Higher Education News

Two prominent community college leaders prepare to step down

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:00

Community colleges have evolved over the past few decades from institutions that rarely focused on their relationships to local economies to being seen as economic engines capable of producing new generations of skilled workers to meet the demands of local and regional labor markets.

Two nationally known community college presidents, one in Miami and the other in New York, have been at the forefront of that change by calling for a higher education system that, among other things, is more racially equitable, that closes achievement gaps and is more affordable and accessible to low-income students.

Now, after more than five decades between them of leading the way, they are both stepping down.

Miami Dade College president Eduardo Padrón (at right) announced earlier this month that he would retire in August. LaGuardia Community College president Gail Mellow announced Wednesday that she would also step down in August.

"It was a tough decision, honestly, and it’s been such an honor and a privilege to be part of this incredible institution for so long and to watch it change,” Mellow said in an exclusive interview with Inside Higher Ed. “I think of myself as a steward of the institution. I didn’t start it. I won’t end it. I have the strongest senior leadership team I’ve ever had, and one key responsibility of any president is to ensure they have people better and stronger than themselves who will take the initiatives begun under one president and move them forward. I see that in my senior staff.”

Under Mellow’s 20-year tenure, LaGuardia, which is part of the City University of New York system, has grown enrollment by about 40 percent to more than 57,000 students. The number of faculty members also more than doubled, to nearly 1,100 full- and part-time instructors, and the percentage of faculty of color climbed from 31 percent to 44 percent.

“Community colleges were virtually invisible when I began as a professor right out of graduate school,” she said. “I remember the first time I heard a president address a community college in a State of the Union address. I believe it was George W. Bush. We have moved so far, and I think that’s because of myself and my colleagues who have really talked about an equity agenda in higher education, an innovation agenda and a cost agenda.”

Padrón, who attended Miami Dade as a student, has been connected to the college for more than 50 years and spent the past 24 years as the institution’s president. The college grew into one of the most prominent and largest two-year institutions in the country under his watch and now has an enrollment of about 100,000 students. The total enrollment was 47,060 in fall 1995, the same year he became president.

“I have been profoundly honored to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees during Dr. Padrón’s tenure,” board chair Bernie Navarro said in a news release announcing Padrón's retirement. “He has truly left an indelible mark on the college, community and nation with an unparalleled and impeccable career of service with integrity, passion, dignity, humanity and empathy.”

Padrón said the United States remaining a major economic power depends on community colleges’ ability to prepare students for the work force.

“We should be ensuring that every American has an opportunity to get an education,” he said during an interview last week at the national conference for Achieving the Dream, an organization that promotes student success. “We’re doing America’s work giving every student a chance to access new jobs.”

Karen Stout, executive director of Achieving the Dream, said Padrón built Miami Dade into much more than a community college.

“He’s been a champion of equitable student outcomes [since] before we even started talking about equity,” she said. “He’s shaped industry partnerships … he’s not just a national community college leader but an international educator.”

President Obama awarded Padrón the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2016 for his advocacy for students of color and for creating equitable and affordable college pathways.

Padrón may be stepping down soon, but he doesn't plan to stop thinking about how to improve higher education and innovate teaching. He said making education more racially equitable so more students of color can graduate, and reforming teaching practices, should be the next priorities of community colleges.

Community colleges have spent years reforming student affairs practices, Padrón said. “We haven’t put the same emphasis on the faculty side. What about pedagogy? That’s the side we need to put an emphasis on.”

Mellow has been among community college leaders calling for two-year faculty members to examine their teaching methods to determine if they're actually helping students learn and to reform those methods that aren't effective so they can better help students succeed and graduate. She co-authored a book in 2015 that sought to help faculty examine and improve their teaching practices.

“Gail has been out front on a number of issues,” Stout said. “She doesn’t shy away from taking a position on new ideas, and she doesn’t shy away from asking tough questions of colleagues … She put a lot of time and attention on faculty and pedagogy, and that's a unique voice for community colleges.”

Mellow, for example, was one of the first community college presidents to advocate for tuition-free college, as was Padrón. Both presidents serve on President Obama's America's College Promise board, which is now called the College Promise Campaign and works to increase the number of free community college programs across the country.

Stout said despite Mellow's and Padrón's impressive résumés and national profiles as leaders in community college reform, they always remained accessible to students.

“As much as they are out speaking nationally, they attend to students on their campuses and create a sense of belonging, which is such an art for presidential leaders,” she said.

Mellow and Padrón were both instrumental in increasing work-force partnerships between their institutions and local employers, which helped students transition from college to careers. Mellow said such working relationships with business leaders weren’t always considered an important mandate of community colleges 20 years ago.

LaGuardia, for example, has a partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to help create 10,000 cybersecurity jobs. And although the deal between New York City and Amazon to build a second headquarters in Queens fell apart, LaGuardia was part of the proposal to recruit the company. Miami Dade, meanwhile, became the first college in Florida to partner with Facebook to offer students a digital marketing certificate last year.

Mellow said she wants community colleges to be recognized for their broad mission and not be seen as strictly as institutions that build pipelines to technical and work-force careers.

“This is a danger in pigeonholing community colleges as technical trainers but not more than that,” she said. “I’m proud that LaGuardia has more philosophy majors than probably any college on the East Coast. It’s critical that we remain vibrant in the range of human intellectual endeavor. That’s how you create a sustained middle class and an entrepreneurial class and a gateway for low-income individuals to come in and make a difference to their communities, states and the world.”

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Two new government reports examine questions of Chinese government control over Confucius Institutes

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:00

China has directly provided more than $158 million to U.S. universities to host Confucius Institutes since 2006, according to a report from the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released in advance of a hearing on China’s impact on the U.S. educational system scheduled for this morning.

More than 90 U.S. universities host the CIs, which supporters say offer critical resources for foreign language learning at a time when such resources are hard to find. But they have not been uncontroversial.

At least 10 U.S. universities have moved to close their Confucius Institutes over the past year as scrutiny of the Chinese government-funded centers for language and cultural education has intensified and lawmakers from across the political spectrum have raised concerns about Chinese influence over American higher education. While faculty groups have been raising concerns about CIs for years -- the American Association of University Professors recommended in 2014 that universities either close their CIs or renegotiate their agreements to ensure “unilateral control” over all academic matters -- the recent closures follow on criticism from political figures, mainly but not exclusively from the Republican Party.

The Confucius Institutes are funded by a Chinese government entity known as Hanban, with matching resources provided by the host university. They are frequently directed by a faculty or staff member from the American host university with the help of an assistant director from a Chinese university and staffed in part by Chinese language instructors hired by Hanban or a Chinese partner university. Hanban typically provides textbooks and other curricular materials to CIs.

The bipartisan report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released late Wednesday afternoon raises a number of issues in relation to U.S. college or university control over CI hiring and programming.

It alleges that “the Chinese government controls nearly every aspect of Confucius Institutes at U.S. schools,” down to having veto authority over events and activities included in the annual budget submitted for approval to Hanban. The report also says that “Hanban provides no information to U.S. schools on how candidates for Chinese director and teacher positions at Confucius Institutes are screened or selected in China” and that U.S. colleges are therefore unable to judge if these practices are in accordance with their own hiring practices.

The subcommittee obtained a 2018 contract between Hanban and a Chinese instructor requiring the instructor to “conscientiously safeguard national interests.” The contract would terminate if the instructor were to “violate Chinese laws” or “engage in activities detrimental to national interest; participate in illegal organizations and engage in activities against local religions and customs, hence causing bad influences.”

The contract also would terminate if the instructor were to “refuse to follow the rules and regulations of the overseas work unit, Chinese Embassy, and Consulates and Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban.” The institution at which this instructor taught was not named in the report.

The report also finds that some contracts between U.S. universities and Hanban prohibit public disclosure of the contracts and include a provision stating that both Chinese and U.S. law applies to the CI. “When one U.S. school refused to include a provision requiring adherence to Chinese law, Hanban officials canceled the entire contract,” the report states.

Also of note, the report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations details problems with compliance with visa regulations, and says that in 2018 the State Department revoked 32 J-1 professor and research scholar visas for CI teachers who were found to be teaching in K-12 schools rather than conducting research (many CIs are focused on K-12 outreach and work with local schools to provide Chinese language instruction). The State Department also found evidence that one Chinese director of a CI “improperly coached the teachers to discuss their research during interviews with State Department investigators.”

