English Language Feeds

IES Abroad merger grows study abroad ties

The PIE News - 12 hours 16 min ago

US-based IES Abroad and the Study Abroad Foundation have announced a strategic merger which will mean greater cohesion between the US-outbound not-for-profit and SAF which provides study abroad opportunities to students enrolled at universities in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries.

“The merger strengthens both organisations and enhances our mission to provide innovative, high-quality academic experiences to students worldwide,” said Mary M. Dwyer, IES Abroad president and CEO, who will lead the new organisation.

“This merger also opens up the range of services we provide to the educational institutions with which we each partner. Together, we can make a transformative difference in the lives of even more students across the globe.”

“We can make a transformative difference in the lives of even more students across the globe”

IES Abroad was founded in 1950 and is a well known name in US study abroad – it has provided more than 120,000 US students with the opportunity to study or intern abroad.

SAF, also a US-based not-for-profit, was founded in 2000 and has enabled more than 9,000 students from 180+ universities in Asia to study abroad on programs at 80 host colleges and universities in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America.

The new organisation will now serve an academic consortium and international university network of more than 500 top-ranked universities in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America, and South America.

IES has also launched a number of initiatives to boost study abroad participation including offering $4m in scholarships and an online film festival which recently earned a bronze Telly award, in the ‘campaign not for profit’ section.

To participate, US students make a short film about their experience abroad, which is assessed by a judging panel including Willard Huyck, the Oscar-nominated writer of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Amy Ruhter McMillan, associate vice president of marketing, told The PIE News that the online film festival has generated huge viral awareness of study abroad and the IES Abroad brand.

“Students of the age that are about to study abroad, and are studying abroad, this is how they want to consume content so they can see it in motion,” she said.

“We knew that students now are all taking so many films on their cameras and it’s not like before when you had to really be a professional to go home and edit it,” she said.

“For us, we have almost 800,000 views on our Youtube channel. That’s huge because that’s the most authentic content we can have.”

The post IES Abroad merger grows study abroad ties appeared first on The PIE News.

Article sparks new round of criticism of costs associated with academic conferences

Inside Higher Ed - 13 hours 46 min ago

Scholars -- particularly those working off the tenure track, with little to no access to institutional professional development or travel funds -- have long criticized the costs associated with attending academic conferences. But a recent round of criticism comes from tenure-track and tenured professors, as well, with some proposing alternative means of meeting in response to logistical, political and, of course, financial concerns.

“Yes, being an academic is a privilege. Yes, we are lucky to get to see the insides of conference centers the world over. And yes, we need to have a discussion about the cost we’re required to pay to keep this privilege,” Pamela L. Gay, an assistant research professor of astronomy at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, wrote in a Medium blog post called “The Unacknowledged Costs of Academic Travel.”

Conference costs -- from major purchases, such as airfare, to smaller ones, such as in-transit Wi-Fi -- can quickly eat up significant shares of academics’ budgets, Gay says. While that may be feasible for more senior faculty members or deans who can afford to personally cover what they are not reimbursed for or be without funds while awaiting reimbursement, she adds, it’s not for newer, lower-paid professors and adjuncts.

Gay goes on to call conference costs, even those reimbursed by institutions, interest-free loans or savings given to a college or university from a faculty member, given the lag time on reimbursements. Moreover, she says, these institutions benefit from their faculty members attending conferences, and the conferences aren’t optional: professors must attend them to be promoted.

Despite the cultural and professional taboos surrounding talk of money, Gay says, “We need to stop being silent, and start recognizing that academia taxes people for the right to keep and advance their careers.” If institutions aren’t going to pay people more but still ask them to travel, she wrote, “changes need to be made.”

First, she wrote, “Anyone who has to travel for work needs work to pay for travel, and to pay what it can up front with timely reimbursement on the back end.” Second, “We need to reconsider per diem rates in the context [of] connectivity costs; incidentals needs to be sufficient to include Wi-Fi.” And next, “We need to consider [the] creation of travel kits that can be checked out and that contain cables and batteries and all the other random stuff that is needed.”

Gay’s piece resonated with Karen Kelsky, a tenured professor-turned-academic career coach who moderates the blog The Professor Is In. Kelsky said she appreciated, in particular, Gay’s observation that “even those with conference travel budgets are actually providing uncompensated loans to their institutions in the many weeks of waiting for reimbursement.” And that “doesn't begin to address the inequities confronting all those without conference travel budgets,” Kelsky added.

Matt Reed, vice president for learning at Brookdale Community College, responded to Gay’s piece on his regular Inside Higher Ed blog, saying he echoed her “sense that we need to update some of the processes by which we allocate travel funding, such as thinking to include Wi-Fi as an expense.” Reed also said he was a fan of a “per diem” system, as opposed to itemized meals, as it “covers tips, and it lets people allocate meals as they see fit.”

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said conference trends will vary by discipline. In most, he said, "in-person and virtual conferences will each have their place, serving different functions. Digital networking has not replaced in person interaction." Instead, he said, "these forms of community building enhance one another, as people who know one another online meet in person, and then extend interaction between the conference." One of AHA's most popular receptions in recent years has been "Twitterstorians and Bloggers," for example, Grossman added.

As for costs, Grossman said that many scholarly societies are "quite conscious" of them. Some organizations subsidize travel for graduate students and or underemployed faculty members, he said, while some subsidize child care. Many, he said, look carefully at hotel costs and airline routes. 

Nevertheless, Matthew McKay, director of student life and diversity at the State University of New York at Adirondack, said that the “very nature of a national conference exudes economic privilege.” Registration, travel, lodging, food and “even education (looking at you pre-conference workshops) all cost a premium for organizations who value ‘social justice and diversity,’” McKay wrote via email to Inside Higher Ed. “If we really valued equity, wouldn’t we have a sliding scale for conference registration based on your gross salary? Would we offer all-inclusive sponsored rates for those who cannot or do not have the institutional/personal means to attend a conference? Wouldn’t educational sessions all be free to members?” 

Saying that outcry over California adding Texas to its list of places to which state-funded travel is prohibited “exudes” privilege, McKay asked, “If you continue to do something over and over but expect a different result, what does that mean for us? …When do we take the actions necessary to cultivate systemic change?”

Predictions for the Future

It may be hard to generalize about academic conferences. They include intimate gatherings of scholars who share highly specialized interests and gathering of large disciplines that attract thousands. The latter category includes many search committee members, typically subsidized in some form by their departments, but also many graduate students seeking jobs. Those students are often there on their own dime, having just spent their savings on interview attire.

As its title suggests, a new book, Academic Conferences as Neoliberal Commodities (Palgrave Macmillan), is also critical of the contemporary conference scene. Author Donald J. Nicolson, a former academic researcher and journalist, describes social sciences gatherings in particular as moving away from an authentic “intellectual communication” tradition to a kind of see-and-be-seen one. The book also notes the costs -- financial, time and environmental -- associated with conference travel and discusses the lack of research on what impact conferences ultimately have.

Beyond fixing the funding and reimbursement problem, are academic conferences even worth it, to academics, disciplines or institutions? There are signs they’re already waning, or changing form. Just this spring, for example, the American Society of Microbiology announced plans to slash small-conference organizing, citing decreased attendance and resultant financial woes for the organization.

Increased travel restrictions to the U.S. imposed by the Trump administration have led some to brainstorm about online meetings. The Feminist and Women’s Studies Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland, for example, is holding an upcoming virtual conference, in solidarity with those affected by travel mobility issues. In addition to an in-person conference in September, the association will host a two-week meeting on its website. Presenters may submit blog posts, videos, slide shows or short film presentations, based on preference. Viewers can comment, and dialogue will be encouraged through social media.

“We feel that this enables feminist academic dialogue in a way that is as inclusive as possible, and that overcomes some of the barriers that traditional conferences present,” Charlotte Mathieson, a lecturer in English at the University of Surrey and association chair, told the blog Not So Popular. “While physical conferences are an invaluable way to share research, many academics find conference travel prohibitively difficult: the practicalities of attending imposes demands on individuals’ time, finances and mobility, as well as requiring time away from family and caring responsibilities.”

Responding in part to Gay’s post, Matthew Cheney, a Ph.D. candidate in literature at the University of New Hampshire, wrote on his own blog that in his experience, “conferences are mostly a waste of time and money.” He, too, calls conferences a symptom of the “neoliberalization” of the academy, as well as a parade of “winners” with tenure-track jobs that cover their travel expenses and then some.

“I'm sure there are winners who don't like academic conferences, but lots of them do, or else conferences wouldn't be such a central part of academic life,” Cheney wrote. “In an age when we can instantly share our work with each other, when we can zap our video image across the world, when anybody with an internet connection can set up a website and publish just about anything, there's no great need for academics to get together and read papers at each other, as they do in my discipline. The scholarship can be shared and discussed otherwise.”

Cheney doesn’t suggest doing away with the conference. “But don’t make it mandatory,” he says. “Don’t judge people's CVs by how many conference papers they've presented. Don't create an expectation that to be a good academic we must all join the jet set.”

Kelsky said that if she had to predict the future of academic conferences, she’d anticipate a further shift toward virtual conferences, with more interviews via Skype, in recognition of the financial constraints facing many participants. At the same time, she guessed there would be a continued reliance on in-person conferences for those who can afford them.

In other words, she said, it’s “the continued feudalization of academia, where those at the top occupy a more and more isolated enclave of privilege and opportunity hoarding, at the expense of everyone else. Virtual options will mitigate this to some extent, but as you know, some of the deepest human engagement remains face-to-face, so that option will exist for, and benefit, those with funds.”

Financial concerns notwithstanding, Reed, writing for Inside Higher Ed, said he wished academic conferences were a bigger part of community college life and cautioned against writing them off too quickly.

