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Chronicle of Higher Education: Purdue U. Wants to Bar Professors From Betting on Its Games. Here’s Why.

The NCAA has long prohibited athletes and athletics-staff members from such wagering. With sports betting now permitted in more than a dozen states, colleges may need other guidelines.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Why MIT’s Epstein Problem Is ‘Clearly a Women’s Issue’

Decades ago, Nancy Hopkins spearheaded successful efforts to advance equity for women on the elite campus. Now she reflects on what has, and hasn’t, changed.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Amid Rumors of Shift to Unfunded Ph.D.s, U. at Buffalo Says It’s Only a Temporary Pause

“We recognize that this will be disappointing to nearly everyone,” the university’s associate dean of graduate education wrote in an email.

Chronicle of Higher Education: E-Scooters Have Taken Over Many College Campuses. Now Scholars Are Studying the Phenomenon.

Virginia Tech and Michigan State University recently announced research to collect and analyze real-time data on how the devices are being used.

Third annual PIEoneer Award winners revealed at London gala

The PIE News - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 05:24

The third annual PIEoneers Awards was held on September 19 at London’s historic Guildhall, with CEO and founder of Diversity Abroad, Andrew Gordon, taking home the trophy for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

With nominations spanning 28 countries, 16 winners were selected by a judging panel of 26 international education specialists.

“The uphill battle of our team has now been acknowledged”

The event, which attracted over 400 attendees from around the world, saw winners recognised for their achievements in areas including championing diversity (International Houses Worldwide Group), language education (Bucksmore Education) and agencies (IDP Education).

“It was really heartening to have so many applications from around the globe,” said The PIE‘s CEO Amy Baker.

Held in the Guildhall in central London, the venue provided an unforgettable backdrop to the industry’s celebrations.

With almost a 100% increase in nomination, the shortlisting process proved more challenging than ever for the 26 judges.

Widening access to higher education, with particular focus on access for refugees, was a theme represented by many of the finalists this year.

Their crucial role in the sector was reflected in the nomination of SPARK as the PIEoneer of the Year in recognition of its work in post conflict societies, ensuring refugees have access to higher education.

“The uphill battle of our team has now been acknowledged: we became ‘PIEoneer of the Year 2019’!,” SPARK regional program director Giselle Schellekens, representing the organisation at the awards night, said on social media.

“This is an excellent organisation with tremendous impact that is deserving of this special award,” Daniel Obst, one of the judges, said of SPARK.

With Gordon’s nomination for the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award, work to foster diversity in the international education space by ensuring access for students from underrepresented backgrounds also took centre stage this year.

Accepting his accolade, Gordon said that while the industry may not be in the business of saving lives, its role in changing lives is worthy of being celebrated.

Andrew Gordon

“What a trailblazer in the field of international education! Andrew’s hard work and dedication to “disrupting” the usual and focusing on underrepresented students is honourable and much needed in today’s day and age,” judge Randall Martin commented on Gordon’s nomination.

“I look forward to seeing what comes next from this passionate leader and how his work will transform international education for the next decade.”

“What a trailblazer in the field of international education”

A loud cheer greeted the Association of the Year award winners: the Universities UK International team, fresh from celebrating the return of a post-study work visa for international students in the UK after years of campaigning.

Director Vivienne Stern accepted the award on stage among messages of congratulations coming from all over the international higher education industry.