A separate report from the Government Accountability Office on Confucius Institutes was also released Wednesday afternoon in advance of this morning's hearing. The GAO report, which is based on reviews of 90 written contracts between universities and Hanban and interviews with officials at 10 colleges chosen for a case study, is more measured in its assessment of Chinese government control over the CIs. It notes concerns from researchers that “the presence of an institute could constrain campus activities and classroom content.” But it says university officials interviewed for the study argued this was not the case.

“For example, officials at 10 case study schools told GAO that they do not use materials provided by Hanban for credit-bearing courses, and school officials stated that Hanban did not place limitations on events of any type,” the GAO report states. “Nonetheless, school officials, researchers and others suggested ways schools could improve institute management, such as by renegotiating agreements to clarify U.S. schools’ authority and making agreements publicly available.”

The GAO report includes additional analysis of the language in the contracts between host universities and Hanban.

Thirty of the 90 agreements reviewed by GAO included language relating to U.S. universities' polices or regulations: "Most of these agreements contained language about school policies that was not included in the sample template agreement that was posted on Hanban’s English-language website," GAO found. "For example, 10 agreements contained language indicating that U.S. school policies applied to the operation of the Confucius Institute and/or its activities."

"One agreement noted that the activities of the Confucius Institute would be conducted generally in accordance with the Confucius Institute constitution and bylaws, as well as the regulations, policies and practices of the U.S. school, cultural customs in the United States and China, and the laws and regulations of both countries," the GAO report continues. "However, this agreement also noted that the parties agreed that federal, state and local laws of the United States, as well as the U.S. school’s regulations, policies and practices (including principles such as academic freedom and nondiscrimination), would prevail in the event of a conflict. One agreement noted that nothing in the agreement shall be construed to limit the academic freedom of faculty or academic programs at the school. Sixty of the 90 agreements we reviewed did not contain explicit language about whether or how U.S. school policies, regulations or bylaws apply to the school’s Confucius Institute."

GAO found that 64 agreements had language saying "that institute activities would be conducted in accordance with the Confucius Institute constitution and bylaws," but also found that "some school officials we interviewed stated there had been no instance in which the constitution and bylaws had been invoked or conflicted with school policies." Another 42 agreements included confidentiality clauses.

"In our discussions with school officials and others, some offered suggestions to improve the content of agreements," the GAO report states. "One case study school official we interviewed stated that poorly negotiated agreements reflect negatively on all Confucius Institutes. A few case study school officials, researchers and others we interviewed stated that schools should include stronger language in the agreements to make it clearer that the U.S. school has executive decision-making authority. One case study school official and others we interviewed stated that schools should ensure the Confucius Institute director, an employee of the U.S. school, is the sole authority to make decisions over all institute activities."

Among other recommendations offered by college officials interviewed by GAO researchers, one administrator argued that universities should eliminate the Chinese assistant director position; this administrator said his college's CI "would never have a Chinese assistant director because the position suggests an excessive degree of Chinese influence." A few officials also recommended that the CIs should not be involved in teaching credit-bearing courses (the involvement or lack thereof of CIs in teaching credit-bearing courses varies across institutions). One suggested that the CI should physically be relocated to an external location off the campus.

Finally, officials from two of the universities in the case study "stated that schools should organize events through the institute specifically intended to address what some might perceive as a topic sensitive to Chinese interests to demonstrate the school and institute were not subject to undue Chinese influence."

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Marymount in Virginia adopts growth strategy

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:00

At a time when many small private colleges are struggling, Virginia’s Marymount University is eyeing expansion, with plans to more than double its nearly 4,000-student enrollment within a decade.

The Roman Catholic institution offered a down payment on that ambition this month, buying a $95 million, 15-story apartment building next to its campus in Arlington, Va., just west of Washington.

The move adds 267 apartments to Marymount’s housing stock, allowing it to attract more students and faculty members as the region prepares for the arrival of Amazon’s long-awaited second headquarters just a few miles down the Potomac River. President Irma Becerra (right), who came to Marymount just last year, said the university is developing a strategic plan, including changes to the curriculum, that could be made public in a few weeks.

Becerra said the new high-rise allows Marymount to offer students -- especially older ones -- affordable housing in a tight market. Being faced with the prospect of finding off-campus housing in the D.C. area, she said, “did not provide the best complement to their academic experience at Marymount.”

The university will fund the purchase through a public-private partnership, with the state of Virginia approving “conduit revenue bonds” backed by Morgan Stanley. The bonds will be repaid over 40 years, partially with proceeds from the building.

Persuading a bank to support such an arrangement wasn’t an easy lift for an institution with an endowment of only $43 million. “We don’t have the advantage of having been around for hundreds of years,” Becerra said, “and the opportunity to have built a sizable endowment during that time.”

The deal almost didn't go down -- after a private equity partner pulled out late last year, Becerra and her staff had to work through the holidays with the state and Morgan Stanley to fashion the unusual arrangement. “There was a lot of work that had to be done over the holidays by my team, as well as the Morgan Stanley team, to get this to success,” she said. “The willingness to give up your holiday and get this done -- we all knew that this was important for the university, and we just made it happen. But a lot of people really had to put in a lot of effort.”

Marymount doesn’t expect to make any money on the apartments, said Becerra. “Really, the biggest advantage is to be able to give students the opportunity to live in housing that meets their expectations at a price that is compatible with what you would pay for university housing,” she said. “Your mother’s dorm did not provide that opportunity anymore.”

The high-end apartment building features not just a fitness center, yoga room, rooftop clubroom and lounge, but even a self-service “pet spa” for dog washing and the like. It's named after Presley M. Rixey, a former White House physician upon whose estate Marymount was founded in 1950.

Rixey, who had originally used the property as a weekend retreat, had served Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt and was a onetime surgeon general.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary bought Rixey’s estate and repurposed it originally as a girls’ high school. Two years later, it welcomed undergraduates -- the order would close the high school in 1964 -- with the promise of a “practical education underpinned by the liberal arts,” Becerra said.

Marymount remained single-gender until 1972, when it began admitting male nursing students -- university officials expanded enrollment to admit men to all programs after they saw that large numbers of men working for the National Institutes of Health were seeking nursing degrees. Today, about one-third of the university’s enrollment is male.

The university still draws heavily from the immediate region -- 73 percent of students hail from Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia. But at the undergraduate level, some 20 percent of students are from outside the U.S. One in 10 is Muslim.

Though it's only 69 years old, Marymount is clearly a survivor.

Paula Moore, spokeswoman for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, said that since 1956, the number of Catholic colleges and universities in the United States has shrunk by one-third, from about 300 to 200. But the ones that survive are serving almost twice as many students, nearly 800,000, compared to 400,000 in 1956. "What that tells us broadly is that there has long been a certain level of contraction among our colleges, but that they continue to innovate and find ways to serve even greater numbers of students," Moore said.

Over the past several decades, she said, on average about one Catholic college has closed per year. Since just 2015, the association found, four colleges have closed: Marian Court College, St. James Mercy Hospital School of Radiology, Washington Theological Union and St. Catharine College in Kentucky. Saint Joseph's College in Indiana has suspended operations.

"So while the current environment may be offering new challenges, Catholic higher education has always assessed the environment and adjusted itself to fit the times and maintain service to students," she said.

As the region awaits Amazon’s planned arrival -- the online retailer promises at least 25,000 high-paying jobs over the next 12 years -- Virginia has committed to spending more than $1 billion to expand technology education at area community colleges and universities.

Virginia Tech has said it’ll build a $1 billion Tech Innovation Campus in nearby Alexandria, Va., less than two miles away from Amazon’s chosen 105-acre site near Reagan National Airport. Virginia Tech president Tim Sands has said the university began planning the one-million-square-foot Innovation Campus four years ago, but “considerably accelerated” its plans to support Virginia’s Amazon HQ2 bid.

Becerra has written that Amazon’s arrival is “a great opportunity for D.C. to become an ecosystem for innovation and higher learning.” The new investment, she said, could help the region detach from the ebb and flow of government contracting that has dominated it for decades. Amazon’s arrival, she said, “will expand the portfolio of career opportunities in the area.”

