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ACE Alternative Credit Project to Increase Attainment Levels for Nontraditional Learners With Some College, No Degree

American Council on Education - 6 hours 24 min ago
ACE launches groundbreaking effort to form a next-generation alternative credit system that will boost the ability of nontraditional learners to gain a college degree.

Trump offers three years of DACA in exchange for wall funding

Inside Higher Ed - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 15:09

President Trump on Saturday proposed temporarily extending protections against deportation for certain young immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion funding for a wall along the southern border.

Trump, who has not budged from his position that any deal to reopen the federal government must include funding for the wall, proposed in exchange for wall funding a three-year extension of protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a program established by President Obama that provides protections against deportation and temporary work permits to more than 700,000 young immigrants, many of them current or former college students, who were brought to the U.S. without documentation as children.

Trump, who described his plan to end the partial government shutdown as "a commonsense compromise both parties should embrace," also proposed a three-year extension of protections for immigrants who have an immigration classification known as temporary protected status due to armed conflict or an environmental disaster in their home countries.

Democrats, who have maintained that Trump must reopen the government before they will negotiate on border security, seemed unreceptive to his proposal. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described his plan as a “non-starter.”

"It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter," Pelosi said in a statement issued in advance of the president’s address. "For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers [as DACA participants are known] and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports."

Trump moved to end the DACA program in September 2017, holding that the program represented an unconstitutional overreach by Obama of his executive authority. Multiple courts have blocked the Trump administration from ending the program as planned, and protections remain in place for current DACA holders.

The Associated Press reported that the Supreme Court took no action Friday on the Trump administration’s appeal that it rule this spring on the lawfulness of its decision to end DACA, raising the prospect that the court will not hear the case this term and the program will be kept in place for at least another year. The National Immigration Law Center cautioned, however, that it is too early to know whether the court will take up the DACA case this term and that if the court did make any decisions on Friday it expects to learn of the outcome Tuesday morning.

4️⃣ We’ll be watching closely on Tuesday morning at 9:30am EST, the next possible time we could hear from SCOTUS about whether they’ll take up #DACA. Stay tuned for updates. 4/4

— National Immigration Law Center (@NILC_org) January 19, 2019

Many college leaders and higher education groups have lobbied for a permanent solution for DACA recipients, saying that the students with DACA status contribute to their communities and economies and that this cohort of American-educated students provides a critical source of talent for the U.S.

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U21 international award winners announced

The PIE News - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 10:19

The U21 Award, which recognises innovation in international HE within the U21 network of global research HEIs, has been awarded to both John Spinks of the University of Hong Kong and Kazuo Kuroda of Waseda University, Japan.

Spinks was recognised for a career spanning 20 years, in which he transformed the University of Hong Kong’s international recruitment record, and recently initiated a UN-inspired scholarship at HKU.

“The primary purpose of IHE is to contribute to the global world”

Kuroda research on internationalisation in Asian HE was described as “impressive” by Baibre Redmond of U21, who added that his work “underpinned his leadership in the development of new collaborative international degree programs” at Waseda.

The director of undergraduate admissions and senior advisor to the HKU president, Spinks took the international intake from 30 students (and a department of only two staff), to 750, the maximum allowed under local regulations, and more than 2,000 exchange students. The department now employees 75 staff members.

He described receiving the awards as an “honour”, and said his work was “the most rewarding in academia”, in a statement.

“It is a great honour, and an even greater surprise, to be nominated for the Universitas 21 Award. Setting up partnerships with other universities around the world, and liaising with governments, educational bodies, foundations and schools, not to mention prospective students, across Asia and beyond, must be one of the most rewarding jobs in academia.

“I am continually reminded of the communality of motives and goals among these stakeholders – of which the most significant is to help move talented students along their educational careers,” he added.

Kuroda is a professor in the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies. He is now researching international cooperation and global governance in education with analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kuroda also won significant funding from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology, with which he developed a student mobility project with Korea University and Peking University.

He said: “As a practitioner and researcher in Internationalisation of HE, I have believed for many years that the primary purpose of IHE is to contribute to the global world”.

“As we recognise ever growing demand for us, universities, to contribute to such global efforts, I firmly believe that U21
and its member universities are making and can continue to make significant contributions toward
realising the goal of a peaceful and sustainable world,” he added.

Spinks and Kuroda will be presented with their awards at the U21 AGM hosted at the University of Maryland in May.

The post U21 international award winners announced appeared first on The PIE News.

Kings partners with The Gilbert School

The PIE News - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 09:15

Kings Education has announced a new partnership in the US, with Connecticut-based The Gilbert School, a co-educational private secondary institution.

“I am delighted that we will be able to offer students from all over the world an outstanding high school experience and an ideal pathway to university at this wonderfully supportive school” Jose Antonio Flores, US managing director of Kings Education said in a statement.

“We are expecting strong demand from Hong Kong, Korea, Russia CIS, Brazil and Europe”

As part of the partnership agreement, Kings Education will be recruiting international students via its international recruitment and marketing network.

Anthony Serio, superintendent of The Gilbert School, said the partnership with Kings Education is a “unique opportunity” to recruit students from a wide range of countries.

Andrew Hutchinson, Kings Education director with responsibility for recruitment, explained that the company expects strong interest from a number of source countries and regions.

“We believe The Gilbert School provides an ideal high school pathway as it offers outstanding level of support for international students,” he said.

“We are expecting particularly strong demand from Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Brazil and Europe.”

The minimum level of English that international students will be required to demonstrate to gain admission to the school is TOEFL iBT 20, with the institution offering a broad range of English language courses that integrate with the main academic curriculum.

The school will offer a variety of programs for international students, including a Diploma Program and a one-semester Study Abroad Program for years 9 to 12 and an Accelerated Degree Program for years 11 and 12.

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HESA: UK recruitment growing, but EU intake dips

The PIE News - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:51

New international enrolments in the UK registered a slightly healthier growth in 2017/18 than in the previous year, with non-EU and particularly Chinese students driving the growth while EU new arrivals dipped, newly-released HESA statistics show.

A total of 458,490 international students were studying in UK universities in the academic year 2017/18, 247,685 of whom were newly enrolled – an increase of about 4% and 5% respectively in one year.

“Broadly speaking, the results are positive for the UK university sector”

Over 100,000 Chinese students were enrolled in the UK last year, making up more than 20% of the total international cohort.

But while last year’s statistics showed a decline in non-EU enrolments and a 6% EU rise, this year’s picture is almost the opposite.

New enrolments from non-EU countries rose by 8%, with India growing for the first time since 2010, while those from the EU showed a drop – at a modest -1%.