The PIEoneer Awards 2019 winners
  • Marketing campaign of the year: Monash University, Australia – If you don’t like it, change it
  • Secondary learning international impact award: Summer Boarding Courses, UK
  • Student support award: Griffith University, Australia – Griffith English Language Enhancement Strategy (GELES)
  • Accommodation provider of the year: Monash University, Australia – Monash Residential Services
  • Education agency of the year: IDP Education, Global
  • Championing diversity award: International Houses Worldwide Group, UK – International Houses Worldwide Scholarship Programme
  • Progressive education delivery award: Macquarie University, Australia – Global Leadership Program
  • International alumni of the year: Azzen Abidi, Tunisia – National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (The Stevens Initiative), USA
  • Association of the year: Universities UK International, UK
  • Public / private partnership of the year: University of Dundee and Pagoda Projects, UK – International Internship Programme
  • Digital innovation of the year – learning: theMSAG Medical School Application Guide, UK – Online Medical School Interview Course
  • Digital innovation of the year – technology: Fintiba, Germany – For international students
  • Language educator of the year: Bucksmore Education, UK
  • Real life learning award – joint winners: Academic Internship Council, USA – in partnership with University of Sydney, Australia, and University of California, Berkeley, USA and Durham College, Canada – The Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) Documentary Film Project
  • PIEoneer of the year: SPARK, Turkey
  • Outstanding contribution to the industry: Andrew Gordon – CEO and Founder, Diversity Abroad, USA

The after-party, held in the Old Library at the Guildhall, saw winners, finalists and attendees celebrate and dance until late.

The PIEoneer Awards will be held in the marvellous Guildhall once again in September 2020.

The post Third annual PIEoneer Award winners revealed at London gala appeared first on The PIE News.

European U alliance on global health launched

The PIE News - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 03:17

The European University Alliance for Global Health has been launched with a press conference in Paris. Part of the European Universities alliances receiving funding by the EU Commission to collaborate across borders, the network is composed of five international partners.

“We stand among the pioneers of a paradigm shift which is very inspiring for European higher education”

Université Paris-Saclay (France) coordinates the project and hosted the press conference, and will work with Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany), Lund University (Sweden), University of Porto (Portugal), University of Szeged (Hungary).

“We answered this call with great enthusiasm with our German, Hungarian, Portuguese and Swedish partners,” Sylvie Retailleau, President of Université Paris-Saclay, said in a statement.

“We are aware that we stand among the pioneers of a paradigm shift which is very inspiring for the European higher education and research.”

We have a full house here for the launch of the #EuropeanUniversity Alliance for Global Health at @centralesupelec with @UnivParisSaclay @LMU_Muenchen @lunduniversity @UPorto @Uni_Szeged@sup_recherche @EU_Commission pic.twitter.com/CwhCQXjSjI

— Univ. Paris-Saclay (@UnivParisSaclay) September 13, 2019

The EUGLOH network will involve about 200,000 students from bachelor’s to PhD, as well as academic and non-academic staff from all five university parents.

By 2025, 50% of the graduates of the Alliance will have had a mobility opportunity (physical and/or digital) at least once during their studies, the statement explains.

The project will focus on global health, with the five members pooling expertise and resources in interdisciplinary fields such as the ‘medicine of the future’, emerging diseases, digital health and technologies, climate change and its impact on ecosystem health, health law, public health policies, among others, according to a statement.

It will be managed based on a shared governance model, involving students, staff and parents.

The post European U alliance on global health launched appeared first on The PIE News.

Alexander blocks HBCU funding bill, proposes broader package of legislation

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 01:45

WASHINGTON -- Efforts to renew more than $255 million in annual funding for minority-serving institutions appear to be on the rocks after Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, blocked legislation Thursday that would provide a short-term extension of the money.

Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee, objected to unanimous passage of the legislation, known as the FUTURE Act, and proposed in its place a long-term extension of Title III, Part F, funding along with a package of bipartisan higher ed bills.

The proposals he named included popular proposals to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and lift restrictions on Pell Grants for some incarcerated students, and more contentious ideas such as expanding Pell eligibility for short-term career education programs. He also proposed expanding Pell Grant eligibility for a quarter million new college students and boosting the value of the maximum award -- ideas that would typically be supported by Democrats. But critics said the plan falls well short of dealing with the most serious challenges in higher education, including accountability and affordability.

Inside Higher Ed reported earlier this week on Alexander’s plans to tie the funding for minority-serving institutions to a broader package of higher ed proposals. Now the prospects for extending the funding before a Sept. 30 deadline look dim.

The move illustrates the urgency Alexander feels to pass major higher education legislation before he retires after next year. Efforts to reach a bipartisan deal for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act have been stalled for months. And the piecemeal approach outlined by Alexander would allow him to accomplish some top priorities.