Having seen the “effects of a long-term underfunding of travel, I can attest that the cost of information missed and connections not made is cumulative. After a while, people don’t know what they don’t know,” he wrote. “Too much time in a local bubble leads to a lack of a comparative perspective, and a tendency to conflate the way things have been with the way they must be.”

Reed said teleconferences work “great,” but best as a follow-up. “There will be times when individual people can’t travel much; when the kids were in preschool, I kept travel to a minimum,” he added. “But when entire colleges keep it to a minimum, they cut down the future to the size of the present. That should be the last thing academics should do.”

Worth noting, too, is that many academics bemoaned the loss of networking opportunities when the microbiology society announced their plan to cut local conferences.

The Modern Language Association has long been a target of conference cost backlash, since a large share of its members teach off the tenure track. Rosemary Feal, the association’s longtime executive director, said, “It's logical to wonder how relevant” conferences are today. At MLA, she said, members cite exchanging scholarly ideas face-to-face and networking with colleagues as top reasons for attending. Additional benefits include professional development experiences, talks by scholars, job fairs and book exhibits, she added.

Over all, Feal said, “there will always be a place for in-person scholarly meetings” -- and plenty of opportunities for scholarly exchange using technology. MLA's open-access repository, CORE, for example, lets humanities scholars share their work pre- and post-publication, Feal said. “While this kind of scholarly enterprise is not the equivalent of an academic conference, it is a conferring of minds, and that is the heart of our intellectual endeavor.”

AdjunctsResearchEditorial Tags: Career AdviceFacultyImage Source: Getty ImagesIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Black women graduate students enroll in higher numbers at for-profits

Inside Higher Ed - 13 hours 46 min ago

Graduate student enrollment is declining at for-profit institutions, but the sector continues to resonate with one particular demographic -- black women.

“Of black bachelor’s degree recipients, women will more significantly go on to get master’s degrees,” said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow in the education policy program at the Urban Institute. “African-American women are more likely to go to the for-profit sector.”

Overall, African-American men and women are overrepresented at for-profit master’s degree programs. While accounting for 9 percent of the nation's mix of college students, in 2007 they comprised a roughly a quarter of the for-profit sector’s graduate enrollment, according to Baum, who cited a report she co-authored.

And the numbers of black women who choose for-profit graduate education have increased slightly. In 2007, 24 percent of black women graduate students chose to pursue their degrees at for-profit institutions, Baum said, according to federal data. In 2014, 31 percent of black women graduate students were enrolled in for-profit colleges compared to 13 percent of all female graduate students and 9 percent of white women graduate students, according to an analysis of federal data by Elizabeth Baylor, the director of postsecondary education policy at the Center for American Progress.

Total graduate student enrollment at for-profits decreased by more than 7 percent from 2015 to 2016, to 263,498 students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

For critics of the sector, the higher proportion of African-American women enrolling in for-profit master’s programs is an issue.

“This trend is concerning because for-profit graduate education is a relatively new sector and its results are unknown,” Baylor said in an email. “Generally people pursue advanced degrees because they are associated with higher lifetime earnings and better job security. However, policy makers and the public don’t know if that is, in fact, true for people who attend for-profit colleges.”

Graduate institutions don’t have to report completion rates to the federal government, she said, or break out student loan repayment rates by level of education or loan program.

“While it may be true that attending for-profit colleges might not be good because of student debt and poor outcomes, the outcomes depend on what majors are being pursued,” said Anthony Carnevale, a research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

According to an analysis by Carnevale, the most popular major among black women who enroll in for-profit graduate degree programs was business administration and management, at 27 percent.

Meanwhile, the median earnings for black women with graduate degrees from any institution are $60,000 for business majors and $50,000 for education majors, according to the analysis.

Baum said the decision to pursue a for-profit graduate degree could be driven by convenience, since these are degree programs that also exist at public institutions.

“The reality is that master’s degree programs by their nature enroll higher proportions of women, blacks, students from lower-income backgrounds and people who earn bachelor’s degrees at older ages,” said Steve Gunderson, president and chief executive officer of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the primary trade group for the for-profit sector. “The reality is that many of the master’s degree programs do not pay as well as those professional degree programs do as you get into those careers.”

Gunderson used graduate degrees in education as an example, noting that K-12 teachers typically earn a master’s degree, which improves their skills but doesn’t put them in a higher salary range.

“One thing our sector is proud of is that we meet students where they are in daily life,” Gunderson said. “We’re much better at scheduling academic programming in ways that work with their schedule that often includes full-time jobs or children, and that has a big impact on whether they attend a traditional graduate program.”

Some traditional graduate programs instead pride themselves on exclusivity rather than access, he said.

The flexibility also benefits employers who want their employees to continue working, said Baylor, but may offer a raise or promotion if the employee pursues a master’s degree.

“Sure, you can say they chose this and they have bachelor’s degrees, so they’re in a good position to make this decision,” Baum said. “But given the history of for-profit institutions -- the prices, debt levels associated with them and history of credibility in the labor market -- you have to at least question why this is a good decision for this group and not others.”

For-Profit Higher EdEditorial Tags: Diversity MattersGraduate educationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, July 25, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Email Teaser: For-Profit Graduate Schools Popular With Black Women

After jail sentence for Princeton Ph.D. student, scholars consider safety of research in Iran

Inside Higher Ed - 13 hours 46 min ago

How safe is it to do research in Iran? What are the risks, and have they changed?

Academics who have conducted research in the country weighed in on those questions following the recent news that a Princeton Ph.D. student, Xiyue Wang, had been sentenced by an Iranian court to 10 years in prison for alleged espionage. In reporting on Wang’s sentence, The Washington Post quoted the account of the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary, Mizan, which said that Wang was sentenced as part of an “infiltration project” involving the gathering of “confidential articles” to send to the U.S. State Department and Western academic institutions. The New York Times reported that Mizan accused Wang of having digitally archived 4,500 pages of documents and having done “super-confidential research for the U.S. Department of State, Harvard Kennedy School and British Institute of Persian Studies.”

Wang, a fourth-year graduate student of history at Princeton and an American citizen of Chinese descent, reportedly was studying the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1794 to 1925. News of his sentence came the same day Iran announced the arrest of the brother of President Hassan Rouhani as part of a corruption inquiry, in what the Times described as a seeming attempt by Rouhani’s hard-line rivals to undermine him.

Wang’s adviser, the Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin, told National Public Radio’s All Things Considered that Wang had reached out to established scholars prior to leaving for Iran and that he was well prepared. "Everything he did is normal -- absolutely everything he did is normal, standard practice for scholars in this region and elsewhere," Kotkin said.

Some scholars who have conducted research in Iran said the news of Wang’s jail sentence hit them hard. This is not the first time academics or students have been jailed in Iran, but Wang’s case stands out as somewhat unusual in a couple respects. Many of the other arrests have involved dual Iranian and American citizens, who the State Department warns face particular risk of arrest and detention. Scholars also pointed out that the subject of Wang’s historical research seems uncontroversial on its face.

“It gives me chills because I was doing the exact same thing between 2009 and 2011,” said Eric Lob, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Florida International University. “I was a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton doing fieldwork in Iran. I went there three times. Each trip was about three to four months of duration, and at the end of my third and last trip, I was detained. That was the last time I was there.”

Lob was doing research on politics and development in post-revolutionary Iran. “It was certainly a more sensitive topic,” he said. “I was doing not just archival research, but I was doing interviews with officials at the Ministry of Agriculture. They have various buildings around Tehran. I had been doing interviews at the Ministry of Agriculture at this particular building several times, and my last time doing interviews there the security forces came in at the middle of an interview with an official,” Lob recalled.

“They kept me for several hours -- they were making phone calls, they were shouting at me and accusing me of doing sensitive political research,” Lob continued. “Fortunately, because I had been there already on and off for over a year, some officials at the Ministry of Agriculture walked in after several hours and intervened on my behalf. These officials from the ministry were arguing with these intelligence or security agents. They finally agreed to release me and they told me never to come back to this building.”

“What’s so difficult is you can’t really predict what will happen there. That’s part of the stress as a researcher. There’s an arbitrariness about how things happen,” Lob said. He added that -- seemingly paradoxically -- the election and recent re-election of Rouhani, a moderate, to the presidency might actually increase the risk of arrest and detention for foreign researchers by rival hard-line and conservative forces that feel they are on the defensive.

Shervin Malekzadeh, a visiting professor of political science at Williams College, views the climate for foreign researchers in Iran with ambivalence. On the one hand, he described a flourishing academic atmosphere in Iran. On the other, he condemned the “completely arbitrary manner in which these scholars, researchers, travelers and private citizens are being snatched up by ‘the system.’”

“Not to be Pollyannaish about it, there are a lot of people who come and go to Iran -- with great hesitancy, perhaps -- and do this kind of work,” Malekzadeh said in a phone interview. “This is the open secret about academic research in Iran, specifically. I think North Korea might come to mind, or so-called closed states or rogue societies. Iran’s not like that. It has a very vibrant scientific and academic community that necessarily involves local actors doing research.”

“That a foreigner would show up and do that sort of research, there’s already a context, there’s already an infrastructure,” he continued. “It’s not like you’re coming from space. There will be other people in that room doing research with you.”

At the same time, Malekzadeh said, “there’s no way to anticipate what the red line is. This sort of scenario” -- Wang’s arrest -- “speaks to a situation that’s impossible to predict. I can’t emphasize enough how his subject matter cannot possibly have been sensitive.”

Malekzadeh said he would be hesitant to go to Iran right now, as he thinks tension that's playing out between different factions of Iran's political system increases the danger. At the same time, he said in a follow-up email, he remains convinced that “there is no closing of doors or systematic crackdown on research and study. The contradiction is that the lack of systematic suppression, what distinguishes Iran from, say, Turkey right now, that gives me hope that the research can and will (and must) continue. It is also what makes it so unnerving to carry out research in Iran.”