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UUKi director Vivienne Stern told The PIE News that these are positive results for the UK HE sector, although there is a “clear priority” to address Brexit uncertainty for current and prospective EU students.

“It’s fantastic to see growth in the number of international students studying in the UK. The 8% rise in non-EU enrolments is significant, and is a welcome sign that the UK continues to be one of the most attractive destinations for students worldwide,” she said, praising the work of campaigns such as Study UK, run by the British Council.

“Broadly speaking, today’s results can be seen as positive for the UK university sector. A clear priority this year must be to provide as much clarity and support as possible for current and potential EU students with concerns about Brexit.”

Stern added that UUKi will continue to push for a more generous post-study work visa for international students and an improved visa application process, along with pressing the government for clarity on EU student fees in the 2020/21 academic year.

Although the total EU student numbers have risen by 3%, about 700 fewer EU students have chosen the UK last year compared to 2016/17.

“Continued growth in China shows aspirations to study in the UK remain strong”

It is a modest decline, but it’s the first time that new enrolments from the EU have dipped since the rise 0f tuition fees in 2012, HESA press officer Simon Kemp told The PIE.

According to HEPI director Nick Hillman, the stall in EU numbers could be the product of two factors “balancing each other out,” with the soon-to-end availability of favourable conditions such as loans and lower fees mitigating Brexit uncertainty.

But as conditions are set to change post-Brexit, the figures could change too.

“There will be concern from universities that the drop in the number of EU enrolments precipitates a larger dip in numbers as the UK leaves the EU,” Stern explained.

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In terms of source markets, Italy has overtaken Germany and France and is now the top country of origin for EU students enrolled in UK HE – although new enrolments were slightly lower for all three countries compared to the previous year.

For English UK chief executive Sarah Cooper, the shift is not surprising.

“Italy and China are UK ELT’s top source countries as well, so it is perhaps no coincidence that HE mirrors this: [the ELT sector] is a prime portal to UK HE – people who begin studying in this country are more likely to continue to a high level,” she explained.

Stakeholders noted more positive news in the growing non-EU figures, which highlighted India’s first positive change since 2010/11, when numbers started declining from a peak of 39,090 to 16,550 in 2016/17.

There were 12,465 newly-enrolled Indian students in 2017/18, up from 9,720 in the previous year, for a total of 19,750 students – placing India as the second non-EU source market, ahead of the US.

“India’s reversal… suggests the pent-up demand is finally finding its way to the UK, [but] sustainability of this growth hinges on doubling-down on outreach and delivering on experiences that support career advancement,” Studyportals’ executive vice president of global engagement and research Rahul Choudaha told The PIE.

“One day, sanity will prevail in our attitude to international students”

“Continued growth in China and reversal of trends with India reflect that aspirations to study in the UK remain strong. However, the students who are successfully able to translate those aspirations into reality are the ones who are relatively less sensitive to cost and immigration challenges,” Choudaha explained.

Far above India, China is driving most of the growth, with 40% of all non-EU new enrolments being accounted for by Chinese students, their proportion on a steady rise over the past few years.

Although this is not just applicable to the UK, some fear the increased reliance on China could be problematic for the industry.

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“We do need to be careful of becoming over-reliant on a single country and we need to do even more to ensure similar growth from other parts of the world. One day, sanity will prevail in our attitude to international students,” said Hillman.

As for the predicted reshuffle in the top destination countries, with Australia snatching the UK’s second position, it’s safe to say it hasn’t happened just yet.

As of November 2018, there were 399,089 international students enrolled in Australian universities. However, although comparisons should be taken with a pinch of salt, this shows a 12% growth on 2017 figures, a higher growth rate than that of the UK’s.

The race is still on, but IEAA’s Phil Honeywood urged caution.

“We have to be very careful in identifying any definite ongoing momentum in Australia capturing market share off our UK cousins. Caution arises from both UK and Australia-specific geopolitical and market issues,” he told The PIE.

Honeywood argued that although Brexit is a “great unknown” for the UK industry, China exerts a far bigger political pressure on Australia, with unclear consequences for the industry. Also, a potential federal election in May could see negative commentary around population growth and market issues result in negative policy outcomes for the sector in Australia.

  • Additional reporting by Anton Crace

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UK independent school numbers in China “surge”

The PIE News - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 03:58

The China-UK “golden-age” in education is showing little sign of slowing down, with the number of British independent school branches in China expected to increase by nearly 50% in 2019, a report by Venture Education has shown.

According to the ‘British Independent Schools in China: Annual Report 2019’, despite growing fears of China’s economic slowdown, 2019 will see a record 14 British independent school branches opening across the country.

“The golden age of UK-China relations is truly at its strongest in education”

These will include The King’s School, Canterbury, which holds the record as the oldest continuously operating school and Shrewsbury School; one of the UK’s original seven public schools which counts Charles Darwin amongst its alumni.

The report shows that at the end of 2017 there were 22 British independent school campuses operating in China. This number is expected to have more than doubled by the end of 2019, with 10 new campuses in 2018 and a further 14 openings planned in 2019.

In addition, the number of British independent school brands with at least one branch in China is expected to increase by 64% in 2019.

Some of the reasons cited for the surge in school numbers include China and the UK’s ‘golden-age’ of relations in trade, while British independent schools with a recognised name have a strong appeal to Chinese students looking to study abroad in the UK.

British independent school campuses in China by year of opening. Image: Venture Education

Overall, the report continues, the international school market in China has gone from strength to strength and 2018 alone saw the opening of 87 new international schools across the country, bringing the total to 821.

“Among these schools, the British curriculum is the most commonly used, with 40% of schools offering an A-Level curriculum, ahead of the USA’s AP (26%) and the International Baccalaureate (15%),” it notes.

According to the report, private schools that admit Chinese nationals made up more than half of all international schools for the first time in 2018 at 52%, compared to private schools open to foreign nationals only (15%) and international departments in public schools (33%).

Last year, the report continued, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Xuzhou and Wuxi all saw their first British independent school campuses as will the cities of Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hefei and Foshan in 2019.

Speaking about the findings, senior partner of Venture Education Julian Fisher described the “incredible growth” of British independent schools in China as a sign that British education is seen as the gold standard at K-13 in China.

“British schools bring experience, expertise and innovation to a country that is looking for a holistic education that inspires the next generation,” he added.

The real challenge, Fisher continued, will be recruiting students, recruiting quality teachers and maintaining international standards of quality.

“The real challenge… will be recruiting, and maintaining international standards”

“This is where support from the home schools, international associations such as COBIS and ACAMIS, the British government’s Department for International Trade and the British Chamber of Commerce in China will increasingly have a role to play.

“The golden age of UK-China relations is truly at its strongest in education,” he said.

The post UK independent school numbers in China “surge” appeared first on The PIE News.

