work permit exemption, the Global Skills Strategy aims to make it easier for employers to recruit highly skilled workers in certain fields such as computer engineering.

“Employers that are making plans for job-creating investments in Canada will often need an experienced leader, dynamic researcher or an innovator with unique skills not readily available in Canada to make that investment happen,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“The Global Skills Strategy aims to give those employers confidence that when they need to hire from abroad, they’ll have faster, more reliable access to top talent.”

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US: 20% of students using commission-based agents pay $1,000+

The PIE News - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 10:37

One in five students using a commission-based agent to apply to a US higher education institution pays more than $1,000 for their services, according to a survey by World Education Services.

And just over one in three students using independent agents – who are paid by students and their parents but don’t receive commission from a college – pay them the same figure, the results found.

Of the 5,880 students from 50 countries who applied to study in the US and who took part in the survey, 23% used agents during the application process.

“Much of the information is not published in any language other than English”

Although the survey showed that independent agents are more widely used, with two thirds of respondents using their services, one of the most notable findings of the report was the extent to which students paid for the services of “institution-sponsored agents” – defined as those “who receive commissions from or have a contract or agreement with US institutions”.

Two thirds of the students who used institution-sponsored agents paid for their services – a number that was “higher than we expected”, said Megha Roy, senior research associate at WES.

“Of course, these fees may be related to compensation for additional services not covered by institutional agreements – eg English language training, and test preparation, help applying for student visas, or help making travel arrangements,” she told The PIE News.

Overall, 45% of respondents paid under $500 for agents’ services, while a further 35% paid between $501-$5,000.

Education agents were used in the application stage by 79% of respondents overall. The proportion was highest among East Asian students, at 82%, and lowest among students from Latin America and the Caribbean, at 74%.

The language barrier is one of the reasons why so many students from East Asia use agents, said Roy.

“Much of the information is not published in any language other than English,” she said. “So in countries where English is not generally spoken, college application processes – which are really the point when stress levels can become intense and details matter – can be especially daunting.”

Another issue for students from this region “may also be lack of familiarity with US applications processes more generally”, noting that nearly half (48%) of East Asian respondents said their main reason for working with an agent was a desire to “[reduce] time and effort needed to prepare and/or complete admission applications”.

Meanwhile, the pre-arrival services, including travel arrangements, accommodation and orientation issues including safety and cultural issues, were the most commonly used among European students.

And two thirds of European students used banking and insurance services offered by agents.

“The fact that a majority of European students in the US are at undergraduate level (41% versus 31% graduate) could be one of the reasons,” said Roy.

While the overwhelming majority of students surveyed (83%) said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the services of both groups of agents, some students felt there were conflicts of interest with the institution-sponsored group.

“Institutions… have to determine how to provide those agents with regularly updated information that students want and need in order to make good decisions”

The top complaint and the biggest discrepancy between the types of agents was that they conveyed “unrealistic expectations about on-campus jobs and/or scholarship opportunities” – with 29% of students saying this was true for institution-sponsored agents, and 20% for independent agents.

And 16% of students using institution-sponsored agents complained of “false promises about guaranteed admission at their top choice of schools”, compared with 11% who worked with independent agents.

Roy pointed out that institutions need to look at how they educate solo practitioners.

“Institutions… have to determine how to provide those agents with regularly updated information that students want and need in order to make good decisions: current courses, programs, and program requirements; financial aid and scholarships; career services; student life; English language training; housing; etc,” she said.

“Digital technologies can help in terms of dissemination. Translated marketing materials are also a must-have in some regions.”

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Esther Brimmer, CEO, NAFSA

The PIE News - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 03:34
We managed to grab Esther Brimmer at NAFSA’s annual conference in Los Angeles to take stock on her first six months as CEO during very difficult times for US international educators. She also shared her vision for the future of the organisation and what music can make her get up and boogie.

The PIE: So, you’re six months in, tell me how it’s going at NAFSA.

EB: It has been really exciting. One of the great things is really getting to know people. I started off with our Washington meeting in January, but here at the annual conference I am really getting to know members from across the association, so that is really the highlight, getting to hear directly from members what they care about and seeing members in action.

The PIE: So this is your first real big coming together…

“The immediate issues change daily, weekly but the underlying issues don’t, have not”

EB: My first annual conference. You know intellectually what the organisation is trying to achieve, that you have members in multiple regions working on multiple issues and that NAFSA has the convening power to bring people together in person and virtually. Just here in the Los Angeles Convention Center, as you walk down the hallways and look in each room and see members working on this issue, on that issue, you physically see NAFSA working, with people from all sorts of places all talking together and that is really cool.

The PIE: What do you think is going to be your biggest takeaway from this event?

EB: The creativity of the membership. First of all, they are deeply committed to international education with really interesting ideas about what they want to do, both with their careers and with their profession. NAFSAns are curious and so one of the things I want to make sure of is that I think about how we provide activities that help them meet that curiosity and help them think about what issues are important to them. What do they need to know about their careers, what do they need to know about the environment in which they operate that will affect their ability to do their jobs?

I came in being sure we need to be looking at the horizon, so also what do we have to think about, how do we raise issues now to help members address what’s coming down the pike.

The PIE: Being prepared for anything to happen in the future seems more relevant now than ever before. You started at the same time as another well-known leader in the US.

EB: I started 20 days before! He was inaugurated on the 20th [January]

The PIE: So you had a head start. At the AIEA conference in February you spoke about international education being in the best of times and the worst of times. Everything is changing so quickly so I am wondering how you are feeling now.