“As in many countries, fieldwork and research in Iran require local contacts, often scholars or students, who are more familiar with the informal rules of gaining access to materials which, in most cases, are ostensibly available to the public,” said Kevan Harris, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has done extensive research in Iran, including fieldwork observation, interviews with officials and archival research, and has written a forthcoming book from the University of California Press on politics and the welfare state in Iran.

“Citizenship sometimes hinders access, as does country of origin,” Harris said via email. “British and American researchers might be viewed more skeptically by administrators or officials than individuals from Germany, Italy or Turkey, for instance. There is always uncertainty of gaining access, and few incentives for archive officials to grant it to someone who knocks on the front door without anyone to vouch for them.”

“The National Archives and Library of Iran, where Wang hoped to conduct his research, is well curated and professionally organized,” Harris continued. “The reading room is full of students, scholars and dilettantes. Wang was conducting historical research on a conventional topic, far removed from the contemporary period and one on which many books inside Iran are published, but someone in Iran still construed this as a nefarious threat. The tragic irony for Xiyue Wang is that national archives in other Central Asian countries relevant to his studies on 19th-century diplomatic history, such as in Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan, are more closed off to foreign researchers than those in Iran.”

“People weigh the uncertainty on an ad hoc basis since it is incalculable,” Harris said. “As someone who supervises students who do fieldwork in many countries, I would say that such a challenge is not unique to Iran.”

“In my opinion it’s always been risky,” said one Iranian studies researcher who asked not to be named so as not to jeopardize future research travel to Iran. “I don’t know if it’s any riskier now than it ever was.”

Part of what makes research in Iran risky, this researcher said, is that the U.S. does not maintain diplomatic relations with Iran -- “and the rules they play by regarding American citizens are their rules.” (Since there is no American Embassy in Iran, the U.S. relies on the Swiss Embassy to provide protective services to American citizens.)

“I don’t know if it’s ever been 100 percent safe,” the researcher said. “I think you’ll just have to assume you’ll be watched and someone can misconstrue what you’re doing -- or in the case of the Princeton graduate student, they may have said, ‘Let’s grab him.’”

“The people who go anyway do it out of, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s an insanity, but a desire to complete their research and to learn, and, I think, most out of a love of Iran. That has to be part of it; otherwise it becomes too risky,” the researcher said.

Some scholars have assessed the risks as being too high, at least for themselves. Hussein Banai, an assistant professor at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies, was born in Iran and lived there until he was 15. He has not returned since 1999, when he participated in student demonstrations against the regime and was briefly detained. He studies liberalism in modern Iran and U.S.-Iran relations.

“I could very easily be seen as someone who’s trying to stoke some kind of trouble, so I’ve resolved not to go ever since I got serious about scholarly work,” Banai said. It’s “absolutely” a hindrance to feel unable to go there, he said. “I’ve seen it really be a hindrance to people whose work really requires ethnographic research; they need to be in touch not just with archives but with people. For those of us who do political research that relies on primary sources, it is a hindrance.”

Asked of the risk for researchers in Iran in general, Banai said, “One has to say after this latest arrest that it is no longer a kind of low to moderate [risk], but moderate to high. Not only has the emphasis shifted away from first Iranian citizens, then Iranian dual citizens and now American citizens, but it seems to be a part of a larger political score settling” between Iran’s hard-liners and moderates “that is just increasingly difficult to gauge and to properly assess ahead of time.”

Suzanne Maloney, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow for the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, said she advises students against travel to Iran.

There is no logic, no justification. Tehran detains foreigners (& Iranians) because it can. The only sure way to stay safe is to stay home.

— Suzanne Maloney (@MaloneySuzanne) July 17, 2017

“It has always been subject to a certain degree of uncertainty and risk simply because there is no American diplomatic presence there, but what I’ve seen is an uptick in the number of cases of individuals who are there, particularly via solo travel as researchers or on student internships, who find themselves subject to a higher degree of harassment and scrutiny and even in a number of cases detention, for no obvious reasons,” Maloney said in a phone interview. “These are not people who are engaging in obviously questionable behavior or whose work is overtly political.”

“I know this is like many countries -- students have to assume a certain degree of risk -- but I think given the possible consequences, even if still ultimately the risks are relatively low, I think it’s not a responsible choice to either encourage students to travel to Iran, to finance it, and to suggest that there are real ways to mitigate against this risk,” she said.

GlobalEditorial Tags: IranInternational higher educationResearchSafetyImage Caption: Xiyue WangIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

ACTA wants trustees to watch administrative spending ratio

Inside Higher Ed - 13 hours 46 min ago

Context is key for governing boards trying to exercise oversight of colleges and universities. It can also be surprisingly hard to come by, according to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

ACTA released new research today in an attempt to give trustees a financial benchmark for administrative spending and instructional costs. The group crunched 2015 data from more than 1,200 four-year nonprofit institutions to come up with median ratios of administrative spending to instructional spending for colleges and universities of various sizes and classifications.

The ratios come as many worry that administrative spending has risen faster than other types of spending at colleges and universities. ACTA wants them to be a tool for trustees trying to stop costs from rising. The group found that some types of small private nonprofit institutions spent a median of well over 50 cents on administration for every dollar they spent on instruction.

“People may be surprised, but it is the reality that not all boards receive the kind of financial information they need to make good, sound governance decisions,” said Michael Poliakoff, ACTA president.

“I hope this will be the springboard for a really good discussion,” he said. “Higher education governing boards typically have people who have been highly successful in the world of business and industry who understand profoundly the need for accurate metrics regularly delivered and carefully discussed.”

Skeptics and critics caution, however, that the ratio is not a perfect tool and can itself lack context. They warn that measuring administrative spending versus instructional spending is highly reliant on accounting practices that can be inexact -- or creative -- at some institutions. They also worried that trustees might be driven to move colleges and universities toward a median ratio that does not reflect the massive variations between different colleges and universities and the students they serve.

ACTA leaders say they attempted to be as conservative as possible when calculating the ratios, a process for which they used data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Data System. The research ACTA released lists its definition of instructional cost as “expansive,” saying it includes what institutions report to NCES as expenses for instruction, functions that have direct bearing on institutions’ academic enterprise and academic support. Academic support is further defined as including expenditures for libraries, museums, galleries and academic deans. It does not cover department chairpersons, though.

Administrative costs are only defined as what institutions report to NCES as institutional support for the day-to-day operating support of an institution. That includes general administrative services, executive planning, legal operations, fiscal operations, public relations and development. But it does not include student services like student activities, career services and financial aid staff. Nor does it include auxiliary enterprises like parking, housing or food services. Expenses for operating hospitals are generally not included, either.

Athletics is not included in the calculation. Those expenses would typically fall under either student services or auxiliary expenses, according to ACTA. The report does not address either of those categories.

ACTA leaders believe that the current set of factors included in the ratio keeps it applicable to as many institutions as possible. But they want to look at other areas of spending, such as student services, in the future.

With those definitions explained, ACTA reports that the ratio of an institution’s spending on administration relative to instruction can show its budget priorities. Combined with other measures, it says, the ratio can provide warning when administrative operations are growing faster than core academic functions, which could drive up tuition and fees.

Generally, ACTA found that large institutions had a lower administrative-to-instructional cost ratio than small institutions.

For example, small private baccalaureate colleges posted a median ratio of 0.64, meaning they spent 64 cents on administrative costs for every $1 they spent on instructional costs. Large public doctoral universities classified as having the highest level of research activity had a median ratio of only 0.17.

There are some important caveats, however. The size categories are not the same for public institutions as they are for private ones. Generally, categories for public institutions covered larger colleges and universities than their counterparts for private institutions. For example, the category for large public doctoral universities with the highest research activity covered institutions with enrollment of 26,580 to 45,796. The same category for private institutions covered colleges and universities with enrollments spanning 9,221 to 27,004.

The benchmarks are not intended as a tool for comparison between different types of institutions, said Armand Alacbay, ACTA vice president of trustee and legislative affairs. They are supposed to be a way to encourage good board governance.

“The idea of having these categories is so that boards can have a back-of-the-envelope figure to compare similar institutions,” he said. “We’re not intending to have a cross-sector comparison here.”

Small institutions might also be expected to spend relatively higher amounts on administration than their larger counterparts. They have fewer students -- and consequently smaller instructional costs -- across which to spread spending that can’t be avoided, such as the cost of complying with government requirements.

Still, Poliakoff said, small institutions should take note of the findings.

“This is a wake-up call for small institutions, which are absolutely vital for American higher education,” he said. “A large segment of students need these kinds of small institutions, and they are the most vulnerable, which means they are going to have to think creatively, which means it is not OK to have a disparity between spending on administration and spending on instruction.”

ACTA gave four specific recommendations for trustees: that they be knowledgeable about administrative spending; that they establish a standard set of financial metrics to use when they are asked to approve a major expenditure; that they work to ensure data quality and consistency; and that they look for ways to consolidate administrative functions.

A wide-ranging call to cut administrative functions might not sit well with college and university leaders. Many administrators are likely to view the recommended ratio with unease.

Producing a ratio that applies accurately to the wide range of colleges and universities in American higher education is not easy, said Richard Kneedler, president emeritus of Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania and former interim president at Rockford College in Illinois. Institutions of different sizes and types will need different spending levels, he said. So will institutions that serve different populations and institutions located in different areas.

“There is no system that’s going to account for a difference between an institution that has one building in the center of a town or a city and it’s not residential, and an institution that owns the top of a mountain somewhere in Tennessee and is responsible for 5,000 acres, has to have its own fire department and ambulance and police services and provide its own water and sewer,” Kneedler said. “Those are all administrative costs.”

