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Brexit concerns waning among prospective students, survey suggests 

The PIE News - il y a 11 heures 52 min

Responses to the International Student Survey by Hobsons show 68.5% of prospective students say the EU referendum results had little impact on their interest to study in the UK.

The survey of 62,000 prospective students also found that 11% were more inclined to study in the UK as a result of Brexit while almost 13% said it has made them less interested.

These results indicate a softening of the initial negative reaction to the June 2016 referendum. Another Hobsons poll of 1,000 students in the aftermath of the decision found 36% said the EU referendum had made them less likely to study in the UK.

“While there are methodological differences in the wording of the questions which limit their comparability – since the first poll asked two questions and the second poll asked one – on the face of it this is a potential indication that sentiment towards the UK is less negative than now than it was in the months after the referendum vote,” the report says.

“This is a potential indication that sentiment towards the UK is less negative than now than it was in the months after the referendum vote”

The weakened pound and national welcome campaigns could be responsible for the shift in attitude, according to the survey.

After respondents were shown news coverage of #WeAreInternational and #LondonIsOpen campaigns, almost half (46.6%) felt fully persuaded that the UK is a welcoming country. An additional 37% reportedly feeling slightly persuaded and only 16% said they felt no persuasion at all.

John Raftery, vice chancellor of London Metropolitan University, said the findings match initial application figures at his own institution where international applications are up by 6.5% on last year.

“These findings which suggest the UK could now be more attractive for international students are encouraging,” he said. “It is great to see that campaigns like #WeAreInternational and #LondonIsOpen are having a positive impact, and are making students feel welcome in the UK.”

However, students’ attitudes towards Brexit vary by country. The survey found that 23% of Canadian students, 19% of US and 18% of Thai students said the EU referendum made them less interested in studying in the UK.

Meanwhile just 5% of students in Hong Kong, and 6% of students in both Singapore and Nigeria reported less interest.

Thirty-three per cent of Chinese students and 24% of Saudi Arabian respondents said the referendum made them even more interested in the UK as a study destination.

Despite the reported successes of welcoming campaigns, among students negatively impacted by Brexit, 60% said it was because they now found the UK less welcoming.

Almost half (48.4%) said they thought it would be harder to find a job when they graduate and 45% said it makes the UK less financially viable for them.

One student said, “Prior to the decision I perceived the UK as open minded and warm towards foreigners. Now the view has shifted.”

But, another positive result found students are more inclined to study in the UK as a result of politics in the US.

“Almost 60% of all respondents said they were more likely to study in the UK as a result of the US’s potential travel ban”

Hobsons polled students in March during the week immediately following the government’s second Executive Order banning travel from six mostly Muslim countries, and found 22% of students who were not directly affected by the ban were reconsidering studying in the US as a result.

And almost 60% of all respondents said they were more likely to study in the UK as a result of the potential travel ban, while 58% said they were likely to choose Canada as an alternative. Forty-three per cent said Germany and another 30% said France.

“It is reasonable to conclude that as the next biggest English-speaking market for international students, the UK higher education sector could stand to gain from these changing perceptions of the US as a study destination,” the report states.

Commenting on the survey, Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Hobsons EMEA, said, “While the results of this year’s ISS present a more optimistic picture, UK universities must continue to build on the success of campaigns that show international students are accepted and appreciated in the UK.

“Campaigns like #WeAreInternational and #LondonIsOpen are having a positive effect in helping international students perceive the UK to be welcoming. We believe that more can be done by universities, and by all of us with an interest in UK higher education.”

The post Brexit concerns waning among prospective students, survey suggests  appeared first on The PIE News.

Ann Coulter will back out of Berkeley talk

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min

After days of insisting otherwise, Ann Coulter will not speak at the University of California, Berkeley, campus Thursday, the latest development in a now national controversy over the balance between free speech and security on college campuses.

Coulter’s talk at Berkeley was canceled amid threats of violence and no guarantee from local police they could keep her and attendees safe. Conservative advocacy group Young America's Foundation, which helped fund the event, dropped its support and said in a statement it would not “jeopardize the safety of its staff or students.”

Despite Coulter's announcement she will not appear, the university anticipates and has prepared for similar riots that have roiled the campus in recent months.

This outcome has disappointed free speech advocates, many of whom have raged against allowing even the potential of protests, some of which have recently turned violent at universities, to block divisive speakers. Many have accused Berkeley of stifling conservative views, a growing complaint of many institutions.

"It is ironic that UC Berkeley, known to many Americans as the birthplace of the free speech movement, is now leading the vanguard to silence conservative speech on campus," Harmeet K. Dhillon, an attorney for Young America's Foundation, wrote to the university. "Surely a public institution of higher learning should be a crucible of challenging ideas and thought, not a kindergarten where wards of the state are fed a steady diet of pasteurized pablum."

But Berkeley officials, in calling off Coulter’s speech, had reason for their caution. In February, the institution erupted over a planned speech by ex-Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, with protesters lighting fires and destroying campus property, only one in a series of clashes at the campus and in the surrounding area over the past several months.

Administrators said they received word of threats that would pose “grave danger” to Coulter and attendees on the originally scheduled date, Thursday. They offered to host Coulter May 2, when they could find a location at which security could be assured.

This did little to satisfy the firebrand conservative author, who blasted the university for scheduling her when classes weren’t being held. (May 2 is during the period when students are studying for finals.)

Groups on both sides of the political spectrum were galvanized after Coulter withdrew, and announced online their intentions to still come to campus Thursday.

Gavin McInnes, former Vice editor and co-founder, now leader of a right-wing group called Proud Boys, wrote on Twitter that he would speak on campus, along with conservative provocateurs Lauren Southern, Faith Goldy and Brittany Pettibone.

"We're very concerned," university spokesman Dan Mogulof said in a phone interview. "This is a university, not a battleground."

Captain Alex Yao, of the University of California Police, said at a Wednesday press conference that judging by social media postings and information provided to law enforcement, some who will visit campus Thursday intend to commit violence. The campus will see a "highly visible" police presence, Yao said.

"We're going to have a low tolerance for any sort of violence on campus," Yao said.

The university has not canceled classes Thursday.

Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of Berkeley, sent a lengthy letter to the community Wednesday, writing that university needed to weigh free speech rights with campus safety.

"The strategies necessary to address these evolving threats are also evolving, but the simplistic view of some -- that our police department can simply step in and stop violent confrontations whenever they occur -- ignores reality," Dirks wrote. "Protecting public safety in these circumstances requires a multifaceted approach. This approach must take into account the use of 'time, place and manner' guidelines, devised according to the specific threats presented. Because threats or strategic concerns may differ, so must our approach. In all cases, however, we only seek to ensure the successful staging of free speech rights; we make no effort to control or restrict the content of expression, regardless of differing political views."

Lawyers for Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans -- which invited Coulter -- sued the university in federal court, claiming the organizations’ First Amendment rights were violated.

Young America’s Foundation won’t drop the lawsuit, according to its Tuesday statement. The group criticized the university for creating a “hostile atmosphere” and for not meeting its demands to provide a space and security for the initially planned date.

Across the nation, institutions are reaping "the terrible fruit" of their tolerance of bad behavior, Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said.

He urged colleges and universities to spend more money on security to send a strong message that free expression won't be squashed, and to harshly punish those who would interfere with those principles. Though universities have made clear many of the protesters in violent cases are not affiliated with their campuses, Poliakoff doesn't feel that complicates matters. Just a month prior to his speech at Berkeley, Yiannopoulos's speech at the University of California, Davis, was shut down by protests, something that Berkeley officials had to recognize, Poliakoff said.

"I don’t think I’m being unfair to Berkeley for saying these wounds are self-inflicted," he said. "There's significant work … I think we’ve got to start peeling away the excuses."

In a statement, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education called for Berkeley to be prepared to "host and protect speakers of all stripes." FIRE in its statement said it was patient with the university after it was caught off guard by the violence that pre-empted Yiannopoulos's February speech, however, Berkeley has not followed through with a promised investigation.

"No university may be considered ‘safe’ if speakers voicing unpopular ideas on its campus incur a substantial risk of being physically attacked. A university where people or viewpoints are likely to be opposed with fists rather than argumentation is unworthy of the name. Granting those willing to use violence the power to determine who may speak on campus is an abdication of UC Berkeley’s moral and legal responsibilities under the First Amendment," the FIRE statement reads.

As recently as Tuesday, Coulter was still vowing to give her talk in Sproul Plaza, an outdoor site at Berkeley famous for protests and free speech, but also one much more difficult to protect compared to a location indoors.

Coulter posted to Twitter Wednesday, calling Berkeley a “thuggish institution” that had snuffed out the “cherished American right of free speech.” She wrote that Berkeley had canceled her talk, and Young America's Foundation agreed to it.

Mogulof called Coulter's claim "nonsense." He added that the Berkeley College Republicans had not followed the usual procedure in booking Coulter and secured a contract with her prior to contacting university officials to arranging a venue.

"We respect and support her First Amendment rights, but you can’t exercise your First Amendment rights in a venue that police can’t protect," Mogulof said.

A similar scenario to the Coulter drama played out in Alabama recently, at Auburn University, where the institution's leadership attempted to stop a talk by white nationalist Richard Spencer, a leader in the “alt-right” movement, known for its radical and racist views.

The university said in working with law enforcement, it learned of threats to campus during the time Spencer planned to come. He was able to speak, however, with a federal court's backing, after the man who invited him sued Auburn and a judge ruled in his favor.

Spencer, who had also pledged to appear on Auburn’s campus regardless of administrators’ stance, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that Coulter should have done the same.

“I’m less angry at @AnnCoulter, who is after all, a woman. But cuckservatives are so contemptible, I don’t know where to begin,” Spencer wrote, using a common alt-right insult, a portmanteau of “cuckold” and “conservative.”

With these new, sometimes dangerous demonstrations, defending large campuses, in particular, has proven difficult, Sue Riseling, executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, recently told Inside Higher Ed. Her organization has been training college and university safety heads how to handle these protests.

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Seminary apologizes for tweet of five white professors posing as gang members

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min

Every Halloween and plenty of weekends during the year, undergraduates at many campuses anger black students and faculty members by dressing up or posing as black people (the stereotypical variety), either wearing blackface or pretending to be gang members. Campus leaders criticize the actions -- frequently discovered when the students themselves post photos on social media -- as insensitive, racist and more.

This week's example of white people behaving badly through dressing up as black people -- gang members, this time -- comes from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, and from its faculty, not students.

David L. Allen, a professor of preaching, posted to Twitter a photograph of himself and four other professors (the image is above) with the line "Why you should come study at the School of Preaching @swbts! Rap the word. Reach the world." Scrawled above is "Notorious S.O.P.," a play on a rapper's name with "S.O.P." for "School of Preaching."