“I’ve been talking with Senator [Patty] Murray [the senior Democrat on the education committee] about reauthorizing and updating the Higher Education Act for several years,” Alexander said on the Senate floor Thursday. “While we continue to work on a larger package, Congress should pass a smaller bill such as the one I just described.”

The offer was met with frustration by congressional Democrats, who called for a clean passage of the FUTURE Act.

Murray, a Washington State Democrat and the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, called Alexander’s proposal disappointing and argued that the chamber should follow the House’s lead by voting on the bill without attaching other proposals.

“There is no reason at all to delay it a minute longer in the Senate,” she said.

Senator Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat who co-sponsored the FUTURE Act along with South Carolina GOP senator Tim Scott, requested passage of the bill on unanimous consent. That process requires that no senator object to the legislation, so Alexander’s objection creates a serious hurdle for supporters.

Jones said it was especially disappointing the bill couldn’t be passed on its own merit after it was approved on a voice vote in the House.

“These schools just want to be able to focus on their mission, and we need to give them the certainty they need to be able to do so,” he said.

The money at stake backs STEM-related education at minority-serving institutions. Supporters say that’s important for increasing diversity in science and engineering professions. Unlike other Title III money, the funding is mandatory, meaning Congress doesn’t have to appropriate it each year and colleges have more certainty when they set their budgets.

Of the $255 million in Title III, Part F, money, about $85 million goes specifically to historically black colleges. Those groups have been among the biggest advocates of passing the FUTURE Act. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, called for lawmakers to immediately pass the bill, which he called a "no-brainer" for both parties.

"Then, I want to sit down with Republicans and Democrats in both chambers and help everyone hammer out long-term solutions in higher education, including for HBCUs," he said in a statement. "I have spent over 50 years of my life in higher education, and I know the importance of the HEA. However, first things first -- pass the FUTURE Act.”

Jon Fansmith, director of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said it’s not clear, though, if the funding will be approved before the deadline later this month.

“Probably the thing that’s frustrating as an organization in favor of getting the FUTURE Act passed is there’s not a clear path forward,” he said.

Fansmith said college groups aren’t likely to push for passage of the package Alexander outlined, either, in part because they haven’t yet seen any legislative language.

“Beyond that, it seems a little difficult to understand why the FUTURE Act needs to be held up to achieve the other goals,” he said. “The FUTURE Act could be passed today in the Senate.”

The package of higher ed bills Alexander put together drew from a range of priorities with bipartisan support in the Senate, although they didn’t match the demands of Democrats or higher ed advocates in each case.

There is broad support for simplifying the FAFSA, and the Tennessee senator called for cutting the application from 108 questions to between 17 and 30. Just last year Alexander and Murray worked together to pass the FAFSA Act, legislation that would allow applicants to answer more than 20 questions automatically by allowing the IRS to share family income information with the Department of Education.

There’s also growing momentum behind repealing a 1994 ban on federal aid to incarcerated students. Advocates were visiting congressional offices this week to push for support for reinstating Pell Grants in prisons. That goal has even received an endorsement from the White House.

Alexander’s proposal, however, would restore grant aid only for incarcerated students who are eligible for parole.

He also called for passing legislation called the JOBS Act that would allow students to use Pell Grants for credential programs as short as eight weeks. Community college associations and business groups in Washington want to see that bill passed. Some consumer advocates and higher ed scholars, though, have questioned the return on some short-term credentials.

Although Alexander has previously mentioned the College Transparency Act among bipartisan bills he envisioned including in a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, he didn’t include the plan for a federal student-level data system in the package he outlined Thursday.

A piecemeal approach to updating the Higher Education Act would be welcomed by groups eager to see any progress on priorities like a streamlined FAFSA. But it could remove incentives for lawmakers to address thornier issues, like college accountability or campus sexual misconduct, that have created roadblocks for a comprehensive deal.

Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, said the group supports many of the measures Alexander discussed. But passing narrow legislation on those priorities could come at the cost of discussions in Congress on more difficult challenges.

