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ACE President Molly Corbett Broad Announces Plans to Leave Post

American Council on Education - il y a 18 heures 9 min
ACE President Molly Corbett Broad, who became ACE’s 12th president in 2008 and is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1918, has announced that she will step down on Oct. 31, 2017.

Uneven distribution of growth in language school enrolments across Canada

The PIE News - ven, 08/18/2017 - 06:49

The annual survey from Languages Canada shows language schools in the country saw a slight 1% increase in student numbers to 135,425 enrolments in 2016. But, in line with global trends, language providers reported a decline in student week average over the year.

The modest growth across Canada masks substantial gains and losses in individual provinces, however. Ontario saw student numbers grow 8% while British Columbia and Manitoba both saw increases of 7%.

Alberta, meanwhile, saw a 17% drop in enrolments, Nova Scotia experienced a 5% decrease and Saskatchewan saw a 4% decline. The number of students in Quebec maintained from 2015.

The organisation, which represents 80% of the country’s public and private language providers, said policy changes enacted in 2014 are still impacting the country’s language industry.

“The effect of changes to the King Abdullah Scholarship Program can’t be understated”

“Canada’s need to accommodate our federal-provincial jurisdictions that intersect immigration, trade, and education mean slow change in legislation and regulations for the sector,” executive director Gonzalo Peralta told The PIE News.

“The low increase is likely signalling that the changes made by Canada’s immigration ministry in 2014 and which had a dramatic (and adverse) impact on the country’s language education sector have finally been ‘digested’ and we can now finally enter a period of growth.”

Last year’s figures follow a small decline of 1% the year before, after slight growth in 2014 on the back of two years of double digit losses across the country.

In 2014, the government passed regulations banning language schools from providing popular co-op programs that allow students to combine work and study. It also delegated quality provision to the provinces, requiring they designate providers allowed to admit international students.

In some provinces, the solution has sparked pushback due to overly burdensome compliance requirements, providers have said.

Peralta noted, however, that comparing the same Languages Canada members that contributed to 2015 reporting, there was a 4% increase in students. “Which is respectable but below what could be expected based on global trends,” he said.

Similar to reports from providers in the UK, Malta and Ireland, Canada’s junior market has surged causing student week totals to drop. Junior student enrolments reached 12,632 in 2016, up from 10,540 in 2015 contributing to a decline in the average length of stay to 11.1 weeks from 11.8 in 2015.

Peralta added that a decline in students going to public sector member programs – that historically book longer stays – has impacted the overall student week average, as has the decline in KASP students.

“The effect of changes to the King Abdullah Scholarship Program can’t be understated,” he said, adding that anecdotal reports from members suggest that students are entering with a higher level of language education thanks to improved language education in their home country.

For the fourth year in a row, Japan, Brazil and China were the top three source countries sending 21,200, 20,700 and 15,400 students each, respectively. South Korea followed sending 15,000 students and Mexico 9,000.

Despite overall drops, year-over-year growth from 2015 was reported for students from Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, Colombia and Turkey, especially in Mexico and Colombia – a trend that has continued through 2017.

“Based on word of mouth from members, this year and particularly this summer has been a very busy one, especially from Latin American markets,” said Peralta. “We expect the numbers from Mexico to increase next year.”

“Canada is one of the best destinations for Chilean students because we don’t need a visa”

Maria del Carmen de la Torre, executive director of International English Adventures in Puebla, Mexico, said she has seen a growth in demand to study in Canada, congruent with members’ reports.

“Summer programs were very successful,” she told The PIE News. “Sales started in February and finished with lots of late bookings. Everybody wants to go to Canada to improve their English. Parents hardly choose the US for their teenagers.”

Elsewhere in the region, Javier Carmon, co-founder of ESL Chile, said Canada is becoming one of the top three destinations for Chilean students.

“We are expecting to send more students to Canada,” he said. “Canada is one of the best destinations for Chilean students because we don’t need a visa, we only have to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization and we get a 99.9% acceptance.

“Canada I would say is the best price / quality relationship for our market.”

Shifting political winds in competitor countries is also giving Canadian providers reason to be optimistic for 2017, said Peralta.

“The impact of Brexit and policies from the UK along with the Trump effect is undeniable and while it hurt our colleagues from those countries it has benefitted Canada and other destinations,” he said. “We anticipate the numbers for 2017 to be higher year-on-year.”

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Stay in Nova Scotia nears 80% target in year one

The PIE News - ven, 08/18/2017 - 03:48

Six months after EduNova announced the ambitious goal of persuading 80% of its first Stay in Nova Scotia international student cohort to do just that, the 50 participants have graduated and well over 50% have found permanent work in the eastern Canadian province.

The project aims to increase the low number of international students who remain in Nova Scotia after completing their studies. Only 2-3% currently continue to live in the area, and a recent study recommending efforts to increase the number to 10% inspired EduNova to partner with institutions such as Dalhousie University to improve student experience and retention.

“Seeing all these people fighting for us makes me even more motivated to stay here”

The graduates have found full-time employment in their fields of study just one month after finishing the program, the organisation has reported.

Speaking to The PIE News, EduNova’s director of recruitment and marketing Michael Hennigar, noted that has not been a single-party effort.

“The success we’ve had is a testament to the input that we’ve had from the institutions that we work with, the hard work of our retention coordinator, all the mentors and government folks that have been generous funders of the program”, he said.

Hennigar noted that the group of student mentors have been especially important, making deep and meaningful bonds with the international students on the program.

“One of the things that really struck me when I attended a graduation about six weeks ago was just how strong a relationship many of the mentors had developed with these international students”, Hennigar said.

Along with a strong mentorship program to help students feel welcome and at home in Nova Scotia, the scheme’s participants have met with senior politicians, such as the mayor of Halifax and the Canadian minister of immigration.

One of the first graduates, Wendy Zhao, said the high profile meetings made her realise that people in Nova Scotia were invested and interested in helping international students stay in the province.

“Seeing all these people fighting for us makes me even more motivated to stay here after graduation, and make my contribution,” she told EduNova.

Despite the success of the first cohort, EduNova is not planning to expand their efforts for the second cohort, intending instead to remain true to what Hennigar refers to as its “guiding principles”.

“We have to be able to follow through on the promise were making to students, that we’re going to be able to offer you all of the things that we have said we’re going to offer, and really work with you in a one-on-one capacity that you really get meaningful training, specific to your own personal needs”.

Although expansion is the ultimate goal for Stay in Nova Scotia, the cohort which will be chosen in September will remain at 50, and include students from China, India and the Philippines.

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CFCG buys 54% of Korea online language giant

The PIE News - ven, 08/18/2017 - 02:50

Investment firm China First Capital Group has announced plans to acquire a 54% share in Korea-based online language training platform, SJW International, for $135m (HK$1.05bn).

SJW International, also known as Siwon School, provides language training videos online, primarily for English learners. It holds 63% of the market share of adult language learners in Korea.

This acquisition marks CFCG’s first entry into the Korean market. The school will become a key online asset for the company as it scales operations, according to He Qingrong, deputy chief executive officer of CFCG.

“Online education has a higher gross margin and the flexibility to adjust according to market changes”

“The group [CFCG] will bring forth its international edu-tech resources, such as the USA Silicon Valley based GSV Acceleration Fund, to support the alliance and help Siwon School on the international stage,” he said.

“Compared with traditional classrooms, online education has a higher gross margin and the flexibility to adjust according to market changes.”

Since last year, CFCG has announced collaborations with a number of domestic and overseas international education brands, such as Chinese K-12 education provider Virscend Education, and Australia-based G8 Education, which provides educational child care services.

Qingrong also noted that online language education, which enables a high level of personalisation, is “able to meet the needs of different learner groups, thus benefiting the development of the overall online education market.”

Siwon School is currently in the process of developing an adaptive learning platform which incorporates one-on-one live chat tutoring for adults and children.

In addition to English, the platform also offers training courses in other languages, including Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

Private equity firms, Rhodium Capital in Singapore and Hong Kong-based WIDUS Partners were also investors in the transaction.

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Purdue to play key role in Infosys U.S. hiring and training push

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 08/18/2017 - 00:00

Purdue University unveiled another outside-the-box move Thursday, announcing a five-year deal with one of India’s largest technology outsourcing firms, Infosys, under which the university will perform joint research and provide training and classes for the company's employees.

The two parties cast the deal as a significant step in work-force development in both Indiana and the U.S. Given Purdue’s high profile as a public research university, it could also prove to be a notable step for higher education, moving four-year institutions further into job training more typically performed by community colleges and for-profits.

Purdue administrators hope the partnership addresses a feared talent gap in Indiana between the state’s available workers and the technically skilled candidates employers are seeking. Leaders at Infosys, which has traditionally relied heavily on importing foreign workers on visas to meet U.S. labor market needs, see the agreement as a linchpin in an effort to hire 10,000 American employees across the country over the next several years.

Leaders at Purdue are signing on to the agreement with Infosys just months after announcing the controversial acquisition of the online Kaplan University in April. The fruits of that pending acquisition, which will have Purdue taking the for-profit chain’s academic operations and turning it into a Purdue-branded nonprofit online university, could potentially be used for Infosys training.

Some Purdue faculty members are already unhappy with the new partnership, because they were not consulted about it beforehand. They were previously unsettled by not being brought to the table as the Kaplan acquisition was being formulated, and they see the Infosys deal as another infringement on their role of controlling curriculum.

But outside experts found a lot to like. They note that the agreement between Purdue and Infosys appears to approximate practices already in place at many community colleges and employers across the United States. Infosys also follows a similar training model in India, they said.

Purdue announced the partnership Thursday after Infosys earlier this year said it would locate a significant portion of its U.S. expansion efforts in Indianapolis. The company generates $9.5 billion in annual revenue and employs about 200,000 people worldwide, including a reported 27,000 in the United States.