As the image spread on social media, it was criticized by many black people and also by many Christian people, stunned that seminary professors would be unaware of the offense caused by such images. Adding to the concern is that the Southern Baptist Convention, with which the seminary is affiliated, was created in part to support slavery, and has acknowledged being quite slow, after the end of slavery, to embrace the equality of black people.

While the photo was reportedly taken in part to honor a faculty member who raps, Allen removed the image and apologized on Twitter.

I apologize for a recent image I posted which was offensive. Context is immaterial. @swbts stance on race is clear as is mine.

— David L. Allen (@DrDavidLAllen) April 25, 2017

Some have posted to social media that they accept his apology.

But many others have questioned whether he would have removed the photo or apologized if people hadn't seen and been outraged by the image.

The seminary posted to Twitter as well, calling the original tweet "offensive" and noting that it had asked for its removal.

An offensive tweet was posted to one of our faculty members'
personal Twitter handles. We have asked that the tweet be removed. https://t.co/LUxWmUUAgu

— SW Seminary (@swbts) April 25, 2017

The president of the seminary posted an apology on the institution's website Wednesday. The president, Paige Patterson, put this headline on the apology: "Racism is a Tragic Sin."

"A gracious young Native American preacher on our staff does rap as a hobby. He preached a sermon recently in chapel in which he included a section of rap. I thought that it was great, and the students seemed responsive to it. He has since accepted a pastorate, and, as part of his departure, his fellow professors wanted to awaken memories and in so doing to tease him. That is par for the course around here. The president encourages our people to laugh at each other rather than to risk taking ourselves too seriously," Patterson wrote.

He added, "But, as all members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake, and one for which we deeply apologize. Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives. Such incidents are tragic but helpful to me in refocusing on the attempt to flush from my own system any remaining nuances of the racist past of our own country. Just as important, my own sensitivity to the corporate and individual hurts of a people group abused by generations of oppressors needs to be constantly challenged."

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Gap ad raises eyebrows among academics with portrayal of tenure-track fashion

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min

“Dress codes and good style aren’t mutually exclusive,” according to an online Gap ad that was panned by academics on social media this week. The display, featuring a “tenure-track professor,” struck many as random, tone-deaf to the realities of the academic job market or unrealistic if not a tad sexist (possibly all of the above).

“The Workwear Spectrum” ad features four young female models in clothing that Gap for some reason thought might be appropriate for the following professions: “start-up partner” (short-sleeve denim shirt and white chinos); small-business owner (striped shirt, white jeans and, according to Gap, a “never-ending supply of coffee”); financial adviser (boho orange blouse and khakis); and, of course, the tenure-track professor (loose navy blazer, blue top, light gray pants and suede pumps).

“Get respect for your ideas and blazer choices,” reads the accompanying text, which shows a set of groovy plastic eyeglass frames the “professor” herself has elected not to wear.

Karen Kelsky, an academic career coach who runs the blog The Professor Is In and a frequent critic of the flagging tenure-track job market, was among those who posted the ad to Twitter. With a simple “seriously?” Kelsky let her followers provide the commentary.

@ProfessorIsIn @FromPhDtoLife buy a #tenureblazer and all academic sexism will melt away, apparently. Also, who teaches in heels??

— Hannah Gould (@hrhgould) April 26, 2017

@ProfessorIsIn Sure. Heels are fine when you're on your feet all day. And light colored pants? Not a problem for lab. What matters is we look pretty. *ugh*

— Amanda Lyn Gunn (@AmandaLynGunn) April 26, 2017

@ProfessorIsIn ..so there's still tenure track positions left...? ;)

— A. L-C (@AnalogAmanda) April 26, 2017

Here are some additional reactions from Twitter.

ivy league degrees: $350k
landing tenure-track appointment: blood/sweat/tears
gap acknowledging lady professors need clothes too: priceless pic.twitter.com/WLt6faoxlh

— alexandra j. roberts (@lexlanham) April 25, 2017

The Gap is evidently pursuing the lucrative tenure track professor market... because, you know, it is such a booming segment. #PhD #phdlife pic.twitter.com/LT6yTkER29

— Eric G. E. Zuelow (@EZuelow) April 26, 2017

While the Gap is selling "tenure track professor" blazers, the adjunct blazer is for sale at Goodwill. The lining is made of crushed dreams. pic.twitter.com/EGkgXAI0dR

— Kaya Oakes (@kayaoakes) April 26, 2017

Everyone's sharing GAP's "Tenure-Track Professor" photo, because, ego ideal. But no one shares the facing page. pic.twitter.com/QTcxe4Yk6a

— Ted Underwood (@Ted_Underwood) April 26, 2017

For those who follow mainstream culture’s attempts at monetizing academic fashion, the Gap ad vaguely recalls Amazon’s Halloween 2014 “Delicious Women's Phd [sic] Darling Sexy Costume.” A play on “racy” profession costumes (firefighter, flight attendant, etc.), it featured a barely there gown, cap and stole. Academics had the last laugh, though, trolling the comments section.

The 2015 Twitter topic #looklikeaprofessor also tried to dispel perceptions about what a professor looks like, with a number of women pointing out that faculty members aren’t just white men in tweed. In fairness to Gap, that’s what it was trying to do, too -- evidently poorly.

Gap did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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Higher ed observers call James Manning a steady hand at Department of Education

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min

Recent personnel choices at the Department of Education have received scrutiny for connections to private industry and personal ideologies at odds with the mission of their office. But the appointment of James Manning, a career public official, has drawn a different sort of reaction.

Manning was named acting under secretary of education last week, one of nine hires officially announced by the department. The details of his role are not entirely clear, but former officials who have worked under Republican and Democratic administrations described Manning as an administrator with a broad skill set and a deep understanding of the workings of the student financial aid system. Even critics of recent steps taken by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on student loan servicing said it was important to have an expert on the complex federal loan program in place at the department.

David Bergeron, a former acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the department in the Obama administration, worked for Manning at the Education Department under then Secretary Margaret Spellings. Manning's career moves after leaving government don't appear to be those of someone interested in advancing the interests of the private sector, Bergeron said. Before joining the Trump transition team, Manning last served in the department under Obama as the acting chief operating officer of federal student aid. Rather than join the private sector or lobby his former agency after retiring, Manning joined a nonprofit in Boston that provided mentoring to disadvantaged youth.

"He was perhaps the kindest and most supportive boss I ever had in my tenure in government," he said of Manning.

Bergeron said Manning has both a deep knowledge of the department's bureaucracy and a student-focused outlook. Jeff Andrade, a Republican consultant who has worked in the Department of Education and on Capitol Hill, said Manning has been involved in previous transitions and understands what it takes to get the department up to speed.

"He's got a lot of hands-on knowledge about how the student aid office works," Andrade said. "In terms of who they had on the bench, he's probably the best-qualified person they had for that role."

Vickie Schray, executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy at Bridgepoint Education, said Manning's appointment sends a message that the department understands the importance of the Office of Federal Student Aid. Schray, who previously served as acting deputy assistant secretary for the federal Office of Postsecondary Education, said Manning's familiarity with many of the career employees means he knows whom he can rely on.

"Someone like Jim Manning, who knows the people, knows the organization, knows the work, really is a terrific person to help bridge the gap during a transition," she said.

Observers of the department say it is critical to have leaders in place to manage the agency's operations -- especially those involving financial aid -- regardless of the ideological disposition of the department's leadership. The competent management of those programs affects about 42 million Americans with student loans.

David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges, said with few political appointees in place who are familiar with student aid programs, Manning's role is encouraging.

"Administering student aid is a very unglamorous job in a lot of ways, but it's a very important job given the impact it has on students," he said.

"You can have any particular policy orientation about the wisdom of existing programs. To the extent that they're on the books, they need to be administered competently," said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. "People expect to be billed correctly, they need payments processed in a timely fashion, they need phone calls answered."

The failure of Corinthian Colleges occurred when there were "few experienced hands on deck" to police the for-profit chain, said Rohit Chopra, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau student loans ombudsman and Department of Education special adviser who has been critical of the Obama administration's oversight of higher ed.

"Bringing aboard talent who can really police the schools and the loan servicers is good for the whole system," Chopra said. "It's not just about issue expertise. It's also about relative priorities."

The department declined a request to interview Manning for this article, and DeVos has offered few comments on officially announced hires. Even as they praised Manning's temperament and his knowledge of student aid programs, consumer protection advocates say the steps taken by the department so far suggest the concerns of private industry are playing a large hand in crafting its agenda.

And some who know Manning said recent steps taken by the department on student loan policy appear inconsistent with what they know of his values. That was especially true with respect to the department's recent decision to withdraw protections for borrowers that were issued in the final months of the Obama administration, Bergeron said. While those protections -- part of servicing contract guidelines drafted by former Secretary John B. King Jr. and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell -- had yet to go into effect, the decision was swiftly criticized by Democrats, consumer groups and financial aid organizations. The department rescinded the guidelines after a push by industry groups to have Congress reconsider the ambitious set of new requirements for servicers.

"Maybe there's a next step we just haven't seen yet," Bergeron said. "Right now it just feels like that action isn't consistent with his student-focused values."

He said he hoped to see Manning's influence reflected in alternative guidelines yet to be issued by the department.

Clare McCann, another former Obama administration official and now a senior policy analyst with New America's Education Policy program, said those new guidelines would be a "devil in the details" moment.

"I suspect you'll probably see more influence from Manning and other top politicals in whatever new guidance they decide to give to FSA on servicing," she said.

When Manning was acting assistant secretary for civil rights from 2004-05 during the Bush administration, that office issued a clarification of federal antidiscrimination law that advocates for gender equity said weakened equitable opportunities in college athletics. That clarification was later withdrawn by the Obama administration in 2010.

With the exception of Pell Grant restoration for students who attended closed schools (a process started under former Secretary King), the actions on student loan policy taken by DeVos so far have been nearly uniformly criticized by student aid advocates, congressional Democrats and state attorneys general.

Last month, the Department of Education pushed back deadlines for colleges to submit appeals or make public disclosures under gainful-employment regulations implemented last year. Later, it withdrew guidelines prohibiting debt collectors from charging high fees to borrowers if they agreed to quickly rehabilitate past-due student loans. The withdrawal this month of the guidelines for awarding of new servicing contracts confirmed a pattern for many skeptics of the department.

"On the surface it seems like a big giveaway to the student loan industry," Chopra said.

Republicans say that it's not surprising the department under DeVos would chart its own course on making improvements to student loan servicing rather than stick with complex guidance issued by the previous administration on its way out the door.

McCann, the former Obama official, said many of the problems with loan servicing that the guidance from King sought to address were nonpartisan. Alternative guidance from the department would reflect how the department may tackle those problems and, possibly, the influence of administrators like Manning.

