Higher Education News

Study takes aim at psychology's practice of ordering reference lists alphabetically

Inside HigherEd - 10 hours 41 min ago

Citation counts supposedly demonstrate a researcher’s scholarly impact. But outside factors can corrupt this metric. One of those factors is where a first author’s name falls in the alphabet, according to a new study. This is especially true in psychology, where convention dictates that in-text citations are ordered alphabetically.

When the study’s authors compared psychology journals to those in biology and geoscience -- both of which typically list authors chronologically in in-text citations -- the effects of alphabetizing in-text citations appeared to bias citation decisions toward authors with last names from early in the alphabet. So, say, a Professor Dumbledore would be cited frequently than, say, a Professor Snape, by virtue of a the first letters of their last names.

The study's authors attribute this finding to an interaction between cognitive biases -- specifically the primacy effect, which says that we more easily recall items earlier that appear earlier in a list -- and the citation environment, or style. The fix? Journals using alphabetically ordered citations should “switch to chronological ordering to minimize this arbitrary alphabetical citation bias,” the authors say.

Jeffrey Stevens, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, co-wrote “Order Matters: Alphabetizing In-Text Citations Biases Citation Rates” with Juan F. Duque, now an instructor in psychology at Arcadia University. The paper is in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Stevens said last week that he was interested in this area of research because he was originally trained as a biologist, with a different citation approach.

Only later in his career did he get into psychology, he said, and transitioning to alphabetizing in-text citations “didn’t make much sense to me.” Stevens got to thinking about the consequences of such a system and the primacy effect, and realized “this could lead people to ignore articles listed later in the in-text citations.”

Stevens explained the phenomenon via email, saying that "biology might include the following citation (Darwin 1859, Zuckerberg 2018), whereas psychology would use this (Zuckerberg 2018, Darwin 1859). If there is a long list of papers in the citation, we will likely just read/focus on the first few."  For biology, he said, "that means focusing on the early work, which is often the most important. For psychology, that means focusing on people with last names early in the alphabet, which is not necessarily the most important. We are also more likely to cite the papers that we focus on."

For their study, Stevens and Duque first looked at citation rates of tens of thousands of articles in 27 journals across psychology and biology. More precisely, they measured citation rates by looking at the number of times that each article was cited in Web of Science, and then calculated the average number of citations for each letter of the alphabet. Next, they divided that mean citation rate for each letter by the total number of citations, and multiplied that by 100 to get the average citation percentage for each letter. They next replicated their study, preregistering a very similar experiment involving psychology and geoscience journals.

As predicted, they found that in psychology, authors with last names early in the alphabet had more citations than those late in the alphabet. But that wasn't the case for biology and geoscience, which tend to order chronologically.

Categorizing the articles studied by field shows that the citation rate in psychology very strongly decreased with the letter of the first author's surname, the paper says, whereas biology showed no correlation. Comparing models without the field, and just by letter interaction, showed only weak support for any difference. But the replication involving geoscience journals also showed that alphabetical citation bias exists in psychology, and not where chronological lists exist.

Stevens said the findings matter because a seemingly arbitrary choice about ordering citations can influence citation rates, which have high-stakes implications for academics. And while psychology may be “relatively unique in forcing these arbitrary rules across the whole field,” he said, other disciplines, such as sociology and political science, at least allow that type of ordering.

“Though the effects might not be as strong, other fields could potentially have the same bias,” Stevens said.

Psychology’s citation rules are set by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which says that in-text citations must by alphabetized. (In-text citations include the author’s last name and year of publication.) Kim Mills, spokesperson for the organization, said via email that the “APA is constantly monitoring usage and feedback and we periodically make changes as we deem appropriate.”

Yves Gingras, a professor and Canada Research Chair in history and sociology of science at the University of Quebec at Montreal, who has written critically about how citation metrics are used to evaluate individual scholars, said that upon first read, the paper’s premise was interesting but that the effect size is relatively small and should be tested further. That said, he added that he had “no particular objection to the idea of making [citations] in chronological order from the older to the most recent or the reverse.”

It always always good to exercise caution when using citations for faculty evaluations, he said, and one way of doing that is looking at the way references are made.

Asked if his findings said anything bigger about the flawed nature of bibliometrics and the perils of relying on them too much for personnel decisions, Stevens said the question wasn’t necessarily relevant to his research.

“We used citation rates because they are easy to measure for our purposes,” he said. “The real issue is simply that authors early in the alphabet get more exposure or attention, and citation rates are just easy-to-measure proxies of attention.”

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Trump administration considers plan to end legal status of transgender students

Inside HigherEd - 10 hours 41 min ago

The Trump administration has drafted policies for the Education Department and other agencies that enforce civil rights that eliminate the concept of a student being transgender, and potentially make it next to impossible for transgender students to raise complaints about treatment based on their gender identities.

The New York Times revealed the plans Sunday. Under the draft policies for use in various federal agencies, the following definition would be used: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth … The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

While transgender covers a variety of identities, many who identify as transgender do not see themselves in the "male" or "female" designation they received at birth or in the male/female binary.

Under the Obama administration, federal agencies recognized gender identity as a protected class and considered complaints brought by transgender students. At the same time, a growing number of federal courts have also recognized transgender status (although some federal courts have not done so).

The Trump administration has criticized these developments, saying that the Obama administration exceeded its authority and should have waited for Congress to specify that various federal civil rights laws protect transgender students. Last year, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights said it would handle complaints by transgender students the way the agency did before the Obama administration said that it would consider such complaints as covered by civil rights laws.

In some cases, officials noted bias against transgender students may be covered by federal bans on gender-based discrimination and might still be investigated. Advocates for transgender students said that this was true in some cases, but not in many others. But an investigation by Politico -- focused on cases in elementary and secondary schools -- found the department under the Trump administration throwing out many complaints by trans students and their families.

Catherine Lhamon, who served as assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education under President Obama, said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed that the proposals, if enacted, would be "catastrophic to transgender students."

She noted that while some colleges have moved to protect transgender students from discrimination, others have not. Disputes have come up about admissions policies, access to bathrooms, access to residence halls, athletic participation and more.

While a student could still sue a college for bias, the Trump proposal would effectively shut down any chance that a student could turn to a government agency for help, Lhamon said. Many students don't have the money to bring a suit but can file complaints with OCR or other agencies, she said. "The federal government, speaking with its incredibly powerful voice, would effectively render transgender students as people without protection," she said.

This move could also influence the decisions of colleges on whether to be inclusive to trans students, she said. "This would essentially give a permission structure for discrimination," she said.

Lhamon also said that the move should concern anyone who values civil rights enforcement by the federal government in education. "The Trump administration is giving itself permission to narrow the law," she said, and could do so in other areas as well.

Shane Windmeyer, founder and executive director of Campus Pride, which is an advocate for gay, lesbian and transgender students, said via email that the policy being considered would be dangerous for transgender students.

"The Trump administration wants to flippantly deny even the existence of trans people and allow any college campus to discriminate outright in programs and policies," he said. "Any campus that discriminates toward a group of students should be held accountable for not providing a safe learning environment. And it must be realized, regardless of viewpoints, that an unsafe, discriminatory learning environment for any student is not an inclusive, open, safe place for learning for anyone."

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New York City sues for-profit Berkeley College

Inside HigherEd - 10 hours 41 min ago

Cities rarely sue colleges, but New York has received so many complaints against for-profit institutions that it brought a complaint Friday against Berkeley College New York in state court.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit against Berkeley for deceptive and predatory lending.

“For-profit colleges are businesses and like most businesses their top priority is generating profits,” the city agency's commissioner, Lorelei Salas, said in a news release. “Our investigation into Berkeley College reveals that their recruiters appear to say whatever they think a prospective student wants to hear, especially when it comes to academic programs, employment, transfer credits and federal student loans."

The college denies the allegations, and Berkeley’s legal counsel is reviewing the lawsuit.

“We repeatedly sought the opportunity to review any allegations with the DCA. However, DCA officials denied our requests to discuss the claims before they pursued this action," a spokeswoman for the college said in an email. "Berkeley College has provided more than 52,000 pages of documentation in accordance with the DCA’s requests."

The lawsuit alleges that Berkeley recruiters misrepresented facts about financial aid to students and tricked students into taking out loans directly from the college.

“Berkeley representatives block students from paying their balance any other way, misrepresent the terms of the financing, and even generate loans without telling students,” according to the complaint.

The complaint details that recruiters promote Berkeley’s grants, which do not need to be repaid, to encourage people to enroll. However, they fail to disclose that the institutional grants require students to borrow the maximum amount of loans available through the federal government.

The lawsuit also alleges that the recruiters were dishonest about transfer credits, majors, credentialing and careers. One recruiter told an undercover DCA inspector that 96 percent of Berkeley students graduate and are employed, according to the complaint. However, the institution’s federal, six-year graduation rate is 29 percent.

A spokeswoman from the college said Berkeley received reaffirmation of its regional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education this year.

“Last year Berkeley College New York was cited by the Income Mobility Report Card for being in the top 1 percent of colleges that help increase income mobility among graduates,” the spokeswoman said. “We are proud of our many accomplishments and accolades including those of our students and more than 60,000 alumni whose success has always been our primary concern.”

While it is typical for lawsuits against for-profits to come from the offices of state attorneys general, Yan Cao, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a progressive organization that examines for-profit institutions, said the city’s consumer affairs agency has the authority to do the same.

The agency had been investigating four for-profit colleges, including Berkeley, since 2015. The agency chose to pursue those institutions because they received the most complaints, The New York Times reported in a 2015 article about the agency's activities.