It has said it could hire as many as 2,000 people in Indianapolis by 2021, spending millions to create what would essentially be a U.S. headquarters. State officials lured the company with an incentives package that could be worth as much as $31 million in training grants and conditional tax credits. The company plans to hire 10,000 American workers over two years at four U.S. hubs.

The U.S. hiring was seen as a concession to both changing demand for skilled workers and political realities in the United States. Infosys is one of the largest petitioners for H-1B visas for skilled workers in the country, hiring engineers from India and then outsourcing them to a wide range of companies in the United States for services like engineering and programming. That practice has sometimes been criticized as using foreign workers to undercut U.S. workers’ wages. President Trump has criticized the H-1B program, and his administration has said it will take measures against fraud and abuse in the system.

Infosys leaders have also said their U.S. clients want more locally based employees. Skilled labor is reportedly becoming harder to find in India.

“We have to create, organically, talent for the future,” said Ravi Kumar S., Infosys's president and deputy chief operating officer, in a telephone interview. “The company’s core DNA and culture is focused on training and learning and education.”

Infosys will be hiring employees who graduate from Purdue, so it made sense to work with the university for training, he said. The university’s Kaplan acquisition could also help it craft online training for employees.

Purdue released few details of its agreement with the company Thursday. The university will provide classes and training for “many” of the 10,000 American employees that the company plans to hire over the next two years. New employees will receive much of the training at the university’s campus in West Lafayette. “Lifelong learning” opportunities for existing Infosys employees will also become available online.

The university and company also plan to perform joint research and development of course materials. Those efforts will be focused on areas of strength at Purdue, like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, biopharma analytics, digital agriculture and data analytics. A center is also planned at Purdue that will seek interdisciplinary ways to solve problems faced by Infosys clients.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The partnership could mean “millions of dollars in joint research,” according to a press release.

Training of Infosys employees at Purdue has already started, according to Suresh Garimella, the university’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and a professor of mechanical engineering. About 75 employees began training last month under a program that is about eight weeks long.

Purdue is merely hosting the training right now -- Purdue faculty members are not teaching the courses, Garimella added. As the partnership evolves, the university will likely enrich training offerings and provide some training itself, potentially with faculty members. Infosys will pay Purdue for services the university provides.

“There is new employee training, but also, one of the exciting things is they would like us to co-develop training or lifelong continued education for their employees in specialist courses,” Garimella said. “Those would be both online and on-site. We’re planning them right now, and those would be in computer science and engineering management and so on.”

Garimella hopes Purdue can develop course materials to be used for Infosys across the U.S. and in India. The company plans three U.S. hubs outside Indiana in its U.S. hiring push where training will likely be required.

Infosys has already announced one of those hubs as being in North Carolina. It plans to hire 2,000 in Wake County over five years under a plan that includes state incentives of as much as $22.4 million. The company’s state incentives package in North Carolina also includes job training from the North Carolina Community College System.

The 58-college system does not yet have a concrete plan for Infosys, said Maureen Little, vice president of economic development. Because of the number of jobs involved, the effort will be a major project for the system. But much of the system’s activity is customized training for employers. It was founded around the concept of work-force development, she said.

“That’s how we got brought to the table,” she said. “Being able to work with a company, develop, design and deliver a training plan that is specific to that company’s needs.”

The Research University Role

The type of arrangements Infosys is setting up are more common at the community college level in the United States. But even elite four-year institutions have some element of work-force development.

“It does occur in research universities, it’s just more upscale,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce and a research professor at the university.

The term "training" can sound too vocational for many in higher education, he said. But many programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care have elements of employer training. They just often have more highbrow names, like "internships."

What’s different about Purdue is that the university appears to be publicly contracting out the relationship and casting it as work-force development.

“It is a well-established market,” Carnevale said. “The question is, will this market spread at four-year institutions?”

Another unanswered question is on the financial end. Training can be a cash cow. And that can be helpful for universities like Purdue, which are operating in an environment of constrained state funding -- providing contract terms are generous enough.

“I think it’s smart,” Carnevale said. “I don’t know what comes of it. Clearly it’s a good contract to get. The question is, do you get full overhead? That’s always the issue, at least in my experience.”

Left Out

Some Purdue faculty members do not like the deal, however. They raised questions about the arrangement almost as soon as it was announced. Will Purdue be hiring new instructors? If so, where? Will some professors receive extra compensation?

The overriding issue is that faculty members cherish their traditional role as stewards of the curriculum. But the faculty’s governance body was not consulted about the deal, according to David Sanders, the immediate past chair of Purdue’s University Senate and an associate professor in its department of biological sciences.

“It seems that we’re going to be negotiating with an outside source about what is our curriculum,” he said. “The Senate leadership was not, a far as I know, involved.”

Faculty with relevant expertise took part in discussions with Infosys, said Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships. Many were excited about the coming possibilities, he said.

But for Sanders, the Infosys deal is one more blow against faculty governance at Purdue. He was unhappy when the university moved on the Kaplan acquisition without consulting the Faculty Senate.

Moreover, more and more Purdue research seems to be funded by corporations, Sanders said.

“I have long been concerned about the direction that our president and Board of Trustees are taking the university,” he said. “I believe they are just trying to make us a corporate training ground. That, I do not think, is the role of a place like Purdue University.”

Purdue’s president, Mitch Daniels, is a Republican former governor of Indiana. He has been willing to try out new strategies since taking over at Purdue, not only with the Kaplan acquisition and the Infosys deal, but with income-sharing agreements and competency-based education. Daniels has also taken to speaking in soaring rhetoric about Purdue’s mission as a land-grant university for many state residents.

A partnership between Purdue and Infosys seems sensible, said Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and the director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania. Cappelli has researched skills gaps and shortages in the United States and is familiar with Infosys and other business services outsourcing companies based in India.

Infosys mainly operates by hiring people in India and training them in information technology, Cappelli said. There, they tend to be aggressive about rolling out curricula and bringing in teachers.

“They’re pretty used to this,” Cappelli said. “The interesting question is, why don’t U.S. companies do this?”

Editorial Tags: Job trainingResearch universitiesImage Source: Megan Huckaby, Purdue News ServiceImage Caption: Ravi Kumar S., Infosys president and deputy chief operating officer, and Suresh Garimella, Purdue University’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and a professor of mechanical engineering, sign an agreement Thursday.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Report questions whether elite colleges do enough to enroll low-income students

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 08/18/2017 - 00:00

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and its leaders, with some regularity, draw attention to a disconcerting reality of American higher education: many academically talented low-income college students who could succeed at the most elite American colleges and universities don't apply and don't know about the availability of aid that would make enrolling possible. The foundation criticizes the way many colleges recruit (with insufficient attention to those in low-income neighborhoods) and policies such as the use of binding early decision. Because applicants who apply under binding early decision programs must commit to enroll if admitted, many low-income students feel excluded, as they need to compare multiple aid offers to decide where to enroll.

A report issued Thursday -- "Opening Doors: How Selective Colleges and Universities Are Expanding Access for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students" -- praises some colleges for doing more to recruit these students, and suggests that there is much more to be done. The report recommends eliminating early decision, ending admissions preferences for athletes and alumni children, and limiting the use of standardized admissions tests.

But the report also gets a bit more granular and calls out colleges by name for some of their admissions and aid policies -- for the way they describe fee-waiver rules, how they introduce tools to let potential students figure out aid eligibility, and for the practice of many top institutions of blocking the use of a tool that the foundation says could help many prospective students and families.

The foundation starts off with evidence of why there is a problem in admissions -- based on a survey of the kind of high school students most colleges say they very much want to recruit: those from low-income families who have a grade point average of 3.8 and SAT or ACT scores in the top 15th percentile nationally.

The survey results show that concerns about college costs discourage one in three high-achieving low-income students from applying to any college. Further, 44 percent of these students never visit their top-choice college and 23 percent apply with no help from parents, teachers or counselors. These types of statistics point to all kinds of lost opportunities, the report says, and other research backs up. For instance, not visiting a top college means that these potential students don't know their opportunities there, but also -- as a recent study illustrated -- that their chances of admission may be diminished.

Fee Waivers, Beyond Just Offering Them

Most colleges and universities charge application fees ($65 is common, and some fees are higher). While the fees may seem small in the context of the total price of attending a private college, many low-income students report that they don't have the money. Colleges that have dropped application fees or made waivers automatic for many applicants have reported significant gains in the number of low-income students who apply, and who enroll.

Almost all colleges participate in programs that allow applicants to seek a waiver for application fees. But the foundation's survey suggests that this isn't working as well as it could.

Thirty-five percent of those in the group of low-income students never applied for a fee waiver, with most of them saying that they didn't know they would qualify. The report recommends that colleges do a better job of publicizing the availability of waivers and make waivers simple and easy to get. And to drive home its point, the report cites language on some college websites that it says illustrates the problem, not the solution.

For example, here is the policy the foundation found at the University of Miami: "The University of Miami accepts fee waivers from the College Board, NACAC or ACT. UM does not grant fee waivers for applicants. University of Miami employees or dependents of employees may apply using the option 'School-specific fee waiver.' If you have questions about receiving a fee waiver, you should speak to your guidance counselor."

The foundation's analysis: "The University of Miami does not grant fee waivers across the board. It appears that each waiver must be sought separately. This is especially burdensome." The university did not respond to a request for comment.

Net Price Calculators

The report reviews net price calculators -- which in theory let a potential applicant know roughly how much aid they should receive -- at many college websites. Reviewing the calculators of Yale University and Wellesley College, the report finds the latter much more friendly to low-income students. (The Yale site is here and Wellesley's is here.)