In an interview, she said Marymount’s area campuses -- which include the original estate and a high-rise adjacent to the new apartment building -- are ideal locations for future expansion, but that institutions like hers need to consider what other "assets" they bring to communities.

“I think that we all have advantages,” she said. “We just need to kind of understand what our assets are. For Marymount, clearly our location is an asset.” At the same time, she said, institutions like Marymount “can’t be modest. We have to tell our story. We have a well-known brand, but we do have to get the word out on who we are and how special -- and a little bit different.”

Going forward, she said, more small universities without large endowments will have to consider the kinds of public-private partnerships that funded the Rixey purchase. “This is the only way for universities for the future,” Becerra said.

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Michael Cohen testifies that Trump threatened colleges over any release of his grades

Inside HigherEd - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:00

Donald Trump and his representatives threatened the colleges he attended and the College Board that he would sue them if records about his academic performance ever became public, Michael Cohen said Wednesday in testimony to a House of Representatives panel.

In explaining why he calls the president a con man, Cohen said, in prepared testimony, “When I say con man, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores. As I mentioned, I’m giving the committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”

Trump attended Fordham University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree. Cohen released the letter he sent on Trump's behalf to Fordham, which cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which indeed would bar any college from releasing grades without the permission of a student or former student. The letter said that Trump had become aware that journalists were asking for his grades, and so he wanted to reach out. The letter said that Trump would "hold your institution liable to the fullest extent of the law" for any release of his records.

The P.S. to the letter changes tone and says, "Mr. Trump truly enjoyed his two years at Fordham and has great respect for the university."

A spokesman for Fordham released this statement to Inside Higher Ed: "The university received a call from someone on the Trump campaign as now President Trump was gearing up for his run. We told the caller that Fordham is bound by federal law, and that we could not/would not reveal/share any records (as we would not reveal any student records) with anyone except Mr. Trump himself, or any recipient he designated, in writing. Fordham received a follow-up letter from one of Mr. Trump's attorneys summarizing the call and reminding us that they would take action against the university if we did, in fact, release Mr. Trump's records. Our stance remains the same: we obey federal law and don't release student records to anyone but the student/graduate or anyone that the student designates, in writing."

The College Board declined to comment on Cohen's testimony. Penn also declined comment.

Cohen's testimony noted that Trump, in 2011, had "strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades" Cohen noted that "Mr. Trump declared, 'Let him show his records' after calling President Obama 'a terrible student.'"

Some grades of past presidential candidates have been released, sometimes with surprises. Documents that came out after the 2004 election showed that President George W. Bush earned slightly better grades at Yale than did John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, who was generally seen as the intellectual of the two 2004 contenders. But as NPR noted, Bush saw political benefit in boasting about himself as a C student.

Michael Reilly, executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, said via email that colleges would never release transcripts without student permission. "Student consent is the foundation of FERPA, and institutions cannot and will not release student records, including grades, without the student's consent," he said. "Many institutions have prominent graduates, and their records are protected by FERPA, as are all students’."

Another issue related to FERPA rights came up in recent years with regard to comments from professors about their views of the intelligence and character of students who went on to become political candidates. The issue surfaced in regard to Donald Trump, and also other candidates.

When Academic Records of Candidates Become Public

In some cases, the academic records of candidates have become public -- and generally not in cases where the records were about making the dean's list.

Joe Biden, then a U.S. senator, ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 shortly after he faced allegations of plagiarism. Some of those allegations focused on speeches that Biden made as a politician that contained sections from the speeches of other politicians. But Biden also faced reports that he had been found guilty of plagiarism while he was a law student at Syracuse University.

Biden said other campaigns had obtained and distributed information about the incident. He then obtained and released Syracuse's records on his time as a law student, including  a 1965 faculty report that found Biden had  ''used five pages from a published law review article without quotation or attribution." A New York Times article on the incident at the time said that the documents revealed Biden earned "relatively poor grades in college and law school." At the time, Biden said he didn't understand citation rules and that the plagiarism was not "not malevolent."

Rick Perry, currently the U.S. secretary of energy, was in 2011 the governor of Texas and was getting ready to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, when The Huffington Post published his college transcript from Texas A&M University. The website said it received the transcript from "a source in Texas."

Huffington Post's description of the transcript: "The future politician did not distinguish himself much in the classroom. While he later became a student leader, he had to get out of academic probation to do so. He rarely earned anything above a C in his courses — earning a C in U.S. history, a D in Shakespeare, and a D in the principles of economics. Perry got a C in gym. Perry also did poorly on classes within his animal science major. In fall semester 1970, he received a D in veterinary anatomy, a F in a second course on organic chemistry and a C in animal breeding. He did get an A in world military systems and 'Improv. of Learning' — his only two As while at A&M."

While Perry did not win the nomination, many factors have been cited by political observers as far more important than his college grades.

 

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Faculty proposal would split a U.S. history and ideals gen ed sequence across the Cal State system

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:00

Historians across the California State University System are voicing concerns about a new general education task force report that recommends halving the six-credit U.S. history and government requirement in place on most campuses.

The university system says it hasn’t even formally received the faculty-led report yet and that it remains a mere set of ideas.

Still, some professors worry that Cal State’s six-credit requirement has long been a target for those who see it as a barrier to completion.

“Students here do a lot of work in U.S. history and government -- it’s a rigorous course of study, and we stand to lose that right now,” said Bridget Ford, professor of history at Cal State’s East Bay campus and a critic of the general education task force report. “We’re worried about what democracy in our state will look like without it.”

Cal State's 23 campuses enroll hundreds of thousands of students, many of whom are first-generation college students and Americans. And California Civil Code requires that Cal State students "acquire knowledge and skills that will help them to comprehend the workings of American democracy and of the society in which they live," to "enable them to contribute to that society as responsible and constructive citizens."

Each campus must therefore provide for "comprehensive study of American history and American government," including the historical development of American institutions and ideals, the U.S. Constitution and representative government, and state and local government. California's community colleges, which enroll some 2 million students, follow the same model for transfer purposes.

Within the Cal State system, this legal requirement has been controlled, in part, by the long-standing Executive Order 405, which was superseded by Executive Order 1061 in 2011. Any course on U.S. history and ideals is supposed to cover 100 years or more, the role of social and ethnic groups in major events, and the interplay of politics, economics, social movements and geography. Any course on the U.S. Constitution must cover framers' political philosophies "and the nature and operation of U.S. political institutions and processes under that Constitution as amended and interpreted," and more.

The system order doesn’t specify a number of required credits. But because it’s widely seen as difficult to impossible to address all three goals within a single course, most campuses require a two-course, or six-credit, American democracy sequence. Sometimes it’s integrated into the general education program, and sometimes it’s a freestanding requirement.

The task force, established by the systemwide Academic Senate two years ago to review general education across campuses, would change that. Its report, released after faculty members demanded transparency from the task force via open-records requests, says it acknowledges the system’s dedication to the American democracy requirement. But it notes inconsistencies across campuses, such as that some “double count” this course work.

Therefore, the new report says, American democracy is a “cross-cutting” idea that should be formally integrated into a new general education program as a three-unit "core value.” The report otherwise seeks to streamline and make more coherent general education requirements.

"Student perceptions of the purpose and value of their [general education] courses hopefully will shift from a checklist of disparate categories of courses needed for the diploma to a meaningful learning journey that empowers them to become independent thinkers and educated citizens of the global community, able to transform their learning into meaningful action," the task force wrote.

Andrew Wiese, chair of history at San Diego State University and another vocal critic of the task force report, said that the American democracy requirement can be traced back not only to CSU’s founding documents from the 1960s but to World War II-era guidelines for state teachers' colleges.

Noting that a popular world history pathway through his campus’s general education program disappeared when the Cal State system ordered a streamlining of general education via Executive Order 1100 in 2017, Wiese said the study of U.S. history -- not just the scope of American democracy study -- now appears to be at risk. 

“If some historians are upset with this new report, they’re not upset as historians. They’re upset as citizens committed to preparing students for this complex project of democracy in California," he said.

Beyond the question of U.S. history and ideals, in particular, Wiese also said there is "this larger question of whether we should be reducing the requirements we ask of students. My view is that there are some requirements that are essential, some requirements that are important enough to maintain at all costs.”