Free Estonian course hits 30,000 enrolments

The PIE News - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 02:57

More than 30,000 people have started learning Estonian with a free online course, launched with help from the country’s government in March 2018.

Offered on app platform, Speakly, the program was begun by the Estonian government in the year of the country’s centenary, to help people learn the language for free.

“Estonian speakers are all keepers of the culture of our tiny beloved Estonia”

“Estonian is a specialised course, that is free and directed to all foreigners, including… the local Russian minorities, who really want to learn the language but who previously didn’t have great solutions,” said Speakly co-founder Ott Ojamets.

“We have seen a pretty nice on flow of users joining the free course,” he added.

Notoriously difficult to learn, developers have attempted to create a science-based solution, including statistical analysis, to simplify the study process. According to Ojamets, this makes learning the language up to five times easier to learn that traditional options.

“Estonia has always been a frontrunner in innovative technology and a modern learning platform for Estonian studies was sorely needed,” he told The PIE News, explaining the methodology had been created over a five-year period by leading language learning experts and teachers.

“Because of the science-based solution, we can literally guarantee a needed level and this kind of a transparency is super important for somebody who is learning a new language,” he noted.

According to the government, the 200,000 Estonian citizens living abroad were asking how best to teach their friends and children the command of the language.

Using a study code – EV100 – students can access the Estonian language course for free as a “little gift”, Baltic country’s minister of culture, Indrek Saar, said when the course was launched in 2018

“All those people who speak Estonian are all keepers and carriers of the culture of our tiny beloved Estonia and the more there are of such people, the happier we are,” Saar noted.

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UNC, Michigan State show how partisan politics is infiltrating university governance

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 01:00

Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina became uncanny reflections of each other this week as the new culture wars claimed two casualties on campus in the form of ousted executives.

On Monday, UNC Chapel Hill chancellor Carol Folt handed in her resignation at the same time as she decided to remove the remnants of the toppled Silent Sam Confederate monument. Two days later, Michigan State interim president John Engler tendered his resignation rather than be fired in the wake of another in a long series of missteps seen as hostile toward victims of sexual assault.

Clearly, the details and dynamics of each situation are different. In North Carolina, Folt was a leader who had faced criticism for not acting as she unsuccessfully supported a middle-of-the-road solution between progressive activists who wanted the statue off campus and a conservative system board that did not. When she did act, citing safety concerns, she suddenly found her tattered image at Chapel Hill being rehabilitated.

Engler, on the other hand, was embattled after he made comments and took actions that set victims of sexual assault and the Me Too movement against him. But he had enjoyed the backing of a Board of Trustees until new members took seats -- and until he said last week that sexual assault victims in the spotlight were enjoying the moment. Few on campus seemed to be backing him in the wake of his ouster.

Nonetheless, both leaders found themselves dismissed earlier than they’d hoped. Folt planned to step down after graduation, but the UNC System Board of Governors accepted her resignation as of the end of the month. Engler, who until this week planned to stay on until a new president would be in place sometime this summer, intended to stay on until Jan. 23, only to have his board vote Thursday to oust him immediately.

Underneath all those details, the two cases fit into a larger trend of cultural change causing governance challenges on campus. Anyone who remembers the 1960s will tell you that’s nothing new. It is still notable today for playing out in the form of politically charged clashes between presidents and boards at public institutions. In North Carolina, Folt found her actions on the Confederate statue angering board members appointed by Republicans with little sympathy for those who study and teach at Chapel Hill and felt the monument glorified racism and white supremacy. Engler's background as a powerful and connected Republican politician could have been seen as a strength at a time when the university in crisis would likely need backing from lawmakers, but he also brought a fair share of baggage.

It’s a particularly concerning development for higher education supporters because boards have traditionally been seen as protecting universities and their potentially controversial scholarship from political whims. Having elected or appointed boards who in turn are responsible for hiring and firing presidents and chancellors strikes a balance by providing much-needed political insulation but still keeping institutions accountable to the taxpayers who fund them and the politicians in charge of the states.

If clashes continue to take on tones of the political polarization that has poisoned so much public discourse, it will harm governance and universities themselves, the fear goes.

“Governance cannot break the university system quickly, but it can break it steadily over the long term,” said Ellis Hankins, a former executive director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities who ran for state senate in 2016 and who has taught at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Duke University. “If we don’t have enlightened, effective university system governance, we’re no longer going to have a world-class university system. You start having more trouble attracting and retaining faculty members. It can become a downward spiral, which I’m very concerned about.”

Engler’s resignation letter provides a striking example of a cultural change bringing about a burst of partisan accusations. The resigning interim president, who spent three terms as a Republican governor of Michigan, opened his letter by discussing trustees’ political affiliations.

“You have advised me that five Democratic members of the MSU Board, including yourself, have requested my resignation as MSU President,” he wrote to the board’s chair, Dianne Byrum. “The election of two new Democratic members and the appointment of a Democrat to replace Trustee George Perles has created a new majority on the board.”

An Engler supporter also turned to politics, telling the Lansing State Journal that trustees and Engler’s critics should have examined the reforms that were put in place under Engler’s watch.

“It’s more about partisanship than it is about scholarship,” Dan Pero, who managed two Engler campaigns for governor and spent a term as his chief of staff, told the newspaper.

During Thursday’s meeting to accept Engler’s resignation, trustees maintained that they were acting in the university’s best interest, not in a political fashion.

“It’s not a partisan decision,” said Dan Kelly, the board’s vice chair. “I don’t think it’s a Democrat or Republican position to condemn comments that are not consistent with the values or what we hope to be the values of the university."

Indeed, many Republicans were horrified by Engler's comments about abuse survivors. And former lieutenant governor Brian Calley, a Republican, was credited with recruiting Nancy Schlichting, one of the new trustees who voted to accept Engler's resignation Thursday, to the board.

Engler’s case may be an aberration, of course. He is a former politician, and his relationship with some trustees was already remarkably poor -- one trustee, Brian Mosallam, described Engler during Thursday’s meeting as an individual with an instinct for division, callousness and hostility.

Yet the clash between Folt and the UNC system board shows political polarization overshadowing board actions elsewhere. And critics say the UNC board has been growing more polarized -- and more Republican -- for years.

The Board of Governors is elected by the state Legislature, which has been Republican since 2010. Some bemoan the dismantling of an arrangement that used to see Democratic and Republican lawmakers both appointing members of the board.

“Historically, there was a peace treaty between Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly,” said Hankins, of North Carolina. “It made perfect sense, and it worked well for many years back when the General Assembly members and governors of both parties didn’t disagree significantly at all about the value of the public university system and how important it was to the future of the state -- not just educating our citizens, but as an economic development engine.”