The foundation's critique: "Observe that the first example from Yale makes certain assumptions about students that may not be true for those from low-income families: that students have access to their parent’s tax returns; that families have savings, checking, investment and retirement accounts; that family assets may exceed $200,000. Contrast these assumptions with the simpler, more welcoming language of Wellesley’s."

Yale did not respond to a request for comment.

The report also strongly endorses use of the Pell Abacus, a tool that allows low-income students, without much detail about their family finances, to get a sense of aid eligibility at various colleges. The simplicity of the tool, and its ability to allow for comparisons, makes it ideal for many students, the report says.

But 31 elite colleges, the report says, block use of the tool (which requires some connection to a college's website). The New York Times reported last year on the trend of blocking Pell Abacus, and also noted that few colleges doing so provide detailed information on their rationales.

Many of these colleges still aren't anxious to provide detail.

A spokesman for Princeton University said via email, "Princeton has its own financial aid calculator, which is available to the public and is more accurate in presenting cost and aid calculations for prospective students. Therefore, we do not see the need for an external tool."

One institution among the 31 is considering a possible change. A spokesman for Bowdoin College said via email, "The topic of whether to provide access to [Pell] Abacus is on the table and we are certainly willing to consider it. Our goal here is transparency. We want to encourage families to use our [net-price calculator] and to contact us directly if they have questions or concerns about the results. As you know, Bowdoin is need-blind. We meet 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated need for all four years with grant aid and a small work award (no loans), and we’ll talk with anyone about their situation, but we also want to be careful to protect their data. If we open the door to [Pell] Abacus -- which says it does not sell data -- what prevents another less scrupulous company from offering another tool that is not as safe? So, we’ll talk about this, and I would be happy to let you know if we make a change."

Jennifer Glynn, director of research and evaluation at the foundation and author of the report, acknowledged in an interview that calling out colleges was a new approach for the organization. She noted that much of the report is a positive look at policies working at various colleges.

"I think the focus is on what colleges should be doing and highlighting examples that highlight specific schools," she said. But the critiques were also important, and were not designed to pick on any college.

"Every school has something that it can change," she said.


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San Jose State criticized for return to campus of professor found to have harassed a student

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 08/18/2017 - 00:00

More and more institutions are taking a zero-tolerance approach to harassment by faculty members. So some at San Jose State University are wondering why the university is welcoming back to campus a professor found guilty of repeatedly asking a graduate student to date him. An additional complaint was lodged against the professor in 2014.

The professor, Lewis Aptekar, is scheduled to teach two classes this fall in the graduate program in counseling education: one on research methods and -- ironically, say his critics -- one on trauma counseling and crisis intervention. He’s also slated for advising, admissions and curricular duties.

An earlier investigation by The Mercury News found that Aptekar remained chair of his department for five months after he was found to have harassed his student, by asking her repeatedly in class whether she was single and inviting her on dates (the investigation reportedly turned up allegations that he’d done the same to another student, in 2013, asking her to come to his office for “personal counseling”). Aptekar was put on paid leave in 2016, after the newspaper began its investigation.

Aptekar did not respond to a request for comment. The university said in a statement this week that it “thoroughly investigates allegations of employee misconduct” and takes action based on “what the facts tell us.”

San Jose State said it investigated two separate complaints, from 2014 and 2015, respectively, of sexual harassment against Aptekar. The more recent case came to light first, it said, and the allegations were substantiated -- resulting in a two-week suspension without pay and mandatory diversity training for Aptekar. He also stepped down as chair, the university said.

Aptekar was later placed on leave as the 2014 complaint was investigated, but the allegations were not substantiated and no appeals were filed, according to San Jose State. Thus, “Aptekar’s administrative leave has been lifted,” the university said, though he will not be serving as an adviser to students and has “elected a reduced workload as a first step toward retirement.” (He’ll still be involved in advising efforts, including an all-student advising meeting, according to a department memo, however.)

Elisa Stewart, Aptekar’s lawyer, previously told The Mercury News that Aptekar “has based his career on educating students to be excellent education counselors” and that he felt “vindicated" by the university’s investigation.

Others on campus aren’t so happy about Aptekar's return. Valerie Lamb, a student in the department, said via email that "we are all very infuriated with the situation." A protest is being planned.

One of Aptekar's department colleagues, Jason Laker, has sued San Jose State, alleging a cover-up of claims against Aptekar.

“They should not have allowed him back on campus,” Laker said in an interview. “And the irony is that now he’s teaching a counselor-education course in trauma counseling -- is this comedy?”

Laker said he was approached by a student in 2015 who alleged that Aptekar had harassed her, and he helped her launch a complaint. He says he was called a liar and otherwise retaliated against by colleagues involved in the case for his efforts, and so filed his own lawsuit -- but only after trying to resolve the issue internally, he said.

“I’ve spent 25 years in higher ed and never sued anybody,” Laker said. “I tried to meet with the president and provost, and at this point, excuse my French, I’m sort of out of fucks.”

Laker’s suit alleges that the university knew about the 2014 complaint prior to the 2015 case, but failed to investigate it -- or use it as evidence in the later case. The university has said administrators did not know about an earlier complaint by students. But a complaint was in fact filed by an associate dean on behalf of two students who wished to remain anonymous.

The university said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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Paper looks at gender norms' role in disparities in majors

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 08/18/2017 - 00:00

Women and men are, in theory, free to choose their college majors without any interference. So why do majors -- and in turn, certain jobs and roles in society -- remain segregated?

Many women in STEM fields, for example, have cited discrimination and discriminatory attitudes as hardships they face in academia and in the private sector, and a new paper adds another factor to the mix: feminine norms, and how women perceive and adhere to femininity.

“Cultural perspectives on college major choice posit that the gender norms, stereotypes and beliefs individuals internalize contribute to persistent gender segregation in college majors,” the paper, authored by Oklahoma sociologists Ann Beutel, Stephanie W. Burge, and B. Ann Borden and published in the journal Gender Studies, reads. “Yet relatively little attention has been paid to how young women’s adherence to feminine norms may be associated with college major choice.”

The researchers found that conformity to feminine norms was associated negatively with a woman’s odds of choosing STEM and common pre-med majors, as well as arts and humanities majors. Conformity had a positive relationship with a woman’s odds of choosing majors in the social sciences, education and social services.

And while the study sampled 1,100 women enrolled at an unnamed four-year public university in the south-central U.S., its implications go far beyond just the male-to-female ratio of a classroom, department or college.

“In sum, although women’s participation in higher education has increased, persistent gender stratification in college majors contributes to gender stratification in the contemporary labor market, with women generally faring worse than men in terms of employment and earnings,” the paper reads.

The paper argues that because culture, media and literature emphasize women’s role in caregiving, for example, they also affect women’s preferences.

“Through socialization processes, children and adolescents learn and internalize these gender norms, stereotypes and beliefs, and in turn develop their own gendered preferences,” the paper reads. Additionally, women’s gendered expectations about their futures -- having roles as a wife and a mother -- might influence them to choose majors that would lead to occupations that would be more compatible for caring for a family.

That being said, the paper argues, it would follow that how women perceive their femininity can change how they view what major they should choose. The researchers measured how much their sample group adhered to norms associated with women’s role in U.S. society, among eight subsections:

  • Being nice in relationships
  • Caring for children
  • Thinness
  • Sexual fidelity
  • Modesty
  • Romantic relationships
  • Domesticity
  • Investing in appearances

Factors such as respondents’ race and ethnicity, year in college, as well as their parents’ education, were controlled.

The more that women perceived themselves as adhering to feminine norms, the more likely they were to avoid majors such as STEM or common pre-med majors. However, there were also variations in which subsections were associated with which majors.

For example, while one of the feminine norms was niceness in relationships, higher scores for adhering to that norm were associated with higher odds of choosing a major from the arts and humanities -- a section of majors that women who adhere to the norms had less odds of choosing overall.

“We found that, with background factors controlled, general (overall) conformity to feminine norms, as measured by the total [Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory] scale score, was associated negatively with women’s odds of choosing STEM and doctoral-track medicine majors, as well as arts and humanities majors, relative to choosing majors in social sciences, education and social services,” the paper reads. “Total CFNI scale scores had no significant associations with choosing a major from clinical and health sciences, business, and communication and journalism relative to choosing a major from social sciences, education and social services.”

The authors note that the study does face some limitations -- namely, that the data can only point to associations, not causations. Additionally, the authors posit what data could be gleaned from measuring women’s conformity to masculine norms, using the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory as a complement to the CFNI.

“Yet, as the results of our study suggest for feminine norms, associations between specific masculine norms and majoring in a specific field of study could be complex … Clearly, our understanding of the role of gender norms in the lives of contemporary young women and young men would be enhanced if we could examine how specific feminine and masculine norms are associated with their choice of college major.”

Despite these limitations, however, the paper could be a jumping-off point for further study of gender disparities among majors and in employment.

“Though young women have made tremendous strides in their overall level of educational attainment, gender segregation of college majors has persisted,” the paper concludes. “Our results suggest that at least some of the barriers to increased gender integration of academic fields of study may come from cultural norms about gender, and in particular femininity, which have been durable in spite of increases in gender egalitarian ideology and women’s educational attainment and labor force participation.”

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Eastern Michigan and other universities tell international students '#YouAreWelcomeHere'

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 08/18/2017 - 00:00

Eastern Michigan University is going all out to recognize its international students.

The university is installing 108 banners featuring 108 students from more than 40 countries. The banners, which are being installed on light posts across the campus and into the surrounding city of Ypsilanti, include the hashtag “#YouAreWelcomeHere” and are one manifestation of a national campaign by that name to communicate American universities’ openness to international students.

“The overall message of being a welcoming environment for international students has just been received very positively,” said Walter Kraft, Eastern Michigan’s vice president for communications.