"That will really be the devil in the details moment in terms of whether this is really terrible news for borrowers or we see them use the re-compete as an opportunity to improve servicing," she said.

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Germany sees benefits in educating international students for free

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min

In 2016, German universities enjoyed another big rise in the international student population, according to the latest data. Germany recorded close to a 7 percent increase in international students coming to the country. This follows a jump of nearly 8 percent the previous year. Numbers have risen about 30 percent since 2012.

In most English-speaking countries, this kind of news would have university finance chiefs grinning from ear to ear: more international students means lots of extra cash from hefty tuition fees.

But in Germany, students -- on the whole -- famously pay no tuition fees, regardless of where they come from. Seen from the U.S. or Britain, this policy may appear either supremely principled or incredibly naïve. With international students making up nearly one in 10 students (and even more if you count noncitizens who attended German schools), why does the country choose to pass up tuition-fee income and educate other countries’ young people for free?

One reason is that Germany has a much bigger demographic hole to fill than the U.S. or Britain. It is second only to Japan in terms of the proportion of its population over 60, according to the United Nations, and so needs young, skilled workers to keep its economy going. Germany still offers an 18-month poststudy work visa for graduates from outside the European Union; Britain scrapped a similar policy in 2012.

International students certainly seem to want to stick around: about half plan to remain in Germany after graduation, according to a survey conducted by the German Academic Exchange Service, with three in 10 planning to stay permanently.

Although this is far from their only role, “universities are motors of economic welfare, they attract people to Germany,” explained Marijke Wahlers, head of the international department of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

“International graduates are very welcome to stay in Germany -- either for a certain period of time or for life.” But, she stressed, “we are, at the same time, very much aware of the impact of brain drain around the globe, so we like to think about this issue in terms of a global circulation of brains.”

The soft-power argument plays a role, too: overseas graduates are seen as generating goodwill for Germany globally. “The idea of Germany being part of an international community is valued very highly,” said Wahlers. “Of course, we invest a certain amount of money [in their education], but what we get back is worth so much more. The international students, when they graduate, will be partners for Germany in the world; this kind of international network building is of immense importance to us.”

But there is a third reason why Germany is happy to educate overseas students that has less to do with global soft power and more to do with local politics. After 2006, seven German Bundesländer (federal states), which set fee levels, rather than the federal government, introduced (modest) fees, only to hastily scrap them under pressure from the public and left-of-center parties, explained Ulrich Müller, head of policy studies at the Center for Higher Education, a German think tank.

Introducing fees for international students could be interpreted as a prelude to charging all students, he explained. “For that reason, most politicians maintain a distance from this topic,” he said.

This anti-fee consensus is showing signs of cracking, however: starting in fall 2017, the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg will start charging non-E.U. students 1,500 euros ($1,634) per semester. “Other Bundesländer are watching very carefully what will happen in Baden-Württemberg when it introduces fees for international students,” said Wahlers. The HRK’s view is that all students should pay “moderate and socially acceptable fees,” she explained.

Free university for overseas students -- and indeed German students as well -- may come under increasing pressure after 2020, when Bundesländer will be forced to run balanced budgets, explained Müller.

“The issue of tuition fees in Germany will soon be raised again,” he said.

Countries Sending Students to Germany, 2016

Country Number Percentage of Total in Germany China 32,268 12.8% India 13,537 5.4% Russia 11,413 4.5% Austria 10,129 4.0% Italy 8,047 3.2% GlobalEditorial Tags: GermanyTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 13 heures 45 min
  • Augustana College, in Illinois: Al Bowman, president emeritus of Illinois State University.
  • California College of Arts: Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  • California State University at Los Angeles: Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Luis Patiño, senior vice president and general manager, Univision Local Media Los Angeles; and Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon, board member, California Department of Education.
  • Collin College: Carly Patterson, the Olympic gold medalist.
  • Fisk University: U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.
  • Jacksonville University: Florida State Senator Aaron Bean.
  • John Carroll University: The Reverend Myles Sheehan, assistant to the provincial for senior Jesuits of the Maryland province and the Northeast USA province.
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University: Antwan Wilson, chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools.
  • Niagara County Community College: Lee Woodruff, the author.
  • Northwest Florida State College: Florida State Senator Douglas Broxson; and Florida State Senator George Gainer.
  • Park University: John Fierro, a member of the Kansas City, Mo., Public Schools Board of Directors.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.
  • West Liberty University: Glenn F. Elliott Jr., mayor of Wheeling, W.V.
  • Wofford College: J. Harold Chandler, chairman, president and CEO of Milliken & Co.
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UK aims to double number of students going abroad by 2020

The PIE News - mer, 04/26/2017 - 09:55

Universities UK International has updated its strategy to boost outward mobility which includes doubling the number of students who go abroad during their degree to 13.2% of total enrolments by 2020.

The strategy was introduced at UUKi’s annual Go International conference, on April 25 in London, and outlines six objectives the sector will seek to achieve the goal.

In 2014/15, 6.6% of full-time, first degree, undergraduate, UK-domiciled students undertook an international placement, either studying or working, as part of their degree, according to HESA data.

“Initially we were looking at just increasing the proportion [of students] who spend some time overseas”

The numerical target of doubling this proportion to 13.2% by 2020, said Vivienne Stern, director of UUKi, is both “achievable” and “realistic”.

The first national strategy for outward mobility was launched in 2013. However, there is now a “new urgency” to increase the number of students with overseas experiences, said Stern.

“The decision to leave the European Union, the uncertainty over whether or not we’ll be able to access the Erasmus program in particular and the need to build and maintain political support to invest in supporting outbound mobility, means that I think our strategy has to change,” she said at the event.

This second phase of the national strategy calls for campaigning at the political level for support and investment in outward mobility, added Stern.

Influencing government for UK higher education is one of the strategy’s objectives, along with promoting the benefits of working and studying abroad, and monitoring trends in student mobility.

Building capacity in UK higher education to facilitate outward mobility, sharing best practice in UK higher education, and providing a collective voice for the sector are also among the strategy’s goals.

Having the numerical target will give the sector an extra boost, commented Raegan Hiles, head of outbound mobility programs (HEGlobal and Go International), at UUKi.

“Initially we were looking at just increasing the proportion [of students] who spend some time overseas,” she told The PIE News. “To add some kind of energy through the target though, that is the natural next step.

“Of course we had to work out what the baseline was first, so it’s almost like we couldn’t have done that when we started, but now we can.”

Expanding opportunities for study and work abroad will also be integral to achieving the target, delegates heard.

“Ultimately it’s up to institutions to grow their own mobility, but a large part of what we do is giving them the tools, giving them the information in particular to do that,” said Hiles.

She added that institutions are also looking more at “making sure that underrepresented groups are much more involved”.

UUKi is in the process of developing a report and toolkit on how to widen participation in outward mobility for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups – a cohort, which, according to the latest Gone International report, benefit greatly from a period abroad.

“No one has lost the momentum or the energy behind recognising the bonuses that outward mobility brings”

And continuing to participate in Erasmus+ has been flagged as a priority for the sector in order to maintain strong outbound links. Nigel Carrington, vice-chancellor at University of the Arts London, said the UK needs to “ensure we are part of Erasmus+ post-Brexit”.

“That requires us to be working hard now with David Davis and the Brexit team, to try to emphasise to them … this is about the UK’s commercial and cultural benefit and strength for the future,” he told delegates at the conference.

Hiles said EU partner institutions, meanwhile, have come out in support of continuing to work with UK universities.

“We have a basis for continued participation and continued growth,” she said.

“Yes the years ahead may be challenging, we don’t know what it will look like, but no one has lost the momentum or the energy behind recognising the bonuses that outward mobility brings, and wanting to achieve them.”

The post UK aims to double number of students going abroad by 2020 appeared first on The PIE News.

Singapore invests in regional talent development

The PIE News - mer, 04/26/2017 - 08:23

The Singaporean government has announced two initiatives to fund internships for its students in Southeast Asia and India, in a drive to develop talent to fuel the growth of Singaporean businesses in the region.

The two projects – a new internship scheme at Singaporean companies operating in Southeast Asia and a partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry – aim to cultivate new talent that can then carry out the overseas expansion of Singapore’s businesses, said Lee Ark Boon, CEO of International Enterprise Singapore, the government agency promoting international trade.

“We need to develop greater depth and breadth in the way we engage in this region”

“ASEAN and India are familiar markets in some ways but we need to develop greater depth and breadth in the way we engage in this region,” Lee commented at the ASEAN-India Business Forum in Singapore on April 21.

The IE Singapore Go SEA Award will provide scholarships and stipends to enable final-year undergraduates to undertake work placements in the Southeast Asian offices of Singaporean companies operating throughout the region.

The project will match high-achieving students with the companies and fund their travel and living expenses and a monthly stipend for the duration of the internship. It aims to provide 30 awards of S$12,000 (US$8,600) in the initial pilot year.

The internships will last at least 12 weeks and may lead to job offers for some of the students post-graduation.

Companies that are already signed up to the initiative include the OCBC Limited banking corporation and event management company Pico Art International and Stamford Tyres Corporation, with more to be announced in the second half of 2017.

During the summit, IE Singapore also signed three Memoranda of Understanding with the Confederation of Indian Industry and three domestic universities – Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University – in an extension of its existing Young Talent Programme.

Through the initiative, students receive a scholarship of up to $300 a week, plus travel expenses, to undertake internships at overseas businesses.

The MOUs expand the pool of businesses taking part in the Young Talent Programme, which currently includes 17 Singaporean companies, to include CII’s more than 8,000 member businesses.

“This will help build a pipeline of India-ready talent that can support companies as they expand in this important market,” Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said at the forum.

“It complements what we are already doing in Southeast Asia and is also a way to augment the work of our institutes of higher learning, to make sure our students, even as they start their learning journey from secondary school through university, have the opportunities to go into the region, understand the culture, assimilate some of the value systems so that they become truly effective and region-ready players when they enter the workplace.”

The post Singapore invests in regional talent development appeared first on The PIE News.

Mary Carmen de la Torre, IEA, Mexico

The PIE News - mer, 04/26/2017 - 04:53
The path to professional success in Mexico is clearly marked by English language proficiency, according to Mary Carmen de la Torre. After 20 years of sending students overseas, she shares what Mexican students look for in a study experience and how damaged the US’s reputation is among parents.

The PIE: Tell me about the history of your agency?

MC: I have been in this industry for 20 years. I started with my eldest daughter who wanted to travel abroad, so I founded the exchange program from the Benedictines Mission. She went to the US when she was 14 years old. And when she travelled, at least ten of her classmates wanted to do the same thing. So I was like a volunteer promoting for the priests.