Critics of the faculty-led task force say that it included a small number of system staff and board members, and therefore minutes for its approximately 20 meetings over two years should be part of the public record. Currently they are not. Professors want to know how much the university system’s ambitious Graduation Initiative 2025, which seeks to increase the freshman four-year graduation rate to 40 percent from the current 25 percent, influenced discussions, for example. Two history professors from Cal State's Fullerton campus have said that they attempted to attend a Feb. 1 meeting of the task force and were not admitted.

On Tuesday, the Academic Senate at Cal State's Stanislaus campus passed a resolution rejecting the task force's work as "illegitimate" and an "infringement on both faculty curricular authority and the spirit of shared governance." The resolution, which is being referred to other campus faculty bodies, says that the task force operated "largely behind closed doors," and didn't sufficiently involve experts in the disciplines most affected.

Task force co-chair Jodie Ullman, professor of psychology at Cal State’s San Bernadino campus, said via email that the report “serves only as a beginning step and launching-off point in a lengthy, thoughtful process of consultation, deliberation and review.” (Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified Ullman's campus.)

She referred questions to the system's Academic Senate, whose chair did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mike Uhlenkamp, Cal State spokesperson, said other executive orders have nothing to do with the current faculty-led review of general education. The system did not convene the task force. Rather, he said, the system's Academic Senate "just wanted to take a look at this." 

At this point, Uhlenkamp added, the task force has not formally referred the recommendations to the system.

Ford said there are no data to suggest that history and political science courses prevent students from graduating, and that the skills gained in these courses arguably help students reach graduation. This is not the first time that the six-credit U.S. history and democracy requirement has come under fire, however. In 2015, the Sacramento State campus said it would allow a three-credit anthropology course on cultural diversity to stand in for a two-course U.S. history and government sequence. Arguments against the change echo criticism of the task force's current recommendations. 

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British universities confront fast-approaching Brexit deadline

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:00

As a March 29 date for Britain’s planned exit from the European Union fast approaches, British universities are bracing for potentially dire consequences if the United Kingdom exits without a deal.

“Crashing out with no deal is the worst possible outcome for our universities,” said Joanna Burton, a senior policy analyst for the Russell Group, an association of 24 leading research universities in the U.K. “We’ve said before, but it’s worth repeating that a no-deal Brexit is one of the biggest threats that our universities have ever faced.”

The vast majority of those working in British higher education oppose exiting the E.U., and university leaders and higher education groups campaigned for remaining in the union in the lead-up to the June 2016 referendum on the question. University leaders were especially concerned about the consequences of ending free movement -- a condition of membership in the union, which allows citizens of other E.U. nations to live and work in the Britain under the same terms as British citizens -- and about the risk of jeopardizing future access to European research and education funding programs.

Universities UK, an association of 136 universities across the country, has published a briefing on the no-deal scenario warning that in the event Britain exits without a deal, it could lose its ability to participate in Horizon 2020, a nearly 80 billion euro (about $90 billion) E.U.-wide research funding program, and Erasmus+, an E.U. program that funds student exchange throughout Europe.

The U.K. government has committed to underwrite payments of certain Horizon 2020 awards involving multinational research teams that are open to applicants from non-E.U. countries. But access to other funding streams, including European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funding, would be lost if the U.K. were to exit without a deal.

The U.K. government has also committed to underwrite the payment of already-committed Erasmus+ funds for British students going on exchanges, but the commitment does not extend to any future awards. “Nor has the government confirmed or said anything about replacement funds, which is something that we’re worried about,” said Anne-May Janssen, the head of European engagement for Universities UK international. Universities UK has launched a campaign, #SupportStudyAbroad, urging the U.K. government to commit to funding student exchanges in the event it is unable to negotiate continued participation in Erasmus+ after a no-deal Brexit.

University groups say the far preferable option is to exit with a deal. The draft withdrawal agreement negotiated with the European Union -- which was rejected last month by Parliament -- allows for continued participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + through the end of 2020, when the current programs are scheduled to end.

“We could just continue to participate in these programs until the end, which is the end of 2020,” said Janssen. After that she said participation in future E.U. programs -- including the research program that will succeed Horizon 2020 when it ends in two years, Horizon Europe -- would be subject to negotiations between the U.K. and the E.U.

“But I think it’s important to say that although for the U.K. it would be the very first time that we would negotiate access to the European programs, other associated (non-E.U.) countries do it every seven years,” Janssen said. “It’s not something new, so I’m sure we could negotiate access to these programs as well.”

Burton, of the Russell Group, said another major concern around a no-deal exit would be the status of E.U. nationals working and studying in the U.K. The government has proposed that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it will require E.U. nationals who arrive in the U.K. after March 29 to apply for “European temporary leave to remain” in order to stay longer than three months. This temporary status would be good for three years, after which individuals could apply for status under a new immigration system scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

“We are very concerned that three years would not be long enough, particularly for those coming from the E.U. to do a Ph.D. or courses such as medicine or engineering, which are longer than three years in the U.K.,” Burton said.

“Whether there is a deal or not, we want to see the government uphold the promise it made to implement the E.U. Settlement Scheme for E.U. nationals until the end of 2020,” Burton said. The E.U. Settlement Scheme allows individuals who will have been in the U.K. for five years by the end of 2020 to apply for settled status, which lets them stay and work indefinitely. Prior to reaching the five-year threshold, they can apply for pre-settled status, which enables them to stay until they reach the five-year point and are eligible to apply for settled status.

It remains unclear if a deal will gain approval from Parliament as the March 29 deadline grows closer. ​ And it remains possible Brexit could be delayed or even canceled.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May promised Parliament that it would have the opportunity to take a vote to delay Brexit if it does not approve a negotiated withdrawal agreement. Britain, she said, will “only leave without a deal on March 29 if there is explicit consent for that outcome.”

And the day before, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, backed a second Brexit referendum.

Ludovic Highman, a senior research associate for the Centre for Global Higher education at University College London, said the best outcome for universities is a second referendum in which citizens vote to remain in the E.U. after all.

Highman is analyzing data he obtained from interviews with administrators at 12 universities -- eight in England, two in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland and one in Wales -- about the challenges posed by Brexit. “One of the biggest themes that we’re seeing is in terms of research funding,” he said. “Universities are very worried, because obviously a significant percentage of their funding comes from the E.U. Currently the biggest beneficiaries of Horizon 2020 [across the whole of Europe] are Oxford, Cambridge and UCL.” Two other U.K. universities -- Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh -- are among the top 10 beneficiaries continentwide.

And at less well-known, less research-intensive universities, Highman said, the proportion of research funding that comes from the E.U. can be substantial even if the absolute sums are far smaller: Highman has found that more than 40 U.K. universities depend on E.U. funding for more than 20 percent of all their research income.

“Who’s going to replace that funding?” he asked. “Who within the U.K. at the point of exit from the E.U. is going to prioritize research funding when there are going to be so many other priorities to fund?

“What really needs to be avoided is the no-deal scenario, which would cut off everything,” Highman said. “Even if the U.K. were to negotiate access to Horizon Europe for the future, those negotiations could take a year or two, and there will be a gap.”

Others have argued fears about research funding are misplaced. Fifteen academics signed a letter to The Guardian published in January arguing that universities have nothing to fear from a no-deal Brexit.

“British universities are the strongest and most attractive in Europe,” they wrote. “With a clean sovereign Brexit, British universities get the best of both worlds. They escape the European commission’s shackles imposed through the withdrawal agreement and, like other successful third-party countries (Israel, Norway and Switzerland, for example), can participate in E.U. programs like Horizon 2020 at will,” they wrote.

“The idea that whole countries should be forced into political servitude in order to qualify for academic or scientific mutual exchange is ridiculous, illogical and completely without evidence.”

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DePauw to shrink by laying off dozens of staff and offering buyouts to 100 faculty members

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:00

Indiana’s DePauw University, facing flat enrollment and strained annual operating budgets, on Tuesday laid off 57 staff members through mandatory buyouts and offered voluntary retirement packages to about 100 full-time faculty members.

The 180-year-old Methodist institution in Greencastle, Ind., is using its relative wealth (an endowment of roughly $731 million) to try to ease near-term financial difficulties and improve its mid- and long-term viability. The university based its plan on an analysis showing that its employee base was much larger than it was 20 years ago, despite stable enrollment. It was also larger than that of the average of 14 peer institutions.