Accounting practices can vary from institution to institution as well.

“You can’t do standard cost accounting in private higher education and have any certainty that from institution to institution you’re getting comparable numbers,” Kneedler said. “That really makes it troublesome to try to work across different institutions.”

Kneedler does not want to undercut the idea that there is value in benchmarking, he said. But he wanted to stress that the metrics sometimes make the story appear clearer than it actually is. Benchmarking is only a starting point from which to ask questions, he said.

Spending on administrative functions has generally outpaced spending in other areas, according to Steven Hurlburt, senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research and director of the Delta Cost Project.

Hurlburt outlined some notable differences between definitions ACTA used in calculating its ratio and those used in the Delta Cost Project. The ACTA definition of instruction differs from the Delta Cost Project’s education and related spending metric. ACTA’s inclusion of all expenses in the academic support category is wide-ranging.

“Academic support includes expenses of activities and services that support instruction, but also research and public service, which are definitely not related to instruction,” Hurlburt said in an email.

The Delta Cost Project calculation limits academic spending to its education-related portion.

Including academic support as a nonadministrative cost could also cause issues. Hurlburt gave the theoretical example of a college that moved to part-time contingent faculty but spent more on academic support administrators.

“The administration-to-instruction ratio would still be the same, but clearly less would be going to instruction and faculty,” he wrote.

Editorial Tags: College administrationImage Source: iStockIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Colleges start new academic programs

Inside Higher Ed - 13 hours 46 min ago
Editorial Tags: New academic programsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

France knocks US out of soft power top spot

The PIE News - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 06:13

The latest Soft Power 30 rankings show France’s ascent to the leading position knocking the US down to the third slot and reflecting a global preference for outward looking, business-friendly politics.

The third edition of the global influence league table, produced by strategic communications firm Portland, takes into account 75 metrics in objective areas including education, culture and government. It also includes responses from a poll of 11,000 people in 25 countries on topics like a country’s foreign policy, culture and friendliness.

The report credits Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the presidential elections over the National Front party to become the country’s youngest president ever and his level of social media engagement for propelling France to the top, up from fifth place last year.

“We can see the waning dominance of Anglo-American soft power as Brexit starts to bite and America First results in America Alone”

Meanwhile, the report argues the rhetoric of the Trump administration and Brexit vote have impacted the reputations of both the US and UK.

“This year’s annual rankings of global soft power reflect the major global geopolitical shifts currently underway,” noted the report’s author, Jonathan McClory. “At the top of the table, we can see the waning dominance of Anglo-American soft power as Brexit starts to bite and America First results in America Alone.

“At the same time, a more confident and unified Europe looks more attractive to the rest of the world.”

The remaining top 10 saw slight upward and downward shifts but remain the same global players as last year’s list: Germany, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Asia’s soft power influence is also beginning to grow shown by the dominance of Asian countries in the enterprise index– led by Singapore and South Korea – Japan’s rise from 8th to 6th place in the overall rankings and China’s climb five places since the inaugural list in 2015 from 30th to 25th.

“China – while still in the bottom half of the table – made big gains in its march up the rankings as it moves to fill the global leadership vacuum left by an America in retreat,” said McClory.

“With France – this year’s winner boosted by a new pro-globalisation president – it seems the power of persuasion sits with the globalists, rather than the nationalists.”

The UK has maintained its second place spot but polling results show its influence globally has fallen, especially among Europeans.

“Had the US not fallen to an even greater extent than the UK in the international polling, Britain would have likely fallen in the rankings,” the report notes.

“That Britain’s overall score is lower than it was in 2016 should serve as a warning of what is likely to come for post-Brexit British influence…It is hard to imagine the direction of travel for British soft power and wider public opinion of the UK will be upwards in the future.”

Meanwhile the US has fallen to third place, its lowest rank since the table was established two years ago. Its polling results fell 10% and it was ranked 21st for global affairs.

“The rise of Trump could be viewed as a threat to American soft power, not least because his kind of populist rhetoric is known for devaluing international alliances,” says the report.

“Virtual exchange is changing the how and who of exchange, and may well prove itself to be a viable extension of public diplomacy”

But despite its fall in the overall rankings, the US remains at the top of the education index which takes into account the number of universities a country has in global rankings, the number of international students it hosts and number of science journal articles published.

“The country is still unrivalled in higher education, cultural production, and technological innovation,” the report notes.

The top five countries for education held on to their positions from last year with the UK coming second followed by Canada, Australia and Germany.

Denmark, South Korea and France all moved up in the top 10 while the Netherlands dropped ranks and Belgium remained in its 10th position.

The report includes commentary focusing on the roles of non-governmental bodies in public diplomacy, extolling the value of museums, cities and student virtual exchanges.

“The rise of technology has paved the way for a new type of diplomacy through virtual exchange,” writes Erin Helland director of virtual exchange at Youth for Understanding.

“Virtual exchange is changing the how and who of exchange, and may well prove itself to be a viable extension of public diplomacy, and a new means of building and exerting soft power in foreign affairs.”

The post France knocks US out of soft power top spot appeared first on The PIE News.

Warning- Fake World Higher Education database; Fake International Handbook of Universities and abuse of the IAU logo, name and services

International Association of Universities - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 04:59

Be aware that fake IAU publications and databases, partially copied from IAU material, are being sold and promoted by individuals allegedly based in British Virgin Islands.

read more

S Korean college adds NZ study to curriculum

The PIE News - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 02:12

A new arrangement to include an Auckland education experience into Koguryeo College’s curriculum will see the city further solidify its position as New Zealand’s top study destination.

The arrangement, which was created to provide students with an international education experience as part of their three-year training course, will see 120 of the South Korean provider’s students continue their studies at either the Institute of Studies, Academics College Group or Cornell from 2019.

“For Korean students, gaining international work and study experience can put them ahead of other candidates when they’re looking for employment after their studies,” Henry Matthews, international education manager of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development said.

The arrangement will also include two annual scholarships for New Zealand students to study at Koguryeo College

According to Matthews the arrangement quickly came together after a delegation of principals visited the city in May.

“The Korean principals were so impressed by the warm welcome they received in Auckland and the high standard of education institutes on offer, and great Kiwi lifestyle, they suggested to the college that Auckland would be the ideal study destination,” he said.

Koguryeo College professor Hyang-Sim Kim told The PIE News the provider was excited to be working with the three Auckland institutions.

“Auckland is a great study destination which we are confident that our students who come here will not only get some excellent practical skills and quality teaching but will also enjoy a fantastic student lifestyle,” he said.

As well as sending South Korean students to Auckland, the arrangement will also include two annual scholarships for New Zealand domestic and international students to study at Koguryeo College, which teaches programs including natural energy engineering, tourism and hospitality.

South Korea currently represents New Zealand’s fourth largest source market for international students, and the Koguryeo College students are expected to inject a further NZ$3.5m into Auckland’s economy.

The post S Korean college adds NZ study to curriculum appeared first on The PIE News.

Media circus surrounding 'mattress girl' case changed conversation on sexual assault

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 00:00

During her senior year at Columbia University, Emma Sulkowicz carried a 50-pound mattress around wherever she went, a performance-art project, "Carry That Weight," representing that the man who Sulkowicz said raped her walked free on campus. This conspicuous protest captured headlines and made the “mattress girl” a national talking point in the conversation about campus sexual assault.

In many ways, Sulkowicz’s story mirrors the trends and shifting debate over how academe adjudicates these crimes.

She remains for many a dominant symbol of how students can fight campus sexual violence. She was the subject of multiple profiles in The New York Times, including a piece extolling her mattress-centric performance art, which doubled as her senior thesis. She stood alongside U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, as the lawmaker announced legislation aimed at combating sexual assault -- and was her guest to the 2015 State of the Union.

But eventually articles more sympathetic to the man Sulkowicz accused -- Paul Nungesser -- came, including one in The Daily Beast that included friendly Facebook messages between the two after the alleged assault occurred. The exchanges appeared to back Nungesser's consistent statement that the encounter was consensual.

A Columbia disciplinary panel had cleared Nungesser of responsibility in Sulkowicz’s case (New York City police decided not to bring charges, though Sulkowicz filed a report in 2014). Nungesser felt so ostracized on campus that he sued the university in 2015 for complacency in his harassment, asserting that because Sulkowicz would receive academic credit for her protest, Columbia was condoning it. Though he failed in court twice, Columbia settled with him recently for an undisclosed amount of money.

The conclusion to this saga comes at a time when President Trump’s Education Department has focused on the plight of men who say they have been falsely accused of sexual assault, or who were found responsible by their colleges without appropriate due process. National research indicates no more than 8 percent of rape accusations are false. Research also indicates that only a slim number of rapes that occur are actually reported.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently met with representatives from these groups, who are critical of President Obama’s 2011 order that reinterpreted the federal anti-discrimination law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This still serves as the guidance for how institutions should judge sexual assault -- and DeVos could be on the precipice of major changes to it. Sulkowicz’s case can serve to inform the federal government, and colleges, about these decisions, experts say.

Nungesser to many serves as an example of a man wrongly accused, his reputation destroyed. But while the narrative DeVos and others discuss is about colleges denying due process rights, Columbia in fact never found him responsible for anything. And the university stood by its decision despite a public campaign that had many questioning the university's approach to sexual assault accusations.

Sulkowicz filed a complaint in 2013, alleging Nungesser, a close friend with whom she had had consensual sex twice previously, held her down in a dormitory in 2012 and raped her despite her pleas.

After the campus adjudication process, Nungesser wasn’t found to have done anything wrong -- and Sulkowicz in 2014 launched her project, hauling with her a mattress akin to the ones Columbia provides in its campus housing, a physical burden to demonstrate the aftermath of a rape. By her own rules, she was required to keep the mattress with her at all times, only accepting help if it was offered to her -- and it would remain with her as long as Nungesser stayed on campus, too.