And then with my next daughter I sent her to that program as well. But with the little one who is ten years younger than the oldest one, I started to check on other organisations and I started to work with another person on commission. I used to travel with the kids to Vancouver, so I was a group leader. But then we had a problem related to money, so I decided to start sending emails to the organisations and different schools myself and I figured out that I could do it by myself.

“Since the beginning I don’t accept students that misbehave and students with bad grades”

But I didn’t have an office, I just worked with my daughter’s school classmates. When I arrived at the school people were looking for me because they wanted to travel abroad. But when my daughter finished high school and she was going to university, my husband told me that if I wanted to keep going with this business I needed to set up an office. So we bought a shop in a shopping mall which is where I am right now. I’m the owner of the office and I keep going with this wonderful business.

The PIE: How has it grown in terms of how many students you deal with every year?

MC: Well it’s growing a lot. I used to just have students from state schools but now I have students from all the private schools and also from public schools. I am already well known. I think there are at least three educational programs like this in my home city, but I don’t like to think about them because I like to think I’m good at what I do. So what I do is I choose the student depending on their grades and their behaviour – since the beginning I don’t accept students that misbehave and students with bad grades.

The PIE: So your program is selective?

MC: Yes, and people know that. And I don’t like to be a cheap agency. I also have a good break but not long because I want to be selective.

The PIE: Who is your typical student? What do they tend to look for?

MC: To be a very successful program, I have at least 25 students going to the US on the J-1 visa program. Unfortunately that program is going down because, well, Mexican parents don’t really want their students to go to the US. They think that they have been receiving – I don’t want to be impolite – but they have been getting comments and treatment from the principle person there that have been really rude to us, to Mexico.

“Mexican parents don’t really want their students to go to the US”

Parents are angry. They don’t want to send the students to the US but – thank God – I have different destinations so those teenagers that used to go to the US, now they are going to Canada. And if they can afford the flights, I have students going to New Zealand, to the United Kingdom, to France, to Germany. So they are choosing different destinations. I think this is sad because the US used to be the most popular destination to improve their English, but now that market is changed.

The PIE: So your students go mostly for language study?

MC: No, I work mostly with teenagers. They go for an academic year, at least for ten months. I help them set up a J-1 visa at private schools as well as public schools; in Canada it’s boarding schools. I work also with the universities. The universities are stopping their students if they don’t have a good English level, so they look for me to send the students to improve their English language abroad.

The PIE: So when did you start to see people turning away from J-1 visas?

MC: Since last year during the campaign. I got some parents that when they arrived in my office, I wanted to talk about the J-1 visa program and they said: ‘No no no, we don’t want the US, we want a different destination.’ I didn’t send a bunch of students, but at least 100 students every year. But since last year I’ve noticed that parents are looking for different destinations. So now I’ve sent around 25 students to the US.

The PIE: It seems the parents are the ones who voice their concerns the most?

MC: They are very concerned about how the children are going to be treated in the US. Let me tell you something – at the moment I have 25 students and they are doing well with their host families. But even when I explain that to the parents that there are no problems with the students because they’re not illegal people, they are with their visas, they think that they are not going to be well. And also they are angry about all the comments about Mexico.

“I can’t force the parents to send them to the US even if it is a more affordable program”

The PIE: What do you think can be done?

MC: The educators have been very nice. They have been making a big effort to let us know that everything is well. But you can’t force the parents to send them to the US, so I have to respect their decision. I am sad about that, because I started with the J-1 visa program and it was very very successful. But what can I do? I can’t force the parents to send them to the US even if it is a more affordable program. They don’t like it.

The PIE: Do you see the US’s reputation improving in the future?

MC: I think problems going to the US are going to last for a while, at least in my home city. But I took my first trip there, to encourage them and the adults. I talked to them and I said that it was good, that I went there and I didn’t have any problems. But the parents don’t understand and with everything else as well – nobody talks about the main person in the US that Mexican people see as bad news.

The PIE: What other factors influence student decisions on where to go from Mexico?

MC: The kind of English, and also if they are going to be allowed to change the host family if they don’t feel comfortable with them. So Canada is a magnificent destination, because as you pay the host family you are allowed to be moved if something happens or if the student doesn’t feel comfortable with the family. And also related to this, if they don’t have the budget they don’t have any problem.

“Like my family, I like English. I have been trying to learn English for my whole life”

The PIE: How much demand is there for English in Mexico?

MC: It is in very, very, very high demand. It’s like generational wellness, you know? Because like my family, I like English. I have been trying to learn English for my whole life, but I never had the opportunity to travel abroad. So with each student and with my daughter, I make myself feel very happy sending them abroad. My daughters already speak better than me. And also my grandchildren, they are learning English right now to improve their parents and to improve me. So that’s what’s happening with other families. To be a professional, successful person, you need English. English is very important for the Mexican middle and upper middle class and to have their children learning English and improving.

The post Mary Carmen de la Torre, IEA, Mexico appeared first on The PIE News.

United States International University - Africa (Kenya) - African diaspora contribution to HE

International Association of Universities - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:25

USIU-Africa and Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) together with Harvard University, the Ford Foundation, University of Johannesburg, and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, organized a historic conference on the Role of the Diaspora in the Revitalization of African Higher Education, which took place at Harvard University's Center for African Studies in Boston from March 30-31, 2017. More

Duke undergraduate curricular reform vote tabled indefinitely after years of work

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00

Duke University was trying to do something different with a proposed new undergraduate curriculum, emphasizing less what students should study than how. But the plan was perhaps a little too different, and it’s been tabled until the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences faculty can reach a greater degree of consensus.

In many ways, said Suzanne Shanahan, an associate professor of philosophy, co-director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke and chair of its curriculum review committee, “the nature of opposition was largely as expected. But it also makes clear it is not in fact the right time for Duke to launch a new curriculum. A curriculum without strong consensus makes no sense.”

Shanahan said her committee began work some five years ago on the new curriculum with a basic question: Is it time? Because Duke’s current curriculum serves students well, it’s something the committee came back to again and again, she added. Would something “aspirational” that might better leverage Duke’s current strengths make more sense?

The university's formal charge to Shanahan's committee in 2014 was to clarify and simplify the logic of the curriculum, create more opportunities for exploration and creativity, and "rethink our vision for disciplinarity as embodied by the curriculum."

Duke’s current curriculum, Curriculum 2000, has been in place for nearly two decades, and while there’s little antipathy for it, there’s also little enthusiasm, as many of the faculty members who helped create it have since left. Others have criticized it as thorough but essentially a series of boxes to be checked. Students must successfully complete two courses in each of five areas of knowledge: arts, literatures and performance; civilizations; natural sciences; quantitative studies (including one course in math, statistics or computer science); and the social sciences. They must also take two courses in each of six modes of inquiry: cross-cultural; ethical; science, technology and society; foreign language; writing; and research. Additional requirements included two small-group learning experiences after their first year, such as independent studies, and a first-year writing course (Writing 101).

The proposed curriculum, called Blue Print, also emphasized areas of knowledge, methods of learning and classroom innovation but sought to streamline requirements, promote student decision making and create something distinctively Duke. It decreased the graduation requirement to 32 credits from the current average of 35 to discourage precollege credits, such as from Advance Placement courses, but otherwise put students in the driver’s seat. A credit/no-credit option -- similar to a pass/fail, to be decided up to 96 hours after a grade is posted -- for up to one course per semester, up to four courses, was introduced to encourage intellectual risk taking, for example.

A first-year “Frameworks” requirement involved a taking a group of thematically linked courses in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences that would promote shared learning experiences (including common course materials and activities) and intellectual inquiry. These clusters also would involve coordination with residential life, capstone projects for an end-of-year showcase, and explicit opportunities for students to reflect on their intellectual lives and goals. Students would have the option of participating in Duke's existing Focus seminar program instead, but the idea under Blue Print was that both freshman programs would have evolved together over time. Sophomores would have to complete a “Foundation” sequence of one course corresponding to Writing 101, one course in a second language and one course in quantitative inquiry (computer science, math or statistics) prior to declaring a major.

Blue Print also would require a secondary field of study. More than 80 percent of Duke's undergraduates already pursue a secondary specialty, but the "Focused Inquiries" requirement would have pushed that figure to 100 percent. Pathways to such study include six courses designed around a theme, or a summer or semester-long program and three additional courses on campus. Existing majors, minors and certificates were also an option.

Last, and key to making Blue Print something unique to Duke, students would be required to have a mentored scholarly experience, such as an independent study, work in a lab, co-authored publication or performance. "A central objective of Blue Print is for students to experience the wonders of, and actively participate in, the creation of scholarship all over campus," the plan says. Shanahan has taken undergraduates to Jordan to interview Syrian and Iraqi refugees as part of the university’s existing Duke Immerse program, for example, and imagined that as one kind of mentored experience.

"Twenty-first century global socio-economic, technological and environmental changes are prompting a fundamental paradigm shift in higher education," reads the final Blue Print plan. "How knowledge is constituted, created and shared is rapidly evolving, because the demands of work and citizenship are changing. The diverse, global knowledge economy into which our students will graduate will demand unprecedented flexibility, creativity, collaboration and empathy. Duke students are no longer just preparing for jobs, they are inventing new ones."

With information on "anything and everything available as never before," it continues, "the ability to evaluate, assess, contextualize, understand and communicate plural perspectives will be more important than ever. Duke’s international reputation and proud tradition of pedagogical innovation has uniquely positioned the University to lead in this evolving environment. Indeed, the challenge of this moment represents an extraordinary opportunity for Duke to reimagine what the liberal arts and sciences will become, both locally and nationally, and to use this moment it rethink its own curriculum."

Over the course of this academic year, though, faculty members have voiced concerns about elements of Blue Print. Some foreign language professors opposed Blue Print's single-course requirement. Currently, students must take one advanced course, or up to three if they have no existing proficiency.

“To require one semester of foreign language instruction is ludicrous,” Beth Holmgren, a professor of Slavic languages and literatures, said at a meeting last month. “They need more encouragement. Language instruction is important, particularly now. We need to go against the mainstream in America, which apparently is to make it all English, all the time.”

Indeed, while U.S. higher education has moved away from foreign language requirements in recent decades, some more selective institutions are now increasing their requirements.

Other faculty critics of Blue Print said it was at times difficult to understand, or worried that students involved in a separate first-year seminar program might miss out on some of the breadth requirements. Some said students could use their newfound freedom to build a preprofessional course of study that ignored the liberal arts, or that it paid insufficient attention to building writing skills.

“From the beginning I have supported this proposal because I believe that at Duke the curriculum should be the most important magnet in attracting students,” Alex Rosenberg, a professor of philosophy, said at the March meeting. “The current curriculum doesn’t. However, my faculty has asked me to vote no, and I believe it’s because they don’t understand it.”