Carrie Wofford, president of Veterans Education Success, a group that focuses on fraud and abuse of student veterans, said New York City has been trying to be more proactive about complaints against for-profit colleges. This is especially true because the city's population and resources are on par with those of many states, she said, in an email.

In 2011, New York City also undertook the Know Before You Enroll campaign to warn residents about the predatory practices of some for-profit institutions in the city. From November 2011 to April 2014, city officials received more than 750 complaints against for-profit colleges, according to city data.

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Two former Fort Valley State employees charged with pimping, soliciting prostitutes

Inside HigherEd - 10 hours 41 min ago

Two former Fort Valley State University employees were charged last week with pimping, prostitution or soliciting prostitution.

The arrest warrants were handed down at the end of a months-long investigation into alleged misconduct by university employees, conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with Fort Valley State and the University System of Georgia.

Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, former executive assistant to the president, sits at the center of the scandal. She was charged with six counts of pimping after allegedly arranging to provide a prostitute for six men: Ernest Harvey, Kenneth Howard, Ryan Jenkins, Charles Jones, Devontae Little and Arthur James Nance Jr. Each was charged with one count of pandering and solicitation of sodomy for alleged conduct in 2017 and 2018.

Jones was formerly a lawyer for Fort Valley State.

Johnson was also charged with six counts of prostitution based on allegations that she “performed, offered or consented to perform a sexual act for money or other items of value” and one count of conspiracy to commit fiduciary theft after she allegedly conspired to steal a book scholarship from a student in 2015.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported her ties to university’s local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, where she served as a graduate adviser. Johnson, who had worked at the university since 2004, resigned from her executive assistant position on April 18, the same day the sorority announced its own investigation into misconduct allegations against a graduate member and university employee. David Cooke, the Macon Judicial Circuit district attorney, ​told the Journal-Constitution he "would not comment" on any student involvement or abuse surrounding the investigation. The national sorority in April said it was investigating "unauthorized activities and misconduct involving current and former members" at Fort Valley State.

“I find it best under the circumstances to render my resignation, effective immediately,” Johnson’s resignation letter read. “Please have my personal belongings packed and mailed to the address listed or I can have someone pick them up next week.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s national office scheduled meetings last weekend with the Fort Valley State chapter, which is disqualified from sorority activities pending the results of the investigation. Alpha Kappa Alpha did not respond to a request for comment.

Fort Valley State issued a statement Friday that emphasized its cooperation with law enforcement and the University System of Georgia to investigate all alleged wrongdoing.

“FVSU has promised its students that their safety and security is our first priority, and we fully support the application of the judicial process. We have consistently and aggressively worked with the University System of Georgia and law enforcement to ensure that anyone who allegedly puts our students at risk is investigated thoroughly and expeditiously, and have advocated for the most appropriate standards to be applied,” the statement read. “While we cannot comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, we expect anyone who has compromised the trust of our students to be held accountable with all deliberate speed.”

Adrian Patrick, the lawyer representing Johnson, told the Journal-Constitution that he has “no evidence of her having done anything improper or criminal” and that she has been demonized on social media. Patrick did not respond to a request for comment. The six men charged have not commented publicly about the allegations.

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Author discusses how realistic campus consent policies are

Inside HigherEd - 10 hours 41 min ago

Ahead of the Trump administration's release of new regulations around Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal gender antidiscrimination law that governs how institutions adjudicate cases of sexual violence, Donna Freitas, a noted expert, speaker and consultant on college students and sex, and visiting associate professor at Adelphi University, has released a new book, Consent on Campus: A Manifesto (Oxford University Press). In it, she discusses the flaws around Title IX enforcement and how universities can better teach their students about consent in a realistic way.

Freitas answered some questions about her book via email.

Q: Why do you think Title IX with regard to sexual assaults failed under the Obama administration? In your book, you discuss the messiness of Title IX coordinator duties being assigned. Had this improved by the time U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos yanked the 2011 Dear Colleague letter? You say Title IX is necessary but should be the final step after an incident of sexual violence. What should colleges do to change how they operate before it reaches a complaint?

A: What’s happened with respect to Title IX since Obama is a mix. Some colleges have used Title IX pressure to educate their communities and address complaints as effectively as they can; as an opportunity to put into place important resources, people and processes to contend with systemic sexual violence and harassment -- usually this happens on the student affairs/admin side of things. Other colleges have rolled out a hodgepodge of measures designed to prove compliance and little else.

But most important of all -- and we shouldn’t need a Title IX letter to be doing this -- are preventative measures and consent education on our campuses. These measures need to be enacted outside and inside the classroom. The inside the classroom piece, in my experience, is the biggest unmet challenge. It requires the academic, faculty side of the university to contend with sexual violence and harassment as systemic, intellectually rigorous issues, worthy of faculty research and classroom time -- that’s the only way we are going to make a dent in this issue, in my opinion. But while I believe that doing education in the classroom is the most important, most effective thing we could be going, I almost never see this happening on a campus.

Q: You discuss consent policies and the requirements of some state laws and colleges that explicit verbal consent come before any sexual act. What should universities do to be, in your view, more realistic about teaching their students about consent and the way it works?

A: It’s not simply that teaching verbal consent is impractical -- it’s impoverished. The notion that consent equals yes means yes and nonconsent equals no means no is woefully inadequate. It ignores the complexities of sex, sexuality and sexual intimacy on every level. It ignores the fact that consent is about ethics -- sexual ethics; that consent gets to the heart of who we are as people in relationship, of our self-understanding as people -- or it should. We are just scratching the surface of what consent is and what it points to about our communities, ethics and social justice. Teaching verbal consent does little to address and transform systemic sexual violence. It gives our students the how but not the why of consent.

Q: What is the unhealthiest part of “hookup culture” on college campuses at the moment and how should colleges remedy it?

A: First, a culture of hooking up (not simply an individual hookup) peddles the notion that apathy toward one’s partner and within situations of sexual intimacy is “normal,” even ideal. It passes on an “anti-ethic” about sex -- the idea that sexual intimacy can occur outside of an ethical framework. We must content with the fact that such a culture presents us with a paradox with respect to consent education, because consent education, at its most foundational level, teaches us that we must practice a basic attitude of care toward our partners.

To remedy this, colleges must take a far more complex approach to consent education (as I describe above) -- the kind of complex approach that can really only happen in the classroom. It requires ongoing discussion and equally complex readings that analyze societal structures and embedded attitudes that enable and perpetuate systemic sexual violence. How could such an effort possibly occur outside the classroom?

Q: How does "hookup culture" play into the overall debate around Title IX policy?

A: What I’m talking about shouldn’t even need Title IX for us to address it. Why should we need a government law to force colleges and universities to contend with systemic sexual violence? Shouldn’t we be doing this irrespective of Title IX because our missions and identities require it of us? Isn’t that what universities are meant to do in the first place? Shouldn’t we be communities that work toward the common good -- not under threat of losing federal funding -- but because we see it as core to who we are as privileged institutions with tremendous resources for doing just this kind of work?

Q: Should colleges and universities start making efforts to unpack the stereotypes around masculinity and how it plays into sexual violence, and how should that manifest on campus?

A: Of course. We need to expand our lens on sexual violence and harassment beyond women and the LGBTQ community, to include all men. The idea that this is a “women’s issue” is as outdated as it gets. All colleges and universities should have courses that address men, boys and masculinity, and we need the subject of masculinity to begin to appear as a topic on syllabi across the disciplines -- not only in courses exclusively dedicated to its study.

Q: After your research on the culture on campuses, what concerns you about the administration’s release of Title IX regulations?

A: What would be scandalous -- truly, truly scandalous -- would be for certain colleges and universities to undo what they were forced to put into place under Obama. Can you imagine? Universities using this as an opportunity to go back to the status quo of brushing complaints under the rug (as often was the case) and turning their backs on victims and this issue? If any admin or university board members are even considering doing such a thing, they should be ashamed of themselves. The ways that colleges and universities systemically ignored this issue (over all) prior to that April 2011 Title IX letter was shameful and scandalous. To go back to that shameful, scandalous state -- I can’t let myself go there. No university should let itself go there.

I still believe in the idea of the university -- the notion that we are communities responsible for working to promote the common good. I have hope that colleges and universities will choose to do the right thing here, even when our government and its politicians are doing the wrong one on this issue in every way.

How can we not do the right thing? To not do it is to leave students and community members that depend on us vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment. How could we possibly live with ourselves?

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New program at Pitt asks recent grads to pay it forward for future students

Inside HigherEd - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:00

This spring, the University of Pittsburgh will pilot a “pay-it-forward” financial aid program that offers students up to $5,000 upon graduation to pay down their student debt. In return, the university asks, but does not require, graduates of the program to contribute to a fund that will finance the same debt-relief scholarships for future students in the program.

Rohit Anand, a recent Pittsburgh graduate, hopes the Panthers Forward program will serve as one answer to the growing student debt crisis. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, two in three college seniors in the United States graduate with debt, and those students walk away with an average of $28,650 in loans. In Pennsylvania it's worse -- graduates with debt leave with an average of $36,854 in loans.

Anand and his team at Altian Education, a company he co-founded to develop and promote community pledge networks like this one, designed the program alongside Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh chancellor. Their goal was to create something that “gave students more flexibility to pay for future students without the burden of loans,” he said.

The University of Pittsburgh is currently Altian Education's first and only client. The university contracted the company to develop the program, and Anand said that it "does not make any money from the Panthers Forward program itself." All contributions from Panthers Forward alumni will directly fund future debt-relief scholarships.

The first group will include 150 students, and any graduating senior with subsidized or unsubsidized federal loans can apply online. The money will be sent directly to the loan servicer at the time of graduation. For now, the university won’t apply the $5,000 to private loan debt.