Nungesser never left. Sulkowicz carried the mattress with her at her graduation in 2015, continuing to attract press coverage.

Alexandra Brodsky, a civil rights lawyer and co-founder of the advocacy group Know Your IX, now working with the National Women’s Law Center, said she still can recall her first visceral reaction of hearing about the project, and the images of Sulkowicz holding the mattress at various places on campus.

Most conversation of sexual violence centers on the act, but few focus on the lingering effects, Brodsky said -- survivors do “carry a weight,” sometimes in the form of debt they’ve accrued when they drop out of college, or struggles with academics as a repercussion.

“I think Emma gave voice to that in a really arresting way,” Brodsky said.

Student activism, particularly around sexual violence, accelerated around this time under the Obama administration, said Catherine Kaukinen, a professor and chairwoman of the criminal justice department at University of Central Florida. Kaukinen helped write and edit a new book, Addressing Violence Against Women on College Campuses (Temple University Press).

Sulkowicz’s work led to tremendous media coverage and replications of her demonstration at other campuses, Kaukinen said -- students would hold a mattress, pillow or something else representing defiance of sexual assault at their institution.

Similar movements, events and showings against rape, like Denim Day -- wearing jeans as a sign of support, or Take Back the Night, had grown less popular on campuses, but restarted with the Obama administration focusing on the issue of campus sex assaults, Kaukinen said. Vice President Biden pushed for and successfully declared a month devoted to dating violence awareness.

During the Columbia controversy, students began scrawling the names of alleged rapists on bathroom walls and slipping fliers identifying them on top of the toilet paper dispensers.

Sulkowicz's case wasn’t entirely clear and highlighted the struggle of institutions to balance the rights of both parties, said Laura Dunn, founder of SurvJustice, which advocates for survivors.

This was evident with Columbia’s settlement with Nungesser. The university hasn’t commented beyond a statement: “Columbia recognizes that after the conclusion of the investigation, Paul’s remaining time at Columbia became very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience,” the statement said. “Columbia will continue to review and update its policies toward ensuring that every student -- accuser and accused, including those like Paul who are found not responsible -- is treated respectfully and as a full member of the Columbia.”

In an interview, Annie E. Clark, the executive director of End Rape on Campus, criticized Columbia’s response -- she said the institution still hasn’t demonstrated clear and public support for survivors, as it did with Nungesser in the statement. Clark’s organization helped file a complaint with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights against Columbia, with 20 others signing on, including Sulkowicz. The complaint blasted Columbia’s handling of sexual assault, faulting the institution for too easily letting those accused off the hook.

Clark also lambasted certain news media and their tendency to “normalize a rape myth” with lengthy articles and segments focused on students who were wrongly accused of rape -- a tiny percentage, she said.

She said that recently, media and the university’s response focused largely on Nungesser’s well-being.

Dunn agreed, to an extent -- the media hasn’t tried to delve into policy nuances or campus processes for sexual assault; instead it has picked up on the “next shiny thing.” She said the rights of the accused may be a hot-button issue, but the lawyer in her craves a robust discussion about these issues that wasn’t necessarily encapsulated in the media coverage of Sulkowicz’s case.

Though coverage of Sulkowicz tended to snowball, by the estimation of Cynthia P. Garrett, co-president of Families Advocating for Campus Equality, few people in the country were aware Nungesser had been cleared.

FACE, which Garrett joined just several years ago, tries to push for “equal treatment” and due process rights for those who have faced sexual misconduct violations unfairly. Garrett is adamant that the Title IX guidance Obama issued is flawed, as well is colleges’ implementation of it. The Office for Civil Rights, too, is punitive and coercive, she said.

“An accusation is often equated to guilt,” she said of the current system.

Sexual assault prevention advocates were furious that DeVos met recently with representatives from Garrett’s group and especially with other groups, some so-called men's rights organizations widely seen as hostile to women who have experienced sex assault. To these critics, the meetings signaled that the secretary was giving credence to the myth that false rape allegations are rampant.

Garrett said false accusations have slowly become more acceptable to talk about. She balks at the notion she’s a rape apologist -- she has two daughters, and thinks anyone who commits criminal rape should be thrown in jail, not just off campus.

She characterized the meeting with DeVos as beneficial, with many students falsely accused -- students of color and queer students included -- telling her their stories. Some sobbed as they recounted their tales, Garrett said.

In her interview, Garrett was harsh on Columbia officials for allowing Sulkowicz’s art project to continue -- something she viewed as retaliation.

Kaukinen said that obviously Columbia did feel it failed Nungesser in some way, and she wouldn’t be shocked if this result influenced campus policy.

Dana Scaduto, the general counsel at Dickinson College and former board chairwoman for the National Association of College and University Attorneys, said that without all the facts, she could not address the legality of Sulkowicz carting her mattress around campus and whether that infringed on Nungesser’s rights.

From an institutional perspective, the media reports were quite damaging to preserving the integrity of adjudicating Sulkowicz’s case, she said. Reporters initially wrote Sulkowicz’s retelling as fact, without seeking follow up with Columbia -- which, admittedly, per privacy laws, couldn’t discuss the proceedings -- or Nungesser, she said.

“Colleges and universities, we do care about the students who go through the processes, and we do our best to handle these matters responsibly, as OCR expects us to handle them, but that complexity is lost,” Scaduto said.

Editorial Tags: Sexual assaultImage Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: Emma SulkowiczIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

New study attempts to show how much state funding cuts push up tuition

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 00:00

Have public funding cuts caused colleges and universities to raise tuition?

It’s a deceptively simple question. And it’s caused two different camps to dig in, look at similar data and yell past each other with very different answers.

On one side, typically inhabited by left-wing thinkers, is the camp that believes tuition has gone up over time because colleges have been starved by state and local funding cuts to higher education. On the other side, right-wing analysts often argue that the long-term decline in state funding -- so-called state disinvestment -- has little to no effect on tuition. Instead, they say, college tuition has gone up for other reasons, like meeting rising labor costs or feeding spending urges.

Various battles have been fought over issues such as whether using different inflationary indexes to adjust data will lead to different conclusions. But there has been surprisingly little work done to try to pin down the exact rate at which public appropriations cuts are passed on to students through higher tuition.

That’s changing. New research in the journal Economics of Education Review finds the appropriation-cut-to-tuition pass-through rate has averaged 25.7 percent since 1987. In other words, for every $1,000 cut from per-student state and local appropriations, the average student can be expected to pay $257 more per year in tuition and fees.

The research also indicates students are taking on more of the cost of state funding cuts in recent years than they were three decades ago. Before 2000, a student could be expected to pay $103 more in tuition for every $1,000 cut from public funding. After 2000, the figure jumps to $318.

Those findings have the potential to reframe the debate, at least somewhat. They could shift the discussion away from if funding cuts lead to rising tuition to how much they contribute to rising tuition -- and whether such a trade-off is justified.

But for many researchers, the pass-through rate, which describes what will happen to tuition in the event of a theoretical state funding cut, hasn’t been considered a top priority to examine, said the author of the research, Douglas Webber.

Webber, who is an associate professor in Temple University’s economics department, said researchers have been more interested in broader looks at how students are affected by governments cutting funding for higher education. Colleges and universities can take a number of actions when their state funding is cut. They can increase tuition to make up for the lost revenue. They can cut from their own budgets, trimming things like student services or employees. Or they can turn to fund-raising, endowments and grants to try to raise more money over time.

Against all of those puzzle pieces, the amount students pay in tuition can seem relatively minor -- especially for researchers trying to determine how much funding cuts affect a student’s chances of graduating.

Another strike against this type of analysis is that a large number of local factors and other variables can influence how much individual colleges and universities raise tuition. State laws block some colleges from raising tuition without legislative approval, for example. Webber had some questions about whether it made sense to calculate an average pass-through rate. Such a broad metric won’t reflect reality in the situations on the ground at many different colleges and universities.

Still, Webber has participated in the debate over state disinvestment. He wrote a piece for FiveThirtyEight last year arguing that there is no single cause for rising college tuition. He planned to someday do a more rigorous analysis, but he had to push the work to the back burner as he addressed other priorities.

The state divestment arguments didn’t go away. A Cato Institute study in February made the case that state disinvestment was not the sole cause of rising tuition, putting blame on federal student aid it said enables colleges to charge more. Brookings published a piece by Jason Delisle of the American Enterprise Institute saying that limited research on the topic shows state disinvestment is not a major cause of tuition hikes. AEI published a study saying that public institutions’ tuition only rises by $5 for every $100 cut from direct state subsidies per student.

That study’s modeling was questioned by critics, including Webber. He went about building a new model taking into account adjustments he hadn’t seen elsewhere. They included accounting for state laws restricting institutions’ ability to increase tuition and the fact that lawmakers may cut appropriations unevenly for different colleges within the same state. He also measured average net tuition and fee revenue instead of institutions’ average posted tuition in order to account for strategies colleges might use to raise money after a cut in state appropriations -- strategies like cutting student aid or enrolling more out-of-state students.

Webber used data on institutional finances from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System from 1987 through 2014. The data cover 479 four-year public institutions.

“I don’t view this paper as a partisan thing,” Webber said. “The far right wants you to think that there is a zero percent pass-through rate and any state budget cuts aren’t hurting students. The far left wants you to think that the harm to students is absolutely massive and that we should never cut university budgets. And neither of those views are correct.”

In addition to the 25.7 percent average pass-through rate for all institutions, Webber calculated the rate for different types of institutions. It was highest for Ph.D.-granting institutions, at 26.6 percent. Master’s-granting institutions were close behind at 26.2 percent, followed by bachelor’s-granting institutions at 18.3 percent.