A vote on Blue Print was planned for this month’s meeting of the Trinity faculty. But Valerie Ashby, dean of the college, said prior to the planned vote that a meeting with deans revealed lingering differences over whether the curriculum needed to be tweaked or overhauled, and that conversations among faculty members had grown argumentative -- to the point that committee members endured “verbal attacks,” according to information from Duke.

“We need to take a moment to regroup more productively, more collegially,” Ashby said.

Sherryl Broverman, associate professor of the practice in biology and global health and interim chair of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences Council, said there’s no fixed timeline for curricular review but that “We need to pause this process for a while to bring us toward a stronger consensus.”

Shanahan said the committee hopes Duke will pursue elements of Blue Print going forward, namely a curriculum “that creates opportunities for all students to develop vibrant scholarly community in their first year -- to be introduced to the wonders of what Duke has to offer straight away.”

Student autonomy or “self-authorship” is also key, she said. “Ideally, students charting their intellectual path by combining curricular and co-curricular experiences would become a signature of their academic experience.” Mentored research, broadly defined, also should be a feature of every student’s experience, she said.

One additional foundation of Blue Print worth preserving? What some have called inclusive excellence. “The structure was meant to give all students, irrespective of background, interests or goals, a shared experience, common footing and equal chance of success as they define it,” Shanahan said, noting Duke is ever more diverse.

Teaching and LearningEditorial Tags: FacultyImage Caption: Undergraduate course at Duke UniversityIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Report on Confucius Institutes finds no smoking guns, but enough concerns to recommend closure

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00

More than 100 American colleges and universities house Confucius Institutes, centers of Chinese language and cultural teaching funded and staffed in part with instructors screened by a Chinese government-affiliated entity known as Hanban. The Confucius Institutes may seem to many to be benign outposts offering cultural events programming and noncredit courses in introductory Chinese, calligraphy or Tai Chi, but for nearly as long as the Confucius Institutes have been around -- more than 10 years now -- they’ve been controversial.

Advocates for the institutes say they’ve brought welcome new resources for Chinese language study and study abroad at a time when financial support for the humanities has been shrinking, while critics question whether American universities sacrifice some degree of academic freedom and autonomy in hosting the Chinese government-backed institutes, which in some cases are involved in delivering for-credit classes. Many Confucius Institutes are also involved in teaching or teacher training for local K-12 schools.

One U.S.-based Confucius Institute, at the University of Chicago, closed in 2014 after more than 100 faculty signed a petition that cited, among other things, concerns that Hanban's role in the hiring and training of teachers “subjects the university’s academic program to the political constraints on free speech and belief that are specific to the People’s Republic of China.” Ontario's McMaster University closed its Confucius Institute a year earlier after a former instructor filed a complaint alleging that the university was “giving legitimization to discrimination” because her contract with Hanban prohibited her participation in the spiritual practice Falun Gong. Over the years, Confucius Institutes have been dogged by allegations that they self-censor when it comes to sensitive subjects in China such as Taiwan, Tiananmen Square, Tibet and Falun Gong; the institute's supporters frequently reply that these topics are largely outside the confines of the Confucius Institutes' narrow cultural and language education mandates. In 2014, organizers of a Chinese studies conference in Europe accused Hanban, a sponsor of the conference, of outright censorship of conference materials related to Taiwan.

The latest take on this contentious topic, a 183-page report on Confucius Institutes from the National Association of Scholars, by the author’s account finds “few smoking guns, and no evidence of outright policies banning certain topics from discussion” -- but reasons for concern nonetheless. The report, which examines hiring policies, course offerings and textbooks, funding structures, academic freedom protections, and what the author describes as “formal and informal speech codes” at 12 Confucius Institutes in New Jersey and New York, concludes that “to a large extent, universities have made improper concessions that jeopardize academic freedom and institutional autonomy. Sometimes these concessions are official and in writing; more often they operate as implicit policies.”

The report from NAS recommends that universities close their Confucius Institutes. “Confucius Institutes permit an agency of a foreign government to have access to university courses, and on principle that is a university function,” Rachelle Peterson, the author of the report, said in an interview. “Institutions should have full control over who they hire, over what they teach, and Confucius Institutes basically act like class-in-a-box kits that come ready-made for universities to use.”

Short of closing the institutes -- NAS’s primary recommendation -- the report makes a series of recommendations for changes that faculty and administrators should push for. Those recommendations include: increased transparency and public disclosure of contractual and funding agreements, and the renegotiation of contracts “to remove constraints against ‘tarnishing the reputation’ of the Hanban” and “to clarify that legal disputes should be settled only in the jurisdiction of the host institution (in our cases, American courts).”

Other recommendations in the report call on universities to “cease outsourcing for-credit courses to the Hanban,” to “formally ask the Hanban if its hiring process complies with American nondiscrimination policies,” and to “require that all Confucius Institutes offer at least one public lecture or class each year on topics that are important to Chinese history but are currently neglected, such as the Tiananmen Square protests or the Dalai Lama’s views on Tibet.”

NAS, which promotes liberal arts-style education and intellectual freedom, is perceived in higher education as something of a contrarian scholarly organization with a politically conservative bent, though the organization maintains it has no partisan affiliation (its website quotes the organization’s president, Peter Wood, saying, “Both the left and the right produce their share of intellectual obtuseness. The NAS is not a partner with either”). Much of the prior criticism of the institutes has come from scholars associated with the left.

While NAS may be an organization that prides itself on “challenging campus orthodoxies,” on Confucius Institutes its recommendations are to a large extent in step with that of the American Association of University Professors. In 2014, the AAUP came out with a statement “recommending that universities cease their involvement in Confucius Institutes unless the agreement between the university and Hanban is renegotiated so that (1) the university has unilateral control, consistent with principles articulated in the AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, over all academic matters, including recruitment of teachers, determination of curriculum and choice of texts; (2) the university affords Confucius Institute teachers the same academic freedom rights, as defined in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, that it affords all other faculty in the university; and (3) the university-Hanban agreement is made available to all members of the university community.”

One theme of the NAS report is the lack of transparency on the part of the universities in the sample. Although NAS’s researcher obtained contracts through Freedom of Information Act requests for eight public universities in her sample -- as well as an unsigned draft contract shared by one private university -- Peterson found what she called “significant resistance” on the part of many university officials to answer questions about their Confucius Institutes. She reported that only two of the 12 Confucius Institute directors in her sample consented to interviews.

The most secretive institution, Peterson reported, was Alfred University, a private institution located about 80 miles south of Rochester, N.Y. She writes that Alfred's provost personally ejected her partway through a Confucius Institute class she'd received advance permission from the instructor to observe.

Reached by phone, the instructor of the class, Lanfang “Haley” Gao, referred questions to the university. Alfred's provost, Rick Stephens, said he asked Peterson to leave the class and escorted her to her car after receiving worried messages from students about a strange person in the class. He disputed that Peterson received permission to visit the class -- he said she was told that her proposed dates were not suitable -- and said in her outreach to Confucius Institute staff she initially misrepresented herself as an interested Chinese student rather than a journalist or researcher.

Peterson, in turn, disputed this. She said Gao gave her permission over the phone to observe her class and that she identified herself clearly. "I asked Professor Gao two questions: 1) if classes were open to members of the public to visit and 2) if I could visit her class as a researcher from the National Association of Scholars doing some research on Confucius Institutes. She answered yes to both questions. I did not represent myself as a prospective student of Chinese. Professor Gao did not say anything about the dates not being a good time to sit in on her class," Peterson said. "I arrived at the class early, having located it with the help of another person for whom I did not get a name (this person spoke limited English, and told me as much). When Professor Gao arrived I introduced myself as Rachelle Peterson from the National Association of Scholars, and mentioned again that we had spoken by phone about the possibility of my visiting her class. She did not object to my presence at the beginning of class or ask me to leave, or in any other way indicate that I misunderstood our phone call regarding my proposed visit."

"There's too much being read into this," Stephens, the provost, said, "but I will tell you that when you are approached in secret and you discover that, you are not inclined to be transparent in every which way" -- especially, he said, speaking of NAS, when that person "comes from an organization that also has a clear agenda."

"We don’t have anything to hide," Stephens said, "but they certainly didn’t approach Alfred University in a professional way."

The NAS report includes detailed looks at the governance, leadership and funding agreements for the institutes, which are managed by the host American universities in conjunction with Chinese partner universities. The financial terms vary somewhat, but various contracts obtained by Peterson -- and shared with Inside Higher Ed -- show that Hanban typically commits to provide around $150,000 in start-up funding for the institutes, followed by annual sustaining operating grants (generally, Peterson found, in the $100,000 range), plus 3,000 volumes of textbooks and teaching materials. Hanban also commits to pay for the salaries and airfares of the Chinese language teachers it sends. The American host university is expected to match Hanban's support, a requirement that Peterson reports is typically met through in-kind contributions such as office and classroom space and faculty/staff time.

The NAS report includes an extended discussion of the content and quality of Hanban-supplied textbooks. It also raises concerns about Hanban’s role in prescreening Chinese language teachers -- Peterson writes that universities select instructors from a pool of candidates proposed by the Chinese partner university or Hanban -- and the relationship of those instructors to the American host university at which they teach.

“Almost no teachers within Confucius Institutes are hired as employees of the host university with standard protections for academic freedom,” Peterson writes. “Most are hired by, paid by and report to the Hanban, which reserves the right to remove teachers who violate Chinese law -- including speech codes. There is some evidence that the Hanban may provide teachers with stock answers to questions it wishes to avoid. When we asked Chinese teachers and directors what they would say to a student who asked about Tiananmen Square, several replied that they would talk about the square’s historic architecture.”

The report continues, “We also found that some professors within the university felt pressured to self-censor. Those affiliated with the Confucius Institute sensed the need to maintain a friendly relationship with the Hanban. Those outside the Confucius Institute felt pressure from the university -- most immediately from their department -- to protect the Confucius Institute’s reputation.”

"Throughout this report there are, I think, unsupported insinuations and allegations without concrete evidence," said Stephen C. Dunnett, the vice provost for international education at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the chair of the advisory board for the Confucius Institute there. Dunnett, a key source cited in the NAS report, said the case study about Buffalo was largely accurate. But he was troubled by the preface, authored by NAS President Peter Wood, in which Wood cites off-the-record stories in granting himself "license to go beyond what we can fully verify" (Wood contrasts this to the remainder of the report, authored by Peterson, where, Wood writes, NAS limits itself "to what we know for sure." Inside Higher Ed is not repeating the unverified statements from the preface.)

More broadly, Dunnett said, "I have not witnessed nor have we experienced any of these practices that they sometimes hint at and sometimes come right out and accuse us of."