“We have the benefit of not taking public funds and therefore we are able to speak out on public policy”

EB: The immediate issues change daily, weekly but the underlying issues don’t, have not. So the best of times part of it is still the case. International education is incredibly important. Since that speech in February, some people said foreigners won’t come to the United States but the opposite was true for NAFSA. We were thrilled that we had people from 107 countries here, that there was a significant interest in coming from around the United States but also internationally.

I said then and I have said it subsequently, this is where we come to talk about it; how do we defend what we care about? We think international education is important and it should continue to be, and that is a strong bond between people around the world, and we should be a part of supporting it. And the members agreed, they are here supporting it. They want to be part of that solution.

The PIE: You have taken a strong stance on political issues such as the executive orders on immigration and the appointment of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General. Do you think educators should wade into political waters more?

EB: I think it is important we express the values that this association cares about. We are founded on values and principles and we see how we interpret them every decade and in our current environment. We are not saying other associations necessarily have to do exactly what NAFSA does. We recognise we have the benefit of not taking public funds and therefore we are able to speak out on public policy and so we may be able to play a role as being a catalyst in the conversation, but we represent a wide range of associations and each will find its way to address its own issues.

The PIE: If you could wave a magic wand over international education in the United States right now, what areas would you improve?

EB: There are so many strengths! That is one of the reasons that people want to come to the United States, so I first of all want to preserve the rich diversity of institutions large and small, public, private and so forth.

“Access to higher education is extremely important for our commitment to democracy”

But I think one thing that NAFSA and the general country is thinking about is: how do we continue to increase access? Access to higher education is extremely important for the nation as a whole and individuals, and for our commitment to our democracy. We need to continue to look at how we make sure people across our country, irrespective of financial means, are able to flourish and to have the benefits of higher education. And we think of course international education is part of that and the ability to be part of a prepared workforce. Most issues have some sort of international component we want to be aware of, whatever that field is.

The PIE: You have had such an impressive career. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

EB: I must say I have been very fortunate. Many people, my family and friends have been very supportive. I was very lucky to have incredible education opportunities early in my life, and a wide variety of professional [opportunities]. There are various things that I think were particularly enriching; one was human rights issues in the context of international diplomacy, being a part of the United States’ return to the Human Rights Council. I gave the first US address to the Human Rights Council and was saying that the US could contribute to all aspects of global issues, peace and security and development and human rights.

Ultimately, the reason we do politics and policy is because you care about creating an environment where humans can flourish. Human rights is a part of that, education is part of that. Early in my career I had the opportunity to be part of making the case of why the United States should return to being part of UNESCO, and I continue in that area as well.

The PIE: Why did you choose to move into education?

EB: In some ways, my career has always been about education. I have had the opportunity to be a faculty member at three different institutions, two in the United States and one in Europe, which was fantastic. When I was in the State Department it included working on international education issues in the multi-level context.

“In some ways, my career has always been about education”

So when I was on the policy and planning staff back for Secretary Albright from 1999 to 2001, then-director Mort Halperin said to each of us, “in addition to your day to day stuff you should pick a topic you should work on that you think is part of a longer term policy issue”.  Mine was UNESCO. So I spent time looking at what would be the US’s reasons to re-join, why was being involved in the global debate on education important.

My position with the Secretary of State was fantastic, but you spend a lot of time working on the crisis; a lot of your time on any given day was what was on the agenda of the Security Council. And they were always the worst, because they had been dealt with previously either locally or nationally, but those are the hardest issues. So you try to work hard on preventing the worst.

At this stage of my career I would like to help promote the best and education is essential to that, so being part of international education is really exciting.

The PIE: You talked about looking to the horizon and preparing educators for the future, but what is your long game as head of NAFSA?

EB: There are several things – and I am still learning a lot. One of the fundamental areas that NAFSA serves its members in is professional training. So I want to look at how we can continue to provide the most useful training throughout their careers, because we all have turning points in our career. Even if they have been in the same institution, people take on different roles, so how do we help members make those transitions? Or there will be some new technology a few years from now – who knew X was important technology?!– so how to support adapting to new technology.

“How do we make it possible for a student who is a parent too to be part of international education?”

Our students are changing. What’s a non-traditional student? Because all our students are non-traditional, some students who may be 18-22 and some students are at different stages of their life who are now involved with international education. And how do we, going back to access, make it possible for a student who is a parent too to also be part of international education? How do we make sure we are providing services to our members who are trying to help a wide range of students? We will continue to be active advocates, creating the environment in which international education can succeed.

And then thinking about how the long-term changes in the profession might affect our members. If we think about mobility issues, more countries may be sending students, more Americans may be going to other places, other countries are developing their higher education systems and seeing them as an important part of their export market.

The PIE: Everyone says you have this boundless energy and I’ve seen it this week but I am curious to know what music or artist really gets you up and dancing?

EB: We did it to Cool and the Gang the other day! But I like a mix of things, everything from jazz through to Beyoncé.

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Claims of high drop-out rates are alarmist - Report

University World News Global Edition - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 03:06
Claims by critics in the Australian media that universities are facing a crisis of rising student drop-out rates because of poor admission standards, students unprepared for higher education, and ...

White House apprenticeship push will include funding and focus on alternative providers

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 00:00

The kickoff of President Trump’s apprenticeship push is slated for today with a policy speech observers said will include a call for new money, a less balky federal approach to registered apprenticeships and more openness to noncollege providers handling the educational side of those programs.

During a speech today at the U.S. Department of Labor, Trump is expected to announce a grant program of up to $200 million to expand apprenticeships, with an increased emphasis on growth industries like information technology and health care as well as manufacturing.

Currently, 505,000 people hold apprenticeships through 2,100 programs that are registered with the federal government or state agencies. The most common professions represented include electricians, plumbers, carpenters and construction laborers, according to federal data.