“Reauthorization packages are much like putting together a complex puzzle. However, a small package like this takes critical pieces out of the puzzle,” she said.

Ben Miller, vice president for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said the package outlined by Alexander “falls short of the big changes necessary.”

“It’s past time for Congress to tackle the big challenges head-on by passing a state-federal partnership, enhanced accountability measures, improved access to data and greater protections for student loan borrowers,” he said in a statement.

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Massive surge in college student voting in 2018

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 00:00

Turnout among college student voters more than doubled from the 2014 to 2018 midterm elections, according to a new report suggesting that a traditionally apathetic voting bloc may significantly influence next year’s presidential contest and politics at large.

Political researchers say efforts by colleges and universities to boost student civic engagement are paying off and that nearly 40 percent of students who were eligible to vote cast ballots in the 2018 elections, a significant upswing from 19 percent in the 2014 election. The change reflects a nationwide rise in voting participation in nearly every age demographic, but the spike among students is particularly noticeable.

The report released Thursday by Tufts University's Institute for Democracy and Higher Education details the surge in college student voting. The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, which launched in 2013, is now widely considered to be the best gauge of student voting patterns.

The institute's researchers collected the enrollment records of 10 million students from more than 1,000 colleges and universities to determine registration and voter participation rates among their students. Institutions that take part in the study receive a tailored report with this information, which is often used to develop their civic learning and voter-engagement strategies. If many students at a particular campus take advantage of the early voting times, for example, administrators there might add another polling station during that period.

Administrative efforts on civic engagement were not so precise or common in the past, but college leaders are more keen to embrace the heightened student activism that emerged on campuses in the years preceding and following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, said Nancy Thomas, the director of the Tufts institute. The political climate and President Trump’s controversial rhetoric about issues such as immigration, gun violence, policing, free speech and racial topics spurred increased advocacy among students and drove them to the polls, Thomas said.

Although she stressed that the research could not attribute the increased political engagement solely to student reaction to the president or the policies of his administration, "I do think students were very motivated by the public policy issues right now, and issues of diversity and inclusion," she said.

At Harvard University, where the voting rate more than doubled from 2014 to 2018, about 49 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the last midterm elections.

Teddy Landis, a senior at Harvard, said students “showed their voices mattered” over those four years.

“President Trump is on the TV all day, on our Twitter feeds all day; we are seeing him everywhere we go, and it made it less and less possible to sit on the sidelines,” Landis said.

The study also found that voting rates were up among students of all races.

About 24 percent of black women voted in the 2014 election, which was the highest of any demographic group, and the trend continued in 2018 with 43 percent of black women casting votes. The biggest increase in student voter participation was among Hispanic women -- 14 percent of them voted in 2014, but nearly 38 percent voted in 2018. Shifting student demographics at colleges may have contributed to changes in which racial groups voted more, the study notes.

Student voting rates, especially during a non-presidential-election year, have historically been poor, as the 2014 Tufts study showed. Thomas attributed past voting trends to college administrators’ reluctance to prioritize or promote political or civic engagement activities. Few college presidents want a repeat of the student activism movements of the 1960s and 1970s that roiled college campuses, or to have their offices occupied by angry students, Thomas said.

College administrators have also been nervous about increased scrutiny from some conservative lawmakers and their declining support for higher education. Multiple studies have demonstrated that Republicans in particular sometimes do not see the value in higher education. Fear of appearing overly political or partisan by promoting voting or voter registration drives on campus may have hamstrung administrators, Thomas said, adding that legislators’ negative opinions of higher education could lead them to slash universities’ budgets.

But now many more administrators are incorporating yearlong civic education across academic disciplines, holding more politically oriented programs on campus and adding opportunities for students to register to vote. Civic advocacy organizations nationwide work with college administrators to accomplish these goals.

Rachel Clay is the southeast regional coordinator of one such group, the Campus Vote Project, the student-focused arm of the nonpartisan Fair Elections Center, which tries to remove voting barriers. She works primarily with institutions in North Carolina.

Colleges should weave voter registration and lessons about voting into orientation and other programs and not treat it as a siloed issue, Clay said.