“The loaner, for a federal loan, is the federal government,” said Anna Adams-Sarthou, program manager for Panthers Forward. “[This way] we’re not sending checks to different banks, we’re sending one check to … the federal entity that provides those loans.”

The university is looking for students who are “in good standing," not only academically but through clubs, student government, athletics or internships. The brief application asks students to list their activities and volunteer hours, provide a faculty reference and write 250 words about how the University of Pittsburgh made a difference in their life.

Money for the first round of students will come from the chancellor’s discretionary funds, but Anand and Adams-Sarthou hope the fund will become “evergreen.”

“In a perfect world, of course that would be great, but we’re being realistic and we don’t think it’ll be self-sustaining in one year,” Adams-Sarthou said.

Anand did not want to estimate how long it would take.

"We're not focused right now on making such estimations. We want to first see how the program is received by students and how it develops over the next couple years," he wrote in an email. "This initial phase of the program will be indicative of how the future of the program, including when it will be self-sustaining, is planned."

Anand and Adams-Sarthou emphasized that scholarship recipients are not required to pay back the money in any way, and the group does not have recommended repayment plans set up yet.

"We are intentionally not mandating any kind of specified payment or payment plan, although it is our hope that students who graduate from the program choose to set up a plan to make recurring payments at amounts of their choosing," Anand wrote.

Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, is optimistic about the program’s success given Pittsburgh’s long-standing commitment to financial aid.

“On a larger scale, this is kind of what’s supposed to happen when you pay state and national taxes,” he said. “This is how federal student aid came about … and now we have a program that is doing that at a hyperlocal level.”

The pay-it-forward psychology is critical to the program’s success. Ayelet Gneezy, an associate professor of behavior science and marketing at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, and an expert on "pay-it-forward" and "pay-what-you-want" models, said that the program's success will require a few key features: a well-crafted ask, fostering a sense of charitable giving and a reasonable time frame for paying back into the fund. Anand said that the university will keep in touch with graduates of the program, but details about how, when and how frequently are still being decided.

Choosing students who already have goodwill toward the university is smart, Gneezy said.

“If you try to think, ‘OK, when are people going to be positioned in a situation in which they want to do the right thing?’ Take for example, Starbucks versus the local coffee shop,” she said. “I would probably want to reciprocate or be kind to my local coffee shop rather than Starbucks.”

Language is also important. Graduates will be more likely to pay back into the fund if they know the money is going directly to other students.

"What we found was when you frame it as pay-it-forward, people pay more than if you frame it as pay-what-you-want," she said.

Draeger mentioned that the impact of Panthers Forward could be twofold: an evergreen fund for debt-relief scholarships and a strong network of young alumni who are inclined to give back to the college.

"Clearly it's also about creating a sustainable fund-raising base and engaged alumni," he said. "It’s that secondary piece that, if Pitt is successful, may serve as a model for other schools going forward."

In addition to the debt-relief scholarships, admitted students will be welcomed into a network of Panthers Forward alumni whom they can turn to for career advice and guidance. Adams-Sarthou emphasized that the networking aspect also had no set obligations.

“Sometimes it’ll be setting up a more formalized network; sometimes it’s going for a coffee and talking about ‘this is what I’ve been doing in college, but now I’m thinking about doing something else,’” she said. “We’re intentionally not trying to structure it because we don’t want it to feel like a series of mandates -- ‘if you’re part of the program, you must do x, y and z.’”


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Conservative group cancels tickets for students from some campus groups

Inside HigherEd - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:00

Earlier this month, a conservative campus group at the University of Southern California hosted Ben Shapiro, an author notorious for his comments that offend, such as remarks that transgender people suffer from mental illness.

This event alone may have not been so unusual. While some conservative speakers have been shouted down, many of them -- including Shapiro -- speak regularly on campuses. But in the case of his USC appearance, some students have questioned whether the group that brought him did so in a way that squelched free expression.

The USC chapter of Young Americans for Freedom canceled at least 150 of the free tickets students had reserved, reportedly out of fear that some of them would disrupt the event. Some of these students were leaders of organizations that represent minority students -- the Black Student Assembly, for instance -- or activist groups such as Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment. A representative from the Latinx Student Assembly​ provided Inside Higher Ed with a screenshot showing that Young Americans for Freedom had canceled her ticket. Some tickets had been reserved under obviously fake names or with curse words.

Because the university chapter of Young Americans for Freedom did not respond to request for comment, it is unclear whether certain students were ultimately excluded from the event. Representatives from groups who had their tickets canceled also did not respond to request for comment.

The Shapiro event on Oct. 4 went off with no hitches. A couple hundred people protested outside the hall where Shapiro was giving his talk, but the protest was peaceful; inside the venue, no one tried to drown out Shapiro.

USC spokesman Eddie North-Hager confirmed that the Office of Campus Activities inquired into the ticketing incident and found no violation of the university’s policies.

However, North-Hager also said that the student government, which has some separate guidelines from the university, gave Young Americans for Freedom $4,100 out of its discretionary fund for student events -- the maximum amount allowed per academic year. Per the rules of that funding, the event must be free for all undergraduate students. The Undergraduate Student Government treasurer did not respond to a question about why the group was able to use that money for Shapiro’s talk or whether Young Americans for Freedom would be punished.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a civil liberties watchdog group in academe, said that a student organization hosting an event can decline to give reservations to those who publicly indicate they are not actually attending or who have announced they want to disrupt an event.

“But that doesn’t extend to turning away students simply because organizers think they’re opposed to the event happening or to the speaker’s views,” Adam Steinbaugh, director of FIRE’s individual rights defense program, said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed. “The entire point is to allow individuals to engage with views they find objectionable. Excluding dissenters who haven’t expressed an intent to disrupt the event would not be a narrow way of preventing disruption.”

It does not appear that these student groups publicly announced they would interrupt Shapiro. Several student groups posted on social media a statement with the #SoundtheAlarm hashtag that suggested Shapiro’s presence would be a “catalyst” for “dangerously radical conservatives” and white supremacists on campus. But it also contained some misinformation, purporting that the university spent thousands of dollars for the event to pay for security and police K-9 units.

#SOUNDTHEALARM, spread the word. pic.twitter.com/wiKNUxDxPN

— Black Trojan (@USCBSA) September 21, 2018

According to a statement last month from John Thomas, chief of the USC Department of Public Safety, Young Americans for Freedom paid for security costs associated with the event. It said police dogs were never part of the security plan.

North-Hager did not respond to a question about how much security cost, but said the student government money that the group secured went toward that.

“Our role is to make sure that all parties on campus may safely exercise their First Amendment rights in accordance with university policy,” Thomas said in his statement.

Young Americans for Freedom is a recognized organization with the university, meaning it enjoys such perks as applying for institutional funding, discounts on renting facilities and using the name, logo and other trademarks associated with USC.

The university has been largely quiet about the Shapiro event, other than to correct false statements. But Ainsley Carry, vice president for student affairs, wrote in a letter to the student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, that he found Shapiro’s views “abhorrent, painful, offensive and hateful.” Carry wrote that his gut instincts questioned why a university could not simply outright deny a speaker like Shapiro a platform.

“It is true that our constitutional inability to deny or restrict hateful speech runs counter to our sincere efforts to advance equity and inclusion,” wrote Carry, who is black. “However, I want to remind our community that no single speaker in one evening can set back all that has been achieved over the past decade. Our cultural centers, cultural assemblies and student leaders have made tremendous strides in making this campus a safer space for so many marginalized student populations. Is it really possible this speaker can unravel all that has been accomplished to make our university better? Should we grant any speaker that much power? I hope the answer to these questions is ‘hell, no!’”

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For-profit college chain sues feds to keep federal aid amid restructuring

Inside HigherEd - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:00

The problems at for-profit college operator Education Corporation of America have piled up in recent years.

Its enrollment has plummeted. It has stopped making on-time payments on its debt. And it’s fighting eviction from multiple locations as creditors pursue judgments against the company.

This week, ECA told a federal judge that it could not complete a teach-out -- a process by which students finish their degrees or transfer credits elsewhere -- at two dozen campuses slated for closure unless an unusual restructuring plan is approved. In a lawsuit naming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department as defendants, the company hinted that the government could face numerous loan-forgiveness claims from students attending those campuses without the plan in place.

Higher ed institutions that enter the bankruptcy are barred from receiving Title IV federal student aid, including grants and loans. The company brought the lawsuit to assure that it can keep access to the federal aid while a receivership process goes through. Its financial situation is so dire, it argued, that it can’t cover salary or other costs without those funds.

“It seems like ECA is at death’s door,” said Matthew Bruckner, a professor who studies higher ed and bankruptcy at Howard University Law School. "They're basically saying 'without this receivership we have no money; we can't do a teach-out.'" 

The company operates multiple for-profit chains with campuses across the country, including Virginia College and Brightwood College. In the lawsuit, filed in a federal district court in Alabama, ECA says it enrolls about 20,000 students -- although it’s unclear from the complaint if that number refers to just Virginia College or all ECA institutions.

It announced plans last month to phase out 26 campuses, about a third of its total footprint, by December 2019. The company said it took that step because of declining enrollment in the affected markets.

When a college makes plans to close a campus, it’s required to formulate what’s known as a teach-out process that will allow students still enrolled to either complete their degrees or transfer their credits to another institution. The lawsuit argues that without the restructuring plan in place -- and continued access to Title IV -- ECA won’t be able to fulfill those obligations.

“Without obtaining the relief requested herein, the unrestrained actions by ECA’s creditors will almost certainly result in a disorderly and chaotic process that will irreparably harm students’ interests and minimize recovery for all creditors,” according to the complaint.