Eastern Michigan changes out its light-post banners annually to recognize various groups on campus. Last year the banners featured the university’s Honors College students, and in past years they’ve featured faculty members and alumni. This is the first time the university has recognized its international students in this way.

Eastern Michigan, which is in the greater Detroit area, enrolls nearly 1,000 students from more than 80 countries, with the largest groups coming from India, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Iran, Brazil, France, Taiwan and Turkey.

In addition to the banners, Eastern Michigan is promoting the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign on its social media channels, with a typical post featuring the picture, name and major of one of the 108 students featured on the banners and a quote about why they chose Eastern Michigan. The university also plans to install a 23-foot-tall, 80-foot-wide banner featuring all 108 images on the wall of a parking garage in the center of campus.

The university has also created a video as part of the campaign (below).

“We had kind of an open casting call or whatever you might want to call it late last spring while students were still on campus,” Kraft said. “We just invited anyone who wanted to participate to come out for a video shoot and these photographs.”

“We ended up with 100, 200 people who came out,” he said. “Many students who were not international students wanted to come out and have themselves videoed saying, ‘You are welcome here.’”

One of the students featured in the campaign is Veronica Konglim (right), a Ph.D. student from Cameroon who is studying education. Konglim first came to Eastern Michigan on a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a master’s in teaching English to speakers of other languages in 2009. After graduating in 2011, she returned to Cameroon, only to come back to Eastern Michigan to take up a Ph.D. two years later.

“I came back because I loved it here and I wanted to do a Ph.D.,” she said. “I had built a community here and I love the campus and the city of Ypsilanti, and besides studying I also did a lot of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. It’s something that I really enjoyed. When I had the opportunity to come back, I did not hesitate.”

“I truly do feel welcome here, so I thought maybe this is something I should really be a part of,” she said. “It was an opportunity for me to say thank you and to confirm, that yes, this is really true, I really do feel welcome here, and if anyone out there is thinking about coming here and is hesitant, my story should be a testimony that this campus is really welcoming.”

More than 250 colleges and universities have joined the national #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, which is being coordinated out of Temple University and has received the support of organizations including the National Association for College Admission Counseling and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The State Department's Bureau of International and Cultural Affairs has also promoted the hashtag on its Twitter feed.

A similar campaign in the U.K., #WeAreInternational, has the support of more than 160 universities there. That campaign started in 2013 after international students expressed concerns about negative media coverage and certain political statements about immigration, according to the #WeAreInternational website.

Many colleges participating in the U.S. campaign have created videos like Eastern Michigan's conveying the YouAreWelcomeHere message. The first such video -- and the first use of the hashtag for this purpose -- came from the international education company Study Group, which published a video last November featuring some of its partner universities.

The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign developed in the wake of last year’s presidential election and gained steam after President Trump’s executive order barring travel to the U.S. by nationals of certain Muslim-majority countries (after the ban was halted by the courts, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer to allow a modified version of the travel ban to go into effect). Many in international education have reported hearing concerns from international students about feeling unwelcome in the U.S., as well as concerns about their physical safety and ability to secure a visa.

"The reason this struck me as an important message is that it's simple and it’s positive and it’s kind of a countervailing message to a lot of the other negative images and messages that are out there," said Jessica Sandberg, the director of international admissions at Temple and the person leading the campaign.

“At the time that this idea came to light, we were facing a flurry of concerns form students, prospective and current international students, and also there was an awareness, I think, among international educators that a lot of the stories and the news and the images that were coming out of the United States at that time and unfortunately have continued until now have been very negative,” said Sandberg.

She continued, “If you work in international student admissions, then talking about safety is not new -- that’s always been a concern for international families -- but it’s escalated this year. They see that there’s a lot of internal disagreement in the United States, and concerns about xenophobia and general unrest.”

Sandberg said the videos that many universities have created as part of the campaign “show what daily life is like. If you watch the news and you see this unrest, you forget the fact that people are just going to work and school and studying in classes and going to social gatherings. We wanted to show this is what it really looks like on a day-to-day basis.”

“The other piece that I think is important is, generally, international prospective students are hearing from people like me who work in international admissions,” she said. “We wanted the campaign messages and videos to show that the support for international students isn’t just isolated to people who work in this profession, but it’s university presidents, the cheerleader and the football player and the faculty members.”

A list of participating universities -- and links to the videos they've produced -- is available here.

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Investors seem confident that an economic recovery is under way

Economist, North America - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 07:47

AFTER a grinding two-year recession, the longest in Brazil’s history, a recovery has been slow to materialise. The IMF expects GDP growth of just 0.3% this year. The joblessness rate is 13%. Last year’s fiscal deficit, including large interest payments, was nearly 9% of GDP. Lower-than-expected tax receipts have forced the government to accept that for the next four years the budget deficit will be higher than planned.

But markets seem unperturbed. The Bovespa, Brazil’s benchmark stock index, is back at levels not seen since May, when a leaked recording of the president, Michel Temer, apparently discussing bribes threw politics into chaos and put his future in doubt. The Brazilian currency, the real, strengthened by 6% in July.

Some of the optimism is based on a conviction that after such a long slump, a rebound cannot be far away. Higher prices for commodities are helping: Brazil is a big exporter of many, including soya and iron ore. Interest rates, which were kept...

Salary, job expectations unmet among Chinese returnees

The PIE News - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 05:56

A number of Chinese returnees have found the reality of coming home after obtaining an overseas degree is falling short of their dreams of a better job and higher salary. According to a recent report, Chinese students feel the employment edge they expect is being lost to savvier and more resilient domestically educated peers.

A survey by Beijing-based think tank the Center for China & Globalization, and job search website zhaopin.com found that a lack of understanding of the local workplace and corporate trends plagues many Chinese graduates upon returning home.

Of 1,821 Chinese graduate responses, 66% said they were disadvantaged because they did not understand the current corporate trends in China. Meanwhile, almost three quarters of respondents said that their monthly salary was lower than expected.

“There is a Chinese phrase called ‘eyes are high, but hands are low'”

Returnees also report feeling disadvantaged by missing the career recruitment season, and not being able to adapt back into society in China.

Yiyang Chang, senior analyst at market intelligence firm Emerging Strategy, said part of the disappointment for these returnees could be unrealistic expectations.

“There is a Chinese phrase called ‘eyes are high, but hands are low’. It is used to describe people who are not as capable as they think they are,” she said.

With the number of Chinese returnees rising, totalling 432,500 last year – up from 409,100 in 2015 – Chang argued that a foreign degree won’t guarantee that graduates will stand out in the job hunt anymore.

“Foreign degrees are no longer rare but are still very expensive. It is normal that people made a big investment and expect good ROI, but investors tend to be too optimistic.”

Responses to survey questions about salary expectations suggest as much. Just under 70% of respondents admitted they expected to earn more. Only 1% said they are earning a higher salary than they expected, and 30% said their earnings match their expectations.

And just under half (48.4%) of returnees said they feel superior in the job market to those who didn’t study abroad, while 10.8% said they feel inferior.

Improved English proficiency among Chinese students with domestic degrees is likely dulling the competitiveness of returnees, said Jill Tang, founder of CareerXFactor, a recruitment company for graduates with foreign degrees.

“Chinese millennials are very well travelled now, so even though they have never gone abroad, they are much more open minded,” she said.

Returnees are also hindered by their lack of work experience in China, said Chang.

A large number of Chinese students study abroad after getting degrees in second and third tier cities, with many seeking work opportunities in first tier cities when they return which hold different job requirements.

“Having formal internship experience is not very common in HEIs located in lower-tier cities,” she said.

“These students might find it even more difficult to understand corporate needs and domestic workforce trends as their parents and friends cannot give them information that is specific to the first tier cities.”

Meanwhile Andrew Chen, chief learning officer at WholeRen Education, a US-based international student organisation and agency, said compared to the locally educated population, returnees are less assertive in the job hunt.

“Their grass-root peers are more aggressive and willing to take lower paying jobs to start their careers,” he said.

“Returnee students need to become more resilient because they are typically the only child in a wealthy, large city-based family, and don’t have the same grit as their peers when it comes to rolling up their sleeves.”

Over half of students (54%) reported being in jobs that are ‘fairly compatible’ with their area of study while 28.6% said that it was ‘very incompatible’, and just 16.9% answered that it matched their field of study.

“Their grass-root peers are more aggressive and willing to take lower paying jobs to start their careers”

Sales-related jobs are the most common among Chinese returnees– attracting 13.5% of survey respondents. Around 12% of those surveyed are in technical jobs, while 10% are in marketing, 9.4% in operational roles and 8.4% in administrative positions.

Despite the initial chagrin of coming home, 85.9% of returnees admitted their experience broadened their horizons, and 82.2% felt they had a language advantage.

And 79.5% said their newly acquired cross-cultural communication skills were are an asset.

Chen argued that these skills gained through a Western education will be beneficial for students in the long term.

“Comparing job placement results of returning Chinese students with those that have never studied abroad, it is clear that returnees are much more competitive and are able to climb the job ladder better after two to three years.”

Tang agreed, explaining that if international Chinese graduates can “bypass that landing period, the possibilities of them taking off will be faster than local graduates since they have a global mindset and vision, with relatively better soft skills and independence.”

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UK plans to allow visa-free travel for EU visitors

The PIE News - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 02:22

The UK government intends to keep visa-free travel for EU visitors after the country leaves the bloc, reports suggest.

According to the BBC and Bloomberg, the UK is considering allowing EU nationals to freely visit the country, however working, studying or settling would require permission.

An earlier report from The Times said EU citizens would be allowed to travel to Britain to look for a job without applying for a work visa. Companies wanting to hire EU workers would have to apply for sponsorship permits, however.