She said the most successful programs are those that give students every opportunity to register to vote. For instance, students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are given a checklist when they move out of the dormitories that asks them whether they've updated their voter registration with their new address.

College students already face unique barriers when attempting to vote. Though a 1979 Supreme Court decision, Symm v. United States, affirmed students' right to vote in the jurisdiction where they attend college, those jurisdictions sometimes attempt to prevent them voting on grounds of “not being a part of the community,” Clay said.

Students also may be unfamiliar with how to register in the state where they are enrolled, or the state might have laws that require certain identification that can be difficult to obtain.

Tennessee, for example, accepts all government-issued IDs -- but not a student ID. Texas also does not accept student IDs for voting and doesn’t offer same-day voter registration, so students must register by a certain deadline only a month or so into the academic year.

Lawmakers are taking notice that students -- who overwhelmingly tend to vote liberal -- may play a role in the upcoming election. Some lawmakers have tried to limit early voting centers on campuses, as a result. For example, the former Maine governor Paul LePage, a Republican, went so far as to disseminate misleading information about the requirements for voting.

Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor of Iowa, recently was accused of disenfranchising college voters by scheduling two special elections on dates when certain students would not be on campus.

Politico documented how Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, a staunch conservative and Trump supporter, tried to shift the academic calendar so his student body, which is largely right-leaning, would be around to influence local elections.

“We’ve got this all over the country now, with people putting up barriers and impediments to the college student being able to register and being able to vote,” said Dan A. Lewis, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University.

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Anglo-Saxon studies group says it will change its name amid bigger complaints about where the field is going

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 00:00

The International Society of Anglo-Saxonists voted to change its name, the group’s advisory board announced Thursday. The move comes amid internal disputes about the direction of the group and of medieval studies more broadly. No news on what the group will be called now, however.

Anglo-Saxon studies “has always had problems, not unlike any other field,” independent scholar Mary Rambaran-Olm said this week. Yet “we seem to be one of the least equipped and slow to move ourselves into the 21st century with regard to tackling racism, sexism, inclusiveness, representation” and other issues, she added.

Resignations and Accusations of Inaction

Rambaran-Olm made waves earlier this month when she announced her resignation as ISAS's second vice president. She did so at the RaceB4Race conference held at Washington's Folger Shakespeare Library. The event was organized this year for medieval and early modern race scholars.

In comments to Inside Higher Ed and in her writing, Rambaran-Olm has said her field is rife with elitism, bullying and discrimination that graduate students and early-career researchers, in particular, either suffer through or flee.

Within ISAS, she said via email, “There was no way we were going to be able to ‘fix’ the multitude of problems in the field, but as the field's largest organization we should have moved more quickly to address the glaring issues which might then send a message to the field and more importantly to victims who we owe this to.” There are examples of ethnic, religious or sexual minorities succeeding in Anglo-Saxon studies, she said, “but very often they fit the mold and it is often a case where these individuals are ‘allowed’ in by gatekeepers.”

Irina Dumitrescu, a professor of English and medieval studies at the University of Bonn, in Germany, also publicly resigned from ISAS’s advisory board last week in solidarity with Rambaran-Olm. In her resignation letter, she cited the society’s “refusal to deal with certain pressing issues (such as greater inclusion in governance, protections of sexual predators and abusers, lack of clear complaint policy), and slowness in others,” such as the name vote.

“I regret very much that I did not do more to push for change,” she said, noting that she had both witnessed and experienced a culture of abuse -- and told the board this summer, to no avail.

One senior scholar named by multiple sources as a perpetrator of abuse against women in the field did not respond to a request for comment. But members of ISAS have repeatedly asked that his membership be revoked.

ISAS -- whose members study the language, literature, history and culture of fifth- to 11th-century England -- chose its name upon its formation in the early 1980s. Yet it’s “long been recognized that the term 'Anglo-Saxonist' is problematic,” the advisory board said in its statement about the name change. “It has sometimes been used outside the field to describe those holding repugnant and racist views, and has contributed to a lack of diversity among those working on early medieval England and its intellectual and literary culture.”