In the years since, critics have pointed to a long line of actions taken by state lawmakers and the system Board of Governors that they say amount to conservatives exercising too much influence over university governance.

In 2017, the Board of Governors overwhelmingly voted to prevent a center for civil rights at Chapel Hill’s school of law from engaging in litigation. In 2015, the state Legislature passed a law preventing monuments that are public property from being removed, relocated or altered without permission from the state’s historical commission. That law was passed amid protests over the Silent Sam statue, according to The News & Observer.

When Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. education secretary under President George W. Bush, became president of the UNC system, she soon found herself caught in a battle over a controversial state bathroom law. Tensions between the Board of Governors and Spellings, who was seen as interested in focusing on areas like assessment and completion when she first took the job, developed over several other issues, including Silent Sam. She decided in October to resign, and her last day was scheduled for this week.

So the power struggle that played out between Folt and the Board of Governors this week fit into long-running governance tensions tinged by politics.

Folt publicly issued her decision about the monument remnants and her own future while the board was meeting Monday. She and her supporters have maintained the chancellor has responsibility for matters of security on campus.

On Tuesday, after the board voted to accept Folt’s resignation at an early date, its chair, Harry Smith, told reporters he would have encouraged her to take a different approach.

“If this is the action you wanted to do, then let’s talk about it,” Smith said. “You know, the fact that we may not like governance and process doesn’t give us a right to usurp it. And whether you have the authority to do it or not isn’t congruent with the fact that we should follow the proper process and procedures that we had laid out.”

The Board of Governors isn’t the only board for Chapel Hill -- the flagship campus also has a Board of Trustees, although the statewide board hires and fires chancellors. After this week’s events, 20 former Chapel Hill trustees issued a statement that circulated in North Carolina media outlets.

The university faces challenges “created by the very people charged with governing it,” and the former trustees are unable to stay silent any longer, the letter says. Folt stood strong for the university, but during her tenure, increasing pressure from Raleigh and the Board of Governors “put politics ahead of the best interests of education, research and patient care,” it says.

“Silent Sam came to embody it all,” the letter says. “Tuesday, Chancellor Folt paid the price for her leadership and North Carolina lost another great opportunity to resurrect its history as a progressive part of this nation.”

The letter draws a line between Folt’s departure and that of Spellings. The board could not be satisfied to let either leader leave on her own terms, the letter says.

“Regardless of one’s view on Silent Sam, the Confederate monument had become a lightning rod for violence and intolerance on this campus and had to be removed,” the letter says. “We realize taking it down quickly was controversial. It is our hope that we will not have to continue fighting the Civil War by trying to resurrect it elsewhere on campus.”

With all of those words and actions flying, it’s reasonable to wonder whether it's possible that a single executive -- chancellor or president -- can lead in the UNC system under current conditions.

Folt thinks it is.

“Yes, it is absolutely possible to run a university,” Folt said Tuesday in a call with reporters held before the board voted to move up her last day. “We come to campus every day. I’ve got 30,000 students. Every one of them is a ray of sunshine.”

In the face of tensions at the board level, Folt spoke of mission. Leaders have both a mandate and an opportunity to make education available to everyone, she said.

“So no matter what happens to me in the future, I’ve had the greatest privilege of all to be a part of that,” Folt said. “I think that’s what chancellors and presidents feel every day. We live in the middle of the campus. So in spite of these conversations and these tensions, I’m going to walk out of this room and I’m going to see 15 students on the way back to my office, and they’re going to reinvigorate me for the future.”

Faculty members and experts voiced some concern that the issues at Chapel Hill had been boiled down to board versus chancellor. That dynamic shuts out a third party that is traditionally involved in shared governance at universities -- the faculty.

Chapel Hill’s Faculty Council unanimously voted in October to keep the statue off campus and remove its base, according to Sherryl Kleinman, professor emerita of sociology at Chapel Hill. Over 50 black faculty members agreed with that stance, she added.

Yet Folt backed a plan in December that would have housed the statue in a history center, and the faculty resolution was buried in a long appendix after a faculty member asked to have it added, Kleinman continued. The Board of Governors rejected that plan.

“It’s crucial that future chancellors ensure that faculty are at the table with administrators and the Board of Trustees when it comes to such important campus matters,” Kleinman said in an email. “If the chancellor and other administrators had lived up to the AAUP principle of shared governance, they would have received faculty expertise, strategies and support. By shutting out the faculty, the chancellor faced pushback from within and without.”

The situation cuts to the heart of the role of faculty and shared governance, said Cathy Trower, president of Trower & Trower, a firm providing governance consulting to nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities. Do faculty matter, or does the situation come down to the powerful boards and their dynamics with the chancellor, she asked.

But Trower also addressed the political dynamics at play.

“We should definitely be concerned about this,” she said. “What happens nationally plays out on college campuses and always has. It’s one of the reasons things are a little scary right now for a lot of presidents who feel they are in precarious positions, especially at public institutions.”

In crisis situations, Trower asks boards to consider their own performance before hiring a president. How does the board function as a partner for that executive? And when leaders must make difficult decisions, she asks everyone to think about the institution’s mission and values.

She sounded a hopeful note.

“If we can’t solve some of this on college campuses, who are we kidding?” Trower asked. “This is where we should be dealing with these issues. We should be, I think, leaders on those issues. That’s what students come to us -- hopefully -- in part to learn.”

Only time will tell whether UNC and Michigan State leaders are set up to move past the political overtones and find a way to address the issues at hand. Many worry that with Spellings and Folt gone, few leaders are left in a position to protect Chapel Hill from outside influences.

At Michigan State, some trustees tried to look forward after accepting Engler’s resignation Thursday morning.

“I’m sorry it took so long,” said Kelly Tebay, a newly elected trustee, her voice cracking with emotion. “I really hope this is the first step in a long road to really changing the culture of this institution that we all love so much.”

The board’s chair, Byrum, thanked those throughout the university for keeping it dedicated to its mission.

“I believe this is the beginning of a better relationship, both among board members and to the MSU community as we continue the healing and pay respect to the survivors,” she said.

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Colleges respond as shutdown creates new cost issues for some students

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 01:00

The College of Southern Maryland is located about an hour’s drive from Washington, and it’s midway between two U.S. Navy bases. That means the area served by the community college is home to thousands of federal employees -- and the impact of the ongoing federal shutdown on its students is unavoidable, said Maureen Murphy, the college’s president.

“The ripple effect is significant. There are very few people who are untouched,” she said.

The college is one of a handful of institutions that are offering emergency aid to students who are suddenly facing challenges paying for college because they or their parents are furloughed or not being paid. At the College of Southern Maryland, more than 100 students by last week had taken advantage of options such as deferred payment plans to deal with those unexpected challenges.