The buyouts, revealed to affected employees during a four-hour period Tuesday afternoon, will offer older faculty a long, voluntary and -- by some measures quite generous -- glide path to retirement. It would allow instructors to teach through June 2020, then pay out another two years of salary.

By contrast, the university is making the staff retirements mandatory, extending jobs for dozens of administrators and other workers only through this June. After that, workers will receive a lump sum equal to two weeks of base pay per year worked at the university, with a minimum payout equal to six months of salary.

DePauw will continue to offer tuition remission for dependents of full-time employees through 2024, if they’re currently enrolled or plan to enroll this fall. They'll also be offered subsidized health care for several months.

Faculty and staff members alike qualify for the offers if their combined age plus years of employment at the university equal 65. So, for instance, a 50-year-old professor who has taught at DePauw for 15 years would qualify.

The moves are part of a bid to “strategically realign our resources,” President Mark McCoy and the Board of Trustees chair, Kathy Patterson Vrabeck, said in a letter circulated at DePauw. The university hopes to save $4.3 million by eliminating jobs, with plans to save a total of $6.5 million in the larger employee restructuring. Bob Leonard, DePauw's chief financial officer, said the university anticipates paying for the buyouts with a one-time $8 million draw from its endowment. He said that is just an estimate because actual participation in the faculty buyout "is not known at this time."

In an interview, McCoy said about 100 faculty members qualify for the early retirement offer, but that he expects at most about 30 will accept it, with tentative plans to replace half of those retirees with younger instructors.

“We’re not terminating anyone with tenure,” he said. “We’re not closing programs or departments or schools. We’re trying to do this as kindly as we can.”

Though McCoy said the faculty buyouts are voluntary, he can’t rule out further cuts in the future. “We’re hoping that enough faculty accept this voluntary buyout that we won’t have to do anything further.”

Paul Yakoboski, a senior economist at the TIAA Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., said outright layoffs of tenured faculty are rare. “You just don’t see that,” he said. But contract or non-tenure-track employees who qualify for the DePauw buyout might see the terms as “really attractive.”

He couldn’t say whether they are more generous than buyouts at comparable institutions, but he said the age-plus-service cutoff of 65 is “not atypical” in the private sector these days. For a 50-ish professor, Yakoboski said, “It’s a very attractive offer -- [if] I’m 50, I don’t necessarily want to retire. What are my prospects for employment elsewhere?”

Generally speaking, he said, the younger the employee, the more heavily the “psychosocial aspects of retirement” weigh -- that is, what the person might do for work after taking a buyout. “It boils down to, in some sense, if I’m interested in this and this is attractive, and I’m toying with the idea of retirement, in essence doing the math: Will this work for me in terms of finances?”

Data-Driven Decision

McCoy said DePauw employs about 40 more full-time faculty members and 125 more staff now than it did in 1999, even as student enrollment has remained “relatively flat.”

“It became clear that we had staffed up pretty significantly over a period of time,” he said.

A benchmark study comparing DePauw to 14 comparable institutions found that the university employs about 20 to 30 faculty members more than most of the others -- and that the percentage who are full professors is “outside the norm.”

On average, he said, 27 percent of professors at comparable institutions are full professors; at DePauw, he said, it’s 48 percent.

On the staff side, McCoy said he plans to lay off 42 full-time and 15 part-time workers. He also plans to leave 16 staff positions vacant.

DePauw faculty members have complained in recent years about tiny annual raises amounting to about 1 percent, as well as demands that employees pick up a larger percentage of health-care costs. Faculty members last November split on a no-confidence vote on McCoy, with four in 10 indicating that they had no confidence in him. The remainder were nearly evenly split on whether they supported McCoy or took no position at all.

At the time, a group of 20 faculty members said in an open letter that DePauw faces "serious financial challenges that require a viable long-term financial plan." Under McCoy's leadership, they said, the university "has seemingly moved from crisis to crisis."

DePauw enrolls about 2,200 students, but unlike many small liberal arts colleges, it enjoys a fairly healthy endowment, which in 2018 grew 9 percent to nearly $731 million, according to the NACUBO Commonfund Study of Endowments.

“We’re doing this from a position of strength because we want to treat our people well,” McCoy said. Giving staff at least half a year’s salary and an extra four months to search for a job is the right thing to do. “By giving them the longest runway possible, we’re giving them time to hit the job market at the time that the market is beginning to pick up,” he said. “We made this as generous as we could.”

Jeffrey McCall, a longtime communication and theater professor, said he’s eligible for the buyout. He said he’s weighing whether or not to accept it, but colleagues weren't really surprised by the news. “I think the mood on campus has been challenging for a couple of years,” he said. Small raises and more expensive health plans have already signaled that the university needs to make “hard decisions” financially.

“There’s been, I guess, an accumulation of everything,” he said. “The climate has been tough the past few years, which is too bad, because this really is a fine institution.”

Reached early Tuesday evening, McCall said it was too early to tell whether many of his colleagues consider the buyout terms generous enough, but he considers the buyout itself a kind of admission that the university had probably waited too long to take necessary steps to ensure financial security. Buyouts of the size McCoy presented are a “big step,” McCall said. “Maybe we put off taking the smaller steps.”

McCall said that drawing on the university’s endowment to pay for the buyouts seems another sign of trouble.

“I don’t think this has been a secret, that DePauw has been spending more out of its endowment over the years than what is probably financially reasonable,” he said. “And that’s not a long-term formula for success.”

Ken Owen, DePauw’s spokesman, said he is one of the staff members being let go -- and he doesn't have a choice in the matter.

“I really feel for my affected colleagues today,” he said. “This is a very tough thing. The university is committed to making our transitions as smooth and productive as possible, but that doesn't change the reality that we're all in for some big changes.”

Owen called the buyouts “a tough blow to a 41-year-long relationship I have cherished." In an email, he recalled that he first arrived on campus as a freshman in 1978.

A onetime TV news anchor in Indianapolis, he left a journalism career in 2001 to return to DePauw. “I did it in the hopes that I could make my alma mater -- a place I love -- more vibrant and help to build an even better future for the college. While today's news is tough, I must remember that these difficult decisions are designed to ensure that DePauw has the bright future that I envision for it. These are tough times for colleges like DePauw; I recognize the need for tough choices to navigate these difficult headwinds. But I still hurt for many of the co-workers I call friends.”

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U of Iowa students launch digital campaign around minority issues on campus

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:00

Walking across the University of Iowa grounds last Thursday, it was difficult for students to miss the crudely constructed banner, a ripped tarp held up by two wooden poles, with scrawled lettering that read, “Build the Wall.”

The support for President Trump’s campaign rattled many on the campus.

Online, students criticized officials for, in the name of free speech, allowing a conservative campus group, Young Americans for Freedom, to arrange the display. Some of them confronted the organization members directly, debating them and accusing them of spreading xenophobia.

Many students said the quick defense offered to Young Americans for Freedom seemed in contrast to a lack of support campus minorities felt.

The university is overwhelmingly white -- 71 percent of the student body as of fall 2017, according to federal data. Only 3 percent of the students are black, and 7 percent are Hispanic. And like many campuses across the country, Iowa has been subject to racist and hateful graffiti and distribution of white supremacist literature.

the university of iowa continues to ignore the voices of its underrepresented students. when will they step up & help foster the welcoming community they claim to have? @uiowa @doesuiowaloveme #doesuiowaloveme pic.twitter.com/YHT63JtccQ

— carl wheezer’s fat ass (@Banessinthejets) February 26, 2019

On Monday night, students started a social media campaign around a hashtag, #DoesUIowaLoveMe, sharing anecdotes of when they felt the institution neglected them or officials and faculty members were seemingly tone-deaf to their experiences.

While such digital crusades are not uncommon, the astonishing outpouring of stories on both Twitter and Instagram clearly illustrated that many students felt the answer to the question -- Does the University of Iowa love me? -- was no.

Which students or groups organized the campaign is unknown. The masterminds behind the accounts on Twitter and Facebook declined an interview because the students had not clarified their demands or the message “they wanted to send out.” Other students who initially agreed to interview with Inside Higher Ed eventually decided not to speak.