The new money, while a relatively small sum, would be welcomed by job training advocates.

“It would be great to see additional resources put toward building apprenticeship programs,” said Kermit Kaleba, federal policy director for the National Skills Coalition.

However, the announcement follows a White House proposed budget that calls for deep cuts to existing work force programs. The Trump budget includes a 21 percent cut to the Labor Department, a 40 percent reduction to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and a $168 million cut to career and technical education grants for states. Even some congressional Republicans have criticized those proposals, which are unlikely to occur.

Trump and his cabinet in recent days have described apprenticeship programs as an alternative to the college degree.

"Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country," Trump said during his first full cabinet meeting Monday. "There are millions of good jobs that lead to great careers, jobs that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees."

Even so, federally registered apprenticeships require an educational component under an “earn and learn” model, which typically involves employers teaming up with community colleges, four-year institutions, technical schools or an unaccredited education provider. Labor unions, for example, sometimes manage the education side, with related instruction based on industry standards.

Apprentices are assigned a mentor and typically must complete a minimum amount of credit-hour-equivalent learning. When the apprenticeship concludes, they earn an industry-recognized certificate that can lead to college credits at some institutions.

Federally recognized apprenticeships often last two years or longer, said Mary Alice McCarthy, director of the Center on Education and Skills with the education policy program at New America.

“Apprenticeship is not a short-term training program, as it shouldn’t be,” she said.

Trump administration officials generated some buzz last week by suggesting at a Business Roundtable event that the White House is considering federal funding streams for noncollege providers to participate in the education side of apprenticeship programs.

Details about what will emerge today are unclear, but several observers who were familiar with the administration’s planned executive orders said they will include a nudge toward alternative providers.

The proposal is likely to be somewhat open-ended and flexible, they said, leaving room for employer input. But one possibility is for industries to come up with standards for the learning and experience apprentices should gain on the job -- a form of required competencies.

Standards for resulting industry “certified” apprenticeships would serve a quality-control purpose, similar to the role accreditors play in higher education.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has been exploring approaches to quality control that are employer driven and could serve as alternatives or a complement to the current accrediting system. These ideas likely will play a role in the Trump administration’s take on federally registered apprenticeships, several experts said.

Likewise, the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are keen for alternative education providers to participate in apprenticeships and other types of job training, with some support from Democrats and liberal groups. One possibility, some speculate, is that coding boot camps could work with the IT industry to certify and supplement on-the-job learning by apprentices.

Yet the administration has said that traditional colleges will remain at the table, also calling for institutions to ramp up their collaboration with employers.

“Higher education, too, should assume responsibility for promoting apprenticeships. Community colleges and four-year colleges have an obligation to work with students to educate them in skills they need to succeed,” Alexander Acosta, the U.S. secretary of labor, said Tuesday during a White House press briefing. “Incorporating apprenticeships into two- and four-year degree programs would offer students both traditional learning and skills-based learning.”

Who Will Be Eligible for New Money?

The Obama administration allocated roughly $250 million toward expanding apprenticeships in recent years. Much of that funding came from revenue from the awarding of H-1B visas for skilled international workers -- money that is required to go toward job training for Americans.

This year’s budget includes $90 million for apprenticeships, with Congress signing off on essentially flat grant funding levels from the Obama era. Trump’s budget proposal for this year also calls for $90 million. If the White House asks for more money -- observers said today’s announcement could include a call for $200 million or less, but probably in the nine-figure range -- that funding presumably would be on top of the current level.

McCarthy said she would applaud the new money, adding that the H-1B source is appropriate. A key question, she said, is which programs will be eligible. One possibility is that the federal money could go to apprenticeship programs that are not registered with the feds or states. That might open the door to lower-quality experiences for apprentices, she said.

Likewise, McCarthy said some noncollege providers could charge more than community colleges for the learning component. Price hasn’t been a problem in the past, she said, but that could change.

“It should be cost-free to the apprentice,” said McCarthy, who worked for both the Labor and Education Departments during the Obama administration.

Another possible concern is the portability of credentials apprentices earn from noncollege providers.

Yet perhaps the biggest looming question about the administration’s apprenticeship push, several experts said, is whether an alternative quality-control pathway eventually could open the door to federal financial aid -- a far larger pot of money than impermanent grant funding from H-1B coffers.

Such a controversial change would require legislation. But Trump’s executive orders could get that process rolling as congressional leaders work toward reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the law that governs federal financial aid.

One possibility that could emerge from today’s announcement is a boost for the fledgling apprenticeship service provider space, said Ryan Craig, co-founder of University Ventures, a higher education-focused investment firm.

These service providers, which are more common in the United Kingdom, act as intermediaries between employers, government and education providers. Employers typically front the costs, he said, with intermediaries “hiding the wiring” for the registration process and other tasks in creating a program.

Craig described the industry, which his firm plans to invest in, as being similar to the online program management companies that help colleges create online degrees.

“Most employers aren’t interested in running these programs themselves,” Craig said.

Streamlined Registration

A broad range of critics say the registration process for federally recognized apprenticeships is slow and needlessly complex. That has contributed to relatively limited participation by employers -- apprenticeships account for just 0.3 percent of the work force -- who also typically receive little or no federal funding.

The Trump administration has signaled that it would like to remove barriers to employers creating apprenticeship opportunities. Acosta this week distributed a brief memorandum to his fellow cabinet members that called for all federal agencies to help expand apprenticeships.

“I ask that each agency head support the administration's apprenticeship initiative by removing obstacles to apprenticeship growth that may be present in current regulations or practices,” Acosta wrote.