"The teachers that come here are young, they’re well-meaning, they’re teaching basic Chinese. They're pretty free to do what they like. We pick the textbooks. Hanban doesn’t force anything on us, and they never have. They’ve never interfered. We select the teachers, but of course they’re selected from a list that they present, just like, for example, Fulbright scholars are selected from a list. They're vetted here, and the list is sent to home countries and they pick. There’s nothing sinister in that, and they make it sound that way, and I think it’s kind of regrettable." (Buffalo may be somewhat of a model in how it treats the visiting instructors: the NAS report singles out Buffalo as having negotiated "more authority in hiring CI staff and teachers than any other Confucius Institute among our case studies.")

Dunnett added that he thinks it's unfortunate that the Chinese government doesn't get more credit for the resources it's providing. "In Western New York, this is a depressed area, and our schools are struggling to cover the things that they need to cover. They just don’t have the money that they need to hire Chinese language teachers, and also there are no local teachers certified to teach Chinese. So along come the Chinese and they offer us these teachers. That was one of the reasons we did this. We thought this could be community service for Buffalo. We could help the local schools," he said.

​Qing Gao, the director of the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, which is listed on Hanban's website as an overseas representative, likened Confucius Institute funding to any external grant funding universities receive. "To me, the best way to explain the Confucius Institute, it’s simply a grant program," said Gao, who's also an assistant professor of arts management at George Mason University and director of the Confucius Institute there. "We apply for a grant from China, from the headquarters, and that grant also provides us a partnership with a Chinese university."

​Qing Gao said that while the Confucius Institute U.S. Center receives funding from Hanban, it is an independent nonprofit and he cannot speak for the headquarters organization. He said, however, that the long-standing concerns about intellectual and academic freedom at Confucius Institutes are in his view unfounded.

"In terms of the intellectual freedom or academic freedom, I think that’s something that we have to always pay attention to, to make sure that these programs do not interfere with academic freedom," ​Qing Gao said. "When we receive individuals from China, the very first day we will have orientation. The very first message we deliver is to make sure everybody understands the value of academic freedom and freedom of speech. What we’ve found here is there's no such evidence whatsoever from the very first Confucius Institute opening in the United States until today that any individual case can prove that Confucius Institutes interfered with academic freedom. This has no factual basis."

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College completion rates vary by race and ethnicity, report finds

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00

College completion rates vary widely along racial and ethnic lines, with black and Hispanic students earning credentials at a much lower rate than white and Asian students do, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The center evaluated data from students nationwide who entered a college or university in fall 2010. The data represents students at two- and four-year colleges, students who studied part- and full-time, as well as those who graduated after transferring institutions.

Altogether, 54.8 percent of those students completed a degree or certificate within six years of entering a postsecondary institution, but broken down by race and ethnicity, those rates fluctuate by up to 25 percent.

White and Asian students completed their programs at similar rates -- 62 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively -- while Hispanic and black students graduated at rates of 45.8 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

These numbers likely won’t surprise most people who track higher education closely, as they fall in line with what other studies have found over the years, but “it will certainly reinforce the point that there’s more work to be done,” said Doug Shapiro, one of the lead authors of the report.

This report is valuable, he said, because it uses the most recent available data and accounts for part-time students and students who transfer to another institution during their studies. Other studies had not previously done this -- though that is because most have focused on federal databases, which have historically tracked only full-time, first-time students. The clearinghouse has become an alternative source of information on student outcomes and mobility because of its distinctive set of data.

“To the extent that the findings were surprising, it was simply that what we found did not change what we knew,” said Shapiro, who is executive research director at the National Student Clearinghouse. “For example, black and Hispanic students were no more likely to transfer and graduate somewhere else, and in fact, in most cases, they were less likely.”

The report also found that, nationally, students who entered a four-year public university earned a degree or certificate at a rate of 62.4 percent. Students who started at a two-year public institution had an overall completion rate of a credential of 39.2 percent. At four-year institutions, black men completed their degrees at the lowest rate (40 percent) and Asian women at the highest (75.7 percent).

Students who started at community college and then continued their educations at a four-year public institution experienced very different outcomes, depending on race and ethnicity. After six years, about a quarter of Asian students and a fifth of white students had finished their degrees, compared to about a tenth of Hispanic students and one in 12 black students.

“Community colleges have long been held out as engines of access to higher education,” Shapiro said, making these “disappointing results -- the rate at which students from underrepresented groups managed to complete that transfer from community college to a bachelor degree.”

For years, colleges and universities had been asking for racial and ethnic breakdowns of completion rates. After releasing those results for the first time this year, the National Student Clearinghouse plans to release updated data annually, Shapiro said. Each institution will also be able to see its own data and compare to national trends.

“We think that will be really powerful,” Shapiro said. “It will help [institutions] understand where they need to focus their improvements.”

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Harvard, Stanford, Ohio State presidents fret about federal funding and immigration

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00

WASHINGTON -- The presidents of three of the country’s top research universities gathered for a public discussion Tuesday, dedicating some of their most in-depth comments to concerns about federal policy.

The presidents of Harvard, Stanford and Ohio State Universities took part in a wide-ranging discussion on the future of higher education hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. While they covered a lot of ground, they delivered their most timely remarks while addressing worries about cuts to federal research funding and possible changes in immigration policy that could affect the students at their institutions.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said she has increased her outreach regarding federal issues this year, spending more time in this capital city meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers. She expressed hope legislators are receptive to her case for funding university research when they learn about the work being done.

“I’ve been trying to make the case to congresspeople, and also invited a number of them to come see our scientists working in their laboratories,” Faust said. “A lot of people in Congress are very eager to do that, because they want stories to tell. It’s the stories of the discoveries, not some abstract statistic, that really has the impact.”

Faust continues to champion the cause after President Trump proposed deep cuts in his first budget outline released in March. Trump’s skinny budget calls for cutting National Institutes of Health funding by $5.8 billion, or about 20 percent. It would also sharply cut other federal programs involved in university research.

Trump administration officials have said the government can save money but not harm research by cutting back on support for administrative costs. Higher education groups have maintained such cuts would be damaging, however. Science groups have warned the cuts would hurt research and the education of a new generation of scientists.

Even Harvard, with its prestige, deep pockets and wealthy donors, would struggle to compensate for deep cuts to federal research funding, Faust said in an interview after the Economic Club’s discussion ended. The university receives about $800 million to support research annually. Roughly $600 million of that comes from the federal government.

“The magnitude of the federal commitment is not something that is going to be easily replaced,” Faust said.

The proposed cuts to research dollars were one topic cited by many participants in Saturday’s March for Science in Washington. Faust spoke at a local March for Science in Cambridge, Mass., that day.

She was not the only university president to take part in such an event -- New York University President Andrew Hamilton wrote that he planned to participate in the march in Washington because he worried about looming budget cuts, immigration restrictions and dwindling respect for science and its evidence-based methods. Still, university presidents participating in rallies raised eyebrows.

Faust maintained in Tuesday’s interview that she felt completely comfortable speaking at the march.

“I’ve been a pretty vocal advocate for science ever since I became president of Harvard,” she said. “It seemed entirely appropriate to me to speak in that way on behalf of something that is at the core of the university.”

Research is a bipartisan issue that can head off threats and future expenses, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said during the Economic Club discussion. For example, the country needs cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease as the population ages, he said.

“We desperately need cures,” he said. “That will only come through research. The vitality of our research enterprise is essential.”

Tessier-Lavigne also spoke up for international students and education. About 10 percent of Stanford’s undergraduates are international students, he said. The president himself, who was born in Canada, did postdoctoral work in the United States on a J-1 visa, which is the nonimmigrant visa category for work- and study-based exchange programs.

International students expose American students to different societies and ideas, Tessier-Lavigne said. They are also important talent, he argued.

“We’ve been very fortunate in this country to be able to be a magnet for extraordinary talent from abroad,” he said. “People have brought their ideas, their capabilities.”

Michael V. Drake, Ohio State’s president, told a story from a freshman seminar he teaches. During a discussion, a student referenced “the American Civil War.”

The student was from a country in the Middle East where a civil war was underway at the time, Drake said.

“It really caught me that she said the American Civil War,” he said. “It caused me to take a step back and rethink about what I was saying and kind of broaden my perspective. There’s small things like that that happen in conversations, in classrooms or in dorms or in hallways where people coming together from different points of view can make such a difference. I think it’s really important for the quality of my education.”

David M. Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club, also grilled the presidents on a diverse set of topics including endowment spending policies, sexual violence on campus, student drug and alcohol use, and whether student athletes should be paid. Faust pointed out that spending down an endowment means cutting the amount of money it can generate for operations in the future, undermining the funding mechanism's long-term viability.

Tessier-Lavigne called it shocking that colleges did not address the issue of sexual assault more before the late 2000s before saying that prevention is the most important step to combating it. He also supported the current student-athlete model for athletics. Drake referenced a spike in deaths in Ohio from opioids, saying he sometimes has to tell parents that their child has died for one reason or another. He called it one of the hardest things he has to do.

Editorial Tags: Federal policyResearchImage Source: The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.Image Caption: The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., President David M. Rubenstein led a discussion Tuesday with Ohio State University President Michael Drake, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Federal drone regulations keeping lofty fantasies grounded

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00

Colleges are eager to put drones to use both inside and outside the classroom, but federal agencies and university risk managers are taking a cautious approach before opening the airspace above college campuses.

Drones (also known by the more technical terms unmanned aerial vehicles or systems) are becoming increasingly common sights, both in campus skies and in headlines. There was, for example, the 2014 case of the student at the University of Texas at Austin who was detained after flying a drone over a football game, or the experiments launched last year involving burrito delivery by drone at Virginia Tech. Lake Superior State University even included “selfie drone” on its latest “List of Words Banished From the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.”

On the academic side, colleges are using drones to do everything from surveying crops to teaching aerospace engineering. On the administrative side, delivery is emerging as a popular idea. Arizona State University, for example, is imagining a future in which drones zip across the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to bring students library materials from a storage facility.

But where some administrators, faculty members and students see opportunity, others see risk.

“What happens when one of these UAVs fails, and it’s got a 30-pound payload of library books while flying down the quad?” said Clint T. Speegle, an U.S. Army aviation officer turned lawyer.

Speegle is one of the people helping universities write drone policies. Once tasked with “deconflicting” the airspace above Iraq and neighboring countries, Speegle now focuses on aviation law and NCAA compliance at his Birmingham, Ala., practice.

Most university drone policies, Speegle said, deal with “the student who has a quadcopter [a helicopter with four rotors] and wants to fly it on the quad or take pictures of the campus.” But universities should also consider how their policies can address privacy and safety issues, and how they can enable research and development activities involving drones.

“There’s no way we can foresee everything that’s going to come from this area,” Speegle said. “The key, in my mind, is to make it a broad policy … and then be able to dial it back if you realize later that there is usage that is useful, needed and can be properly mitigated.”