“We also do not want our mission being misstated or misrepresented,” their statement reads.

The university also had little to say. A spokeswoman declined to make administrators available for an interview, saying that administrators were working with students on Tuesday and that they had reached out to some students who “needed immediate assistance.” She directed a reporter to a two-sentence statement online: “We respect our students as they communicate their frustrations and experiences at the University of Iowa. We are committed to hearing their concerns and improving our campus climate.”

And the frustrations were many.

One story that received significant attention online was one student’s insinuation that institution officials wanted him to conceal his queer identity when he was representing the university.

The student wrote on Twitter how he took part in a university photo shoot for marketing materials the previous summer. When the students were asked to pose like they were studying, he was instructed to stow away his laptop that had a rainbow sticker on it that read “pride” -- for support of LGBTQ people.

He was told “it was too controversial.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the tweet was retweeted nearly 70 times and liked more than 500 times.

“I’m starting to actually think this entire state is garbage,” another Twitter user wrote in response.

One student, who said he was a first-generation college student and Latinx, said he was told once (he did not say by whom) that he shouldn’t be attending the university because of his financial status.

“At that moment I knew that not everyone thought I belonged,” he wrote on Twitter.

Another student, on Instagram, wrote that she had accused a professor of racism. She wrote that the professor had harassed her and other minority students with claims that she and others had plagiarized and cheated on course work.

When she reported this to a dean, she asked, “Why would you want to have a faculty member that is racist representing UIowa?”

The dean replied, “Why do we have Trump as president?”

“I guess that’s [the university’s] cheap excuse,” the student wrote on Instagram.

A student who said she sought out a university therapist said she was made to wait months despite the university “bragging” about mental health services, she wrote on Twitter.

After waiting months, the student said that she was suicidal and informed the therapist of this -- she said she didn’t think she would survive the weekend, but she was told, “Survive until Monday,” and to find somewhere else to “fix” her.

“How many other students did they turn away? How many lives could they have saved? How can they stand by claims of aiding mental health on campus when they send us off without a number to call or any hope at all?” the student wrote.

Professors even joined in the conversation. Benjamin Hassman, director of Iowa’s Conversation Center, which helps primarily international students with their communication skills, urged his followers on Twitter to look at the hashtag.

In an interview, Hassman said he couldn’t judge whether the university had been responding properly to the kind of encounters the students were alleging. But he did say that “anyone who keeps their eyes open” knows these types of incidents are happening.

He said he was impressed with the student leaders -- they have far fewer resources but still had a massive reach with the campaign.

“Here these students are using their own difficult, challenging experiences to generate challenging conversations around that,” Hassman said. “If that’s not what higher ed is for -- that what critical thinking -- I don’t know what is.”

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Colleges start new academic programs

Inside HigherEd - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:00
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Latinx, black college students leave STEM majors more than white students

Inside HigherEd - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 08:00

College administrators have long debated how to attract minority students -- black and Latinx men and women -- to science and technology fields.

It turns out these students already have an interest in those fields, at least according to a new study. But black and Latinx students enrolled in STEM programs are either switching majors or dropping out of college at higher rates than their white peers, the study concludes.

The study was published this month in the journal Educational Researcher. The authors are Catherine Riegle-Crumb, associate professor in the University of Texas at Austin's department of curriculum and instruction, her colleague Yasmiyn Irizarry, an assistant professor of African and African diaspora studies, and Barbara King, assistant professor of teaching and learning at Florida International University.

Using federal data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the researchers looked at more than 5,600 students, black, Latinx and white, who attended college for the first time in the 2003-04 academic year. They included students who started at four-year institutions and those who began at two-year colleges and transferred to four-year institutions.

The researchers found that there was little difference at the beginning of the students’ studies. About 19 percent of the white students declared as a STEM major, compared to 20 percent of Latinx students and 18 percent of black students.

But the minority students left the major at far higher rates than the white students -- about 37 percent of the Latinx students and 40 percent of the black students switched majors versus 29 percent of the white students.

And 20 percent of Latinx and 26 percent of black STEM majors left their institutions without earning a degree, the research showed. Only 13 percent of white STEM majors dropped out.

Previous studies have identified this trend before but had never compared STEM dropouts to dropouts who majored in other disciplines, a contrast that the professors thought was important, said Riegle-Crumb, the report’s lead author.

Among business majors, another field perceived as competitive, relatively equal numbers of white, Latinx and black students switched majors, the study found. The report did not reference Asian students, because despite being overrepresented in STEM majors, their sample size in other majors was not large enough that the researchers felt comfortable including them, Riegle-Crumb said.

Though the study identified a troubling trend, the researchers did not pinpoint exactly why the students of color were dropping STEM studies, Riegle-Crumb said.

The researchers also adjusted their data to account for the fact that Latinx and black students typically perform worse in high school and come from poorer backgrounds, she said.

“We definitely need more investigation into these things, what’s actually happening within classrooms, to be able to measure the experiences of youth of different backgrounds,” Riegle-Crumb said.

The professors did theorize why some students of color may leave college without completing their studies. Other research has found that STEM programs are often structured in a way in which students have to essentially prove their intellectual worth to stay, the study states. Essentially, they may be forced out if they don't meet high academic standards.

Minority students already face unfair stereotypes about being intellectually inferior, and this is likely exacerbated in STEM programs, according to the study. This issue was explored in a book by Maya Beasley, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, called Opting Out: Losing the Potential of America's Young Black Elite (University of Chicago Press). Beasley interviewed black students and white students at two prominent universities and unearthed these sorts of obstacles faced by the students of color.

Riegle-Crumb said research has proven that minority students are also more inclined to pursue majors and careers that are aligned with social justice issues, and they may find that the STEM fields are incompatible with those interests.

She said that leaders in STEM education should push back on the narrative that STEM fields do not provide students opportunities to be engaged in such issues. Engineering, for instance, is about building “new things that improve the quality of life,” Riegle-Crumb said.

“The narrative that black and Latino students are choosing to leave for occupations that make less money and have less status, well, I’m wary of that,” she said. “Why do they feel they have to make a choice for their preferences when white men feel they don’t?”

The study's findings were unsurprising to Darryl A. Dickerson, associate director of the minority engineering program at Purdue University and president of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates.

Dickerson said that many students of color in STEM programs feel excluded at their institutions and have to form their own communities.

He recommended that institutions look at their own data on this issue. If students of color are exiting STEM majors at higher rates, then officials should be questioning why and addressing the problems that are driving students away.

“Ask those questions on a regular basis, ask the questions of students, of those who have graduated, and figure out the reasons they are leaving,” Dickerson said. “Consistently do those checks. It can’t be something that is happening every so often -- it has to be part of continuous quality improvement.”

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University of Redlands to acquire San Francisco-area seminary

Inside HigherEd - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 08:00

Two private California institutions -- one secular and in Southern California, the other religious and in Northern California -- are merging.

The University of Redlands on Monday said it plans to acquire the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a 150-year-old Presbyterian seminary. The presidents of the two institutions on Monday said they had signed a memorandum of understanding that will create a graduate school within Redlands that essentially establishes a new campus in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The new Graduate School of Theology will also be the location for course work in a range of fields already offered at Redlands and its other regional campuses, said President Ralph W. Kuncl.

The merger must be approved by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, which accredits both institutions, and by the Association of Theological Schools.

Also, California’s attorney general must sign off on the deal; U.S. Department of Education approval must also be in place to allow students to use federal loans to help pay for their education.

Frank M. Yamada, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, said that the merger would, if approved, be like most of the 26 other mergers of his members over the last seven years – into a larger university. Such arrangements now comprise about one in 10 ATS schools -- the association accredits 276 institutions.

Most notably, he said, Claremont School of Theology in Los Angeles announced a possible merger with Willamette University in Salem, Ore. And Andover Newton Seminary, one of the nation’s oldest theological schools, is now embedded in Yale Divinity School.

In most cases, he said, the partner school or organization has some sort of religious affiliation, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule, as with the newest merger.

The merger talks began in late 2017, when SFTS began exploring partnerships, said President Jim McDonald. “We talked to seminaries, we talked to divinity schools -- but we also talked to a couple of colleges and universities,” he said. McDonald met Kuncl in early November and “We immediately hit it off.”