However, some experts said they hoped the White House doesn’t go too far in relaxing its requirements. That’s because federal recognition for apprenticeships comes with protections for apprentices, such as obligations for employers to pay them more than minimum wage and for apprenticeships to lead to pay raises.

“If these protections get watered down, we would be very concerned,” McCarthy said.

Much more work can be done by the federal government to make its work force development system more efficient and less duplicative, said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future and a former longtime Labor Department official. That includes streamlining of the federal registration process for apprenticeships, she said, adding that agencies could coordinate more.

However, Flynn and other experts said such improvements will be unlikely if the federal government guts funding for work force programs.

The apprenticeship focus “shouldn’t be a replacement to the underlying work force system,” said Flynn, adding that she would “rather have that broad reform conversation before discussing cuts.”

Editorial Tags: Federal policyJob trainingFinancial aidImage Source: White HouseImage Caption: Donald and Ivanka Trump at Waukesha County Technical College TuesdayIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Dispute about sociology quiz question on slave families ends in lecturer's termination

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 00:00

It started with a question on a quiz: “Historical research on African-American families during slavery shows that …” A student took exception to what her instructor said was the correct answer, an email exchange ensued and things escalated.

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville allegedly terminated the instructor, and the student is now celebrating on social media, saying she “got a racist professor fired midsemester after she tried to sabotage me.” What exactly happened?

In February, Kayla Renee Parker, now a senior, answered the question about enslaved families on a sociology quiz administered by longtime lecturer Judy Morelock. Parker, who has since shared the story online, was sure the answer was “C) Black family bonds were destroyed by the abuses of slave owners, who regularly sold off family members to other slave owners.” Plenty of historians would agree.

Yet Morelock marked it as wrong, saying the correct response was “D) Most slave families were headed by two parents.” To Parker, something was off, since her textbook mentioned the separation of families by the slave trade. She emailed Morelock to ask why “C” couldn’t at least also be true, according to messages she shared on Facebook.

Morelock responded that most families remained intact, noting she’d emphasized that in class, but she asked Parker for evidence in the textbook of her answer. Parker responded with a specific page and quote, and Morelock quibbled with it before saying she’d give Parker and everyone else in the class an extra four points.

Problem not solved, though, according to what Parker recently wrote in a blog post on Medium called “Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Tale of a Progressive Professor Who Forgot to Hide Her Racism and Got Her Ass Fired.” Among other criticisms, Parker says Morelock relied on outdated research that “whitewashes” the realities of slavery to back up her argument and, worse, presented “alternative facts” to the class. That’s based in part on an email the instructor sent to her saying some scholars have argued that slaves’ family bonds “were maintained in part by word-of-mouth communication from a slave community on one plantation to a slave community on [another]. Further, as I said in class, many slave owners tried not to make their charges angry by selling off the most important people in the lives of their slaves.”

It was “alarming to me that my professor believes that ‘Most slave families were kept intact with wife and husband present,’” Parker wrote in her post. “What does she think this was, Good Times? Most slaves were not getting married and most slaves were not raising their children.”

Parker also accuses Morelock of retaliating against her in class for discussing the dispute in Facebook posts, which the instructor had allegedly been reading. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring the textbook to class today because my bag is full of other texts for a student who requires further evidence on subjects I teach in class,” Morelock allegedly said, for example.

A subsequent one-on-one conversation resulted in a kind of challenge for Parker to lecture the class on the topic, she says. Parker talked with the department chair about possibly being retaliated against for accepting the offer but ultimately did so, streaming the talk on Facebook.

“I felt as though I had to give this presentation because I have had enough of white people defining my history, especially inaccurately. Our country continues to have a race problem and I firmly believe that it’s because we can’t even accept that America has never been great for anyone unless you’re white,” Parker wrote. “How can we expect the treatment of black people to improve and equality to be made possible if America can’t even face the reality of how people of color have been treated in the past? It’s impossible to move forward if we can’t look back.”

Soon, she says, friends alerted her to alleged threats Morelock had been posting on her own Facebook page. Parker attributes the following comments to Morelock, which she assumed were in reference to her: “After the semester is over and she is no longer my student, I will post her name, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn … after she graduates, all bets are off,” “I don’t forget malevolent attempts to harm me. #karmawillfindyou,” and “Ignore the facts, promote a misinformed viewpoint, trash me and I will fight you.” Screen shots have been circulated, but Morelock says some of the comments were not about Parker. 

Parker says she was removed from the class and otherwise supported by administrators, while Morelock allegedly offered a two-part coup de grâce: a final email to the family sociology class saying she'd likely be terminated without an opportunity to defend herself because a student had impugned her character in a formal complaint, and a vulgar Facebook meme involving a gift-wrapped dildo Parker says was directed at her (Morelock denies this).

Over all, Parker accuses Morelock of being a false ally to people of color. “She wears a safety pin so everyone knows she’s an ally for minorities,” reads the blog post. “She regularly discusses her love for the Obamas, the Black Lives Matter movement and her admonishment for this current administration. However, I would soon realize that nothing would shake her more than a confident black woman contradicting her in front of a classroom of her own students.”

Tennessee’s sociology chair declined to comment on the matter, saying that would violate federal student privacy laws. Karen Ann Simsen, a university spokeswoman, said she couldn’t address Parker’s comments for the same reason. But she said Morelock was notified last summer that her year-to-year contract would not be renewed for this coming fall, as the sociology department is “phasing out a few of the courses she teaches from the curriculum” and using more doctoral students to teach undergraduates.

In April, Simsen said, “we exercised the option outlined in our Faculty Handbook of ending her contract early” by paying her remaining salary though July.