Webber also analyzed the historical data he’d gathered. The pass-through rate describes what will happen in the event of a theoretical $1,000 appropriations cut. The historical data give a look at what did happen over the last 30 years.

State and local divestment accounted for 16.1 percent of tuition and fee increases paid by the average student since 1987. Disinvestment accounted for a greater share of tuition and fee increases more recently, though. It is responsible for 29.8 percent of the tuition and fee revenue increase since 2000 and 41.2 percent since 2008.

That’s evidence colleges and universities are being pushed closer to their breaking point, Webber said. Institutions can cut from budgets up to a certain point in order to shield students from tuition increases. Eventually they have to start passing more costs on to students.

“The fact that this has been increasing says to me that in the ’80s and ’90s, there probably was a lot more fat in the budget,” Webber said. “And so, when states would divest, it was a lot easier for schools to cut things. Whereas now, the low-hanging fruit is diminishing. We’re having to make tougher decisions, and we’re having to pass more of these costs on to students because there’s not some obvious spending that we can cut.”

Not everyone will agree on that point. Policy makers will still wonder why, if appropriations cuts really drive tuition higher, the pass-through rate isn’t 100 percent, said Delisle of AEI.

“Maybe the relationship is getting stronger, but I think you’re going to be hard-pressed to convince a policy maker that a move from 25 percent to 32 percent is a really big change,” he said.

Delisle went on to argue that the relationship shown in the new research is relatively small compared to claims he’s seen that state disinvestment causes tuition increases.

“The debate now seems to be, is it 15 percent, is it a 25 percent relationship, is it 30 percent?” he said. “Two months ago, it was just assumed to be one for one.”

The fact remains that continuous state disinvestment in public colleges and universities drives tuition increases, according to Thomas Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

“While campus leaders have long sought efficiencies instead of tuition increases, this study seems to indicate the limits of that approach,” he said in an email. “The share of tuition increases that can be traced to state budget cuts has more than doubled since 1987 and remains at its highest level in the post-recession era.”

Harnisch called state budget cuts a no-win outcome for students and states. The state cuts diminish institutional quality as well as restricting access to higher education and higher bills for students, he said.

Webber’s hope is to move the discussion beyond the two absolutes of state disinvestment hurting students versus state disinvestment not mattering. He wants it to become something an economist would appreciate about the costs and benefits of state funding cuts.

Many states will have to consider cutting higher education spending to address other priorities like health care or pension spending. The hope is that the discussion can be about how much such cuts are likely to be passed on to students and whether it’s worth it.

It’s akin to a move from partisan talking points to a cost-benefit analysis. Webber has some reason to be optimistic. Feedback so far has been positive from both sides of the argument, he said.

“I’m hoping to move the conversation from shouting past each other to actually thinking more seriously about the magnitude of trade-offs,” Webber said.

Editorial Tags: College costs/pricesState policyImage Caption: Pennsylvania StatehouseIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Bryan College faces more turmoil in response to firing of much loved longtime professor

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 00:00

Alumni and faculty members of Bryan College were planning to launch a petition late last week that would draw attention to what they believe is a leadership crisis at the college, a small Christian institution in Tennessee.

As they were getting ready to launch the petition, they received word that Phillip Lestmann, a tenured professor of mathematics who has taught at Bryan for 40 years, had been fired. The professor was criticized by the administration for having helped organize an "opposition group" -- and that charge has many saying that disagreeing with the administration has become a firing offense, making academic freedom impossible.

That dismissal appears to have added to the push for change at Bryan, with the petition quickly gathering support among alumni.

Bryan's name honors William Jennings Bryan, the prosecutor in the 1925 trial of John Scopes, a public school teacher accused of teaching evolution. The trial took place near campus, and while Bryan's anti-evolution stance fell from favor elsewhere, it has never fallen with leaders of the college.

Tensions have been growing at Bryan since 2014, when the college issued a "clarification" to the college’s statement of faith, which all faculty members must endorse, asserting the historicity of Adam and Eve. While the college has long had a statement of faith stressing belief in the Bible and various core values, the detail about Adam and Eve struck many faculty members and alumni as going too far, and as a move that would limit the ability of some professors to stay (some indeed left).

In discussions among faculty members at the time, Lestmann prepared widely quoted talking points that did not take issue with the Bible but said that the new statement of faith was "pretending that a very complex issue is really very simple and straightforward" and "possibly putting the college into too small a scientific or theological box."

Since the new statement of faith was adopted, the faculty has voted no confidence in President Stephen Livesay, and some trustees have left. Another trustee quit in May, charging that the board and the president have had conflicts of interest with regard to a recent land transfer to the college. Livesay declined to comment to local reporters about that resignation and did not respond to an email message from Inside Higher Ed seeking comment on the latest developments.

Organizers of the petition stress that this is not a dispute of secular versus religious values. They maintain that the college's leaders are engaged in conduct inconsistent with Christian teachings.

For example, they point to the firing of Lestmann. The college posted a note to a closed official Facebook group for those affiliated with Bryan that said Lestmann was fired because of "multiple emails" that related to "an opposition group against the college's administration." The note said that these emails violated college "community life standards," and noted that those standards allow termination of faculty members for, among other things, "lack of collegiality and compatibility" and "public disparagement of the college, its policies, mission, purpose, personnel and/or doctrine."

Lestmann could not be reached for comment.

On the petition site and on other Facebook groups, alumni are sharing stories of Lestmann as a teacher and questioning how he could be fired. On social media, faculty members elsewhere have said that Lestmann's dismissal is a dangerous development.

It's time for Bryan College to close down ... criticism of the president will get you fired. Truth is irrelevant.

— Mike S. Adams (@MikeSAdams) July 19, 2017

The petition says, "President Livesay has failed to act biblically toward believers who disagree with him. Consistent reports from a number of those who have worked at the college show that Livesay does not follow the mandates of Matthew 18:15 and Ephesians 4:13-16 to discuss his differences with other believers in a humble, loving way that could promote correction and reconciliation. Instead, he treats all disagreement with his views as evil and uses deception, threats and job termination to silence dialogue and hide dissent."

Religious CollegesEditorial Tags: Academic freedomReligious collegesImage Caption: Bryan CollegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Divisions within Hypatia's editorial board lead to the resignations of top editors

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 00:00

There’s more upheaval at the embattled feminist philosophy journal Hypatia: its two top editors have resigned and its Board of Directors has suspended the authority of the associate editorial board. That’s pending a restructuring of the journal’s governance system, to one conducive to “continued academic integrity and appropriate editorial autonomy,” the directors said in a statement late last week.

“As the board ultimately responsible for the well-being of the journal, we find it necessary at this time to take emergency measures to restore the academic integrity of the journal and shepherd it through a transition period to a new editorial team,” the statement said.

Praising the departing editors, Sally Scholz, a professor of philosophy at Villanova University who led the journal, and Shelley Wilcox, a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University who led Hypatia Reviews Online, the directors said they were “very sorry” to see them go, “especially under these circumstances.”

The source of the rift between Hypatia’s Board of Directors and editors on one side and its associate editorial board on the other is an article the journal published earlier this year. In it, author Rebecca Tuvel, an assistant professor of philosophy at Rhodes College, compared “transracialism” to transgenderism, arguing that society should be as accepting of people such as Rachel Dolezal as they are of Caitlyn Jenner. (Dolezal, former head of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP chapter, made headlines in 2015 after it was revealed that she was born white but had been “passing” and identified as black. Jenner, of course, was an Olympic decathlete who came out as transgender in 2015.)

Tuvel’s article was peer reviewed and passed editorial muster, but some critics immediately called for its retraction, citing various concerns. Tuvel hadn’t sufficiently engaged critical race theory or the literature on transgenderism in making her comparison, they said, and otherwise promoted damaging “stereotypes” about trans people and disparaged blacks. Tuvel faced additional personal attacks online.

Hypatia did not retract the article. But in what appeared to many as a formal message from the journal, its associate editors soon posted on Facebook an apology for the publication of the piece.

“We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused,” the associate editors said. “Clearly, the paper should not have been published, and we believe that the fault for this lies in the review process.”

Concerned about the associate editors appearing to speak for the journal, Hypatia’s directors soon published a formal disavowal of the associate editors’ disavowal.

“The board stands behind the judgment of Hypatia’s editor,” the directors said in a guest post on the blog Daily Nous, criticizing the associate editors for “undermining” Scholz.

The Board of Directors did at the time address some of the concerns of Tuvel's critics, saying that it acknowledged “the intensity of experience and convictions around matters of intersectionality, especially in the world of academic philosophy, which has an egregious history of treatment of women of color feminists and feminists from other marginalized social positions.”

But if the May statement was intended to appease both Scholz’s supporters and her critics (and perhaps Scholz herself, who did not respond to a request for comment), it apparently failed.

A separate statement from Hypatia’s editorial board published Thursday said that the associate editors’ position and “the subsequent controversy has limited the ability of our editorial team to continue management of Hypatia and Hypatia Reviews Online while upholding the journal's high standards for scholarly inquiry, diversity, inclusiveness and rigorous academic and review standards.” The statement says Scholz has restricted her involvement to journal issues already in process.

It seems “clear that a change of leadership structure at the journal might create space to move forward not only at Hypatia but perhaps in feminist philosophy more generally,” the editorial board wrote. “We have urged Hypatia's Board of Directors to undertake comprehensive restructuring of the journal’s governance structure to provide a suitable environment for the next editorial team.”

Hypatia does have a complicated governance structure, relative to other journals. But the Tuvel piece also exposed deep divisions within feminist philosophy about issues of identity and who should be writing about them, and how. Some scholars have pointed out that Tuvel is neither transgender nor black, for example, in critiquing her.