Companies wanting to hire EU workers would have to apply for sponsorship permits

The number of permits issued in any sector would be controlled by the government, which could charge for each to encourage British businesses to prioritise UK workers.

A Home Office spokesperson responded to the articles saying, “These are just reports at the moment. We will set out immigration policy in due course”.

The reports come a day after the government released a paper detailing its proposals for the porous border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit.

The government said it wanted to avoid a hard border and said it will maintain agreements laid out in the Common Travel Area which include reciprocal rights for both UK and Irish nationals to study, work and reside without obtaining permission.

The government has said EU students will have access to the national loan scheme until 2018 however it is yet to release a clear strategy for international education partnerships, study abroad and student fee guarantees for EU students.

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Virginia students "take back" their campus with march for unity and inclusviness

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 01:10

Thousands marched at the University of Virginia Wednesday night, retracing the route white supremacists took Friday night but with a very different message.

Students, joined by faculty members, employees, alumni and local residents, spoke about their outrage at the hateful ideas of those who marched Friday. That march included Nazi chants.

During the march on Wednesday night, participants sang “We Shall Overcome,” “Amazing Grace,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Lean on Me" -- as well as University of Virginia songs.

One of the speakers was Ryan Keen, who is starting his senior year.

“The greatest power we have to heal is our ability to support each other,” he said. “We have to show what we stand for and what it means to be inclusive. We will not stand for the hate that has been shown here.”

The event included a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, a local resident who was killed when a car slammed into anti-supremacist protesters on Saturday, and for state troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates. They were helping to monitor the events organized by supremacists on Saturday when their helicopter crashed and they were killed.

Some at the event spoke about how angry they were to see white supremacists at the center of the UVA campus, and how they wanted to make a statement and to "take back the lawn," as the space is known on campus.

The university has a full account of Wednesday night's march here.


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New data explain Republican loss of confidence in higher education

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 00:00

Not only do Republicans and Democrats have different levels of confidence in higher education, but they are coming at the issue by focusing on different issues, a new poll by Gallup shows. Republicans who distrust higher education focus on campus politics, while the smaller share of Democrats who distrust higher education tend to focus on rising college prices, the pollster found.

The data were released a month after a report from the Pew Research Center found that more than half of Republicans say colleges have a negative impact on the direction of the United States. The shift was dramatic. Two years ago, Pew found that 54 percent of Republicans said colleges had a positive impact on the direction of the United States, while this year 58 percent said colleges had a negative effect. Among Democrats, 72 percent this year viewed colleges as having a positive impact on the direction of the country.

Gallup set out to see if it would find similar partisan shifts in the view of higher education, and -- if so -- why members of the two major parties were splitting in this way. Gallup's findings largely confirm those of Pew -- a growing partisan divide on higher education.

First Gallup asked people if they have confidence in colleges and universities. (The question did not specify two-year vs. four-year, public vs. private, etc.)

How Much Confidence Do You Have in Higher Education?

  Great Deal/Quite a Lot Some or Very Little All 44% 56% Republicans (or leaning) 33% 67% Democrats (or leaning) 56% 43%

Then Gallup asked those with little or no confidence in higher education to identify reasons for their lack of confidence. Here Republicans focused on political issues and Democrats focused on more practical issues (such as paying for college). The question here was open-ended and Gallup grouped similar responses and provided the top answers.

What Are Some of the Reasons You Do Not Have a Lot of Confidence in Higher Education?

  Republicans (or leaning) Democrats (or leaning) Too expensive 11% 36% Too liberal/political 32% 1% Not allowing students to think for themselves, pushing an agenda 21% 6% Students not properly educated/education not relevant 13% 9% Poor leadership/not well run 9% 14% Graduates unable to find jobs 7% 10% Overall quality is going down 4% 11% Not focused on education/too much focus on sports 2% 5% Poor quality of professors or other employees 4% 2% Too easy to get an education/students don't take it seriously 3% 2%

Gallup also asked those with high confidence levels in higher education why they felt that way, again grouping together open-ended responses. The answers show that many Republicans seem to feel good about their own or their relatives' experiences in higher education, and that they are more likely than Democrats to believe that earning a college degree is essential for career success.

What Are Some Reasons Why You Have a Lot of Confidence in Colleges and Universities?

  Republicans (or leaning) Democrats (or leaning) Personal experience/family member/myself enrolled or graduated/college employee 32% 24% Higher education is essential to the country 16% 17% Students are well trained/educated and doing a good job 12% 20% U.S. colleges are advanced and among the best in the world 9% 10% Need a degree to get better jobs/opportunities 15% 6% Prepares students for real life/to get ahead 7% 9% Teaches students to have an open mind/to appreciate other ideas/diversity 5% 7% Good professors/instructors/administrators 2% 6% Trains students to think for themselves 2% 5%

To be sure, some Republicans have long criticized higher education for being too liberal. Jesse Helms, the late senator who was long a hero to the far right, once said of plans for a zoo in North Carolina, "Why build a zoo when we can just put up a fence around Chapel Hill?" And bashing universities -- the University of California, Berkeley, or Harvard University, or the Ivy League generally -- has long been a part of Republican rhetoric.

But perhaps more quietly, support for much of higher education -- public and private -- has been bipartisan. Democrats might have been more generous with funding in some years, or more focused on low-income students. But Republicans have been strong proponents over time of building up universities' research capabilities. And support for community colleges and many regional institutions comes from lawmakers of both parties working to support local colleges.

In this context, the Pew and Gallup findings suggest a shift in attitudes in which Republicans have a much stronger aversion to the direction of higher education, which they see as too liberal. The questions asked in the Gallup study were so general (without any definition of "college") that many may not have thought of parts of higher education (community colleges, evangelical colleges or professionally oriented online programs) that look nothing like the residential liberal arts colleges that are mocked -- many times inaccurately -- in the conservative blogosphere on a daily basis.

An analysis released by Gallup, while not endorsing the views of the Republicans surveyed, says that their attitudes could have a significant impact on higher education.

"The effect of this divide on views of higher education -- a pivotal element of the American dream for so many -- raises questions about the future of higher education in this country," the Gallup analysis says. "To what degree will diminished confidence in higher education among Republicans lead to decreased public support and funding for colleges and universities? Or, will Republican families be less likely to send their children to traditional colleges and universities, and instead seek other ways to educate them? Will various colleges and universities begin to align their brands and curricula increasingly along party lines? Is there any hope that this partisan divide on views of higher education will diminish -- and if so, what would bring that about?"

Indeed, regardless of what one thinks of Republican attitudes, Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. Of particular relevance to public higher education, 34 of the nation's governors are Republicans.

Brandon H. Busteed, executive director for education and work-force development at Gallup, said in an interview that he thought it was important for colleges to think about their "marketing and communication messages" on a range of issues. For example, many competitive colleges consider race and ethnicity in admissions -- and polls suggest majorities of white voters favor the end of such forms of affirmative action.

Busteed said that colleges need to think about the way many critics of affirmative action believe that admissions are based on a pure academic meritocracy, except for minority students. He said colleges should talk about the edge in admissions enjoyed by athletes, children of alumni, people from some parts of the country, and many other groups. This information might change attitudes about affirmative action, he said.

He also said it's not likely to be enough for colleges to just assume that Republican attitudes are incorrect. Rather, colleges need to engage the discussion, he said. For example, many colleges bemoan that some prospective students and their families judge colleges by "sticker price" and don't take into account the aid offered by institutions. Colleges are relentless in encouraging people to think about college prices beyond sticker prices, he said. They need to be equally active on qualities -- real or not -- that make many Republicans think they are liberal.

On the theme of rebranding, Busteed published an essay Wednesday urging colleges to stop using the term "liberal arts."

"Putting the words liberal and arts together is a branding disaster, and the most effective way to save or defend the liberal arts may be to change what we call them. Note, the problem isn't with the substance of a liberal arts education but with the words we use to describe it," he wrote.

"Although there is certainly a difference between the meaning of a liberal arts education and being 'liberal' politically, it helps no one to fight to the death defending the term 'liberal arts' in the context of today's climate. Let's face it: other than people in higher education or liberal arts graduates themselves, who understands what the liberal arts are anyhow?" he added.

Busteed's essay will probably rankle more than a few liberal arts professors. But it may be worth considering that Republicans are not the only ones who are challenged by the term "liberal arts."

A 2015 study by Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner, professors of economics at Stanford University and the University of Virginia, respectively, asked academically talented, low-income high school students why they didn't apply to certain kinds of institutions. With regard to liberal arts colleges, the answers suggested a lack of knowledge of what they are. Among the responses they heard from students about why they weren't applying to liberal arts colleges:

  • “What is a private liberal arts college?”
  • “I don't know what this is.”
  • “I don't like learning useless things.”
  • “I am not liberal.”
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Charlottesville tragedy and Trump remarks revive focus on statues of Confederates and other racists

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 00:00

The gathering of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend originated -- at least on the surface -- from the groups’ opposition to the planned removal of a Confederate monument to Robert E. Lee in the college town. And although the violence in Charlottesville has subsided, Confederate monuments remain on college campuses across the South.

President Trump's criticism Tuesday of efforts to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces further inflamed tensions, and many white supremacists reported feeling emboldened afterward. Additionally, Trump spoke of a slippery slope -- that removing Confederate monuments would lead to removing monuments and statues dedicated to Thomas Jefferson or George Washington, since they owned slaves. Perhaps unknowingly, Trump in fact touched on criticisms that have been directed at the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary, among other institutions, for their close association -- and alleged whitewashing -- of Jefferson's past.