If the restructuring plan is approved, ECA said in the lawsuit, a creditor, Monroe Lenders, has offered to purchase its remaining 46 campuses and its management platform.

ECA didn’t respond to a request to comment further on the lawsuit.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the agency could not comment on active litigation.

A sudden closure of those campuses would be unwelcome news for students. It would also create serious costs for the federal government from closed-school discharge claims -- a process where borrowers can seek loan forgiveness when their college suddenly closes while their degree is in progress.

But many ECA programs also have a questionable track record of academic outcomes that won’t be helped by the teach-out process, said Antoinette Flores, associate director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress.

“On the one hand, it’s terrible that the campuses would close,” she said. “On the other hand, it would mean continuing to allow Title IV money to flow to institutions with questionable academic quality. I don’t think there’s a win here for students.”

The Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training in May rejected an application from Virginia College to get approval from the accreditor, citing in part low graduation and job-placement rates. The chain had sought accreditation through ACCET in part because the status of its own accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, was in doubt.

The Obama administration sought to shut down ACICS as an accreditor because of oversight failures. But after the organization got a second chance thanks to a court ruling, a senior Education Department official recommended last month that its federal recognition be extended for 12 months.

ACICS did not respond to a request for comment on the ECA lawsuit. The for-profit chains operated by ECA make up about half of the remaining colleges accredited through the organization.

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New presidents or provosts: Cambrian Cuyahoga Duke Kunshan Griffith Loyola Md. MUW Piedmont Shaw South Seattle USMMA

Inside HigherEd - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:00
  • John R. Ballard, vice president for veterans and military partnerships and director of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, in Washington, D.C., has been selected as academic dean and provost at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, in New York.
  • Paulette Dillard, interim president and vice president for academic affairs at Shaw University, in North Carolina, has been appointed president there.
  • Carolyn Evans, deputy vice chancellor (graduate and international) and deputy provost at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, has been chosen as vice chancellor and president at Griffith University, also in Australia.
  • Paula Gouveia, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Humber College, in Ontario, has been appointed vice president academic at Cambrian College, also in Ontario.
  • Tavarez Holston, vice president for academic affairs and vice president for adult education at Lanier Technical College, in Georgia, has been named president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College.
  • Nora Miller, acting president and senior vice president for administration and chief financial officer at Mississippi University for Women, has been promoted to president there.
  • Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, vice president of student services at South Seattle College, has been appointed president there.
  • Amanda Thomas, interim vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University Maryland, has been selected as provost and vice president for academic affairs there.
  • Lisa Williams, vice president of learning and engagement at Cuyahoga Community College, in Ohio, has been selected as president of the college's Eastern Campus.
  • Feng Youmei, executive vice president of Wuhan University, in China, has been appointed chancellor of Duke Kunshan University, also in China.
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Medium-size institutions look to medical schools for future stability

Inside HigherEd - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:00

As its fellow midsize, modestly endowed private colleges look nervously to the future, Marist College in New York’s Hudson Valley is making a bold, nearly $180 million bet: last month, it announced that it will partner with a regional health-care provider to build a new medical school.

Marist Health Quest School of Medicine is expected to open its doors in 2022, reaching capacity in 2032 with about 500 students.

Adding a medical school to a private college is “honestly a big leap up in scope and complexity,” said President David Yellen. But it makes sense, he said. “If you have the resources, there’s room for another good medical school. And we think it will boost our status and reputation.”

The move is unusual -- if not unprecedented -- for a regional institution. In 2013, Marian University in Indianapolis did much the same, opening its College of Osteopathic Medicine, only the second medical school in Indiana.

In both cases, relatively nonwealthy -- if economically secure -- private institutions surveyed the educational landscape and decided that training doctors made sense. Opening a medical school represents not just a worthy pursuit, they concluded, but a possible key to long-term financial security, despite a byzantine and ever-shifting health-care industry.

Marian president Daniel Elsener said the endeavor turned out to be so enormous that it’s best understood not as a typical campus expansion but as an “intergenerational” undertaking.

But he said it is a smart investment, since most medical students eventually become physicians -- who become donors.

“The likelihood that they can support their institution as an alum increases,” he said.

Geoffrey Young, senior director for student affairs and programs at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said the demand for new doctors will continue to grow. “We have a generation of physicians -- the baby boomers -- who are at or are rapidly approaching retirement age,” he said.

And as the median age of Americans inches up, “We know that we’re going to continue to need physicians to care for our population,” said Young, a former admissions dean at the Medical College of Georgia. He said the field has seen steady growth in the total number of applicants. “Over all, medical school remains a very attractive option for those who are qualified,” he said.

According to recent AAMC data, the U.S. faces a severe physician shortage over the next 12 years. Its 2017 analysis found that the number of new primary care physicians and other medical specialists is not keeping pace with the demands of a “growing and aging population.” By 2030, it predicted, the U.S. will need between 40,800 and 104,900 more physicians than it is expected to produce.

The analysis found that primary care shortages won’t be as bad -- at most, AAMC found, we will come up short by as many as 43,100 primary care physicians. But surgical specialties and others are expected to see a shortfall of as many as 61,800 practitioners by 2030. Other specialties, such as emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, neurology and psychiatry could see shortages that are about half as large.

AAMC statistics suggest that the nation’s 152 accredited medical schools were slightly more competitive last year than they were nine years earlier: in 2017, the schools accepted 41.2 percent of applicants. In 2008, they accepted 42.7 percent.

Over all, the acceptance rate dropped even as the total number of med school slots grew, from 18,036 in 2008 to 21,338 in 2017, or by 18.3 percent.

Mostly that’s because in the same period, the number of applicants grew at an even faster rate: 22.3 percent. In 2017, nearly 9,500 more students applied to medical school than in 2008, but institutions could accommodate only 3,302 more applicants, according to AAMC statistics.

Though the costs to underwrite a brand-new medical school are considerable, analysts have actually said Marist’s move is not as risky as it seems. For one thing, Health Quest has committed to funding construction of the facility that will house it.

Moody's Investor Services last month said Marist’s plan would have no immediate impact on its $104 million in outstanding rated debt, or on $40 million in proposed bonds to be issued through the Dutchess County, N.Y., Development Corporation. The costs associated with launching and supporting the medical school are “manageable,” Moody’s said, noting that they’ll be split evenly between Marist and Health Quest, which already runs four hospitals in the Hudson Valley and northwestern Connecticut.

Marist will spend about $25 million over the next five years, a small portion of its “sizeable” $290 million in spendable cash and investments, Moody’s said.

Yellen, the Marist president, said building the new school “is only possible because we’re doing very well financially, in an environment that’s pretty challenging for private colleges.”

He estimated that the college and Health Quest will spend nearly $180 million to get the new school to capacity in 2032. It will likely never turn a profit, Yellen said, but if all goes as planned, it will help raise Marist's reputation and drive enrollment to other programs such as the sciences. “This isn’t something we’re doing to generate revenue for the college at all, in any direction -- just the opposite,” he said. “We think it’s going to cost us money for a long, long time.”

Yellen also said the school isn't designed “to spin off money to be used for other purposes.” While he anticipates that alumni could someday give back generously, it'll likely be to the medical school and not to Marist's general fund. “We’re not expecting that medical school alumni will give money to help Marist College build a new undergraduate dorm,” he said. “But it’s kind of a rising tide raising all boats.”

He said the move makes sense for the region: the nearest medical schools in the region sit either in Westchester and Rockland Counties, 50 miles south, or in Albany to the north, 80 miles away.

“In between, there’s a million people,” he said.

Though the success of the new school won’t necessarily be judged by the percentage of graduates who stay to practice medicine in Dutchess County, he believes the area’s natural beauty, low cost of living and proximity to New York City will make it an attractive place for future physicians to put down roots. The new school, he said, will be located just a half mile from Poughkeepsie's Metro North commuter train station -- the trip to Grand Central Station takes about an hour and a half. “This is a beautiful, dynamic part of the country that has a mix of natural beauty and a proximity to New York,” he said.

The recent AAMC data on medical school matriculation show that there’s “a dramatic oversupply of really qualified” medical school applicants, Yellen said. “We’re not worried about enrolling a full class of really good people.”

Part of the new school’s appeal will be its focus on medicine assisted by artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, which will be built into the curriculum. “We want our medical students to begin to be educated in that, and to begin to be acclimated to that.” As data-driven decision making becomes a bigger part of medical practice, “they’ll be ready,” he said.

Despite its isolated location, he predicted that Marist “will do just fine in that competition for the best students, over time.”

Robert Friedberg, Health Quest's president and CEO, said bringing a medical school to Dutchess County would familiarize students with the region. "We’re hoping that many of them will find it a desirable area" and apply for residencies, he said.

He said he and Yellen “just shared the vision about how this would look and how it will work.”

Marist's modest size, he said, wasn't a consideration. “They have strong premedical programs and they have some postgraduate programs as well in the medical arts -- they were just positioned really well.”

Alumni Shift Could Pay Off

Marian’s Elsener said Indianapolis is “a great environment to attract talent.” The university boasts that it offers a “faith-based, liberal arts environment,” and has committed an estimated $80 million to $90 million to the new school over the past decade. “If you don’t bring a lot of resources to the game, you should stay off the field,” he said, noting that start-up costs are “very, very significant. If you aren’t prepared to take care of that, it can pull down the whole institution rather than raising it up.”