The journal’s Board of Directors reiterated in its announcement that neither Hypatia nor its editors “have apologized for or retracted the article in question.”

“We also wish to reaffirm that the associate editors did not in any way speak for the journal, nor do they have authority to do so,” the board said. “Their action, appearing to speak for the journal rather than as individuals, invited confusion over who speaks for Hypatia. It also damaged the reputations of both the journal and its editors, Scholz and Wilcox, and has made it impossible for the editors to maintain the public credibility and trust that peer-reviewed academic journal editorship requires.”

Going forward, the board wrote, everyone involved in Hypatia’s governance will be required to commit to principles established by the international multidisciplinary Committee on Publication Ethics, “which include respect for the autonomy of the editors and the integrity of the peer-review process.”

“We are focused on the future of Hypatia,” the board said, “and we hope to work with many in the Hypatia community and the broader communities of feminist philosophy in making the changes necessary to ensure that this future is a bright and inclusive one.”

Several associate editors contacted for comment did not respond. But Leiter Reports, a philosophy blog moderated by Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago, posted what it described as a circulating response to the news from a majority of the associate editorial board. The note, reportedly not yet online, alleges that Board of Directors gave the associate editors an ultimatum earlier this month: either resign, or be suspended. 

The directors' recent statement "claims that they have ‘temporarily’ suspended our authority. Nonetheless, their unilateral decision is a de facto suspension of Hypatia’s governance documents and a firing of us," reads the note posted by Leiter. "We deeply regret that the editors and nonprofit board [of directors] were unwilling to engage with us in systematically reflecting on these issues and collaboratively addressing their implications for Hypatia. The declaration by the nonprofit board that they are suspending our authority means that we cannot fulfill our duties as associate editors in accordance with the journal’s governance documents. Regrettably, we see no alternative but to resign from Hypatia’s board of associate editors with this letter."

The associate editors said they've "been guided by commitments to excellence, academic integrity and inclusiveness that have long informed Hypatia’s vision and have established it as a leading feminist philosophy journal." Saying they'd requested mediation with the editors and the Board of Directors, to no avail, they added, "we remain steadfast in our commitment to working within the letter and spirit of the journal’s current governance document."

 

 

Editorial Tags: Academic freedomWomen's studiesIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Debate over art, teaching and prejudice at School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 00:00

Michael Bonesteel, well-known in the art world as a professor specializing in comics and outsider art, has resigned from his position at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago amid tensions between the institution, his students and himself. The resignation is one more example of the ongoing debate between academic freedom and issues stemming from teaching controversial or offensive subject matter.

The culture at SAIC, from Bonesteel’s point of view, “feels more like a police state than a place where academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas is valued,” he told The Chicago Reader, an alt-weekly. Bonesteel’s subject matter deals with work where prejudice and violence are portrayed regularly, but, recalling the complaints he received before his separation from the college, he said he was unfairly maligned.

SAIC officials, on the other hand, called Bonesteel’s account “problematic” and “misleading,” though spokeswoman Bree Witt declined to comment on the specifics of the case, citing a policy against speaking on personnel matters.

“What I’ve been hearing through [the College Arts Association], through our members … there has been on certain campuses, an environment which, in some cases, has made faculty members or students feel that their ability to discuss issues which might otherwise be seen as controversial, but open to discussion, the ability to discuss has been constrained,” said Hunter O’Hanian, executive director of the association, speaking broadly about issues with academic freedom in the current political climate.

“SAIC has been around for over 150 years -- we do not shy away from controversial issues,” Witt said. “Academic freedom is the core of what we do.”

According to Bonesteel’s account in the Reader, a transgender student objected to a theory Bonesteel lectured on about Henry Darger, a reclusive Chicago artist whose work didn't gain prominence until after it was discovered just before his death in 1973. The work in question featured what appear to be female children with penises. Theories on Darger’s background -- some say he was an oppressed gay man, others say he was abused as a child -- vary, but the student took offense to Bonesteel proposing the theory of child abuse.

"The student said there was no proof that Darger was sexually abused, and therefore I was wrong in proposing the theory," Bonesteel told the Reader. Indeed, there is no proof that Darger was sexually abused, but Bonesteel, who has written a book on Darger, said it’s a theory endorsed by a number of scholars. Other theories on Darger range from positing that he was a troubled, closeted gay man to him being mentally ill, though it largely remains a mystery.

Regardless, Bonesteel met with a diversity counselor and posted an apology on the art college's website. Reviewing the complaint by the student, the institution ruled that no rules were violated, but Bonesteel needed training on “identity-related” material.

Two days later, according to Bonesteel’s telling, another student took issue with perceived anti-Semitism in the assigned text, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book, by Gerard Jones. The student also leveled accusations of racism and homophobia at both Bonesteel and SAIC. Bonesteel said he tried to ask for patience but the conversation “heated up.”

After the resulting complaint -- which was reportedly followed by another student saying they were troubled by that particular incident -- officials found Bonesteel’s conduct “constituted harassment based on gender identity,” in violation of school policy. His comic courses were scrapped, bringing down his hours to a point where he wouldn’t have health insurance coverage, and his outsider art classes were to be revamped.

“To be labeled discriminatory and charged with sexual harassment because I got into a heated debate with a hostile student who happened to be transgender, and for that student's accusations of sexual harassment to be credited -- and for my account and those of several other student witnesses to be discredited -- seems entirely unfair,” he told the Reader. Bonesteel did not respond to a request for comment from Inside Higher Ed.

"Then, to be punished by refusing to let me teach three comics courses in which I had invested 12 years of time and effort and love, and in the process take away my insurance benefits, these were the conditions that I found unacceptable," he said. “It is my contention that I have been unfairly vilified and demonized by [a] small cadre of militant LBGT students with an authoritarian agenda."

Lisa Wainwright, dean of students, called Bonesteel’s accusations of SAIC impinging on his academic freedom unfounded.

“This simply is not the case, and frankly, would be anathema to our pedagogy,” Wainwright said. “As a rigorous institution of art and design education, we embrace curricula that challenge prevailing norms, push boundaries and expand how we understand the world around us through visually symbolic means.”

Witt said that the institution has a thorough process to investigate student complaints and speaks to all parties involved in a complaint before making a decision. The student handbook has a four-page section on harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and a five-step section on resolution. The faculty policy on harassment, discrimination and retaliation is another seven pages.

SAIC’s student handbook on harassment, discrimination and retaliation reads as follows:

The determination of what constitutes illegal harassment varies with the particular circumstances, but it must be so severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; or creates a hostile or abusive educational or working environment.

“We’ll talk to the student [making the complaint], but we’ll also talk to other students in the classroom who are relevant to whatever the complaint is,” she said. “It’s thorough. It’s not something like, someone complains one day and then the next day actions are taken.”

The institution doesn’t have a uniform policy on trigger warnings, Witt said, and leaves decisions on that to individual professors (the student in the second complaint also took issue with Bonesteel’s lack of trigger warnings). Witt also said she was confident in SAIC’s mission to create a climate of respect on campus.

“We’re an incredibly diverse school, we welcome all types of students and we want to make sure our environment is welcoming,” she said. “We definitely have policies in place that help us foster a welcoming and inclusive environment.”

O’Hanian, of the College Art Association, speaking broadly, said he’s sometimes seen breakdowns on both sides of a conversation, from both students and professors, although the details in this case seemed hard to parse out. Regardless, there’s a concern about how debate -- and subsequently, learning -- is taking place at large.

“The problem comes when certain students feel challenged by hearing opposing ideas, or faculty members are challenged by hearing those opposing ideas, and they don’t hear them as simply another point of view, but they hear them as trying to force another point of view,” he said. “If people aren’t safe to have a conversation on a college campus, then I don’t know where they are able to be safe.”

Editorial Tags: ArtsTitle IXImage Caption: Michael BonesteelIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Statement by ACE President Molly Corbett Broad on USA Funds Announcement

American Council on Education - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 03:00
We applaud USA Funds’ new direction and its continued commitment to exploring innovative ways to expand access to postsecondary education for a wide range of students.

PIEoneer Awards shortlist announced

The PIE News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 07:05

A MOOC to teach refugees English, an online map showing wheelchair accessibility at campuses across Europe and a call back advice service to guide students towards a study abroad experience are among the entries shortlisted for the first ever PIEoneer Awards.

Hundreds of entries were received and pared down to just three to four for each of the 12 categories which include Marketing Campaign of the Year, International Alumni of the Year and Digital Innovation of the Year.

“With entries sent from all over the world including Colombia, Bhutan, the Netherlands and Nigeria, the shortlist truly represents the best of the global education sector,” commented Amy Baker, managing director of The PIE.

“Shortlisted entrants provide a kaleidoscopic overview of outstanding forward-thinking occurring across the international education space”

“We launched these awards to champion the innovation in international education we see daily through our coverage of the global sector and we were blown away both by the quality and calibre of entrants. I can’t wait to see who wins in September.”

PIEoneer of the Year could go to the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, the Global Leadership League or the International Alumni Job Network.

The shortlisted international alumni feature students from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Asian Sofia Amin, a Malaysia student who studied at the University of Glasgow. Amin is a bone cancer survivor who lost a leg aged 16. She completed a PhD in Disability Studies university and is now a leading expert and advocate for disability in Malaysia.

Up for agency of the year is ESL in Switzerland, UKEAS in Nigeria and Global Reach in India. Meanwhile the UK’s #WeAreInternational campaign is shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year as well as Loughborough University’s Road to Rio project, ETS’s #TOEFLGrownUpMoment campaign and Study Queensland’s summer scholarship program.

Jason Newman, commercial director at QS, gold sponsor of the awards, said, “QS is extremely proud to support the PIEoneer Awards: an initiative that we believe is providing essential support and recognition to those driving sectoral transformation.