Morelock said via LinkedIn that the university had “threatened” her and she couldn't talk to reporters, lest her payout be revoked. But she said the blog "is replete with scurrilous falsehoods from the very first sentence. Some of the comments lifted from my page were not intended for that person and I did not send the dildo meme to her. It was lifted from my pictures."

Morelock shared a letter from a past student expressing shock at the situation, since she'd always known her instructor to be a "champion of social justice." The former student said Morelock was bothered by having her integrity and commitment to her students of color questioned on social media, not by being challenged over a test question, and Morelock agreed. She referred additional requests for comment to Donna Sherwood, a retired professor of English at Knoxville College, where Morelock used to teach, and lecturer of women’s studies at Tennessee. Sherwood said via email that she was “still stunned at the traction” one young woman “with a vendetta has been able to achieve. I'll give her credit for persistence and appeal to racial hysteria.”

Sherwood said her knowledge of the case was based on the public record due to Morelock's “gag order,” but described the situation as a student interested in proving a teacher wrong engaging in "Facebook attacks until the teacher responded -- and went a bit overboard.” Even so, she wondered why Parker continued to draw attention to the case even after Morelock was terminated, saying theirs was an “academic disagreement, which should have stayed in academia and not spilled over into social media, where hysteria quickly supersedes intellectual pursuit of knowledge.” (Parker has elsewhere said she waited to blog about the class until grades were posted.)

Parker said Tuesday that Morelock “loses credibility when saying she wasn't harassing me, when there is photo evidence of the public Facebook posts she was making.” Morelock seems to believe that calling her a racist is “libelous,” Parker said, but her actions “continue to prove my point.”

To some, the case will come across as a one-off, a unique situation in which a soon-to-retire instructor overreacted to a student. Others will -- and do -- see it as a case of racial bias by a white professor against a black student with a legitimate academic concern. Others still will see a non-tenure-track professor being given no apparent opportunity to defend herself against claims with implications for academic freedom. Many may see it as a reason to exercise privacy settings on Facebook, or stay off it altogether.

But what about that quiz question? Was Parker right? Brenda Stevenson, Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an expert on enslaved women and families, said neither answer is completely true, but that “C” -- Parker’s answer -- would be “most true.”

Jerome Dotson, an assistant professor of Africana studies at the University of Arizona who studies slavery, said he’d been following the case and found the question to be poorly worded over all, in that no response fairly represents the antebellum slave family. (He said the question could work better as an essay.)

Attributing broken family bonds to the slave trade eliminates “any possibility for slave agency, and it gives too much attention to the slave owner’s power,” he said, since threats of sale were obvious problems for slaves but there were still families. In fact, he said, “the slave family helped form the cornerstone of the slave community,” and some slave owners permitted enslaved men and women to marry to keep them from running away.

Morelock’s preferred response, meanwhile, is problematic because of the wording, Dotson said. He'd be reluctant to argue that “most” slave families were headed by two parents, since, for example, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs were reared by their grandmothers, he said.

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Education Department on track to update College Scorecard

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 00:00

The Department of Education appears to be planning to keep around one of the most high-profile higher ed initiatives of the Obama administration.

Department staff are taking steps to update the data feeding the College Scorecard, a tool that allows prospective students to look at measures like the debt burden of an institution's graduates, by September of this year, according to higher ed groups. That would be counted as a victory by proponents of more transparency in higher ed, even though the Scorecard wasn’t among the Obama efforts the Trump administration promised to eliminate.

Some have wondered about the longevity of the Scorecard, since it wasn't required by law and isn't so established that it would be difficult to abandon.

Maintaining the tool for now may have as much to do with the timeline -- collecting and validating the data is a months-long process -- and low level of staffing in the department as it does with any clear strategy from the administration. But with another year in the books, it could become more likely that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos keeps the tool long term while putting her own stamp on the interface.

The Scorecard was first published in 2015 after a process that began with a much more controversial proposal from the Obama administration to rank institutions. Colleges and universities have had concerns, but some higher ed groups have come on board with the final product, which allows students and researchers to find information about outcomes without attaching accountability. Community colleges have complained that the Scorecard doesn't count many of their students, and liberal arts institutions have criticized the data choices, saying that they devalue the kind of education their institutions provide.

But the website has been widely used over the last two years, said Michael Itzkowitz, a senior policy adviser on higher education at Third Way who previously worked on the Scorecard at the Department of Education. At least two million individual users have accessed the site and 100,000 students have done so in the last 30 days, he said.

Academics and researchers have downloaded Scorecard data for analysis. And more than 600 developers have also used the Scorecard application programming interface to create their own search tools.

“Assuming they continue to make progress, it will be gratifying to see that they value transparency and better information on college outcomes,” Itzkowitz said. “A lot of people are very invested in the College Scorecard tool itself -- not just for the website but for the data it provides.”

Jamienne Studley, former under secretary of education, said the department developed the Scorecard at a time when many parallel efforts were shedding more light on outcome and results.

Higher education institutions across the board strongly rejected the idea of ranking colleges and universities. Studley, now a consultant and the national policy adviser at Beyond 12, said after listening to the response from college leaders, the Obama administration achieved a result that avoided “really corrosive” methods of comparing institutions.

Some higher ed groups still have gripes with the data presented on the Scorecard, arguing that the tool doesn’t accurately reflect their student populations or sometimes just has incorrect data.

Tim Powers, director of accountability and regulatory issues at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said some NAICU members have been frustrated by the amount of time it has taken to have incorrect information updated on the site.

Jeff Lieberson, a spokesman for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said the group has not discussed the Scorecard with the Trump administration, but it will be on APLU’s agenda for future talks. The group has pushed to have student achievement measure data added to the site.