He said the move could pay off as institutions like Marian shift away from graduating mostly teachers, nurses and social workers -- through the 1980s and 1990s, about 80 percent of Marian alumni ended up in these professions -- and add more disciplines like medicine and engineering. The shift, he said, could help the university's bottom line, since these new alumni are more likely to be able to give back generously in future decades. Teachers, nurses and social workers, he said, are “wonderful people,” but they don’t always earn sizable wages.

Patrick McCabe, a Moody’s analyst, said a new medical school “carries both long-term potential benefits as well as more immediate potential risks. Once successfully up and running, a medical school can enhance a college’s reputation and profile, driving additional revenue growth and often resulting in enhanced fund-raising.”

But during the start-up phase, he said, “there can be both operational and financial risks including accreditation, capital needs and unexpected uses of liquidity.”

The Marian project experienced a huge and unpleasant surprise in 2016, when donor Michael Evans, the medical school’s namesake and a key early supporter, backed out after donating just $10 million of a planned $48 million gift. Evans, CEO of AIT Laboratories, a local toxicology testing firm, had fallen on hard times amid a decline in Medicare reimbursement rates and a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor, which said he'd sold the company to employees in 2009 for more than it was worth. Evans settled the lawsuit for $3 million, but Marian had to look elsewhere for funding.

In the two years since, Marian has raised more than the $38 million Evans promised, a spokesman said. The larger facility remains the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences.

Many health-care experts praise osteopathic medicine for meeting patients' needs and for emphasizing primary care more closely than many traditional M.D.s. But it has also come under criticism in a few cases. Elsener said critics are “uninformed” about its methods, its standards and its efficacy. “There’s no doubt that an osteopathic doctor is high-quality,” he said. The field also “sits well in a Catholic university,” which emphasizes focusing on the “whole person.”

Elsener said having potential physicians, surgeons and anesthesiologists as students can’t be overstated: medical students are more willing than other graduate students to take on debt to finance their education. “A medical student can calculate their lifetime earnings,” Elsener said. Carrying debt, for these students, is almost always a smart investment.

Charging more of the student population for full tuition also helps Marian with its discount rate, he said. “Most institutions today are in discount misery.”

Over all, he said, attracting as many of these students as possible is smart for an institution. “Unless you’re heavily endowed, you’d better pay attention to all aspects of the financial model.”

Health ProfessionsEditorial Tags: NursingSciences/Tech/Engineering/MathFinancial aidMedical educationImage Source: Marist CollegeImage Caption: Artist's rendering of Marist Health Quest School of MedicineIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Starting Med SchoolsTrending order: 1College: Marian University of IndianaMarist College

Large-scale humanities Ph.D. tracking effort finds that they'd do it all over again, if given the choice

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 07:00

A large majority of humanities Ph.D.s believe that their graduate programs prepared them well for their eventual jobs, academic or not, especially over time. And all those jobs appear to require many of the same kinds of skills, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools.

A majority of Ph.D.s surveyed as part of the council's research also said they would pursue a doctorate in the same general field if they had to do it all over again -- good news for both institutions and current students looking for light at the end of the graduate school tunnel. The findings seemingly defy the tight academic job market in many humanities fields and widespread reports that recent Ph.D.s see few tenure-track positions available.


Satisfaction with Ph.D. training was greatest among those who earned their doctorates at least 15 years ago, but majorities of those who earned Ph.D.s more recently also agreed they'd enroll in graduate school again.

“Together, these results suggest that humanities Ph.D. education offers relevant training that prepares graduates for jobs both inside and outside of the academy,” reads the council’s report, the first in a series of briefs based on its Ph.D. Careers Pathways project on graduate program outcomes. The council encourages programs and institutions to “continue to offer curricular and co-curricular experiences that integrate training and professional development opportunities toward a variety of fulfilling career paths.”

Emily Swafford, director of academic and professional affairs at the American Historical Association, said the council’s data on attitudes and skills complement the information her association already has collected via its own career-tracking efforts. The council’s work is also “exciting” in that its data show not only where humanities Ph.D. work, but what that work “looks like and how they feel about it," she said.

“It's the only project I know of that is collecting that kind of data on a large scale.”

Why We Need More Data

Paula Krebs, executive director of the Modern Language Association, which has its own Ph.D.-tracking initiative, said the council report affirms the MLA’s belief that humanities Ph.D.s give students “skills they can use in a variety of careers.”

Doctoral programs need not develop “separate paths aimed at academic and nonacademic employment,” she said. And the most successful programs “help students to understand and be articulate about the skills, values and perspectives they've gained in their doctoral work,” Krebs added. That way, students who do become professors can help their own students understand the value of the humanities relative to diverse careers, and those who work outside academe will be more successful interviewees.

Considering the investment of time and resources that graduate school is, we know surprisingly little about its returns. As Swafford pointed out, there is no comprehensive national data set on where Ph.D.s across disciplines end up working and how prepared and rewarded they feel. Individual institutions, professional associations and other organizations have attempted to fill the data gap, but the picture is still hazy -- especially for humanities Ph.D.s.

That’s starting to change, however. The Association of American Universities is pushing for institutional transparency about who gets Ph.D.s in what length of time and what they end up doing, for example.

Via its own pathways project, the council is gathering data on career tracks and professional preparation from dozens of institutions. The new report is based on a survey of Ph.D.s who were three, eight or 15 years out of their programs at 35 participating institutions. The aggregated data set includes responses from 882 Ph.D.s in the following fields: anthropology and archaeology, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, religion and theology, and humanities/other. The analysis focused on alumni working in jobs closely or somewhat related to their academic fields, but only 60 respondents fell outside that group.

Feeling Prepared, Especially Over Time

The council found that humanities Ph.D.s employed by colleges and universities felt that their studies had better prepared them for their work than their counterparts working outside academe. More precisely, three years post-Ph.D., some 52 percent of humanists working in nonacademic jobs said their programs prepared them well for work, compared to 77 percent of those working in academe. But that difference narrowed to statistical insignificance by eight and 15 years post-Ph.D. The same went for whether Ph.D.s would pursue the same training in hindsight.

"For those employed in business, nonprofit, government and other sectors, it may take longer to recognize the value and relevance of Ph.D. training to careers,” reads the brief. “Recent graduates may also be reconciling their initial expectations for a first job and career (e.g., becoming a faculty member at a research university) with their actual employment (e.g., employed in another academic or nonacademic context). Support for transitions into first jobs may be particularly helpful for recent graduates.”

Asked whether various skills and attributes were extremely or very important to their jobs, academic and nonacademic workers responded similarly, with some significant differences. Important traits for both groups included persistence, attention to detail, analytical thinking, dependability and integrity.

Regarding employers, the report says that the “value of a humanities Ph.D.s might not be immediately tangible to employers outside of the academy,” so it’s “important for universities to engage employers as partners, helping them to understand the skills and knowledge humanities Ph.D.s offer to their sectors.”

‘The Transition Was Hard’

Swafford said the finding that most humanists eventually feel comfortable about how their Ph.D.s prepared them for work “corroborates what we've heard from historians working beyond the professoriate -- that the transition was hard, but there is something valuable enough about earning their Ph.D. that they would do it again if they had the choice.”

Robert Townsend, who has studied humanities career outcomes as director of the Washington office of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, noted that his organization’s analyses show that Ph.D.s employed outside academe were somewhat less satisfied than their academic peers. So the council’s finding that that gap narrows over time stands out to him, as well, he said -- though it remains “an open question whether Ph.D.s in nonacademic careers gain confidence in the relationship between their degree and their jobs, or they work their way into jobs that more directly relate to the degree.” Such a distinction has important implications for departments and organizations working to promote career diversity, he said.

Suzanne Ortega, council president, said in a statement that it’s not clear from the data just why the gap narrows. Whatever the reason, she said, “this is good evidence that recent Ph.D.s can use extra support in finding a job that’s right for them.”

Collecting Data to Use It

The council’s report also recommends various “conversation starters” for Ph.D. program improvement, saying that “culture change happens incrementally and requires active participation of students, faculty and employers. A good first step is understanding how your campus community communicates about career options for Ph.D.s.” Example questions for campus colleagues include, “What kind of resources and guidance does your institution offer to humanities faculty members, so that they talk to their students about the diversity of humanities Ph.D. careers?” along with “What is your institution and its humanities Ph.D. programs doing to foster partnerships with current and prospective Ph.D. employers? How effective are those strategies?”

Emily R. Miller, associate vice president for policy at AAU, said a number of institutions have responded to her own organization’s 2017 call for transparency. Echoing some of the council’s conversation starters -- and the strong implication that data collection means little if it’s not being put to use to help students -- she noted that the AAU’s Ph.D. Education Initiative is also about promoting “more student-centered doctoral education” by “making diverse Ph.D. career pathways visible, valued and viable.”

That kind of “culture shift would foster changes in institutions and departments that would make the educational environment for doctoral students more hospitable for all students, and more fruitful for their success in career pathways both within and beyond the academy,” Miller said.

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College campuses are fighting outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 07:00

Hundreds of students are falling ill with hand, foot and mouth disease at colleges in the East.

The contagious viral infection spreads quickly and causes fever, sore throat and a rash on the mouth, hands and feet -- hence the name. Campuswide illness outbreaks are not uncommon -- in years past norovirus and mumps have plagued colleges -- but hand, foot and mouth is especially surprising given that it’s typically found in children who are under the age of 5.

"When you have populations that are in really close contact -- like college campuses or military bases -- it can spread easily," said Mark Reed, director of the Dartmouth College Health Service. Dartmouth, in New Hampshire, confirmed 50 cases this quarter, and Reed expects at least a few more.