Indiana University has had a drone policy on the books since 2015 -- a precautionary measure to protect the university from the potential legal issues raised by emerging technology.

“We saw that drones were going to become a thing of the future,” said Larry Stephens, director of the university’s Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims. “They presented a huge liability exposure for us.”

The policy hasn’t changed much since 2015. It still contains the same bans on flying a drone in areas “where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms” -- spaces such as dorms, locker rooms and treatment rooms -- and directs would-be drone pilots to Stephens’s office for approval.

However, Stephens said he has seen a slight change in the popularity of drones: they are simply becoming more common.

Today, there are more requests to fly drones indoors, for example. Using drones to take pictures of campus continues to grow in popularity. And recently, a construction company contacted Stephens’s office to use a drone to inspect a building under construction (Stephens also admitted, “I’ve been trying to find a good excuse for us to buy [a drone] for this department”).

The Federal Aviation Administration’s own rules add further restrictions on drone use at colleges. Flying a drone for work, as opposed to for fun, in most cases imposes additional rules related to certification and aircraft requirements. So does flying a drone within five miles of an airport.

The FAA also generally prohibits flying a drone directly above people, which means drones won’t be following campus footpaths to deliver their payloads -- at least not for the moment. The FAA is working on new regulations, though that work was delayed as part of the Trump administration’s regulatory freeze.

“Everybody wants to fly over people, but the real concern is nobody knows how dangerous it is,” said Mark Blanks, director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.

The MAAP, which is led by Virginia Tech, conducts drone flights on a near-daily basis with faculty members and students. In addition to testing burrito deliveries, it is also conducting experiments on drone injuries in partnership with Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. The MAAP doesn’t have conclusive results for all types of drones, but Blanks said the results so far show that the FAA has been “overly cautious” and that there is an opportunity to expand drone use.

The university is building a 300-by-120-by-80-foot “drone cage” -- which Blanks described as “like something you’d see at a golf range, except it has a roof on it” -- to create a controlled space for drone test flights.

The cage will help accommodate what Blanks called an “uptick in interest and desire to do more” with drones that what current regulations allow for.

“Before, everybody just wanted to fly,” Blanks said. “Now, everybody’s able to fly, and they want to do more than they can currently do.”

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New presidents or provosts: Atlantic Cape Chico Frostburg Jackson Mount Mary Mt. Wachusett SIT Stanislaus Tennessee

Inside Higher Ed - mer, 04/26/2017 - 00:00
  • Barbara Gaba, provost and associate vice president for academic affairs at Union County College, in New Jersey, has been chosen as president of Atlantic Cape Community College, also in New Jersey.
  • Kimberly Greer, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Minnesota State University Mankato, has been appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Stanislaus.
  • Allana R. Hamilton, vice president for academic affairs at Northeast State Community College, in Tennessee, has been appointed president of Jackson State Community College, also in Tennessee.
  • Sophia Howlett, associate vice president for academic affairs at Kean University, in New Jersey, has been selected as president of the School for International Training, in Vermont.
  • Debra Larson, dean of the College of Engineering at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, has been named provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University at Chico.
  • Christine Pharr, vice president for academic affairs at the College of Saint Mary, in Nebraska, has been selected as president of Mount Mary University, in Wisconsin.
  • Elizabeth Throop, acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, has been chosen as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Frostburg State University, in Maryland.
  • Flora Tydings, president of Chattanooga State Community College, in Tennessee, has been appointed chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
  • James Vander Hooven, vice president for enrollment management at Landmark College, in Vermont, has been selected as president of Mount Wachusett Community College, in Massachusetts.
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Call for more championing of NZ’s PhD scheme

The PIE News - mar, 04/25/2017 - 08:09

New Zealand’s flagship PhD subsidy program that treats international students like domestic students should have greater public advocacy amid growing populist headwinds.

This is the argument laid out in New Zealand’s PhD tuition strategy for international students 2005-2015, a holistic analysis– a paper by the international director at the University of Aukland, Brett Berquist.

In the paper, Berquist argues that the program has boosted the country’s research output and higher education reputation as well as offset the country’s outward flow of domestic talent.

But, with nationalism on the rise globally, and a general election in September, he says New Zealand’s international education sector needs greater advocacy.

“The general public understands the revenue side but not necessarily how international students contribute to society in general”

“The general public understands the revenue side but not necessarily how international students contribute to their children’s educational experience and to society in general, beyond the dollars,” the paper says.

The paper points out that while New Zealand’s share of globally mobile students has declined, its presence in top 50 rankings has increased as a result of the 12-year old initiative.

All eight of New Zealand’s universities are now in the top 50 of the QS World University Rankings compared to three in 2005.

The paper also shows that international PhD enrolments have soared since the program was established, from 14% of total HE students to 45% in 2015, equating to just over 4,000 students.

Beyond rankings and enrolments, the paper elicited the academic impact international PhD students have made showing that prior to the strategy the rate of citations for New Zealand research was .96% of the world average and in 2015 it had risen to 1.26%.

At the University of Auckland, on average, each international PhD student produces 2.7 authored or co-authored papers, 1.1 authored or co-authored book chapters, and 3 authored or co- authored conference papers.

Berquist said the program was “a bold new initiative” when it launched and has had few counterparts globally since.

“To offer domestic tuition to all doctoral students, full-time work rights to the student and his or her partner, and domestic school fees for their children is unique in its scope and vision,” he said.

The program also offsets the overseas experience sought by many Kiwi graduates, the paper conteds. Government statistics show 41% of domestic PhD graduates are overseas five years after graduation. Meanwhile one in four international PhD graduates remain in New Zealand five years after graduation.

“We see that as a very successful measure. The general public, however, might focus on the 75% that go on to pursue their career elsewhere and call that a failure.  Where is the mark on the glass?  How do we agree on measures of success? We definitely see this data reflecting a glass half-full,” said Berquist.

A recent Ministry of Education report, Moving Places – Destination and earnings of international graduates, found one in three international students is still in the New Zealand five years after their first student visa.

Berquist argues the government’s report falls short, however, as it cuts off the survey sample at students 30 years old and younger, which includes only 21-30% of PhD students.

“This is a serious flaw in the statistical relevance of the findings as it severely restricts the sample size,” the paper argues. “It is intuitively evident that the extremely low sample size of international PhD graduates under 30 cautions against policy evaluation based solely on this data set.”

In the run up to the election, the Ministry of Education has signalled a reevaluation of the PhD scheme and an intention to reanalyse international students using a larger, up-to-date data set.

“We encourage the Ministry to analyse the findings for PhD graduates without the age filter for analyses. This will be more useful to New Zealand universities and the field of international education in general,” the paper says.

The post Call for more championing of NZ’s PhD scheme appeared first on The PIE News.

Uncertainty over EU immigration, research could damage UK HE, MPs say

The PIE News - mar, 04/25/2017 - 03:47

The UK government needs to reduce uncertainty for EU students and staff in higher education, have contingency plans in place for EU research funding and take international students out of net migration figures, according to a report from the House of Commons Education Select Committee.

Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education warns that if the government fails to address concerns within the higher education sector, “Brexit will damage the international competitiveness and long-term success of our universities.”

There is significant uncertainty in the university sector in the run up to Brexit, the report notes, dominated by fears over residency rights for staff and fee status for students.

“The government must act urgently to avert the risk of a damaging ‘brain drain’ of talent from our shores”

The government should “unilaterally agree the rights of EU nationals before the end of 2017” or risk years of uncertainty for EU nationals in higher education, it argues.

During this time, “the UK’s international competitors would be able to benefit from this uncertainty and potential decline in the attractiveness of UK as a destination,” the report outlines.

Printed prior to a key announcement last week guaranteeing fees and funding EU student intake in England for 2018/19, the report recommends a short-term guarantee on fees and grants for upcoming intake.

On April 21, Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the funding commitment to “provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe”. And just yesterday (April 24), the Welsh government said it would do the same.

“It’s welcome that EU students have been given some guarantees on their funding and loan access,” said Neil Carmichael, chair of the education committee. “But the government must act urgently to address the uncertainty over EU staff and avert the risk of a damaging ‘brain drain’ of talent from our shores.”

Maddalaine Ansell, chief executive of University Alliance, welcomed the fee announcement but called for “similar certainty” that EU staff will be able to continue to work at UK universities and research collaboration with EU institutions will be able to continue.

The report also recommends reforms to the immigration system to create a new visa for highly skilled academics that is more liberal than the Tier 2 visa stream.

“This should have a lower salary threshold and a separate, higher cap, as well as lower bureaucratic burdens and costs,” the report reads.

“This new approach would show the government was serious in its aim to bring in the best from around the world and encourage collaboration.”

The UK’s continued participation in the EU’s Erasmus+ mobility program should also be a priority in negotiations, the report urges.

If taking part in the program is impossible, the government should guarantee it will underwrite any Erasmus+ placements potentially under threat in 2019 and develop a replacement mobility scheme, comparable to Switzerland’s Swiss European Mobility Program, it says.

Similarly, it recommends the government put contingency plans in place to mitigate the loss of access to the EU’s research fund, Horizon 2020. From 2007 to 2013, the UK received €8.8bn in research funding, €6.9bn of which came from Horizon 2020’s predecessor, the Framework 7 Programme.

“We need similar certainty that EU staff will be able to continue to work at UK universities”

The committee also concluded that international students should be taken out of net migration figures, saying: “The government’s refusal to do so is putting at risk the higher education sector’s share of the international student market.”

Removing them would also be a simple way to offset some of the risks of leaving the EU, it added, urging the government to improve its data recording to prioritise exit data.

Universities UK said the report was right to identify EU staff, immigration and research as priorities for universities during Brexit negotiations.

“As large and complex organisations, universities plan for years down the line, so it important that we receive clarity of the government’s positions on these crucial issues as soon as possible,” said Alistair Jarvis, deputy chief executive of UUK.

The committee launched its inquiry on 29 September 2016 and received 197 written submissions from a wide range of sources, including close to 40 universities. It took oral evidence at Westminster on three occasions, at the University of Oxford, University College London and Northumbria University, and heard from witnesses, including university leaders, academics, and student and staff representatives.

It says it will now invite the government to respond to the report’s findings.

The post Uncertainty over EU immigration, research could damage UK HE, MPs say appeared first on The PIE News.

Whittier Law School shutdown raises prospect of future closures and access for underrepresented students

Inside Higher Ed - mar, 04/25/2017 - 00:00

Whittier Law School’s enrollment trends over the last five years reflect the pressures squeezing legal education across the country.

Total enrollment at the law school in Orange County, Calif., fell by more than 40 percent since 2011, from 700 students to fewer than 400 this year. Enrollment dropped as students’ interest in studying law plunged across the country -- and as heightened scrutiny forced many law schools to pay more attention to their students’ job-placement and bar-passage rates.