The Office of Federal Student Aid is unaffected by the government shutdown, so federal student loans and Pell Grants are being disbursed like normal. But for students at institutions like Southern Maryland or others elsewhere who depend on income from the federal government, the shutdown is creating sudden challenges paying for tuition, books and fees that would otherwise be affordable. Many of the students affected are well outside the Beltway and attend colleges across the country.

“People believe this is primarily concentrated in the D.C. or Virginia area,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management at Wayne State University. “There are lots of federal offices all over the United States. People are being affected, and they didn’t know to plan for this.”

Detroit, where the Wayne State campus is located, is home to a Delta Airlines hub and a large number of Transportation Security Administration employees in particular.

Medley said the university has seen a handful of students drop classes this semester. Wayne State announced emergency aid early in January in the hopes that it could let students know about their options to cover those costs. The university has been offering students deferred payment plans and emergency loans using institutional funds. So far, the campus has extended that aid to about 10 students but expects more to take advantage if the shutdown continues.

“We’re working with students coming now who didn’t think it would take that long or thought their parent would be back to work by now,” Medley said. “Every day we’re having new ones pop up.”

Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said financial aid offices deal with situations all the time where a parent is laid off during the semester or a family member accumulates unexpected medical debt. The temporary nature of the shutdown makes it a unique circumstance, he said -- federal workers should eventually get paid when the shutdown ends. But it creates uncertainty for their ability to pay for essential costs in the short term.

Murphy, from Southern Maryland, said financial aid administrators have seen student parents who are afraid they won’t be able to continue paying for childcare and the cost of classes during the shutdown.

“I don't think anybody realizes how thoroughly it disrupts the lives of people who are struggling to get an education,” she said.

The college’s winter semester doesn’t begin until next week, meaning it’s tough to tell how enrollment may be affected, but Murphy expects some sort of decline. The college has also tried to assist students in the meantime in applying for state and federal aid. Many have tried to updating their federal student aid or FAFSA applications -- an endeavor hindered this month for some students by problems with the IRS website.

Other colleges are taking their own steps to help students during the shutdown. Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J., said this week it would cover the tuition for any Coast Guard students enrolled at the college who haven’t received tuition assistance because of the shutdown. The University of Indianapolis said this week it would partner with a local brewery to provide meals to federal workers. 

And Southern New Hampshire University announced a $1 million special fund for those without their regular income.

Announcing today the creation of a $1m emergency fund for all SNHU students and employees adversely impacted by the federal govt shutdown and furlough. Emails have gone out to the SNHU community. No should be facing hunger or seeing their housing at risk because of broken govt.

— Paul LeBlanc (@snhuprez) January 15, 2019

The federal government, meanwhile, issued guidance last week to federal employees who have student loans about what steps to take during the shutdown. Their options, the department said, include postponing payments through a deferment or forbearance. Or they could enroll in an income-driven repayment plan that will lower their monthly payments.

Colleen Campbell, associate director of postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said the most important step for those borrowers is to call their loan servicer themselves to discuss their situation.

“The Department of Education is not telling servicers who is furloughed,” she said. “There are tools in place that should be able to assist furloughed borrowers.”

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Enrollment rebounding at City College of San Francisco

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 01:00

For years City College of San Francisco faced declining enrollments as it weathered budget shortfalls, an accreditation crisis and leadership turnover.

It was a positive development when enrollment at the two-year college finally began climbing last year. But it still wasn't enough to stop CCSF administrators from moving forward with a plan to eliminate a third of nearly 1,200 credit courses over the next seven years to help balance the college's budget. College officials are also planning to increase the number of high-demand classes offered, such as accounting, math and English, as part of that process. Administrators aren't certain how many more courses will be added, however.

“We are decreasing offerings of some underenrolled classes but also increasing the offerings of in-demand classes,” said Connie Chan, media relations director for the college. “We’re looking into the future and we are staying on track.”

Last month, Chancellor Mark Rocha proposed cutting about 400 underenrolled classes over several years. Those classes, ranging from labor relations to ethnic studies, are multiple sections of general education courses that have had fewer than 20 students enrolled in the last six years, according to CCSF data.

Rocha wasn’t available for comment, but he told board members in December that the underenrolled “courses over a period of time have to go or else the college cost structure will just be unsustainable.”

Those cuts could also help lower an $11 million budget deficit City College is facing this year. CCSF has a $185 million operating budget, but last year was the first time the community college didn’t receive about $35 million in stability funding from the state. That funding had been given to help City College make up the shortfall from the loss of enrollment revenue precipitated by students' uncertainty about CCSF's accreditation status. The enrollment decline began immediately after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges sanctioned the college for financial and administrative problems. At the time, City College had been running budget deficits for several years and had dipped into its reserves to cover shortfalls. The sanction led to a years-long dispute between the college and the accrediting commission.

“We no longer have that large number of full-time-equivalent students,” said Brigitte Davilla, a City College board trustee and a faculty member at San Francisco State University. “But we're growing. We’re trying to keep in mind our budget is much less without stabilization funds.”

City College earned back its full accreditation in 2017 after years of uncertainty. But rebuilding hasn’t been easy.

When the accreditation crisis occurred in 2012, the overall student head count at City College fell by 12 percent, going from about 83,400 in 2011 to 73,359. Enrollment reached its lowest level in 2016, when just 58,242 students were attending the college, but the number rose to 63,041 students in 2017, the first increase in 10 years.

Enrollment at City College has rebounded in part because of the Free City College program started by the college and the City of San Francisco. The pilot program allows city residents to attend the college tuition-free and earn associate degrees or enough class credits to transfer to a four-year college or university, where they will be guaranteed admission.

“It’s definitely had an impact and encouraged people to go back to school or to take classes and switch careers,” said Jennifer Worley, president of the City College of San Francisco Federation of Teachers. “So, for sure it has increased enrollment, but we’re still not where we were before the accreditation crisis.”

The free-tuition program is set to expire later this year, but voters will decide this fall whether to extend it for 10 years.

CCSF is not the only struggling community college to experience increased enrollments after starting free-tuition programs.

Morley Winograd, president of the Campaign for Free College Tuition, points to enrollment increases in Tennessee after the state expanded its tuition-free program to include adults last year. Tennessee officials had anticipated 8,000 adult learners would apply for the program. But they received more than 30,000 applications, and nearly 15,000 adult students enrolled.

Winograd said Tennessee's experience is an example of how these initiatives can help community colleges rebound.

The numbers "suggest expanding the idea to adult learners would actually end any enrollment decline," he said in an email. Free City doesn't have any age restrictions and its message is clear -- it's for San Francisco residents.