"It has slowed down, so we probably won’t know for awhile [if it's contained], and my guess is that we’ll probably have some more cases through the quarter," he said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease spreads easily through person-to-person contact of saliva, droplets in the air from a cough or sneeze, fluid from blisters, and feces. Once a person is infected, it can take three to six days to develop symptoms, which most often include a fever, sore throat, feeling unwell and blisters or a rash on the hands, feet and mouth. Symptoms usually subside after a few days and there is no specific treatment for the disease, although over-the-counter medications can help relieve fever and associated pain.

Johns Hopkins University was hit especially hard. Dennis O’Shea, a university spokesman, confirmed 120 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease as of Wednesday, up from 95 just five days earlier. The outbreak has not yet been contained.

“I’ve been here 28 years and I don’t recall this particular disease,” he said.

To combat the spread, Roanna Kessler, director of the student health and wellness center at the Homewood campus, has sent multiple emails to students and employees advising them to steer clear of infected peers, clean and disinfect surfaces, and wash their hands. She instructed infected students to stay home from class until symptoms disappear and asked faculty members to be “understanding if a student needs to miss classes or assignments due to illness.”

The university is also posting fliers and lawn signs around campus to warn students, and O’Shea mentioned that students are “pitching in” by sharing hand, foot and mouth disease-related memes on the college meme page. The closed Facebook group, which was aptly renamed to “Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Memes for Infected Teens,” has over 15,000 members.

Mike Thornhill, director of communications at Mars Hill University, in North Carolina, confirmed 15 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. The most recent case was reported early last week, so Thornhill hopes the disease has since been contained.

During the two-week outbreak, Mars Hill attacked the virus. Staff cleaned and disinfected door handles, elevator buttons and other surfaces frequently. The dining hall temporarily replaced its usual dishware with paper plates and plastic cutlery. Infected students were told to stay in their rooms, had food delivered to them and were instructed not to attend class or extracurricular activities until their symptoms subsided.

“As with any college or university, we occasionally have colds, flu and other viral illnesses make the rounds,” Thornhill wrote in an email. “I'm not aware of any previous instances of hand, foot, and mouth virus, at least in the 14 years I've worked here.”

One hundred and sixteen infected students sought out student health services at Lehigh University between Sept. 3 and Oct. 12, according to Amy White, associate director of media relations.

Since then, "The number of cases has dropped dramatically with no new known cases since Oct. 11," she wrote in an email. This isn't the first time Lehigh University has dealt with hand, foot and mouth disease; in the fall of 2015, roughly half as many students were infected.

Students at multiple colleges are posting on Twitter to complain about the outbreaks and rip on their disease-ridden peers.

“Close to ordering a hazmat suit cause people on campus have hand foot and mouth disease,” one user tweeted.

“Advantages of going to Dartmouth include: being paranoid about every cough and sneeze because there is currently an outbreak of hand foot and mouth disease on campus,” another user wrote.

And another: “Happy #GlobalHandwashingDay to all the dirty ass people at Hopkins spreading Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease!"

Six students sought treatment for the disease at Princeton University, and cases have also been reported at Wesleyan University, though the exact numbers have not been confirmed.

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Planned rule would establish maximum period of stay for student visa holders

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 07:00

The Trump administration published notice on Wednesday that it intends to propose a new rule in fall 2019 establishing a maximum period of authorized stay for international students and other holders of certain nonimmigrant visas.

The government says the planned rule is "intended to decrease the incidence of nonimmigrant student overstays and improve the integrity of the nonimmigrant student visa." Advocates for international exchange are worried, however, that the introduction of such a rule could limit flexibility for international students and scholars and undercut efforts by U.S. universities to recruit them. The number of international students in the U.S. declined in the 2017-18 academic year after years of steady growth.

Currently, student visas are generally valid for what's known as “duration of status,” which means that international students in the U.S. can stay indefinitely as long as they maintain their status as students. Students can fall out of status by failing to maintain a full-time course of study or working without authorization, but as long as they follow the regulations associated with their student visa, they can stay in the U.S., transfer to other institutions and progress from one academic level to another. Effectively, the duration of their time in the U.S. is dictated by the duration of their academic programs.

The new proposed rule planned for next September would replace the authorized period of stay from “duration of status” to a fixed maximum term for certain nonimmigrant visa holders, including holders of F-1 student visas. The notice published Wednesday does not specify what the maximum period of stay for student visa holders would be, but it does say that there would be options for extensions in each applicable visa category.

“The failure to provide certain categories of nonimmigrants with specific dates for their authorized periods of stay can cause confusion over how long they may lawfully remain in the United States and has complicated the efforts to reduce overstay rates for nonimmigrant students,” a statement justifying the planned rule says. “The clarity created by date-certain admissions will help reduce the overstay rate.”

Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, issued a statement describing the proposed change as a break with decades of precedent.

"For decades, international students and scholars have been granted immigration status known as 'duration of status,' or 'D/S' that lasts for the period of time they are engaging in their studies and practical training. They are carefully screened, vetted, and monitored through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Maintaining this policy is necessary because the time for study or research can fluctuate given the changing goals and actions of the student or scholar. We are in a global competition for talent, and we need to ensure our policies are welcoming," Welch said.

She added, “As universities and colleges across the country work to welcome highly valued, hardworking international students and scholars to our campuses and communities, their efforts are being undermined by policies and regulations that further close our doors and pull up America’s welcome mat.”

The Trump administration has pursued a number of regulatory and subregulatory changes that are in various ways shaping the landscape for international education in the U.S. Among the most significant was a recent change in determining how international students admitted into the U.S. for duration of status will be found to accrue "unlawful presence," a determination that could subject them to future five- or 10-year bars on re-entering the country. Final policy guidance issued in August holds that unlawful presence will begin accruing the day after a student stops pursuing a course of study or otherwise violates his or her immigration status, rather than -- as was the case under the previous policy -- the day after the Homeland Security department issues a formal finding of a violation in the course of adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit or the day after a judge issues an order of deportation.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University, cautioned that the planned rule on duration of visas may never come to fruition. "Historically, there are lots of items on the semiannual regulatory agenda that never even make it into a proposed rule," he said. "If it happens, it’ll happen slowly. They’ll have to come out with a proposed rule and then ask for comments and then they have to look at those comments before they issue a final rule, and the final rule could be subject to challenge by the courts. No one needs to worry about this immediately."

"Having said that, if a rule like this does take effect there are pros and cons," Yale-Loehr continued. "It would remove some flexibility for people who may take longer than anticipated to finish their degrees. On the other hand, the unlawful presence guidance that came out in August creates a lot of uncertainty for foreign students because of the fact that right now they don’t have a fixed time limit, so they may be deemed after the fact to have been here unlawfully. Having a fixed duration would at least give a bright line for measuring when unlawful presence would start."

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University presses take control of ebook distribution

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 07:00

MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press have both announced plans to start selling their ebook collections directly to libraries by creating their own distribution platforms.

The publishers previously did not have a mechanism for selling to institutions directly. Instead, access to ebooks was largely brokered through third-party acquisition services such as EBSCO, ProQuest, OverDrive, Project Muse and JSTOR.

Amy Brand, director of MIT Press, said she had been thinking about how to move away from these third-party platforms, known as aggregators, for some time.

“We determined that the MIT Press brand was prestigious enough, and that the collection was large enough, that we could go it on our own," she said. 

Not only do these platforms take a “significant percentage” of the revenue from ebook sales, they also create a barrier between university presses and their customers, said Brand. She’d like to build a closer relationship with the libraries that purchase from MIT Press and also gain more insight into how they use the content they buy. Detailed customer usage data is not always made available to publishers from aggregators, she said.

MIT Press's new distribution platform, called MIT Press Direct, is being developed by a company called Silverchair and will launch in beta this December.

Terry Ehling, director for strategic initiatives at MIT Press, said the new platform would give the press greater flexibility in what it can publish.

“Having our own platform allows us to create new products and new services around those products," said Ehling. "We can control the delivery and the look and feel of our products. That was very appealing to us." 

Developing its own platform means MIT Press can set its own terms for how content is used, said Brand. For example, there will be no limit on the number of people who can access one ebook at a time -- a common restriction on content sold through aggregators.

The University of Michigan Press is planning to offer its ebook collection directly to libraries in the next few months. Charles Watkinson, director of the press, said the ebook collection will launch in January 2019 on Fulcrum -- an open-source publishing platform being developed with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“For us, it’s very much about taking back some control of our digital content,” said Watkinson. It was “impossible” to sell some of the publisher's more experimental content, such as this ebook with 3-D modeling, through the aggregators’ platforms, said Watkinson.

Like Brand, Watkinson worried that his organization “simply lost touch with the library market.”

“Despite being based in a library at the University of Michigan, we no longer have a good sense of what our most important companies are thinking and needing, and by extension what their faculty and student users are interested in,” he said.

The University of Michigan Press will continue to offer access to individual titles through JSTOR, Project Muse, ProQuest, EBSCO and OverDrive, said Watkinson. “But we’ll only offer our comprehensive collection of scholarly ebooks directly,” he said.

Both MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press will offer tiered pricing structures for their collections -- with prices corresponding to the size of the institutions buying the books. Ehling said that MIT Press has not yet finalized pricing for its collections, but plans to do so by mid-December.

Watkinson said that the list price for the University of Michigan ebook collection would be $6,800, but university libraries will pay between $694 and $5,780 per year based on their size. For this price, the libraries will get perpetual access to all titles published in 2019, and a year's access to approximately 1,000 titles in the publisher's back catalog. Watkinson said the press expects to publish at least 80 titles in 2019. 

By taking control of the distribution of their ebook collections, MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press will soon join a very select group of university presses that sell their collections directly to libraries -- including the presses of Oxford and Cambridge Universities in Britain and Duke University in North Carolina.