“The department pledged to include it, but it never happened in the previous administration,” he said. “We think it’s critical for that data to be included.”

Clare McCann, another former Department of Education official, said some objections to Scorecard data could only be addressed by the creation of a student unit record system. The data don’t, for example, include outcomes for students who did not receive Title IV aid.

“The biggest concerns can only be addressed by Congress,” she said.

For now, it appears that the most time-consuming work on the Scorecard -- collecting the data -- is going ahead without any significant changes by the department’s leadership. Certain pieces of information such as closed institutions are updated more regularly. But updating the full website is a complex process requiring multiple steps.

Because there is no single data set of student outcomes, the department must submit cohorts of students to the Department of Treasury with multiple privacy protections built in along the way. Treasury returns aggregate data on earnings and student debt levels for each institution in the Scorecard. That process incorporates federal data from three different sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the National Student Loan Data System and the Treasury.

The timeline for the department usually begins in winter for an update by September.

A department spokeswoman declined to comment on what intentions the administration has for the Scorecard, saying there are no plans to change it and no plans not to change it.

With staffing levels still low and a number of deadlines looming for decisions on Obama-era regulations like gainful employment and borrower defense, the Scorecard likely ranks low on the list of priorities. McCann said because the tool is basically consumer information, it wouldn’t rank on the same level as accountability measures the department may look to address by rewriting regulations.

The Obama administration saw the Scorecard as a tool that would continue to evolve and be improved. DeVos could look to put her own stamp on the site, possibly reflecting additional feedback from the institutions it measures.

“It’s probably too soon to say whether or not in the long term they continue to recognize the value of this data and continue to publish the Scorecard or some version of it,” McCann said. “It’s a good sign for now.”

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21,000 apply for Excelsior Scholarship over five days

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 00:00

Days after opening the application window for its free public college tuition program, New York received more than 21,000 applications.

It looks like a quick clip for a state that had projected Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature free tuition program would cover about 22,000 students in its first year. But it’s not yet clear how many applicants will actually receive awards. The number of applicants is also still small in comparison to the roughly one million New York students who apply for financial aid in a year.

Cuomo’s office has said officials are thrilled with the number of applications. However, some policy experts worry that the program’s rapid start, short sign-up period and high level of complexity have combined to create an unpredictable period for the state, its budget and its public colleges and universities.

New York had received 21,106 Excelsior Scholarship applications as of 7 a.m. Monday, according to the state’s Higher Education Services Corporation. The application period opened June 7 and runs for about six weeks, through July 21.

Few other details were available Tuesday. About a third of the applications came from students who are either already enrolled in the City University of New York system or planning to enroll this fall as freshmen, according to a CUNY spokesman. A large majority of the CUNY applicants were continuing students, he said.

New York residents attending a CUNY or State University of New York institution can apply for the Excelsior Scholarship, a last-dollar award that pays for tuition costs after other sources of financial aid have been applied. Lawmakers approved the scholarship this spring. It will be phased in over three years, covering families with annual incomes of up to $100,000 this year. It will ultimately cover students from families with incomes of up to $125,000 per year -- making an estimated 940,000 families with college-age students eligible.

Some of the state’s community colleges and four-year institutions project enrolling a low number of students who qualify for Excelsior Scholarships in the upcoming academic year. They caution that they’re still waiting to learn exactly how the program will affect enrollment, though.

“Because the scholarship is across the board, it’s a big experiment,” said Kevin Drumm, president of the State University of New York Broome Community College outside of Binghamton. “Right now it looks OK for us, but as with all of us, we don’t know what our actual enrollment and market mix is going to look like.”

SUNY Broome typically enrolls between 4,800 and 5,500 full-time equivalent students annually, Drumm said. It’s difficult for the community college to project next year’s class for several reasons: its fall application deadline is July 1, and enrollments can vary drastically from week to week over the spring and summer, Drumm said. Three weeks ago, registrations were down year over year. Now they’re up about 5.5 percent, measuring full-time equivalent students.

The Excelsior Scholarship is unlikely to go to a vast majority of SUNY Broome’s students, however. Since it’s a last-dollar scholarship, it will not be awarded to students who already have their tuition costs covered by other programs, like New York’s generous Tuition Assistance Program. About 65 percent of SUNY Broome students already have their full tuition costs covered, Drumm said.

SUNY Broome looked at a small test batch of freshman applicants and determined 35 percent would be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship in the upcoming year based on its income requirements. But after factoring in other likely financial aid awards, only about one-tenth of those students would receive an award.

In other words, an estimated 3.5 percent of the freshman class would receive Excelsior Scholarships. But that estimate may not be in line with final numbers, and it could go up in future years as the program’s income ceiling rises and as more potential students become comfortable with attending classes under the free tuition program, Drumm said.

It will take time for students to learn the details of the program, Drumm said. For instance, developmental math and English don’t count toward a requirement that students complete 30 credits per year. Some students aren’t clear on what charges are guaranteed to be covered, either.

“The one thing is people who call the financial aid office and just think they’re going to get a full scholarship,” Drumm said. “They’re not aware it’s just tuition dollars. They’re calling to ask, ‘Will this cover room and board?’”

Some four-year institutions are also projecting a relatively low percentage of students qualifying for the free tuition program in its first year. SUNY Potsdam in northern New York estimates about 6 percent of its 4,000 undergraduate students will be eligible to receive funding from the scholarship, according to Rick Miller, executive vice president

SUNY Potsdam saw inquiries from prospective undergraduates jump sharply this spring. But applications only rose slightly, and enrollments for the fall freshman class are actually tracking down incrementally from last year.