Mary Rauner, a senior research associate at WestEd, a nonprofit organization that is part of the California College Promise Project, which tracks and provides support for free-tuition programs in the state, said programs that have clear messages about the financial and academic benefits of participating can influence students' decisions about where to go to college, which can lead to enrollment increases.

Davilla said CCSF administrators are also expecting more students to enroll as a result of the college's efforts to increase dual enrollment with San Francisco-area high schools, and also because the college added more online classes to its course offerings.

"We see a lot of room for growth," she said.

Davilla is also optimistic that CCSF's enrollment will return to what it was prior to the accreditation crisis.

"We still have enough of a program base that attracts students and enough underserved students to climb back," she said.

Chan, the CCSF spokeswoman, said some faculty members may see their workload increase or decrease with the programmatic changes. The college is also hoping to shift faculty members into high-demand courses, such as math and English, for which four-year universities grant transfer credit, she said.

Worley said the faculty union disagrees with Rocha’s decision to cut classes.

“We want to see the college rebuild enrollment, and if we’re cutting courses, then we’re shrinking the college,” she said.

Some faculty members fear the changes City College administrators want to implement may alter the mission of the college.

Worley said there has been "a pretty concerted effort" to turn the institution into a junior college focused on increasing access to 18-year-olds so they can transfer to universities. She noted that CCSF already serves young students and the faculty union would be against any changes that limit options for nontraditional students and students in non-credit-bearing courses.

“We want to keep robust and diverse course offerings at City College for the entire community.”

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Ontario cuts tuition by 10 percent while reducing aid spending, raising concerns about effects on low-income students and university budgets

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 01:00

The Ontario government announced Thursday it would cut tuition fees for domestic students at all public colleges and universities across the province by 10 percent and reduce student aid spending, raising concerns both about the hit universities will take to their bottom lines and the impact of the changes on low-income students, who will no longer be eligible for free tuition.

According to the CBC, low-income students who previously could qualify for a grant covering the full cost of tuition will now receive a loan for a portion of their funding. An online calculator for estimating eligibility under the Ontario Student Aid Program shows that a student with a family income of 50,000 Canadian dollars ($37,659) or less would be eligible for about a 50-50 mix of loans versus grants, while students from higher-earning families would receive a higher proportion of funding in loans.

In a news release, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government said it wants to target funding to students who need it most, reducing the family income threshold a student must fall under in order to be eligible for grants and increasing the share of grants going to families with incomes of less than 50,000 Canadian dollars from 76 to 82 percent.

Alex Usher, a Toronto-based higher education consultant and frequent commentator on Canadian higher education, said on Twitter that the changes include some he has advocated for, such as not wasting money on grants for high-income students. But he said the problem is that some low-income students are worse off as a result of these changes while students whose families make 170,000 Canadian dollars or more are better off.

This is not wholly inaccurate spin. Such OSAP as remains will be more targeted than previously. Fact remains: all students on student aid will be worse off after today; only students not in need of aid (mainly due to high family income) will be better off. https://t.co/tgXwHpb81U

— Alex Usher (@AlexUsherHESA) January 17, 2019

Ontario’s minister for training, colleges and universities, Merrilee Fullerton, said in a news conference Thursday that the previous Liberal government had put the OSAP program "on an unsustainable path." She cited a December report from the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario that found the cost of OSAP rose substantially after the government introduced changes in 2017-18 that increased the share of aid that took the form of grants versus loans. The audit found that the cost of aid, mostly in the form of nonrenewable grants, disbursed in the 2017-18 academic year increased 25 percent over the previous year while enrollments rose 2 percent.

Fullerton said the government would restore the program to its 2016-17 levels "to ensure that it is both sustainable and available for the students of today, tomorrow, and generations to come."

Another change announced by Fullerton Thursday will allow students to opt out of paying certain ancillary fees. Fullerton said that while certain "essential" fees covering things such as health and safety programs and mental health counseling would continue to be mandatory, students could choose to opt out of others. “Starting in September, students will be able to choose which programs and organizations they want to support and be more empowered and informed about their own finances through our Student Choice Initiative,” she said.

Fullerton did not reference specific examples of programs that students might opt out of. However, in response to a question from a reporter about whether a student could opt out of paying for a program supporting LGBTQ students, she said there will be some leeway for institutions to determine which fees are essential.

Over all, Fullerton framed the changes as intended to put money back in the pockets of students and their families.

“This first-of-its-kind, across-the-board tuition reduction will see Ontario students receive a 10 percent savings in their education,” she said. “This reduction means significant savings for students and their families. And for a student attending an Ontario college, they will see a savings of on average of 340 [Canadian dollars] depending on the program,” she said.

Fullerton said the total value of tuition relief to students and families across the province equates to 450 million Canadian dollars. Asked if colleges and universities would be reimbursed by the provincial government for the lost tuition, she said she had confidence universities would adapt and find other sources of revenue. She estimated that the lost tuition revenue will account for between 2 and 4 percent of most institutions’ operating budgets.

“Universities are autonomous, colleges are relatively independent, and they have funding from other sources and revenues from other sources. And I fully anticipate that they are capable and able to make adjustments,” Fullerton said. She said that there will be no reduction to state operating grants for institutions.

Universities protested, however, that without being made whole, the cuts to tuition will negatively affect their teaching. The situation is parallel to state legislatures in the U.S. freezing tuition rates and not making up for the difference in tuition revenue with increases in appropriations -- though in this case Ontario actually reduced tuition rates, as opposed to merely freezing them in place.

“Ontario universities share the government’s goal of ensuring that all students who qualify should be able to access a postsecondary opportunity,” David Lindsay, the president and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, said in a statement. “However, today’s announcement, cutting domestic tuition fees by 10 percent, will reduce universities’ revenue by 360 million [Canadian dollars] -- and negatively affect their ability to provide the best possible learning experience for students, partner with their communities and help deliver economic and social benefits to the people of Ontario.”

Lindsay added, “The current financial situation faced by universities should be viewed in the context of over 16 years of decreased funding. Since 2002-3, operating grants per student, when adjusted for inflation, have decreased by 10.6 percent, which in turn has required universities to fund a greater proportion of their operating costs through tuition fees.”

Mitzie Hunter, a member of Ontario's provincial parliament from the Liberal Party and a former minister of advanced education and skills development for Ontario, issued a statement criticizing the policy of the Progressive Conservative government, led by the premier, Doug Ford. “Doug Ford is slashing funding to universities and colleges while adding debt to students across the province -- it’s completely unacceptable,” she said.

“Only Doug Ford would introduce a student aid plan that will help the wealthiest students at the expense of those who need help the most. The Ford government tuition cut will benefit only the wealthiest and the government. Because tuition fees will be lowered, the government will be spending less money on tuition fees through OSAP. Needy students will see next to no benefits because under the previous program they were already being provided for. Wealthy students, who never qualified for OSAP in the first place, are being given a 10 percent tuition cut even though they can afford it the most.”