“QS has supported entrepreneurship, original thinking, and educational development for nearly three decades, and we are delighted to partner with a scheme that shares our commitment to these valuable ideals.”

The shortlisted entrants provide “a kaleidoscopic overview of outstanding forward-thinking occurring across the international education space” commented Newman.

“The work done by these entrants both empowers students to make better educational choices, and improves those universities that are seeking to become the preferred destination of international students. Both aims remain integral parts of QS’s mission”

The final decisions will be made by a 15-person panel of international education leaders worldwide. The winners will be announced at a formal ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London September 8 with an after party at the top of the iconic Gherkin building.

Go here to see the complete shortlist and read more about the finalists.

The post PIEoneer Awards shortlist announced appeared first on The PIE News.

Feltom steps in as host family concerns hit Malta

The PIE News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 04:55

With what is predicted to be a bumper year for business at ELT schools in Malta, and a busy year for tourism in general, there are concerns about a strain on host family supply on the holiday island.

ELT association Feltom has taken matters into its own hands and is working on behalf of the sector to run a campaign with the Malta Tourism Authority to help recruit more families.

Host family training and financial incentives have been mooted in the national press, but Genevieve Abela, CEO at Feltom, said campaign planning is still in its early stages.

This efforts is a “reaction to the need for host families,” she said. “We’ve just had an election – we are still getting support from new ministers on this.”

“Schools are finding it a struggle to find accommodation for all the requests coming in, due to tourism looking like it’s having a bumper year as well”

Host families are particularly requested by over-18 year olds keen on a full immersion experience, with over 60% of this age group staying with host families typically. About 1,200 are approved by the MTA.

However, normal attrition of host families, compounded by a tourism tax for host families introduced by the government this year, means supply being squeeze more than normal.

“Schools are finding it a struggle to find accommodation for all the requests coming in, due to tourism looking like it’s having a bumper year as well,” Abela told The PIE News.

The problem is worsened by reports that hotels will not accept block bookings for students in the summer.

“Malta is the only English language destination with officially licensed homestays, a unique selling point,” noted Abela.

Around 77,000 foreign students attended English language courses last year, a quarter of them in July.

The post Feltom steps in as host family concerns hit Malta appeared first on The PIE News.

Survey reveals most international students confused by UK’s TEF

The PIE News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 04:21

Just one in five prospective international students have heard of the UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework and of those who have, almost 80% incorrectly believe it measures the teaching quality of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

HEFCE introduced the voluntary scheme in 2016 to recognise quality in teaching at the undergraduate level. Last month the first round of Gold, Silver and Bronze ratings were awarded to some surprise from the sector as many of the country’s highly ranked institutions missed out on top tier results.

But, a survey of 3,300 international students by Hobsons reveals confusion among international students about the controversial scheme.

Of the students who claimed to know about the scheme, a quarter think a Bronze award means teaching quality is ‘unsatisfactory’ and half thought results were based on random inspections of lectures and classes from the Department of Education.

“If we find it difficult to understand what TEF is telling us here in the UK how do we expect people overseas to understand it?”

Seventy three percent did correctly identify that TEF ratings are based on statistics such as dropout rates, student satisfaction survey results and graduate employment rates, however.

The framework uses an institution’s history as a benchmark for the ratings but 60% of students who had heard of it and 35% of those who hadn’t said they thought all universities were measured against the same criterion.

“I’m not surprised by these results but I’m a bit disappointed that more international students aren’t familiar with the TEF,” commented Paul Raybould director of marketing & market intelligence at Hobsons EMEA.

“For UK institutions it’s a huge opportunity because teaching quality is by far the biggest factor students are looking for when choosing a university. If they have a clear way to see the teaching quality in the UK it could put them above universities in the US.”

Stakeholders agree the results of the survey aren’t surprising. “If we find it difficult to understand what TEF is telling us here in the UK how do we expect people overseas to understand it?” commented one pro-vice chancellor of global engagement, who added that the confusion could do harm to the sector’s reputation.

“If famous universities have a rating which [international students] believe means third rate it’s not unreasonable for them to assume that places they haven’t heard of can’t be up to much.”

Dominic Scott, CEO of UKCISA, said, “Obviously it is a concern if international students are unaware of, misunderstand or are confused by TEF – but perhaps not surprising. The whole exercise is at a very early – and some would say ‘pilot’ – stage and most commentators would say that the results should only be used alongside many other factors.”

He cautioned that, “As we start to think not about this year but applicants for 2018 we will certainly want to ensure that visa perceptions, Brexit and confusion over TEF don’t produce a triple whammy.”

Despite the lack of awareness about the scheme, the survey also shows that students are influenced by TEF results. Both students who have heard and not heard of the TEF said they would be more likely to choose a university with a Gold TEF award above one that is highly ranked in global league tables.

However, for lower rated institutions, students said they would choose universities higher placed in the rankings over ones with Silver or Bronze awards.

Sonal Minocha, pro-vice chancellor for global engagement at Bournemouth University believes the government needs to do more to improve the communications strategy around the framework, saying Minster for Universities and Science Jo Johnson’s speech this week “clearly targeted the Bronze players”.

Results show students are more likely to choose a university with a Gold TEF award above one that is highly ranked in global league tables

“The international press and media will obviously pick that up as Bronze equaling mediocre,” she said.

Commenting on the TEF in an address to the higher education sector earlier this week, Johnson, said: “For too long, institutional incentives have led universities to prioritise research performance over teaching and learning outcomes.

“The TEF puts in place new reputational and financial incentives to correct this imbalance.”

Johnson also confirmed the next stages of the framework would incorporate graduate outcomes, subject-level ratings and teaching and contact hours.

Raybould at Hobsons, cautioned however, that as the ratings evolve, it could create more confusion for students. “It’s essential for students to understand what they reflect at that moment in time.”

And Minocha added that universities will also play a role in informing international students about the scheme.

“As it will be on every UCAS course page we do have to educate potential students as to its value, its parameters and how students can use it in their decision making,” she said.

“At BU we will do this through highlighting the positives that were drawn out in the findings in our marketing messages while also ensuring TEF is explained on the website alongside the other ranking groups such as the Sunday Times, Times Higher, QS, etc.”

The post Survey reveals most international students confused by UK’s TEF appeared first on The PIE News.

Ted Mitchell Named President of ACE

American Council on Education - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 03:00
ACE has announced that Ted Mitchell, a former college president and top federal policy maker, has been named the Council's 13th president, effective Sept. 1, 2017.

Sikh scholar harassed over photo of another man In front of Trump Tower

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 00:39

Simran Jeet Singh, an assistant professor of religion at Trinity University in Texas and senior religion fellow for the Sikh Coalition, faced a torrent of hate messages on social media this week after Campus Reform ran a story about how he’d once tweeted a picture of himself raising both middle fingers to Trump Tower in New York City. The thrust of the piece was that Singh was a problematic pick for leader of an upcoming Trinity webinar on “navigating hate and xenophobia in modern America,” as someone who’d flipped President Trump’s building the double bird and otherwise criticized him on social media.

Also problematic, however, is that Singh isn't the man in the picture: Campus Reform assumed that another man in a traditional Sikh turban was him (though Singh did share the picture). 

The image that is not the professor, as shown on Campus Reform, is at right.

The website reached out to Singh for comment, but he told Inside Higher Ed that he did not respond for fear that it would not be "constructive." A number of other scholars who have been threatened and otherwise targeted online recently link the harassment to reports about them in Campus Reform or other right-wing websites. Some of those scholars also allege such sites purposely sensationalize or misrepresent their statements on race or other controversial topics.

Campus Reform revised the story after Singh noted the error, but, again, not before he faced tweets, emails and Facebook posts calling him a “goat-humping" "raghead" who should go “back home” and worse. Singh said he hadn’t faced any physical threats yet, but that he was aware there’s a “real possibility of violence, especially in our current political context. Hate incidents are surging, and people who look like me are particularly vulnerable.”

Trinity told Campus Reform that Singh is an award-winning professor who’s been noted “for the work that he is doing to end racism and Islamophobia in the world. He has been the focus of a lot of hate and a lot of racist remarks and comments and we've not had any complaints from our students about professor Singh and the other things that he's been doing on our campus."

Singh said discussions about academic freedom and free speech on campus are becoming “increasingly contentious,” and so raise concerns about the “balance of encouraging critical thinking and frankly acknowledging that hateful rhetoric has real, material consequences, which we are witnessing in the increased violence targeting Muslims and immigrants around the country.” With that in mind, he said he was grateful to Trinity for having his “back in every single moment like this, and I wish that other universities would do the same for their educators.” 

Sterling C. Beard, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, said the website is working to confirm the identity of the person in the photo, and noted that Singh did not respond to its original request for comment.

"None of this, of course, changes the fact that a professor who is lecturing on hate declared [on Twitter] that 'all Trump supporters tacitly condone racism,' told the president to 'kiss all of our asses,' and [shared] a picture of a man flipping the bird to Trump Tower. We have no need to misrepresent his views, as we have no need to misrepresent any professors' views. They speak quite plainly for themselves." 

Beard said that Trinity students who support Trump should be forewarned of Singh's "distaste" for them.

Calling Campus Reform's headline, "Prof who hates Trump supporters to lecture on 'navigating hate,'" irresponsible, Singh said he doesn't hate Trump supporters, "nor have I ever said that I do." Addressing accusations that he’s “teaching hate,” Singh said he’s attempting to “demonstrate injustice, to explain functions of systemic oppression, and to insist that we do not ignore the very real violence of our current political climate. This is not teaching hate. This is teaching from the heart, with love and justice and service all wrapped up together.”

 

Editorial Tags: DiscriminationImage Caption: The real Simran Jeet SinghIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Pages