In a separate email to ISAS members, the group's executive director, Robin Norris, said there will be a process for selecting a new name. Norris also resigned from that position, saying, "We made you wait too long for change."

Beyond ISAS

Scholars' concerns go beyond ISAS. Last year, for example, saw a proposed boycott of the Western Michigan University Medieval Institute's International Congress on Medieval Studies, and a related push for more inclusive, self-critical sessions for the 2019 gathering.

“Now is an urgent, contested time in medieval studies and in the world at large,” read an open letter of concern published by the BABEL Working Group, which supports the congress. “Responding to the field's evolution would mean acknowledging its heightened interest in the perspectives of scholars of color and creating space for these underrepresented voices.” The statement was signed by many individual scholars and along with the Medievalists of Color group.

There was backlash to the letter: Richard Utz, chair of the School of Literature, Media and Communication at the University of Georgia, wrote in Inside Higher Ed that he supports diversity but rejected “the dotted line the letter of concern insinuates between the faculty of the Medieval Institute, on the one hand, and the racist neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Va., on the other.”

Scholars in a number of fields, including medieval studies, have said they're worried about the misappropriation of terms and symbols by white supremacist groups in recent years. And some of the “public interest (and some scholarship) is imbricated with some of the problematic traditions in the history of the reception of medievalia in postmedieval times (for example: nationalism, racism, toxic masculinity),” Utz also wrote. But instead of more “‘socially sorted’ sessions for intra-academic questions among those who already share a similar identity,” he said, “we need more occasions during which the academic drawbridge is lowered so that real and difficult conversations with nonacademic publics may happen.”

And then there was backlash to the backlash. Joshua Eyler, a medievalist who is currently the director of faculty development at the University of Mississippi, for instance, wrote on his blog that Utz was missing the point.

Listen, Eyler said, “to the loud calls coming from many angles by medievalists of color, LGBT scholars, early-career scholars and more. Or listen to the whisper networks that have always existed. But we must listen. The project of inclusivity in medieval studies is a big one, and it will take a collective effort of all of us to make it possible." The field can't "reduce the efforts to pat solutions like counting sessions, because the issues are structural and will take a lot of work," he added. "The work is essential, though, and we must attend to it carefully.”

‘The Only Person of Color at the Table’

Ayanna Thompson, director of the statewide Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a member of the RaceB4Race executive committee, said the organization is the result of a January symposium “by and for premodern scholars of color working on issues of race in premodern literature, history and culture.”

That symposium came about because many medievalists of color who proposed panels on race for the Western Michigan congress saw their ideas rejected, Thompson said. She thought her research center could be a venue for those scholars to present and dialogue with each other, and more than 300 people attended.

RaceB4Race now has the funding for symposia twice a year as an alternative to conferences that Thompson said “have not worked to be inclusive.”

Of Rambaran-Olm, Thompson said that she hadn’t met in her person prior to the Washington event, but “admired the way she has been working to make ISAS more inclusive.” Everyone was “shocked when she announced her resignation,” and there were audible gasps in the room, “but it was clear that her work with ISAS was taking a personal toll.”

Rambaran-Olm spoke about what it felt like to be the “only person of color at the table, and how her ideas were routinely discounted and ignored," Thompson said. 

She added that she's worked to make the Shakespeare Association of America more inclusive and so was "personally dismayed that Mary decided to step away from the table" at ISAS. Yet Thompson was a already a full professor when she “decided to stay and fight." Rambaran-Olm doesn't have that status. 

What’s In a Name?

ISAS’s name, then, is just one of a series of concerns underrepresented scholars and their allies have about medieval studies. But it’s arguably a relatively easy, meaningful change to make: Erik Wade, a visiting lecturer at Bonn, among others, has argued that the term 'Anglo-Saxon' has long been used to create and enforce racial hierarchies.

Serious discussions about changing the group’s name have been going on for more than two years, according to the board. An ISAS member submitted a formal proposal for a vote in May, and the issue was debated at length at the society’s summer meeting in New Mexico. Presentations and discussions there “showed a wide range of views on the topic, and that above all there was a strong groundswell of desire for change.”