The Canadian Federations of Students-Ontario also issued a statement condemning what it described as “a reckless plan for postsecondary education in the province, leaving students in Ontario worse off.”

“The Doug Ford government has attempted to spin this announcement as a 10 percent reduction in tuition fees when in reality Ford’s plan will increase out-of-pocket costs for students, diminish the quality of education students receive and undermine crucial student supports on campus,” said Nour Alideeb, the chairperson of the student federation. “The reality of loans-based financial aid programs is that students from low-income families pay more for their education in the long run. This announcement will make life harder for students and their families.”

The student federation also raised concerns that the Student Choice Initiative will encourage students to opt out of paying dues to student unions, which the group described as "important and independent organizations that advocate for students’ best interests and provide cost-savings services."

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, an entity representing a group of student associations across Ontario, also issued a statement expressing concern about the impact of the "opt-out" provisions on student organizations.

"Student representation, the autonomy of student governments, student media outlets, and services like health and dental plans, clubs systems, student-led programming, transit passes, and peer-support services, could be at risk," the alliance said. "Most student unions’ services, funded through student fees, reduce university and student reliance on government funding. Student unions fill in gaps in programming and services where universities cannot or will not."

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 01:00
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U of California advice on China mocked

The PIE News - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 09:57

The University of California system has caused puzzlement across Chinese social media, after sending a warning to students and staff not to use popular messaging apps or post politically sensitive messages online while undertaking periods of study in China.

The advisory, which came from the central Presidents’ Office (which covers all nine UC campuses), began with the update to the US State Department’s travel advisory level. However, it also added advice from third-party safety and security firm WorldAware, which caused consternation on Twitter.

“University of California headquarters internally relayed the guidance from WorldAware”

It includes advice to “not sign anything”, “do not give up your passport unless forced to do so”, and “do not make any unfavourable political statements… on social media”. It does not give any context for this advice,

The email was forwarded by ECE department and it was sent from Office of the President in UC Davis. pic.twitter.com/3oTk9mIVyg

— 疯狂科学鱼博士 (@DrF1sh) January 8, 2019

Responding to a tweet sharing screenshots of the email from Gary Leonard, users said the advice should be disregarded, while others joked that it seemed far too extreme.

forget this advise, when you see “unless forced to do so”, of course they will force you to do anything.

— tax_free (@tax_free) January 8, 2019

Several people said the advice made China sound like North Korea, which was “a bit exaggerated”.

The message also garnered the attention of traditional media, with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reporting on the matter.

In a statement sent to The PIE News, the University of California system office explained the contents of the email was not produced by the institution or its employee but was “relayed” after consultation with WorldAware.

“The Office of Risk Services of the University of California headquarters internally relayed the guidance from WorldAware (a security and risk management company with whom we consult) to risk managers on our campuses and medical centers. We sent the email following a recent Department of State travel advisory for China; it is meant for consideration by staff involved in ensuring the safety and security of international travel by individuals in the UC community.”

At the time of publication, the UC office has yet to reply to further requests for clarification.

“We have never had students who have spoken of interference with any apps”

The warning comes at a time of heightened diplomatic US-Sino tensions, following both president Trump and president Xi’s “trade war”, and allegations of espionage and intellectual property theft by Chinese tech firm Huawei.

This impasse recently boiled over, with the arrest (in Canada) and extradition of Meng Wanzhou to the US in December. This has led to reprisals within China, including arrests of Canadian citizens Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor. The businessmen were held in December, accusing them of threatening national security.

Further, on January 14 Robert Schellenberg (a Canadian serving a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking, a charge he denies) was sentenced to death in what was reported as an unusually quick appeal trial. This was in stark contrast to the two-year process Chinese authorities undertook to convict Schellenberg.

But despite recent events, CRCC Asia which describes itself as a leading China study abroad company, told The PIE News that while health and safety concerns are something all students travelling to China must consider, its students have not experienced issues or interference with their communications or technology.

“We do appreciate that students need to consider all aspects of health and safety before going on an international program. The US Travel Advisory Level for China has been at Level 2 since January 2018, which is the same level as various countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom,” the statement read.

“We acknowledge that US-China relations have been in the news more frequently recently and we are watching closely to see if there is any escalation. That said, all of our current and recent students have been safe and unaffected by the situation and with over 9000 alumni of the program, we have never had students who have spoken of interference with any apps or technology that they are using.

“We will continue to heed the US Travel Advisory guidelines to exercise caution and we always ask all participants to behave respectfully and in accordance with Chinese law.”

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The movement to stop Bolivia’s President Evo Morales

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 08:52

Modest Morales

UNLIKE OTHER Latin American presidents with authoritarian leanings, Evo Morales has dominated his country less through coercion than through consent. Bolivia’s economy has grown by an average of nearly 5% a year during his 13 years in power, double the Latin American average. Although it remains South America’s poorest country, extreme poverty has fallen by more than half, according to the World Bank. Indigenous and mestizo Bolivians, a majority of the population, have made social and economic progress under the first president with indigenous roots. In 2017 he celebrated those achievements by building a museum in his home town whose collection features portraits of himself.

Mr Morales, a former leader of a coca-growers’ union, has won three elections fairly and by large margins. He hopes to win a fourth in October. But his attempts to prolong his presidency have become increasingly high-handed. He has...

Canada’s Mounties get an overdue makeover

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 08:52

IN JULY 1874, 275 members of a new mounted police force rode 1,300km (800 miles) across Canada’s prairies, from Dufferin, Manitoba, in search of “Fort Whoop-Up”, a trading post in what is now Alberta. Their mission was to stop Americans from swapping whiskey for buffalo hides with the local Blackfoot Indians. Indigenous Canadians along the route whispered that the horsemen’s red serge jackets were dyed with the blood of Queen Victoria’s enemies. An artist rode with the Mounties. His sketches were published in the Canadian Illustrated News.

American journalists took up the myth-making, writing paeans to the 12 Mounties who bravely approached 2,000 Sioux warriors who had entered Canada after the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, seeking their submission to Canadian law. Hollywood made more than 250 Mountie-themed movies from the 1900s to the 1950s, including “Rose Marie” in 1936, starring Nelson Eddy and...

A cheery tale of Chilean cherries

Economist, North America - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 08:52

“I BEGAN TO do cherries because it was difficult,” says Hernán Garcés. The small sweet fruit is easily damaged by rain, hail or rough handling. They must be harvested by hand and processed individually. But the effort has paid off. Mr Garcés, now known as the “father of Chilean cherries”, has just guided the head of China’s customs agency round his firm’s plant, an hour’s drive south of Santiago. Thanks to China’s appetite for cherries, Garces Fruit has become the world’s biggest producer of them. Its output has increased 25-fold in 15 years. And Chile has a booming new industry. The mix of market forces and government help is an example of what Chile needs to escape from the “middle-income trap”.