“Our enrollment management staff believes this may be due to families waiting to find out about eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship first, before making final decisions,” Miller said in an email.

That meshes with the predictions of administrators at SUNY Brockport, west of Rochester.

“I think you’re going to see later movement because of the timing of when everything was announced,” said Robert Wyant, SUNY Brockport’s director of admissions.

The four-year SUNY Brockport enrolls about 7,000 undergraduates. This fall’s freshman class looks like it will be about the same size as last fall’s, when it hit an all-time high of 1,200.

Wyant was not prepared to release any estimates for how many of his institution’s students will receive Excelsior Scholarships.

“It’s still so new,” he said. “It’s hard to gauge it.”

The governor’s office has hailed the number of applications.

“We’re thrilled with the tremendous interest in the Excelsior Scholarship we’ve seen from New Yorkers and look forward to making tuition-free college a reality for middle-class students starting this fall,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

But outside observers were not so quick with compliments.

From October to December of last year, about 275,000 New Yorkers submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, said Judith Scott-Clayton, an associate professor of economics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Over a million filed a FAFSA for the entire 2016-17 academic year.

Those numbers are by no means perfect comparisons to Excelsior Scholarship applications -- they would include, for example, students attending college in other states and students attending New York’s many private colleges and universities. But they do show the larger scale of total students applying for financial aid in the state.

“Twenty-one thousand is not a lot, in the grand scheme of the number of people in New York going to college,” Scott-Clayton said.

Scott-Clayton also voiced concerns about several other Excelsior Scholarship details, starting with the timing of the application period -- which started very soon after lawmakers reached a deal to create the program. A summer application period is completely out of sync from the typical financial aid cycle, she said. Most students have already decided where they will attend college by the summer.

The short time period between application and the start of classes this fall is hard on institutions, too. The scholarship isn’t simply a bucket of state money landing in their laps.

It covers up to $5,500 worth of tuition, but four-year in-state undergraduate tuition at SUNY is typically listed at $6,470 per year. The system is required to provide additional awards to Excelsior Scholarship students in order to cover their entire tuition cost up to $6,470. The 2017-18 state budget included maintenance of effort payments and a repayment to SUNY to cover those costs.

New York appropriated $87 million for the Excelsior Scholarship’s first year. If more than the estimated 22,000 students receive awards, the governor’s office says it is open to adjusting its budget to support the program.

Rolling out the program so quickly is a risk and an administrative burden, Scott-Clayton said.

“It just seems like the best idea would have been for everybody to have more time to figure out how this is going to work,” she said.

Cuomo’s office noted that the free tuition program was only approved by lawmakers this spring. The governor made it a top priority this year, and leaders wanted to have it in place as soon as possible.

Critics have questioned numerous other details about the Excelsior Scholarship.

Some have questioned the program’s 30-credits-completed-per-year requirement and an after-graduation residency requirement with provisions turning past awards into loans if students do not stay in the state for a certain number of years. Many have also pointed out that the scholarship does not cover mandatory fees, which can add up at public institutions and prevent low-income students from being able to enroll or finish their degrees.

At the end of the day, the program’s caveats matter to students and families, Scott-Clayton said.

“I think they absolutely struggle with the complexity,” Scott-Clayton said. “It’s not nearly as simple as it was marketed.”

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Survey of more than 1,100 U.S. colleges looks at state of internationalization efforts

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 00:00

New results from a survey on the state of internationalization at U.S. colleges conducted every five years paint a picture of institutional priorities and progress.