Much of the protest movement against Confederate monuments has played out on college campuses, and it has branched out to include other historical figures who are venerated on campuses -- with building names and statues -- and in American history at large, despite their dark histories regarding race. As the coverage of Charlottesville subsides, and students across the country return to campus, those efforts can be expected to continue. In some states, however, legal roadblocks might abound, as state legislatures have taken power over public monuments and their removal, fearful that college administrations might remove them under pressure from students.

“These monuments have a gigantic bull's-eye on them,” said W. Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which boasts its own controversial ties to white supremacists.

The events in Charlottesville -- and, more significantly, Brundage said, two years ago, in Charleston, S.C., where Dylann Roof killed nine people at an African-American church in hopes of starting a race war -- have also shaped the hotly debated narrative around what these monuments stand for.

“We can see these monuments are now de facto shrines for white nationalists,” Brundage said. “If you’re a white nationalist who wants to find a public space in which to profess your beliefs, what better place than a Confederate monument.”

Statues, Monuments, Buildings on Campus

Changing anything at UNC, however, remains a challenge. In 2015, a month after the Roof shooting, a law was enacted in North Carolina that vests the authority to remove public “objects of remembrance” with the state Legislature.

For UNC Chapel Hill, this includes the memorial, known as Silent Sam (below), to undergraduate students who fought for the Confederacy.

While Silent Sam might be out of UNC’s hands, the university's trustees put a self-imposed 16-year restriction on renaming buildings after a split vote changed the name of Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall. William L. Saunders, for whom the building was first named, was born in 1831 and attended UNC. He was also a prominent member and organizer of the Ku Klux Klan. Some took issue with the renaming, since other names were floated, such as Hurston Hall, which would have honored Zora Neale Hurston, a black novelist and anthropologist who audited classes at UNC from 1939 to 1940, before the university was desegregated.

The renaming freeze, which drew criticism at the time of the vote -- a month before the Roof shooting -- limits what UNC can do in light of events like Charlottesville. At the time, trustees said insulation was the point: during the freeze, UNC is working on methods to provide more historical context for Silent Sam, as well as Carolina Hall, and has launched a campaign to provide more accurate, encompassing history around the university’s ties to slavery.

Regardless, Silent Sam, as well as Aycock Residence -- named after former North Carolina governor and avowed white supremacist Charles Brantley Aycock -- will remain for the time being, to critics' dismay.

Just a few miles away, Duke University -- which, until recently, also had a building dedicated to Aycock -- is home to its own homage to the Confederacy. Among the statues adorning the entrance to the university chapel is one of Robert E. Lee.

Following the events at Charlottesville, the statue is receiving fresh scrutiny.

“As a Methodist pastor, someone who went to the school, as someone who stood in the pulpit this Sunday and took a stand against racism, it’s disheartening,” Richard Bryant, a 1999 Duke Divinity master’s program graduate, told The News & Observer in Raleigh.

How Lee got there is a mystery of sorts, and his presence has been debated since the chapel was unveiled in the 1930s, university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld told Inside Higher Ed. The chapel borrowed inspiration from the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, but, in line with Duke’s Methodist orientation, the architect swapped statues of saints for statues of figures from Protestant and Methodist traditions, as well as figures from the American South. In addition to Lee, Thomas Jefferson is also present.

“The Duke endowment board at the time … had a discussion about this,” Schoenfeld said. “And they passed a resolution that indicated that the statues ‘should be decorative, symbolic figures, and not as representing, or known as representing any specified person.’”

Although there aren’t any immediate plans to remove the statue of Lee, Schoenfeld said that the university is aware of the controversy its presence brings.

“The short answer is yes, of course, people are thinking” about Charlottesville, Schoenfeld said. “For something like this, we think it is important to study the history, and the particular context, but also to involve the university community in a thoughtful and deliberate discussion.”

“It’s not the first time that questions about, how did these statues get into the vestibule of a house of worship, in particular the chapel, and what should be done about them,” he said.

For many, removing monuments -- or renaming buildings -- is akin to erasing history, which should be remembered no matter how uncomfortable. However, at least in North Carolina, public displays of history seem to be tilted toward white supremacy.

According to a database Brundage has helped compile, there are fewer than 30 monuments dedicated to black and white North Carolinians who fought or advocated for the Union.

“It would be safe to assume there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 North Carolinians, who, in some way, shape or form, contributed to the Union cause in meaningful ways,” he said. “You could travel from one end of the state to the other end [today], and unless you were really looking for it, carefully … you would see nothing that acknowledges their historical contribution.”

Daina Berry, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin -- which recently removed some Confederate monuments after finding they lacked a historical connection to the university, though others remain -- also said public displays of history are imbalanced.

“What about the sons and daughters of enslaved people who survived slavery and made it out of the institution, who were on the winning side of the war?” she said. “What about monuments to honor them? What about statues and monuments to honor Native Americans … who survived the Trail of Tears?”

Thomas Jefferson

While Trump posited criticism of Jefferson as a hypothetical slippery slope, some students at UVA, which Jefferson founded, and the College of William and Mary -- where Jefferson went to college -- had already beaten him to the punch.

William and Mary was in the news in 2015 when students covered a statue of Jefferson with sticky notes, calling him a rapist and a racist. UVA has also received pushback from students for its close ties, and its president's penchant for quoting the founder.

"A university setting is the very place where civil conversations about difficult and important issues should occur. Nondestructive sticky notes are a form of expression compatible with our tradition of free expression," a William and Mary spokesman said at the time. A request for comment on the university's association with Jefferson in light of the violence at Charlottesville and Trump's most recent comments was not returned on Wednesday.

"The University of Virginia has acknowledged that controversy has been part of its history, and we continue to strive to learn from it and to improve our current environment through open and constructive dialogue," UVA spokesman Anthony P. de Bruyn said in an email. De Bruyn cited efforts such as the 2013 President's Commission on Slavery and the University, as well as the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, a proposed on-campus monument that had its design approved by UVA officials in June, as examples of addressing slavery's role and sometimes-ignored association with Jefferson and UVA.

The University of Virginia’s founder "made many contributions to the progress of the early American republic," de Bruyn said. "He served as the third president of the United States, championed religious freedom and authored the Declaration of Independence. In apparent contradiction to his persuasive arguments for liberty and human rights, however, he was also a slave owner, and he did not abolish slavery as president."

Across the Country

Of course, American leaders who were known racists are not just found on campuses in North Carolina, or even in the South. Yale University and Princeton University found themselves questioning their associations with the pro-slavery Senator John C. Calhoun and President Woodrow Wilson, who resegregated the federal work force, respectively.

Wilson, an alumnus of Princeton and namesake of the school of public and international affairs, has a documented history of racism, and the institution received pressure to remove his name from the school and one of its residential colleges. Addressing the issue in 2016, Princeton didn’t remove its association with Wilson but pledged to provide more context for Wilson’s history of racism in order to paint a more accurate, if uncomfortable, picture of him.

Earlier this year, Yale removed Calhoun’s name from one of its residential colleges. Calhoun, a Yale alumnus, will remain associated with other parts of the university, however.

“Unlike other namesakes on our campus, he distinguished himself not in spite of these views but because of them,” Yale president Peter Salovey said at the time. “In making this change, we must be vigilant not to erase the past. To that end, we will not remove symbols of Calhoun from elsewhere on our campus, and we will develop a plan to memorialize the fact that Calhoun was a residential college name for 86 years.”

Both Yale and Princeton have gone on to establish systems for addressing name changes, hoping to add a sense of due process and equality for all considerations going forward.

Calhoun’s name remains associated with multiple colleges in the U.S., including Clemson University in South Carolina and Calhoun Community College in Alabama.

Statues Coming Down at Bronx Community College

On Wednesday, Bronx Community College of City University of New York announced that it would be removing two busts from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an outdoor monument that is on the college's campus. Currently there are 102 people honored there, 98 of them with busts.

A statement from Thomas A. Isekenegbe, president of the college, said that the college has always embraced "values of diversity and inclusiveness" and "creating space where all people feel respected." Consistent with those values, he said, the college will remove from the Hall of Fame the busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewwall Jackson.

In South Carolina, Honors for a Man Who Boasted of Killing Black People

At Clemson, the honors college remains named for Calhoun, and a spokesman said that renaming the college has not been brought up since the events at Charlottesville. Clemson and other South Carolina public colleges, like universities in North Carolina, are blocked by state law from changing the names of physical buildings, including one named after Benjamin Tillman. Tillman led a white supremacist paramilitary organization in the 1870s and boasted of personally killing African-Americans. Representing South Carolina in the governor's mansion and the U.S. Senate, he is also credited with disenfranchising African-Americans through the South Carolina Constitution of 1895.

Despite having an objectively despicable role in history, his legacy at Clemson is protected.

"Regarding Tillman Hall itself, any possible action related to the name of the building is beyond the university’s control," spokesman Mark Land said in an email. "The building is covered by the South Carolina Heritage Act, which says that no historical structures on public property can be altered or moved without a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the General Assembly."

Clemson has attempted to correct the record on Tillman -- who also has a hall named after him at Winthrop University -- in recent years, Land said.

"Regarding the legacy of Benjamin Tillman, the university has done a lot of work over the past two years, at the direction of our Board of Trustees, to tell the complete, nonromanticized and authentic history of Clemson, including stories that are hard to hear and tell. Tillman and his legacy are part of that effort."

A history task force has been created, biographies of influential South Carolinians connected to the college are "updated, detailed and frank," and plaques mark what used to be slave quarters that housed the men and women who built the university, Land said. While Tillman Hall's name won't change, the roadway in front of it has been named after Harvey Gantt, the first African-American to enroll at Clemson.

Off Campus

Though the movement against certain monuments has significant ties to campus activism, the activism has also been apparent off campus. Following the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the city of Baltimore took down four Confederate statues.