It is the country’s good fortune that the southern-hemisphere cherry harvest comes just before Chinese new year. Newly rich Chinese consumers like to bestow on friends and family a gift of cherries, whose red, round form they see as...

Ireland appoints ELT employment mediator amid Grafton scandal

The PIE News - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 08:26

In what has been described as a positive step forward for Ireland’s English language teaching sector, the government has appointed a mediator to work with stakeholders to address some of the employment-related issues that have arisen in recent times.

Following the snap closure of Dublin’s Grafton College last December – which impacted 470 international students and left at least 23 teaching staff without pay –  widespread attention was drawn to the conditions for those working in the sector.

“This will be a positive benefit to the sector as a whole”

Debts owed by the private English language college reportedly include more than €170,000 in wages and statutory redundancy payments to staff and an estimated €45,000 to a Mongolian recruitment agency for students that were due to begin courses at the start of 2019.

In response, minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has appointed the former general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland, Patrick King, as a mediator. She said the government’s key objective is to ensure Ireland has an ELT sector that provides quality education to international students.

“Teachers and staff are a central element in ensuring the quality of that educational provision,” she added.

Specifically, King has been asked to assess the scope for a set of minimum employment standards which could form the basis of a Registered Employment Agreement covering the sector.

Mitchell O’Connor said she encourages bodies representing both employers and employees in the sector to engage with the mediation process.

“There is a real opportunity here… I call on both employers and staff representative bodies to actively engage with [King] to explore the potential to address the employment-related issues that have been so damaging to the sector in the recent past.

“This will be a positive benefit to the sector as a whole and will support the objectives of Ireland’s International Education Strategy by strengthening the quality of our English language sector,” she added.

“If employers are serious about a vibrant sector… they should engage positively with this process”

The mediation process complements the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill currently being progressed by the Department of Education that is intended to strengthen the role of QQI as a regulator in the English language sector.

Trade union Unite, which organises English language teachers in Ireland, said it welcomed recognition of the difficulties faced by teachers.

“If employers are serious about developing a vibrant ELT sector which is characterised not only by high-quality learning but by high-quality employment standards, they should likewise engage positively with this process,” Unite senior regional organiser Davy Kettyles said in a statement.

In response to queries about the impact that the Grafton College closure had on international students, Marketing English in Ireland – an association of accredited English language schools that includes Grafton –  later confirmed alternative arrangements for those displaced by the events.

But for teachers in the sector, a spokesperson for ELT Advocacy Ireland told The PIE News, the potential for damage will continue until protections are put in place for them “in our particularly precarious profession”.

“MEI schools take in the students within their extra classroom capacity. No teachers need to be taken on. So MEI schools can recoup the funds set aside for the protection of students,” the spokesperson said.

“Teachers get tossed out.”

The spokesperson added that MEI has been asked to support their former associate teachers by sending a message of support on social media.

“Teachers get tossed out”

“The #SupportGraftonTeachers hashtag would be an easy way to demonstrate they are not hostile towards teachers working in their associate schools. ELT Ireland after a few weeks did make a donation to the GoFundMe page, but MEI could be waiting for a more significant way to help.

“The Grafton staff are depending on MEI to make an inclusive choice for the people who’ve worked and continue to work in their schools. We’ll see what happens,” they added.

MEI has been contacted by The PIE News for comment.

The post Ireland appoints ELT employment mediator amid Grafton scandal appeared first on The PIE News.

ESSEC & Pearson launch executive programs

The PIE News - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:40

ESSEC Business School and digital learning company Pearson have partnered to develop and deliver new online executive programs in 2019, including a 100%-online executive certificate for future managers. The first of seven executive certificates – which combined will provide candidates with an ESSEC Executive Master in Digital Transformation – will be launched in spring.

The first online certificate, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for Business, will allow participants to tailor their learning to meet their individual managerial ambitions and interests.

“It’s not humans vs. machines, but humans working more effectively with machines”

As the course takes place online, participants will be able to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience with peers from around the world, without having to leave their home country.

Under the partnership, online course content, virtual teaching and tutoring, and other student services will be provided by ESSEC’s leading academics. Pearson will provide research consultancy, domestic and international student recruitment, and student support and retention services.

Speaking about the partnership, head of core markets at Pearson Rod Bristow said it will create an educational experience enabling learners to develop high-level skills to succeed in the workplace of tomorrow.

“The future of work is not humans vs. machines, but humans working more effectively with machines,” he said.

“We’re proud to partner with ESSEC to create this ambitious study program.”

According to Thomas Jeanjean, dean of Post-Experience Programs at ESSEC, “New and complex developments in big data, Blockchain and AI require new and evolving knowledge and skillsets.

“Those who shape the future will be those who maintain bleeding-edge skills and insights – they’ll be the ones who can spot opportunities and act on them,” added Jeanjean.

“This is what our partnership with Pearson will deliver.”

The post ESSEC & Pearson launch executive programs appeared first on The PIE News.

International student killed in Melbourne

The PIE News - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 03:35

Victorian police have confirmed a woman killed in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora was an international student on exchange at La Trobe University.

Aiia Maasarwe, a 21-year-old Arab-Israeli student who was in Melbourne as part of her studies at Shanghai University, was returning home after a comedy show when she was attacked shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

“Everyone has the right to get home safely”

“This was an horrific attack… inflicted on a completely innocent young woman who was a visitor to our city,” said homicide squad detective inspector Andrew Stamper.

Passers-by discovered Maasarwe’s body near a tram stop on Wednesday morning. Stamper said he believed she had departed a tram shortly before the attack.

He confirmed reports she was on a video call to her sister at the time.

Tributes to Maasarwe have been laid near the site where her body was discovered, with one message reading: “Everyone has the right to get home safely”.


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A post shared by Lucinda Russo (@elllerusso) on Jan 17, 2019 at 12:21am PST

Bundoora, north of Melbourne’s CBD, is a popular suburb for international and domestic students to live. Both RMIT and La Trobe universities have campuses there.

International student advocacy group ISANA said it was saddened by the news and urged the public to assist the police in their investigation, adding it would provide support for La Trobe staff affected by the events.

“Our network of members is always available to work or talk with colleagues to support them through difficult events such as this,” ISANA president Bronwyn Gilson said.

Police are currently asking for assistance from the community, and several items of clothing were recovered from the scene. They have not released details of the attack out of respect for Maasarwe’s family.

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