Redlands has a $167.2 million endowment, enrolls nearly 5,000 students and operates six regional campuses in addition to its main location. But it was also looking for new partners. SFTS fit the bill, Kuncl said.

“They of course didn’t begin in the last decade thinking that their path to future success would be through acquisition,” he said. “But it turns out that in this era, that’s a great strategy by which a 150-year-old, venerable institution can preserve its identity and preserve its brand name and all of its values for its students, by becoming embedded and part of a larger institution.”

McDonald, for his part, agreed. “I would say, ‘Absolutely yes’ to that,” he said.

The leaders did not provide financial details on the merger. In a statement, Kuncl later said, “While the boards of both institutions have approved the agreement in principle, several financial details remain privileged. However, both institutions have substantial assets that make this transaction feasible.”

‘What on Earth Would You Be Thinking?’

The two institutions are in different regions of California and basically worlds apart: Redlands is in San Bernardino County, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, while SFTS is in the Marin County bedroom community of San Anselmo, north of San Francisco.

The seminary actually opened a Pasadena campus in 1990 but closed it in 2011 as part of what it called "a larger and urgent effort to reach financial equilibrium."

Eight years later, Kuncl said the two institutions are a good fit. “I believe we are of the right size to partner with SFTS, sort of ‘Goldilocks size,’ because we’re not so big that we wouldn’t need them or want them -- and we’re not so small that we wouldn’t be financially feasible to embed them within us. So being a midsized university helps, I think, to envision incorporating another school.”

Kuncl noted that there’s a long history of graduate schools of theology being embedded in major universities. “It’s not an unusual thing,” he said. “So we felt like that was actually a visionary and obvious thing to do, not a mysterious thing to do.”

But he admitted that a Presbyterian seminary an eight-hour drive northwest was not an obvious choice.

“That would be the first question asked by any trustee or alumnus or donor,” he said. “‘What on earth would you be thinking about merging with, acquiring a seminary, which is a sacred institution, when the university is a secular institution?’ And that requires a leap of vision into thinking about what we two institutions could create together that is new.”

He said the new graduate school will operate “on equal footing” with Redlands’ other graduate programs in business, education, music and continuing studies.

The campus will also likely offer traditional programming from Redlands’ graduate schools of education, business and music. Redlands also intends to offer an adult student baccalaureate-completion program in conjunction with local community colleges -- he wouldn’t say which. The expansion will also allow it to offer a share of 14 new academic degree programs it already plans to introduce at its various branch campuses in Southern California.

“This increases the footprint of the university into Northern California as well as Southern California,” Kuncl said.

Redlands’ tradition of a broad-based liberal arts education with an emphasis on service is “completely congruent with the values of San Francisco Theological Seminary,” he said. “But the product is going to be much more than practicing ministers in pulpits. It will produce leaders and people with lives of service.”

Both institution’s Boards of Trustees have already approved an eight-page agreement in principle laying out how they’ll eventually operate. Over the next four months, they’ll create a final merger document for the boards to approve in May, Kuncl said.

In the meantime, faculty from the two institutions have already begun meeting quietly -- about 40 Redlands faculty and literally the entire SFTS faculty, which numbers just nine instructors, have formulated models for new multidisciplinary graduate programs that neither institution could have offered previously. The two institutions hope to offer a handful of hybrid degrees such as a master’s degree in divinity and education, in divinity and business, and in divinity and organizational leadership.

Instructors at SFTS’s Applied Wisdom Institute and Redlands’ School of Education have already developed a joint continuing studies program, dubbed the mental health and spirituality certificate, that will begin holding classes next month, the institutions said in a statement.

Kuncl said he has enjoyed watching faculty collaborate across the two cultures. “It’s the fuel that is driving this,” he said.

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Azusa Pacific cutting faculty but preserving term tenure amid financial crunch

Inside HigherEd - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:00

Azusa Pacific University is cutting teaching faculty positions and considered ending a system of multiyear contracts that has offered some professors job security, moves officials say were driven by financial considerations but that also sparked fear the evangelical Christian University in California was preparing to purge progressives from its ranks.

The university has decided to cut about 6 percent of its teaching faculty positions through a combination of voluntary retirements, vacant positions not being filled and contracts not being renewed, according to a spokeswoman. Decisions were based upon “the fiscal viability of programs” and not faculty performance, she added.

Azusa Pacific’s board also signaled it wanted to eliminate a contract system known as term tenure, faculty leaders said. The university does not offer faculty traditional tenure. Instead, it uses a system of contracts stepping up between one-, three- and five-year terms, which is seen as offering some protection and freedom for faculty members. Concerned faculty worried everyone was being moved to one-year contracts, no matter how long they had been with the university or how well they had performed their duties.

The board, administration and Faculty Senate last week reached an agreement to maintain three- and five-year contracts. But the cuts and talks of changing contract structures dredged up other concerns, especially from some already worried about Azusa Pacific’s attitudes toward gender and sexuality.

A letter circulated from an anonymous professor linking the elimination of term tenure with faith statements faculty members were being asked to affirm.

“I thought you might be interested to know that APU is moving to eliminate term tenure for all faculty and will now require faculty to affirm new faith statements against LGBTQ people,” the letter begins.

It went on to defend term tenure as providing a “modicum of job security.” New faculty started with one-year contracts, then moved up to three- and then five-year contracts if they were well evaluated over time. Term tenure was supposed to be an incentive for faculty to publish more and help raise the university’s reputation, it said.

Moving faculty to one-year contracts was “absolutely a purge” to drive out progressives and cut salary expenses at the same time, the letter charges.

“They want to cut off the brewing unrest and ensure that those who stay won’t keep pushing faculty governance of curriculum,” it says. Many of the letter’s allegations have also been detailed at Rewire.News.

The letter contained numerous inaccuracies, according to Rachel White, Azusa Pacific’s associate director of public relations. Faculty contracts not being renewed are in programs or departments deemed underperforming, she said in an email. The university is not releasing a list of programs underperforming “to safeguard the confidentiality of impacted faculty who will carry out their contract through the end of the academic year,” she said.

“In early January, each dean was tasked with completing a midyear fiscal viability analysis of the programs in their college or school,” she wrote. “The worksheet includes a number of data points that assess the fiscal functioning of a program. They used an analysis conducted by the Austen Group of Ruffalo Noel Levitz to provide information on the demand, cost and yield of each program in a matrix presentation. They also used comparative data from the Delaware study, as well as internal program analytics related to average class size, number of students, etc. The Academic Cabinet used this data to inform their decisions.”

The university has not declared financial exigency and is seeing “modest growth” in areas like nursing, behavioral and applied sciences, and some emerging professional programs, she added.

Azusa Pacific has an estimated 520 full- and part-time faculty contracts. Those not being renewed will expire at the end of the academic year. The 6 percent cut in teaching faculty is calculated on a full-time-equivalent basis.

Roughly half of the university's faculty are on one-year contracts. Remaining faculty are split about evenly between three- and five-year contracts.

Talk of cuts seems to have combined with discussion about contract length and other tensions at Azusa Pacific to raise concerns from faculty members about firings based on ideology. Tensions over same-sex relationships flared just a few months ago, when the university published a revised statement on human sexuality that did not forbid romantic same-sex relationships for students. The university continued to say sex should only occur within a marriage, defined as being between a man and a woman.

Soon afterward, the university reversed course, reinstating a clause against romantic same-sex relationships. The university’s Board of Trustees issued a statement saying it had never approved the initial change.

Then in December, two trustees resigned from the university’s board, reportedly because they were concerned faculty members and administrators were promoting progressive ideology.

The way the faculty position cuts unfolded has been frustrating for Azusa Pacific faculty members, said Loren Martin, a professor and research director in the university’s department of clinical psychology who is also the moderator of its Faculty Senate. The discussion about cuts has been playing out for about a month, and many saw them as being put in place in a top-down manner, he said.

“I think what happened is basically, the board, when they announced the contract decision that has now been rescinded, they announced a number of things,” Martin said. “People put two and two together and assumed it was a coordinated effort. I’ve been assured that is not the case.”

One group of faculty, liberal or conservative, didn’t seem to have been targeted, based on Martin’s observations.