Administrators at Whittier were trying to cut the size of the law school in order to find a new balancing point, said Sharon Herzberger, the president of the law school’s owner, Whittier College. They wanted to admit enough students to keep the law school financially sustainable, but also to increase selectivity so they were admitting students with a greater chance of succeeding. And they were working to do so even as the number of applications to law schools shrank.

“The enrollment has declined sometimes because of what’s going on in the world and the choices of people to come to the school,” Herzberger said. “And sometimes because of our desire to keep the enrollment down and make sure we’re bringing in students that we feel have the capability of doing well.”

That attempted balancing act ended last week, when Whittier College’s Board of Trustees announced that the law school will not enroll any new students. Current law students will be able to complete their degrees, although the exact details of that process are not yet set. Whittier Law School will close.

The decision vaulted Whittier into the national spotlight. The law school will be the first with full American Bar Association accreditation to close in recent memory. Its accreditation dates to 1985, and it was founded in 1966, so it does not fit the profile of a new, unestablished institution that might be expected to shutter under normal circumstances.

Consequently, some experts believe other schools are likely to follow Whittier Law in closing. Critics of legal education argue that the country still has too many law schools that do not prepare their students for legal careers and instead leave them with high levels of debt they will be unable to repay. Others retort that the number of law schools truly in danger of closing is relatively small, with estimates ranging from 10 to 25 across the country.

Others worried that the closure of Whittier Law School takes away an important option from groups of minority and women students who are already underrepresented in the legal field. Those students often go on to practice law locally, so closing Whittier law school deprives nearby communities of important services, they said.

Whittier College tried to find ways to keep the law school open, according to Herzberger. Administrators offered faculty members voluntary separation agreements last year, the college president said. They discussed merging the law school with other institutions and talked with others that showed interest in operating it.

“Over the last couple of years, the board really looked at lots of different things,” Herzberger said. “Nothing really came to fruition, and the board felt that we should not continue to invite students to enter the law school, that it really wasn’t the fair thing to do.”

Decisions were complicated by the fact that the law school’s main campus has been separate from the college’s main campus in Whittier since 1997. The two locations lie about 30 miles apart, making it harder to share services between them or govern them as a single institution.

Whittier College ultimately struck a deal to sell the 14 acres of land on which the law school sits for $35 million. The land is the largest parcel in the Costa Mesa area that was relatively undeveloped, Herzberger said. It was purchased by a Chinese investment group, she added, declining to share additional details because of nondisclosure agreements.

Law school faculty members sought to block the announcement of the closure, filing in court for a temporary restraining order, which a judge denied. They claimed in court filings that the college sold the law school land at a profit of $13 million and sought to “cut and run” with the money. They also argued in the filings that Whittier College leaders did not follow proper procedures for closing the law school because they had not taken faculty opinion at the law school and college into account.

Those characterizations are not accurate, Herzberger said. Whittier’s administration asked faculty members whether the law program could be discontinued. Faculty members returned with reports that did not agree with the idea of closure, Herzberger said. But the Board of Trustees still was not convinced the law school should continue in the future.

The law school has not operated at a deficit in recent years, except for when it was buying out faculty contracts, the president said. However, projections showed it would run deficits after this year.

Leaders considered relocating the law school but decided against it. The law school draws many students from near its campus, Herzberger said. Whittier’s main campus does not have any room, she added.

The college’s decision-making process might have played out differently if the law school hadn’t been on a separate campus, Herzberger said.

“It did not help,” Herzberger said. “We could not take advantage of each other.”

The faculty members who attempted to stop the closure from being announced are not backing down. They are considering further litigation, according to the lawyer representing them, Hanna Chandoo, an associate at the law firm Stris & Maher LLP and a 2015 Whittier Law School graduate.

“Now that the announcement happened and we were able to see the way it happened, it was irresponsible,” she said. “It was sudden. There was no plan. It’s been devastating for many stakeholders: admitted students, current students, alums, faculty, staff.”

The National Landscape

Observers of legal education said the situation at Whittier Law School fits with the trends that have been sweeping the field. At a basic level, there is sharply less interest today in the education law schools are offering than there was a decade ago, said Christopher Chapman, president and chief executive officer of AccessLex Institute, a former student loan provider that is now a nonprofit organization conducting research on legal education issues.

Law schools also face new accreditation pressure. The American Bar Association has taken action against four law schools in the last year over issues including loose admissions policies and low bar-examination passage rates.

The pressures could push less prestigious law schools into a death spiral. Their applicant pools are declining, and their top students often transfer to better-known institutions. As a result, they can lose the students they admit who are most likely to pass the bar. That can make it harder for them to increase their bar-passage rates over time, which in turn cuts down on their applicant pools and drives their best students to transfer -- continuing the spiral.

Shocks like additional accreditation pressure could lead to more changes in the law school sector, Chapman said. But he stopped short of predicting a wave of closures.

“I think closing is fairly drastic,” he said. “It’s at one end of the spectrum. We’ve seen some mergers, some combinations. I think maybe you’ll see more collaborations where schools don’t close, but there might be sharing of facilities or faculty or something like that.”

Other moves in the legal education sector of late include William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law, in St. Paul, Minn., deciding to merge in 2015. Indiana Tech Law School in Fort Wayne this fall announced plans to close in June 2017. Administrators at that law school, which opened its doors in 2013 and had provisional ABA accreditation, said it had incurred an operating loss of nearly $20 million in its brief existence and they could see no way to attract enough students to be viable in the future.

Speculation also surrounds the future of the for-profit Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina after it lost access to federal financial aid over U.S. Department of Education concerns about accreditation problems and misrepresentations made to students.

Financial issues have played a role in strife at public law schools as well. The University of Cincinnati placed the dean of its College of Law on administrative leave last month after she said her efforts to close a deficit had upset faculty members. The dean, Jennifer Bard, sued the university Friday, with her lawyers alleging a breach of contract and violations of her constitutional rights.

It should be pointed out that a college or university could consider closing its law school for reasons beyond finances or accreditation.

Operating a successful law school can add to a college or university’s standing, giving it access to a new set of wealthy donors and helping it build a powerful alumni base. But struggling law schools can hurt a college or university’s prestige.

“It’s a reputation thing,” said William Henderson, a professor of law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. “Bad employment outcomes, high debt and low bar-passage rates -- that affects the university and how it’s perceived in a marketplace.”

Yet the national trends are one thing. How they play out locally is another.

Whittier students, faculty members and alumni have resisted the closure of the school. The law school has posted notes from unhappy alumni on its website. Students protested the pending shutdown Friday. They were devastated to hear Whittier College’s president and board announce the closure of the law school with finals fast approaching, said Radha Pathak, an associate professor of law and the associate dean of student and alumni engagement at Whittier Law School.

Pathak does not believe the decision to close the law school is being driven by large trends sweeping legal education, she said in an interview. She thinks it is a way for the college to redirect its financial resources.

“We are a school that has almost always generated a surplus,” she said. “Next year, however, we were going to be incurring a deficit. And so instead of giving a new administration time to improve outcomes, they decided to discontinue us, and I think it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that it was done to be able to use those resources for different purposes.”

Pathak recognizes the national skepticism about the value of law schools. But she contends that Whittier Law School is serving students who would otherwise not have access to a legal education.

Minority students make up almost 60 percent of Whittier Law School’s enrollment. Its student body is also 60 percent women.

“We are providing a high-quality legal education to our students, and some of our students wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend another ABA-accredited law school,” Pathak said. “And those students are doing amazing things when they move on.”

Still, it should be noted that Whittier’s bar-passage rate has significantly lagged that of other California law schools. Just 22 percent of its students taking the California bar examination for the first time in July 2016 passed. That was almost 40 percentage points below the passage rate across all of the state’s ABA-accredited institutions.

Pathak acknowledged that many of Whittier Law School's students need multiple chances to pass the bar. But she said that does not detract from their accomplishments or legal education.

Critics argue such a low passage rate means the law school is not, in fact, helping most of its students. Kyle McEntee is the executive director of the nonprofit group Law School Transparency. He acknowledged that a school like Whittier can offer access to students.

“But does the school serve them?” McEntee said. “There’s good they do, and there’s bad they do, and you hope the good outweighs the bad. But I don’t see the argument holding weight with Whittier, and it seems the Board of Trustees agrees.”

McEntee predicts more law schools will close. But he said it’s difficult to say for sure because local factors can have a major effect on college and university leaders’ decisions.

Another Southern California institution stands as a contrast to the decision to close Whittier Law School. The University of La Verne College of Law is not producing a surplus. It’s been losing money for about five years. But university leaders say they are on their way to changing that after they overhauled tuition practices in 2014.

The La Verne College of Law broke with the norm of offering deep tuition discounts to attract top students. Instead, it decided to charge students a flat price and lock in their tuition for three years.

Leaders put that model in place because of swirling questions about the cost-benefit analysis students make when deciding to attend law school. Many thought a lack of transparency in law school prices and outcomes was leading to rising and unpredictable student debt levels. The new idea at La Verne is that a student can count on a set price over three years and project their debt upon graduation.

The law school is moving toward becoming revenue positive, said La Verne’s president, Devorah Lieberman. She acknowledged that the closure of the Whittier Law School could affect La Verne.

“I just think it means that the rest of us who have law schools in the region need to continue to focus on serving those students,” she said.

It’s hard to say exactly how, though. Law school closures have been so rare that the effects of this one will be unpredictable, according to the La Verne College of Law’s dean, Gilbert Holmes.

“That might enable us to be a little more selective in our admissions,” he said. “But the primary thing we need to think about is the communities that may find themselves not served as well, because they have potentially fewer lawyers to serve them.”

Across the country, the law schools that are mostly likely in danger of closing tend to produce graduates who go on to work as solo practitioners or in small firms, said Michael Olivas, the chair of law at the University of Houston Law Center, who served as president of the Association of American Law Schools in 2011. That means low- and middle-income residents in the area will have fewer lawyers available than they otherwise would.

What is up for debate is whether or not that’s a good thing. As with many of the issues swirling around law schools, the answers to the debate depend on how you weigh different factors. Closing a law school hurts some students, faculty members and area residents. It could theoretically help some students who would not have been served well by the institution. Closing a law school can help a college or university if that law school had been a drag on its operations.

“If it means schools that have no chance of meeting their obligations are dying or being put to death, then I would say the system is working,” Olivas said. “Notwithstanding the pain and struggle the faculty and staff and students at the institution are encountering.”

Even many optimistic law school admissions officers appear receptive to the idea of closings. A fall 2016 survey from Kaplan Test Prep of officers at 111 of the 205 ABA-accredited law schools in the country found that 92 percent said they were feeling more optimistic about the state of legal education than they had been a year ago.

Even so, 65 percent agreed with the statement that “it would be a good idea if at least a few law schools closed.”

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