The group said its timeline for the vote was bumped up as “pressure from members and social media mounted,” especially after Rambaran-Olm’s departure.

“The board is grateful to Mary for her many contributions to the society,” reads the ISAS statement. “At the same time, we recognize that many of our colleagues have felt marginalized and unwelcome within ISAS, and pledge to effect changes to the way the society is run. We accept that we were not as transparent or quick at responding to criticism as we could have been, and commit to do better.”

Other changes to the way ISAS operates are on the way.

“We are strongly committed to rapid and transparent progress on these important matters, which are critical to the future of our society and our field of scholarship more generally," the board said. "We are grateful for the patience and support of members as we begin to rebuild bridges between the divisions in the society.”

Timothy Graham, president of ISAS and distinguished professor at the University of New Mexico, said this week that it’s clear Rambaran-Olm “raised important issues that need to be addressed.” There has been “substantial online dialogue within the society over the last week,” he added, “with many members contributing thoughtfully from their perspectives as teachers and researchers within our field. It is clear that there are changes ahead for the society.”

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Report shows growth in student debt is slowing

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 00:00

Student loan borrowers who earned bachelor's degrees in 2018 had an average debt of $29,200, up 2 percent from their peers in the Class of 2017, the Institute for College Access & Success said in its annual student debt report Thursday.

That represents a slight slowing in the rate of borrowing, as the average debt level for borrowers rose at a steady average of 4 percent a year between 1996 and 2012 and slowed after that between 2012 and 2016 before reaching the 2 percent it rests at now.

The data in the annual study by TICAS, as the group is known, come from self-reporting from universities.

The study looks at students who earn bachelor's degrees from four-year institutions. They are not the students most likely to struggle with student loan debt (those who do not complete a degree), but the approach allows for easy comparison across time and states, said Debbie Cochrane, executive vice president of TICAS. "There are a lot of different ways to look at debt.”

The study finds that roughly two-thirds, or 65 percent, of 2018 bachelor's degree recipients had taken out student loans. While student debt continues to climb, the rate of growth of student borrowing has slowed some since 2012, when people were still recovering from the recession and student borrowing increased by about $1,100 per student.

TICAS’s report on 2018 graduates showed that states with lower rates of debt were concentrated in the West, while states with more debt were mostly in the Northeast. This is true to past trends. The state with the highest debt average is Connecticut, and the state with the highest likelihood of having debt was New Hampshire. Utah was at the bottom of the list in both of those categories.

According to Cochrane, this can be partially explained by the demographics of students in these states. At Western universities, students tend to be local and pay in-state tuition, while in the Northeast students tend to attend smaller nonprofit colleges that cost more.

Sandy Baum, a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, has found similar trends in the annual studies she does with the College Board.

Baum noted that borrowing per undergraduate student has gone down since the recession, and that while there is still a high amount of student debt, borrowing is leveling off.

Some contributing factors to this include the cost of public institutions having gone up more slowly, a shift made possible in part by states' increased spending on student aid and higher education appropriations. Changing enrollment patterns are also a factor, she said; for example, fewer people are enrolled in for-profit institutions.

“Students are borrowing more money than they did a generation ago, but a different demographic of student is going to college,” said Baum, emphasizing the need to make sure that students are getting a good enough education to afford the debt they are accruing.

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New presidents or provosts: BYU CFP Franciscan Humboldt Lindenwood Miami SEMO SFSU Whitewater

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 00:00
  • Michael P. Godard, interim provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri, has been selected as provost at Southeast Missouri State University.
  • Tom Jackson Jr., president of Black Hills State University, in South Dakota, has been named president of Humboldt State University, in California.
  • Lynn Mahoney, provost and vice president for academic affairs for California State University at Los Angeles, has been chosen as president of San Francisco State University, also in California.
  • Jason Osborne, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at Clemson University, in South Carolina, has been appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Miami University, in Ohio.
  • Father David Pivonka, director of Franciscan Pathways, has been selected as president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio.
  • John R. Porter, vice president of services for Gulf Business Machines, in Dubai, has been chosen as president of Lindenwood University, in Missouri.
  • C. Shane Reese, dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Brigham Young University, in Utah, has been promoted to academic vice president there.
  • Amy Rell, dean for the Office of Global Education at Regis University, in Colorado, has been chosen as provost at the College for Financial Planning, also in Colorado.
  • Dwight C. Watson, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs at Southwest Minnesota State University, has been named chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.
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Why Latin America’s left loves the petroleum economy