From symbols to systems of white supremacy, they must ALL be dismantled. A small battle won today but the war is far from over. #onamove pic.twitter.com/AErXG6C0FG

— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) August 16, 2017

Among those praising the decision to remove the statues was the president of Johns Hopkins University, who noted that two were in sight of campus.

"I commend Mayor Catherine Pugh and the city council for their decision to remove Confederate monuments. We all witnessed the events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, where such statues continue to be rallying points for white supremacists’ racism, and, ultimately, violence,” Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. “We share the belief that the statues and what they represent have no place in our city and applaud this action as a way to affirm the values of diversity, equity and inclusion that strengthen our university, our city and our nation.”

In Durham, N.C., citizens toppled a statue memorializing Confederate soldiers Monday, and earlier this year New Orleans removed the final Confederate statue in that city.

“What happened in Durham, what happened in New Orleans, what happened in Baltimore is in some ways even more significant,” Brundage said. “We had debates prior to New Orleans … but now we have communities, or people in communities, making a decision, [saying] ‘Enough of the conversation.’”

Those actions, as well as the memories of Charlottesville, will likely invigorate more campus activism -- and, potentially, conflict -- around monuments and statues, Berry said.

“The events of this weekend confirm to me that a monument does not equate to historical understanding, or even the desire to know the historical context behind the individuals that are being displayed,” she said. “I have great concern, because states like Texas have open carry, and certain campuses, like UTA, have concealed carry.”

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Public universities are on solid ground to cancel Richard Spencer events, legal experts say

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 00:00

When Auburn University said it would block Richard Spencer from speaking on campus in April, the white nationalist sued -- and won.

A federal judge in Alabama rejected Auburn's argument that the speech would be unsafe, and it took place.

This precedent has not deterred the University of Florida or Texas A&M University, both of which this week have canceled plans for events where Spencer was slated to speak on their campuses, citing the violence at white supremacist events last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

Legal experts say that though public institutions are obligated to preserve campus free expression, the tragedy that played out in Virginia over the weekend likely gives presidents more concrete grounds to bar Spencer and his affiliates -- at least in the short term. They warn, however, that the reasoning the institutions gave for canceling -- ensuring student and locals’ safety -- should be applied as judiciously possible.

Auburn, a public institution, tried to halt Spencer’s talk in April, but the man who rented out a university building on Spencer’s behalf filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court, claiming the administration was squashing his First Amendment rights. A federal judge sided with the man, and Spencer was able to proceed with his speech, in which he suggested white people had lost their identities and black students on campus sexually abused white women -- just the kind of rhetoric his fans love and that many consider racist.

The University of Florida’s President, W. Kent Fuchs, released a statement Wednesday calling Spencer’s white nationalist message “repugnant.” Social media threats had called for Gainesville to be the next site for violence after Charlottesville, leading to the decision, Fuchs said.

Both the University of Florida and Texas A&M stressed in their statements the potential for violence and that they were not acting based on the offensiveness of Spencer's views.

“The University of Florida remains unwaveringly dedicated to free speech and the spirit of public discourse. However, the First Amendment does not require a public institution to risk imminent violence to students and others. The likelihood of violence and potential injury -- not the words or ideas -- has caused us to take this action,” Fuchs said in his statement.

The University of Florida’s policy, similar to Auburn’s, allows outsiders to rent campus space if they pay the required expenses, including for security, if necessary.

Auburn lost in court in part because it permits anyone to rent its spaces and so it could not tell Spencer no, Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center, said in a previous interview.

Texas A&M, meanwhile, forbids external campus lecturers from reserving a facility without the backing of a student group -- this is a change in practice from when Spencer spoke to students there last December. Spencer, with his group National Policy Institute, had announced he would target colleges, with Texas A&M as one of his first.

Given how recent the events of Charlottesville are, presidents could reasonably assume the violence could be replicated, Olivas said Wednesday.

Damaging the white supremacists’ case for the right to speak was their public association of Charlottesville with the prospective events in September.

A press release advertising the now canceled “White Lives Matter” rally at Texas A&M was headlined “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M." Similar language was used to promote the planned Florida speech.

“Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus. Additionally, the daylong event would provide disruption to our class schedules and to student, faculty and staff movement (both bus system and pedestrian),” the statement from Texas A&M reads.

The judge in Auburn’s lawsuit found no imminent threat to that campus, which is “clearly” not the case now, said Robert M. O’Neil, a former president of the University of Virginia, where the white nationalists, bearing torches, marched on Friday. O’Neil is a First Amendment scholar who also serves as a senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities.

“If you look more closely at the Auburn situation, the judge did not find any evidence of incitement or the propensity for it on Spencer’s part at that time,” O’Neil said. “The situation is dramatically different today.”

Olivas, in the interview Wednesday, said he believes the legal situation could change in a few months.

“If nothing like this happens again and no one is harmed seriously, the season will turn and they’ll come in around Thanksgiving,” he said. “It’s very difficult to say no to them forever.”

Canceling these sorts of events comes after a great deal of reflection and insider knowledge of prospective threats, said Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel for the American Council on Education. He was formerly a lawyer for Princeton University.

“The other challenge is one is trying to predict might happen, based on the activities of folks that you do not control,” he said. “Trying to predict what others may or may not do, how various folks may or may not react, that’s a tough job.”

McDonough said he couldn’t speculate whether a lawsuit was imminent for either institution.

Spencer hasn’t publicly announced legal action, but he has taken to Twitter to praise Trump’s response in Charlottesville and retweeted one user criticizing the University of Florida.

What is @UF thinking? Its officials signed an agreement and can't do this under the 1A. @RichardBSpencer. Silly. https://t.co/cNdMaNJqCp

— Evan McLaren (@EvanMcLaren) August 16, 2017

Ari Cohn, a representative of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which generally criticizes institutions that it perceives to limit free speech, was much milder in his critiques of the University of Florida and Texas A&M.

Cohn, the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, said that colleges should not as a first resort halt events simply because of a possible safety risk.

Administrators should disclose as many details as possible about potential threats without compromising the work of law enforcement, Cohn said. He said courts have ruled that “hyperbole” such as the kind displayed in the press release for "White Lives Matter" did not by itself constitute a reason for shutting down an event.

Threats need to reach a level of specificity, he said. Cohn cited a Supreme Court case, Hess v. Indiana, decided in 1973, involving a protester at Indiana University, Gregory Hess, who was initially convicted of disorderly conduct for lewd remarks before the court reversed the decision.

Hess had said something roughly like, “We'll take the fucking street later,” but the court ruled that this was not concrete enough to be considered a real threat, which had an ambiguous time frame.

“If somewhere, someone else reacted violently, then we’d find ourselves pretty hamstrung when it comes to speaking,” Cohn said.

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Campus group proposing broad countermovement against white nationalism and racism

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 00:00

Given that college campuses have been central to activism by the so-called alt-right, is it time for a campus-based countermovement? Scholars behind the proposed Campus Antifascist Network, or CAN, think so.

“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened fascist and white nationalist groups nationwide, on campus and off, and their recent upsurge requires antifascists to take up the call to action once again,” reads an invitation to join the group, posted on social media this week by David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and professor of comparative literature at Stanford University.

“As we wrote this letter,” it says, “hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists were marching on the campus of University of Virginia chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ and other vile slurs. An antifascist activist was murdered by these same forces in Charlottesville, raising the stakes of resistance to new heights.”

Network co-organizer Bill Mullen, a professor of American studies at Purdue University, on Wednesday called CAN a “big tent” that “welcomes anyone committed to fighting fascism.”

“We are diverse in our political points of view but unified by our fight against fascism,” he said. The idea is “to drive racists off campuses and to protect the most vulnerable from fascist attack.”

And of objections made by some that Trump is not a fascist? Palumbo-Liu said that is “literally an academic argument in the worst sense of the word. We need to pay attention to what is happening, not the labels that we feel are most fitting.”

Mullen said the network started with about 40 members concerned about alt-right campus activity and the recent set of death threats against professors -- many of them women and minorities -- who have spoken out publicly against racism.

Since Charlottesville, the network has jumped to 200 members and 1,000 followers on its Facebook page, Mullen said. Antifascist branches are being formed on campuses and the group is preparing teach-ins and self-defense materials for faculty and students who may meet with white supremacist protesters.

The network has been endorsed by writers Junot Díaz and Viet Nguyen, as well as graduate student unions. In addition to faculty members, graduate students and some undergraduates have joined.

Network members across the country already have expressed their solidarity with Charlottesville counterprotesters and published an open-access syllabus on fascism for educators. They’re asking other interested parties to support or join CAN, and offering to help organize local antifascist chapters. Such chapters will “support, educate and defend faculty, students and staff, and share information on fascist organizing in the U.S., planned fascist activities and organized antifascist responses,” they say.

Palumbo-Liu said that the political right has framed the issue of alt-right provocateurs, neo-Nazis and white supremacists being allowed on campus as a simple matter of free speech. And if all they did was talk, that would be their right, he said. Instead, CAN is worried about such activists’ “propensity to physical violence, aggressive confrontation and provocation, and violations of others’ civil rights.”

Historic Roots, Contemporary Concerns

Antifascist activism against ethnonationalism and general racism dates early-20th-century Europe. But its shorthand, “antifa,” has become part of mainstream American political discussions since the rise of the alt-right -- and as white supremacist groups began to support Trump’s candidacy.

While experts say that antifa organizing is mostly nonviolent, the movement sees violence against those racists who would hurt others as ethically justifiable. Case in point: the antifa protests at the University of California, Berkeley, in February, ahead of a talk by then-Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Protesters -- largely unaffiliated with the university -- lit fires and threw rocks at police, drawing widespread condemnation from the right and a tweet from Trump threatening to cut off Berkeley's funding.

Even many on the political left criticized the antifa tactics on campus, noting that the damage was fixed and paid for my Berkeley, not Yiannopoulos.