Allison Belan, assistant director for digital strategy at Duke University Press, said Duke has been selling its ebook collection directly to libraries since 2008. The press already had a sales team that sold journal access to libraries, so it “wasn’t a huge leap” to do the same for ebooks, she said.

One of the biggest barriers to other universities selling their collections directly to libraries is cost. Many university presses don’t have the money to invest in platforms or sales teams.

“There’s a big investment for a university press to sell bundles directly,” Belan said.

Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of University Presses, said it was too soon to describe the movement as a trend. “There’s a lot of experimentation,” he said, noting the unlikeliness of all university presses deciding to start selling directly to customers any time soon. Many university presses will be watching the progress of MIT and Michigan’s efforts with interest, however.

“Whenever MIT or Michigan do something, people pay attention,” said Berkery.

Frank Smith, director of books at JSTOR, said he is pleased to see university presses experimenting. He thinks there is enough diversity of opinion and business models in the sector that there will always be some university presses that want to work with aggregators.

Joseph Esposito, senior partner at publishing consultancy Clarke & Esposito, also believes more university presses trying to sell their ebooks directly to libraries is a good thing. But notes it is a “tough market” with lots of competition.

“Will libraries buy books directly from an individual university press, or do the libraries experience such administrative efficiency by going through [third-party acquisition services] that the university presses will only be able to get a small number of customers?” he asked.

Rick Anderson, associate dean for collections and scholarly communication at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, said whether libraries choose to work directly with university presses or not will likely come down to a question of scale.

It will be “relatively easy” to work with larger presses like MIT Press or the University of Michigan Press, but “if we had to deal with all university presses individually, that would be a problem,” he said.

Smaller university presses could, however, offer “deep discounts in return for direct dealing,” said Anderson. “My door is always open to a publisher that wants to talk about discounts. We might be willing to invest more staff time if the price is right.”

The market for ebooks is changing, said Watkinson, of Michigan. Constrained budgets mean some libraries prefer to buy ebooks on a title by title basis, rather than purchasing whole collections. He thinks only about 100 libraries will purchase the University of Michigan Press ebook collection.

“We are targeting a high-end group,” he said.

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University of Glasgow requires doctoral defense panels for female Ph.D. candidates to have at least one woman

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 07:00

The University of Glasgow's decision to insist that female Ph.D. candidates have at least one woman on their viva examination panel has been criticized for pushing unrewarded “academic housework” on to senior female academics.

While Glasgow has won praise for its efforts to improve the gender balance of its doctoral examiners, some scholars have claimed that its new rule will heap further “unrecognized and unrewarded” academic duties on senior female academics. At present, just under one-quarter of British professors are women, the latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Fiona Leverick, professor of criminal law and criminal justice at Glasgow, explained that because women are “massively underrepresented at senior level” and it is “unusual to invite a junior academic to examine a Ph.D. thesis,” the “practical effect of this is that the burden will fall on women to give up their time.”

“This work is unrecognized in work models and unrewarded in promotion criteria,” said Leverick, adding that this is “one of many, many instances of women -- because they are underrepresented at senior levels -- being asked to do the type of service work that is unrecognized and unrewarded.”

Other similarly time-consuming duties include sitting on appointment panels and committees “so that they are gender balanced,” as well as acting as mentors and taking on managerial roles, she wrote.

“While we are doing all of this service work in the name of gender balance, my male academic colleagues can use their time to do the things that *are* rewarded and valued,” added Leverick, who declined to speak directly to Times Higher Education about her comments.

Leverick acknowledged in the thread that there are “good reasons to have a gender-balanced committee [of examinations]” but when the “burden of this policy falls on women, who already undertake a disproportionate amount of unrewarded and unrecognized academic service, I am not convinced that this is the way to go.”

Her comments gained support from several Twitter users, including Carol Taylor, professor of gender and higher education at Sheffield Hallam University, who said that the practice of “women doing the academic housework … has to stop.”

Others, however, noted that the issue was “super tricky” because some female doctoral candidates may feel more comfortable with a female examiner but are unlikely to submit this request.

A spokeswoman from the University of Glasgow told Times Higher Education that it was “striving to ensure a better gender balance on all groups, committees and panels across the university -- this includes viva panels for examining Ph.D. students.”

However, the university said it was important that the workload implications of the new rule were recognized, as “in the short term, this can put pressure on female academics where they are underrepresented.”

“It is right that [this extra work] should be recognized in the distribution of academic workload so that all members of staff are treated equally and fairly,” she said.

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College tuition and fees moderating, could rise again

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 07:00

Average published tuition and fees at public two- and four-year colleges dropped by the smallest of margins between 2017-18 and 2018-19, the College Board reported Tuesday, with costs at private nonprofit four-year colleges rising slightly.

Meanwhile, the typical undergraduate last year received just marginally higher levels of aid.

Adjusting for inflation, the average price for a year at a public two-year college dropped $10, or 0.3 percent, from $3,670 to $3,660, according to new findings from the College Board, which reports annually on both college pricing and student aid. The figure represents the first drop in two-year college pricing since 2008-09, near the beginning of the Great Recession.

Four-year public institutions saw a similar small price drop, from $10,270 to $10,230, or 0.4 percent, the first downturn since the College Board began publishing tuition and fee data in 1990.

Private four-year colleges’ average tuition and fees rose 0.3 percent, from $35,720 to $35,830.

Over all, tuition and fees have moderated since the recession, said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the report. “But over the long run, prices are still going up a lot,” she said. “And you can’t look at those prices without looking at what’s happened to student aid.” For the most part, she said, it has not kept pace with larger trends in the price of college.

In a companion report, the College Board said total aid for the typical undergraduate rose just slightly between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, from $14,620 to $14,790, or 1.2 percent; meanwhile, the average federal loan dropped 3.6 percent, from $4,680 to $4,510.

The new student aid figures lag one year behind the new tuition and fees figures.

Baum said that even with steadily rising prices, the new statistics belie the popular idea that college costs are out of control. “People still think that prices are rising really rapidly -- and they’re not.”

Student debt is shrinking as well, she said. Last year, the total amount of student loans dropped for the seventh consecutive year. Over all, the figure has shrunk from a high of $127.7 billion in 2010-11 to $105.5 billion in 2017-18, a drop of 17.4 percent -- to lower than pre-recession levels. Total student aid, including nonfederal loans, while higher than the previous year, has dropped 7.8 percent since its high in 2010-11, accounting for inflation. The decline in the for-profit sector "probably contributes to the decline in borrowing, since for-profit students borrow more on average than others," Baum said. 

But like most indicators, she said, both prices and student debt are cyclical and could well shift again. While state funding is rising in many cases, she said, lawmakers need to more closely consider the relationship between funding and student need. States like Georgia and South Carolina, she said, are investing heavily in student aid, but it’s not necessarily going to students with the greatest need.

Over all, she said, more than half of the aid dollars that public four-year institutions distribute are not based on need.

At private institutions, a different narrative is emerging, Baum said. Just as aid at elite private nonprofit institutions has evolved to become “very progressive,” with generous grants to low-income students, other private institutions “just don’t have the money to make it that cheap for low-income students. They are pretty much discounting the same amount at all income levels,” using aid to entice a broad swath of students to attend.

“It’s not very progressive,” she said.

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Student affairs administrators even more liberal than professors, survey shows

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 07:00

While the liberal leanings of professors have been well documented, the political affiliations of administrators have not been explored so thoroughly -- at least until now. And perhaps unsurprisingly, this new research suggests that student affairs officials wing even further to the left than do faculty members.

The analysis comes from a moderate-conservative professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College, Samuel J. Abrams, who wrote in an essay in The New York Times on Tuesday that he was taken aback at “politically lopsided” programming at his institution that he said seemed to only capture a liberal viewpoint.

He decided to survey student affairs professionals -- 900 “student-facing” administrators across the country, at public and private colleges and universities both large and small, and two- and-four year institutions, to identify political affiliation. Abrams found that liberal student affairs leaders outnumbered conservatives 12 to one, with only 6 percent of administrators indicating they were conservative versus 71 percent identifying as liberal or very liberal.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Abrams said he worked with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago this year to carefully develop the survey sample. Previously, he has relied on data from Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, to determine that liberal professors are far more common than conservatives by a six-to-one ratio.

Abrams said in his interview that early on, students are exposed to an entirely liberal tenor, starting with orientation week classes.

“This warped ideological distribution among college administrators should give our students and their families pause,” Abrams wrote in the Times. “To students who are in their first semester at school, I urge you not to accept unthinkingly what your campus administrators are telling you. Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times.”

In defense, Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, said that traditionally the field has attracted progressives who are interested in promoting equity and inclusiveness for students of all races, sexual orientations and gender identities.

But still, among those professionals is a strong desire to create “an equal and open dialogue across ideologies,” Kruger said. Simply because administrators hold a certain set of beliefs doesn’t mean they are bleeding into their professional lives, he said. Kruger said he also didn’t see a need to try to balance more conservative-centric events with liberal programming.

“Are students treated fairly? Are different perspectives given equal footing? I would say there is no evidence to suggest that students affairs professionals block more conservative speech,” Kruger said, adding that at times, administrators come under fire from the more progressive student activists who question why they would allow conservative speakers on campus.

Chris Moody, acting executive director of ACPA: College Student Educators International, declined to comment for this story.

But Matthew C. Woessner, an associate professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg, disagrees. Woessner, a Republican who has written about ideological diversity in higher education, said that student affairs administrators are not shy about overtly sharing their political beliefs, compared to professors, who are less inclined to do so. Even though faculty sometimes inject their politics into the classroom, administrators without an academic background don’t always see the same need to balance viewpoints or inspire debate, he said. Sometimes administrators aren’t even aware of how insular their beliefs are, Woessner said.