Economist, North America - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 07:48

“COMMUNISM IS SOVIET power plus electrification,” declared Vladimir Lenin in 1920. A century later, Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s methodology for the redemption of Mexico is his morning press conference plus oil. He wants to raise oil output by almost half, and is poised to build Dos Bocas, an $8bn refinery that will be his country’s largest. Mr López Obrador (or AMLO, as he is known) defends this as boosting Mexico’s energy security and sovereignty.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president, claims that environmentalism is a left-wing plot. Latin American leftists’ enthusiasm for oil refineries suggests otherwise. In Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president from 2003 to 2011, ordered Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, to build four of them. In Ecuador, Rafael Correa conducted a $2.2bn upgrade to a refinery. Peru’s Ollanta Humala began a similar $3.5bn upgrade.

There are good reasons for AMLO to want to exploit Mexico’s natural resources to the full. Oil can help power growth and fill the treasury. But he is going about it in a different way from his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, who opened up oil and gas to private investment but left Pemex, the state oil company, indebted and shot through with corruption. In May, AMLO’s government announced that no private bidders had met the terms for Dos Bocas’s...

El Alto shares Evo Morales’s indigenous identity, not his socialism

Economist, North America - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 07:48

EL ALTO HOVERS over La Paz, Bolivia’s administrative capital, like the blade of a guillotine. In 1781 Tupac Katari, an indigenous leader, laid siege to Spanish La Paz 500 metres (1,600 feet) below. In the early 2000s protests by alteños forced out of office two Bolivian presidents: Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who sought to export Bolivia’s gas through Chile, a rival, and Carlos Mesa, his successor, who resisted their demands to nationalise gas reserves. That paved the way for the election in 2005 of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, and a member of the Aymara people, who regard El Alto as their capital. 

Mr Morales is counting on its support as he tries to persuade Bolivians to extend his 13 years in office in an election due in October. But alteños are independent-minded. Some resent his decision to run in defiance of a referendum vote in 2016. But their reservations run deeper. Mr Morales is a leftist, and El Alto is an entrepreneurial place that likes low taxes and lax regulation. Its support of his socialism is selective. Bolivia’s most revolutionary city is in some ways its most liberal.

El Alto, at 4,150 metres the world’s highest city, has thrived during Mr Morales’s presidency. With a population of 900,000 it is Bolivia’s second-...

Climate change threatens the Panama Canal

Economist, North America - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 07:48

TAKE IN THE view from atop Gatun dam and fathom what is missing. Container ships float idly on Lake Gatun, near the midpoint of the Panama Canal, awaiting passage to the Caribbean sea, their gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. What look like islands are hilltops poking up from a valley that American engineers flooded a century ago, creating what was then the world’s largest artificial lake. All seems well. But a security guard from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) points down to a problem: the water lapping against the dam is 1.8 metres (six feet) lower than it should be.

That water is Panama’s lifeblood. Lake Gatun stores rain during the wet season, which usually runs from mid-April through to mid-December, for use in the dry one. It supplies drinking water to Panama city, the capital, as does man-made Lake Alajuela nearby. It is also two-fifths of the canal, a shortcut between oceans for 3% of the world’s maritime trade, as well as for cruise ships and an occasional nuclear submarine. The ACP provides an eighth of the national government’s revenue. “Water is money here,” says Oscar McKay, an engineer at the dam site.

A normal rainy season fills Lake Gatun to 26.5 metres above sea level. By the end of the dry season that usually falls to 25.9 metres. Prolonged dry seasons have big consequences. If the water level falls...