More than 1,100 American colleges and universities responded to the survey, which was conducted in 2016, for a response rate of 39.5 percent. The survey by the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement asked institutions about a broad array of indicators of “comprehensive internationalization,” including indicators that relate to the flow of American students abroad and of international students to the U.S., administrative structures and staffing, incentives for faculty involvement, international partnerships, and the curriculum. Key findings of the “Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses” report include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of responding institutions (72 percent) said that internationalization had accelerated in recent years on their campuses, compared to 64 percent in the most recent iteration of the survey, in 2011. The top three reasons cited for internationalization were “improving student preparedness for a global era,” “diversifying students, faculty and staff at the home campus,” and “becoming more attractive to prospective students at home and overseas.” Revenue generation was reason No. 4.
  • The top two priority activities for internationalization both relate to student mobility -- increasing study abroad for American students and recruiting international students. Partnerships, internationalizing the curriculum and co-curriculum, and faculty development round out the list of top five priority activities.
  • About half of institutions refer to internationalization or related activities in their mission statements (49 percent) or list them among the top five priorities in their strategic plans (47 percent).
  • Presidents are perceived as the primary catalysts for internationalization on campuses, followed by senior international officers. More than half of institutions (58 percent) reported that a single office leads internationalization activities on campus, an increase of 22 percentage points compared to 2011. The report says that internationalization is “increasingly an administrative-intensive endeavor, coordinated by a single office and/or a senior international officer.”
  • More than 70 percent of institutions said internal funding for internationalization has increased or stayed stable over the past three years. Twenty-one percent of institutions have a formal strategy and/or have launched a dedicated fund-raising campaign to support internationalization activities.
  • On recruitment of international students, nearly half (48 percent) of colleges have an international recruiting plan in place, and an increasing number are funding travel by international recruitment officers (44 percent for undergraduate recruitment and 23 percent for graduate recruitment). The proportion of institutions that reported offering scholarships or other financial aid to international undergraduate students has increased by 11 percentage points compared to 2011, to 49 percent.
  • The proportion of institutions hiring overseas recruitment agents -- controversial due to concerns about the practice of paying recruiters per-capita commissions, which is barred by law when it comes to U.S. students -- has nearly tripled. Thirty percent of institutions reported using recruitment agents at the undergraduate level, compared to 11 percent in 2011, while 15 percent reported they use recruitment agents at the graduate level, compared to 6 percent in 2011.
  • As for international student support, 60 percent of institutions said they offer individualized academic support for international students -- up from 57 percent in 2011 but down from 70 percent in 2006. Fifty-seven percent of institutions said they offered an English as a second language support program for matriculated international students. As for other supports, 63 percent said they offer an orientation for international students to the U.S. and the local community, 69 percent said they offer an orientation to the institution and/or the American classroom, 57 percent provide assistance in finding housing, 22 percent have an institutional advisory committee for international students, 13 percent offer international alumni services or chapters, 12 percent provide support services for dependents of international students, and 22 percent offer a host family program for international students.
  • The survey also asked colleges about whether they had pre-matriculation programs in place for international students, either intensive English programs or pathway programs that combine English as a second language and credit-bearing academic course work. About half of respondents (49 percent) said they either are operating, are developing or are considering developing an intensive English program, while 32 percent said the same for pathway programs.
  • Nearly three-quarters of institutions -- 72 percent -- said the number of their students studying abroad has increased or stayed stable over the past three years, while just 7 percent reported a decrease. However, when asked about study abroad participation, 22 percent of institutions chose “not applicable.” The percentages of respondents choosing “not applicable” were even higher in response to queries about changes in student participation in international internships (48 percent), service opportunities abroad (43 percent) and international research (54 percent) -- “indicating,” the report concludes, “that a substantial proportion of U.S. students do not have access to these types of opportunities.”
  • Just over half (51 percent) of institutions said they provide institutional funds for study abroad scholarships.
  • As far as the curriculum goes, 64 percent of institutions have articulated international or global learning-related outcomes for all students, 49 percent reported that their general education requirements include an international or global component and 46 percent reported that they have a foreign language requirement. Of these, 17 percent said they have a foreign language requirement for all students, while 29 percent said they have one for some students. The report notes that this is the first time since the first version of the survey in 2001 that it has recorded an increase -- albeit a modest one -- in foreign language requirements. The report also cites data from the Modern Language Association’s survey of foreign language enrollments at American colleges, the most recent version of which reported a 6.7 percent decline in all enrollments in foreign languages between 2009 and 2013.
  • The survey also asked about policies and practices for faculty as they relate to internationalization. Almost half (47 percent) of institutions reported “occasionally” or “frequently” giving preference to faculty candidates with international background, experience or interests when hiring in fields that “are not explicitly international/global,” up from 40 percent in 2011. Ten percent of institutions specify that they consider international work or experience in promotion and tenure decisions, up from 8 percent in 2011.
  • The “Mapping” report also finds that “internationalization-related professional development opportunities are generally more available to faculty than in 2011.” For example, 64 percent of responding institutions said they provided funding for faculty leading students on study abroad programs, 59 percent for travel to conferences and meetings abroad, and 40 percent for studying or conducting research abroad. Fewer than 30 percent of colleges offered on-campus professional development workshops on subjects like internationalizing the curriculum (26 percent), teaching international students (28 percent) or using technology to enhance a course's international dimension (19 percent).
  • More than half (56 percent) of institutions reported that they provide funding for administrative staff who work outside an international programs office to participate in workshops or other professional development activities on campus related to internationalization. Compared to 2011, a larger number of institutions also offer funding for staff to participate in professional development opportunities abroad.
  • In regard to partnerships with international institutions, nearly half of responding institutions said they have begun developing or have expanded their international partnerships over the prior three years, but the report also notes that nearly a quarter of all institutions -- and 44 percent of associate-level institutions -- do not maintain any international partnerships. Five percent of institutions have moved toward fewer partnerships.
  • Collaborative degree programs with foreign institutions are growing but remain relatively uncommon. Sixteen percent reported offering dual/double degree programs with a foreign university (in which both institutions confer degrees), up from 10 percent in 2011, while the percentage reporting that they offer joint degree programs (in which students receive a single credential endorsed by both institutions) was flat at 8 percent.
  • Five percent of institutions reported that they offer full degree programs overseas delivered only or largely via face-to-face instruction, 9 percent offer programs “entirely or largely through technology” (such as online), while 5 percent said they deliver programs using a combination of face-to-face instruction and technology.
  • In regards to overseas outposts, 4 percent of institutions said they have an international branch campus, 7 percent an overseas administrative office, 5 percent a study abroad center for U.S. students, 5 percent a teaching site for non-U.S. students, and 2 percent an overseas research center.

“We are making progress,” said Robin Matross Helms, the lead author of the report and director of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement. “Institutions are optimistic about their progress, and this is something that institutions are working towards.”

At the same time, she drew attention to what the report describes as the external focus of many internationalization efforts. “A lot of what institutions are thinking of for internationalization is summarized in that priority list. The top priority is education abroad, No. 2 is international students, and No. 3 is establishing partnerships abroad. It’s only at No. 4 and 5 that we come to the curriculum and to faculty development and to what’s really happening on campus.”

“I think we still are thinking of internationalization often as an outward-facing endeavor,” Helms said. “We need to make sure that we’re giving adequate attention to what’s happening on campus as well.”

In regard to faculty members, Helms continued, “As we look at the faculty data as compared to indicators in other areas, the progress line just is not as steep. We need to be paying attention to making sure that faculty are engaged in and central to internationalization efforts.”

The 1,164 total responses to the survey include 203 responses from doctoral institutions, 352 from master’s institutions, 267 from baccalaureate institutions, 246 from associate institutions and 96 from special focus institutions. Researchers weighed the data in an attempt to mirror the distribution of institution types nationally.

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