Of Yiannopoulos, Palumbo-Liu said that he’d come to Berkeley promising to reveal the identities of undocumented students -- leaving them potentially vulnerable to all kinds of danger. And prior to that, he said, an anti-Yiannopoulos protester was shot ahead of his appearance at the University of Washington.

A couple was charged in the Washington crime. According to the charges, the husband, Marc Hokoana, messaged a friend on Facebook the day prior, saying that “if the snowflakes get out off [sic] hand I’m going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.”

Charlottesville, of course, resulted in the death of antifa activist Heather Heyer and the wounding of many others.

Even free speech champion John Stuart Mill “drew a line on speech meant solely to incite,” Palumbo-Liu said.

Mullen said CAN’s approach to protests will be to protect those most vulnerable to attack and “to build large, unified demonstrations against fascists on campuses when they come.”

Asked specifically about the possible use of violence, Palumbo-Liu said antifa activists include those whose tactics CAN would reject. “We would advocate self-defense and defense in various forms of those who are being threatened by fascists, but not violence,” he added, saying his group can’t control the antifa label or who ascribes to it.

Labels aside, Mullen said “shying away” is the wrong approach. The alt-right has already tried to claim university campuses as recruiting grounds, he said, recalling that his own campus was covered with racist, neo-Nazi posters in November by the group American Vanguard. Identity Evropa has stated it is specifically targeting college and college-educated men as the future leaders of the movement.

Mark Bray, an historian of human rights, terrorism and political radicalism in modern Europe and a lecturer at Dartmouth College, wrote a Washington Post op-ed criticizing Trump’s comments this week comparing the “alt-left,” or antifa, to white supremacists. Bray is the author of the forthcoming book, Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook. (Bray is a cousin of Scott Jaschik, co-editor of Inside Higher Ed.)

“Years before the alt-right even had a name, antifascists were spending thankless hours scouring seedy message boards and researching clandestine neo-Nazi gatherings,” Bray wrote. “Agree or disagree with their methods, the antifa, who devote themselves to combating racism, are in no way equivalent to alt-right trolls who joke about gas chambers.”

Bray said in an interview Wednesday that he’d heard of CAN and thought that any political risk of professors identifying with antifascism was worth forming a broad campus movement against the alt-right.

Safety in numbers and routinization of response to white supremacy -- especially now that the alt-right has been so clearly aligned with neo-Nazism -- could make it much easier for administrators to defend their faculty members against attacks by the alt-right, he said. And eventually it could stifle the alt-right on campus altogether.

“A Campus Antifascist Network is totally rational if you look at what kind of organizing the political opponent is doing,” he said. “Right now the alt-right wants to make neo-Nazi politics seem more palatable and middle-class and intellectual -- they’re trying to put khakis on it by recruiting on campuses, pushing back on what they see as cultural Marxism or ‘PC’ politics. So organizing against it on campus makes complete sense.”

Asked about future of the campus alt-right, Bray said there "are still plenty of people out there who think white people are superior or who think that women are inferior." Yet, "in a certain sense I’m optimistic, or at least hopeful, that this is sort of the beginning of the end," he added.

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American ban on travel to North Korea could kill Western-style university there

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 08/17/2017 - 00:00

North Korea’s only Western-run university may be forced to shut down when the U.S. bans its citizens from traveling to the secretive state, one of its senior academics has warned.

Amid growing unease over the rising nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the U.S. has confirmed that it will ban all of its passport holders from visiting the nation, starting Sept. 1, advising all American nationals to leave before that date.

Any travel ban may prove a “showstopper” for Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), the only privately run university in North Korea, said Colin McCulloch, its director of external relations.

In an interview with Times Higher Education in London, McCulloch explained that the university’s faculty largely consists of visiting academics who hold both U.S. and South Korean passports, who are likely to be barred from travel under the U.S. State Department decree announced last month.

“Of the 80 or so faculty who visit us every semester, about half are U.S. passport holders,” said the British-born academic, who has taught international finance and management at the university for the past seven years.

The university’s senior leadership is even more heavily dominated by Korean-American staff and would therefore be harder hit, said McCulloch, adding that the ban, which allows exceptions only for journalists and humanitarian workers on a case-by-case basis, would “seriously undermine the teaching program and operations of the university.”

PUST is now seeking foreign academics from other countries to join the university and will delay the start of some courses until October or November to allow time to find new faculty members, he added.

The ban comes amid heightened tension between the U.S. and North Korea, which some analysts believe to have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. President Trump has promised “fire and fury” if North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, persists with his nuclear threats, including a potential plan to launch missiles toward American Army bases in Guam.

The death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced last year to 15 years’ hard labor in North Korea, has also stoked tensions. The University of Virginia student was detained after allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel in January 2016 during a five-day tour of the North Korean capital. After 17 months in prison, the 22-year-old was returned to the United States in June in a comatose state, having apparently suffered a heart attack shortly after his incarceration, and died a few days later.

Two Korean-American academics who were working at PUST are also currently detained -- Kim Hak-song, who was teaching agricultural techniques, and accounting professor Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim.

However, the university has largely been hailed by both North Korea and Western countries as a force for good, offering a rare opportunity to expose students to Western education.

It was established in 2010 by Kim Chin Kyung, a Korean-American economics professor who has dedicated his life to peace and reconciliation after fighting for South Korea in the Korean War of the 1950s.

Known as James Kim in the U.S., the professor has been instrumental in bringing Western academics to Pyongyang, with three Nobel laureates -- chemists Richard Roberts and Aaron Ciechanover, and economist Finn Kydland -- visiting last year.

Most of those working at the university, which is jointly funded by North and South Korea, are either unpaid or receive only small stipends through foreign aid agencies, said McCulloch.

“We do it for love rather than money,” he explained, adding that unpaid temporary lecturers are “vital for bringing a new style of education” to North Korea.

“The motivation is to create a group of alumni who can take their place in the country’s businesses, universities and farming industry and approach them in a creative and innovative way,” he said.

While many staff visiting the university were evangelical Christians, all of them wanted to teach there for humanitarian reasons, said McCulloch.

He described his work as “great fun," particularly teaching the university’s “incredibly hardworking students."

Asked why the largely insular nation had permitted the existence of a foreign-dominated university, McCulloch said that it was entirely in line with North Korean thinking, despite the country’s perceived hostility to the West.

“There is a Korean saying that says ‘Plant your feet firmly on the motherland and look out to the world,’” he explained. “It means, for students, that they can make a difference within their own country by learning from other nations.”

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Chamber of the Americas is proud to introduce our new member, Cámara de Comercio de Jesús María, Chamber of the Commerce Office Perú

Chamber of the Americas (English) - mer, 08/16/2017 - 16:29

Agustín Cisneros Zarango
Cámara de Comercio de Jesús María
Tel. +0511.4240647
Cell 992784371
Avenida Arnaldo Márquez 1359 of. 201
Jesús María Lima

New Oriental increases revenue by over 20%

The PIE News - mer, 08/16/2017 - 09:19

New Oriental, China’s largest private education service provider, has announced increased revenue and student enrolments for the fiscal year 2016/17.

The umbrella firm; which provides language tuition, overseas exam preparation courses, and after school tutoring, made a net revenue gain of 21.7% year on year. This percentage gain translates to nearly $1.8bn in revenue, and a non-GAAP net income increase of $295m, in the last 12 months.

“The K-12 after school tutoring business achieved approximately 44.2% increase in revenue”

The most profitable revenue streams came through the company’s K-12 after school tutoring operations and online learning platforms.

New Oriental operates 77 schools and more than 850 learning centres in China, and claims to have around 17 million registered users on its online learning platform.

In the nearly 25 years since its founding, the company has enrolled over 30 million students, with 4.9 million coming in the financial year to May 2017. This is a yearly increase of 33.3%.

Along with increases in student enrolments, New Oriental is investing its increased revenue to significantly grow learning facilities. The firm incorporated 107 new learning centres and schools in the past financial year, 52 since the end of February 2017.

These additions to the company’s assets also added costs of $26.5m in Q4, the majority of which came from four new schools, as well as further learning centres and renovations to existing learning centres.

The growth of New Oriental in 2017 is also allowing for further expansion of the group’s most profitable arm – online learning platforms originally developed for K-12 students, executive chairman Michael Yu explained in a statement.

“K-12 after school tutoring business, our key revenue driver, achieved approximately 44.2% increase in revenue… contributing 55% of total revenues,” he said. “In particular, our customer retention rate and acquisition efficiency have consistently improved through our online and offline (O2O) integrated education system.”

CEO Chenggang Zhou said the company is in the process of launching the O2O standardised teaching system for the group’s overseas test preparation business, including IELTS, TOEFL and SAT programs, in some of the large cities in China.

Alongside the mixed platform provided by O2O, New Oriental’s purely online venture Koolearn.com is also growing.

“[It] recorded revenue growth of approximately 31%, with registered users up by over 29% and paid users up by approximately 56%,” said Zhou.

This growth signals that New Oriental remains unscathed by an expose by Reuters into alleged rogue practice, such as falsifying student transcripts in order to gain entry into US universities, resulting in an investigation by the American International Recruitment Council in December 2016 and in as much as $1.8bn being wiped off its stock value.

The investigation is into the overseas consulting arm of New Oriental, New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting, which is certified by AIRC until 2018. It is possible AIRC will revoke the licence if the 3,300-employee business is found to have falsified entrance papers or essays.

One partner of New Oriental, Bell English, who provide teacher training for New Oriental’s English language teachers, said the firm’s growth was far from unexpected.

“They’ve been expanding since they started – they have been pretty much one of the fastest growing organisations in EFL and that growth continues, so… [it] is understandable,” Bell CEO Greg Hoile told The PIE News.

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