These narrow beliefs are disenchanting for half of the country -- the GOP -- and reflect poorly on higher education, Woessner said. Recent research shows conservatives especially don’t appreciate higher education.

“I don’t think it is in the interest to develop a reputation for being one-sided,” Woessner said. “Putting aside whether it’s desirable whether you have liberal or conservative speakers on campuses, it’s harmful to the college’s mission in being overtly political. You alienate half of the taxpayers, and make higher education be an arm of the Democratic National Committee.”

Abrams suggested involving faculty members from other ideologies who could bring more rounded perspectives to certain issues. He said many professors simply teach and focus on research when they could be more involved with university dealings.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties watchdog group in academe that has criticized many student affairs leaders for denying opportunities to conservatives, said groups that don’t diversify their viewpoints are at risk for developing “groupthink.”

“Student life administrators aren't immune to this effect, and as they have taken on a greater role in regulating all aspects of students' lives, this myopia has become an increasing reason for concern,” Robert Shibley, FIRE’s executive director, said in a statement.

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More than a year later, Obama student loan rule takes effect

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 07:00

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a challenge from a for-profit college group to an Obama administration rule governing loan forgiveness for defrauded borrowers, clearing the way for the rule to take effect. 

The ruling on the regulation, known as borrower defense, is seen as a major win for students by consumer groups. The rule would ban colleges from enforcing arbitration provisions of enrollment agreements. And it could make it easier for many student borrowers to receive loan forgiveness. But those benefits will also depend on how the Education Department, which has sought for the past two years to roll back the regulations, carries out provisions of the rule.

Tens of thousands of borrowers -- most of them former for-profit college students -- are waiting for rulings from the department on loan-forgiveness claims under the rule, which also encompasses actions of institutions far beyond student loan forgiveness.

“Countless borrowers around the country have been counting on this rule to go into effect,” said Julie Murray, a lawyer at Public Citizen who helped argue a lawsuit brought against the department by several consumer groups and state attorneys general. “Today is a huge victory for them.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she would block the rule last year and undertake a rewrite accounting for the concerns of institutions. However, a federal district court judge, Randolph Moss, found last month that the 2017 rule delay was unlawful. And the Education Department said later that it wouldn’t seek to further justify the delay. The ruling on the for-profit association’s challenge clears the way for provisions of the rule to take effect although the judge did not issue further directions for the department. 

A spokeswoman for the Education Department said DeVos respected the court’s ruling but didn’t offer details on plans to carry out the 2016 regulation.

“The secretary continues to believe the rule promulgated by the previous administration is bad policy, and the department will continue the work of finalizing a rule that protects both borrowers and taxpayers,” said Liz Hill, the spokeswoman for the Education Department. “The department will soon be providing further information regarding the next steps for implementation of the 2016 borrower-defense regulation.”

In addition to the arbitration bans and the financial responsibility provisions, the rule provides for automatic discharge of student loans for borrowers whose colleges closed three years ago and who never re-enrolled elsewhere. And it provides for group discharge when widespread fraud is found at an institution. But getting that loan relief will require action from the department.

Data released by Senate Democrats last month showed that more than 100,000 borrower-defense claims were pending at the department as of June 30, prompting those lawmakers to claim the department is ignoring struggling borrowers.

Rolling back the borrower-defense rule, along with gainful-employment regulations, had been a top priority for the Trump administration as well as the for-profit college sector. The Education Department released draft borrower-defense regulations in July that would be more restrictive than the Obama rule. But administration officials said earlier this month that they will miss a Nov. 1 deadline to issue a final rule for 2019.

That missed deadline means the earliest a DeVos borrower-defense rule could take effect is July 2020 -- more than a year and a half after the Obama rule takes effect.

But what happens with those provisions of the rule now depends on the actions of a department that’s admittedly hostile to the regulations.

“I worry a lot that they will intentionally slow walk or just refuse to do certain things,” said Ben Miller, senior director of postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress.

Miller noted that before proposing to rescind gainful-employment regulations in August, the Trump administration had spent more than a year repeatedly delaying provisions of that rule. He said it’s incumbent upon the Education Department to get out the necessary guidance to colleges on borrower-defense provisions like the arbitration ban as quickly as possible.

“The department is obligated to follow the rules on the books,” he said.

While Moss ruled against the California Association of Postsecondary Schools, the for-profit group that sought to block the regulations, he did not assess the substance of the group's objections and said, "This is not the first (and presumably not the last) chapter in a dispute about the fate of regulations."

Steve Gunderson, president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, said in a statement that the ruling was disappointing and would create further confusion for students and institutions.

He argued that there was precedent of the Obama and Bush administrations choosing not to enforce rules they did not agree with and said DeVos should use the same discretion.

"But for now, my hope is the Trump Education Department will provide as much guidance as possible to schools on how to operate amidst the current regulatory confusion caused by the decision to implement the Obama era regulation while they are in the final steps of creating a new, and much more balanced regulation providing due process to both students and schools," he said.

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Colleges award tenure

Inside HigherEd - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:36

Prairie State College, in Illinois

  • Colleen Ivancic, accounting and business
  • Michelle Keane, nursing
  • Edward O’Donnell, nursing.
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Elizabeth Warren and the pressure to justify academic success

Inside HigherEd - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 07:00

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s personal data dump on Monday, including the genetic nonbombshell that she is Native American, six to 10 generations removed, probably had more to do with her 2020 presidential ambitions than anything else. After all, the Massachusetts Democrat would face an incumbent who’s called her “Pocahontas,” to mock her past claims about her heritage.

But the information Warren shared this week still says something -- intended or not -- about how she and society in general see underrepresented people working in academe.

“Fact: Elizabeth Warren’s heritage played no role in her hiring,” her new Fact Squad website boldly declares in block print. It quotes a recent Boston Globe investigation that found, in the newspaper’s words, that Warren’s “claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard [University law faculty], which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman.”

Driving home the point -- presumably that Warren never benefited from any hiring preference based on minority status -- Warren’s website says that she graduated from the University of Houston and Rutgers University Law School to become “one of the country’s top experts in bankruptcy, commercial law and the financial pressures facing working families.” And those who recruited her to her teaching jobs “all confirm” that they “hired her because she was an award-winning legal scholar and professor and they were unaware of her family’s heritage,” it concludes.

An accompanying video on Warren’s site includes short interviews with noted law professors who have worked with Warren, all describing her faculty work in flattering terms and saying that ethnicity played no role in her hiring.

Warren endorsed Fact Squad on social media, saying, “I never expected my family’s story to be used as a racist political joke, but I don’t take any fight lying down. I want you to have the power to fight lies with the truth, so here's a new site for you to review every document for yourself.”

I never expected my family’s story to be used as a racist political joke, but I don’t take any fight lying down. I want you to have the power to fight lies with the truth, so here's a new site for you to review every document for yourself. https://t.co/900SsAMNjb

— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 15, 2018

The website includes a statement from Carlos Bustamante, professor of genetics at Stanford University, confirming that Warren is all but certainly Native American (Bustamante also makes a cameo in her video). The document has already been criticized by Native American scholars who say that Warren continues to rely on a colonial, not tribal, standard of proof of heritage. But it is at least clear that this is a direct response to President Trump’s antagonism and doubts about her lineage. And anticipating some of that criticism, Warren says in the video that she understands tribal distinctions about heritage, but that she is concerned about preserving the integrity of her family’s history. Her late mother always said she was part Cherokee, she says.

But is the notion that racial preference may have played a role in Warren’s academic success something that must be aggressively countered? It appears Warren thinks so. The video quotes Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House spokesperson, criticizing Warren for using her background to get ahead. Warren then recounts her family and personal history and says, “I used my mama’s grit to help me get through commuter college and law school” and “used my daddy’s relentless optimism when I was balancing babies and books. But my background played no role in my hiring.”

Many women and minority scholars say that they must constantly deal with those who doubt they've earned their academic successes. But the issue is more complicated in some ways for Native American professors. It’s arguably a case of having one’s cake and eating it, too: affirming one’s Native American heritage but denying to have ever been professionally evaluated as a nonwhite person. And Adrienne Keene, assistant professor of American studies and ethnic studies and Brown University, and Kim TallBear, associate professor of Native studies at the University of Alberta in Canada, among others, find it distasteful.

Source: Twitter

“My initial gut reaction is to feel nauseated by the entire video -- the white patriarchs sitting around the living room with Warren waxing nostalgic about family lore that actual Cherokee genealogists have refuted, and they have the documentation to prove it,” TallBear said Monday evening, describing a scene with Warren’s family. “And the insistence that affirmative action did not allow her to get ahead.”

TallBear said she didn’t know what the scene was “supposed to convey, except that those who do get hired where there is no controversy around our Native American identity -- where we have always lived as Native Americans -- are somehow unqualified, despite our considerable educational attainment.”

Native Americans are not the only group to have their achievements undercut by suspicions about diversity-based hiring. It's a common problem for many underrepresented minorities, experts say. But TallBear said that Warren was guilty of the all-too-common "settler" tactic of using indigenous histories and peoples as pawns.

Tall Bear added, “This whole scene is playing out today for the benefit of everyone but indigenous people.”

Crystal Fleming, an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and author of How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide, said in an emailed statement that while Warren “(now) positions herself as white woman with regard to her career advancement, she still does not acknowledge how her whiteness (within a settler-colonial state) informs her offensive decision to bypass Native people and the Cherokee Nation in particular, with regard to her claim to indigenous ancestry and identity.” She said she deferred on that point to indigenous scholars, including TallBear.

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