“It does appear to be financial decisions that were made,” Martin said. “The frustration is that faculty would have liked to have been a part of that through the senate process.”

An agreement to preserve term tenure is important, he added.

“For one thing, that’s how we’re able to recruit and retain a high-quality faculty,” Martin said. “And if we were to change to a model of one-year contracts, then we’re not going to be able to recruit high-caliber faculty, and we’re going to struggle to retain those faculty we currently have.”

The university’s financial performance has been flagged in recent months. In September, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Azusa Pacific’s bond rating into junk territory because of weakening operating performance, issues meeting a debt covenant, weak internal reporting and weak expense control.

Azusa Pacific told bondholders in October that it ended the 2018 fiscal year with a $9.9 million operating deficit and was pursuing numerous efforts to cut costs and put new controls in place. The 11,000-student university has collected about $230 million per year in tuition, fee and room and board revenue in recent years.

On the question of faculty being asked to affirm faith statements, the university has long required faculty and staff to annually sign a commitment to uphold its mission, values and beliefs, according to White.

She provided an excerpt from the Faculty Handbook saying faculty members are expected to sign a university statement of faith and that faculty members “affirm, support and sustain APU’s identity as an evangelical Christian university” as described in a multipage booklet titled “What We Believe.” Faculty members who “no longer subscribe” to the statement of faith are expected to resign from the university, the Faculty Handbook says.

“The language has been a part of the Faculty Handbook for many years,” White wrote. “I believe the board has recently emphasized the importance of signing this as a means to ensure that all faculty and staff are in alignment with the university's evangelical Christian mission, values and beliefs.”

Some of the content in the “What We Believe” booklet has changed in recent years. An archived version from August 2017 contains a section on human sexuality with eight bullets. They stated in part that, “In Scripture, several sexual behaviors are expressly forbidden, which include but are not limited to: fornication, adultery, incest, unnatural sexual intercourse and homosexual acts.” They also stated, “Heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships. Sexual union between a man and a woman is only to take place within the marriage covenant.”

The latest version the university posted only contains six bullets and contains no reference to several behaviors being expressly forbidden. It continues to say, “Sexual union is intended by God to take place only within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman.”

Azusa Pacific’s president since 2000, Jon R. Wallace, has announced plans to become president emeritus this summer. In October he took a medical leave of absence as he battled cancer.

Recent discussions about the faculty cuts and term tenure give the Faculty Senate moderator, Martin, hope for more coordination and engagement in the future.

“It’s been a very challenging experience,” he said. “But in recent weeks, our board has been really receptive to faculty input, and I feel like they’ve learned to recognize the value of our faculty voice.”

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Community colleges focus on equity as the next piece to completion agenda

Inside HigherEd - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:00

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Colleges have been focused for more than a decade on accelerating the completion movement to increase graduation rates and improve student outcomes. Community colleges especially have worked on improving career opportunities for their students, reforming remedial education, encouraging students to attend full-time and offering tuition-free programs.

But achievement gaps between black, Hispanic and low-income students and their white and wealthier peers persist even as each group continues to graduate at better rates. Achieving the Dream, the national organization focused on student success, is encouraging colleges to put racial and wealth equity at the center of their efforts to help more students graduate. The group held its first Equity Institute last week during its 15th annual national conference and announced a new partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to eliminate equity gaps using adaptive learning technology in courses.

“We will never make progress in moving the needle on student success for students of color if we don't get real and understand the totality of factors that undermine their success on our campuses,” said Shaun Harper, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center, who gave the opening speech at ATD's Equity Institute. “I’m delighted that Achieving the Dream is intentionally focusing on racial equity. It would seem to me that any attempt to improve student success and outcomes and experiences at community colleges -- especially given the racial diversity of community colleges -- will always be incomplete if it’s not done through the prism of equity.”

About 40 percent of all community college students who started their education in 2012 graduated within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. But only 35.7 percent of Hispanic students and 27.5 percent of black students graduated from a two-year institution within that same time period. Furthermore, nearly 55 percent of black students who started at a community college in 2012 did not complete their studies and were no longer enrolled at any institution.

ATD’s new partnership with Gates, known as Every Learner Everywhere, is introducing adaptive courseware to two-year colleges so they can stop students, especially minority and low-income students, from dropping out.

Gates is expanding the adaptive courseware to more colleges by providing $13.3 million to the initiative. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) is overseeing the Every Learner Everywhere network, which includes experts from groups such as Educause and the Association of Chief Academic Officers. Even as ATD prepares to begin connecting community colleges to the program, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has already been working with Gates to expand the technology to four-year institutions.

Adaptive courseware uses technology to personalize classroom instruction based on how students respond. The expectation is that racial and income-based equity gaps will decrease, especially in gateway math and English courses, and retention and graduation rates will increase, said Stacey Vanderheiden Guney, the director of Every Learner Everywhere for WICHE. The program is expected to launch this fall in Texas, Florida and Ohio and will eventually reach more than 200 colleges nationwide.

“We cannot support retention and student success and increasing graduation rates for people if we don’t look at those first courses, which are traditionally seen as ‘weed-out’ courses,” Vanderheiden Guney said. “When you are trying to serve a bunch of people from a variety of backgrounds, the use of the adaptive courseware, when effectively implemented, can allow for people to come up to the same speed and be supported in unique ways in the classroom.”

Karen Stout, ATD's president, said the organization wants to make equity “actionable” for colleges. And that work begins with college leaders being honest about the racial and income disparities on college campuses.

Eduardo Padrón, the retiring president of Miami-Dade College in Florida, said racial inequality in education worries him tremendously because too many talented students of color are not earning a college credential when most well-paying jobs require one.

“Ethnic minorities are the work force of tomorrow,” he said. “It’s a national security imperative that the achievement gap is reduced every year until it no longer exists.”

But there hasn’t been enough recognition by national and state leaders of how racial disparities affect graduation rates among colleges, Padrón said.

At times, Harper said, it seems as if college leaders think closing the racial achievement gap will be easy and can be fixed with a single program or by spending a weekend participating in a diversity program. Some college presidents, provosts and faculty casually use the word “equity” without taking the time to develop a strategy for how they’ll achieve equity on their campuses, he said.

“People understand the value of having equitable campuses, but they don’t know how to do it, and that work requires very serious study,” Harper said. “It requires a cultural change, collaboration, deep study, incentives, accountability and assessment.”

The next, and difficult, stage for many colleges and faculty will be taking what they learned at the Equity Institute to their campuses and having honest conversations that address the achievement gaps for students of color and low-income students, Stout said.

Harper said there aren’t many national education organizations that are attempting to combat racial inequity.

“This moment affords ATD an extraordinary opportunity to lead and to leverage its network to show other networks and associations and other higher education groups how to really institutionalize equity,” he said.

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Hate incidents still on the rise on college campuses

Inside HigherEd - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:00

Incidents targeting students of color and of different sexualities and religions continue to plague campuses, and the number of incidents appears to be increasing, according to a new report.

Because these episodes are on the rise -- white supremacist literature proliferating at colleges and universities, racial slurs written in public places and dormitories, for example -- advocates are urging administrators to be vocal in denouncing them and suggest they have a plan in place for when they occur.

Two groups worked on the report -- the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Fund for Leadership, Equity, Access and Diversity, or LEAD Fund, part of the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED).

They created a survey with 30 questions to send to professionals on the AAAED mailing list asking about hate- or bias-related incidents on their campuses. The survey was also made available at the AAAED annual conference last year.

A total 69 staffers, whom the groups called “equal opportunity professionals” -- generally employees of a university’s diversity or student affairs offices -- answered the survey. Most came from public, four-year institutions (64 percent) while 25 percent worked at private colleges or universities. Roughly 9 percent were from two-year institutions, and 2 percent reported "other" institutions.

Almost all the survey participants -- 84 percent -- were from predominantly white institutions, with the remainder at minority-serving institutions.

They were asked whether certain acts had occurred on their campus, ranging from a hate crime, hate speech or conduct prohibited under an institution’s antidiscrimination policy to behavior that is “uncivil” -- rude, but perhaps not motivated by bias.

About 84 percent of the participants indicated they knew of some sort of behavior violating an antidiscrimination policy, and 82 percent had encountered a hate crime.

Roughly 65 percent of staffers knew of a report of what they considered hate speech.

The groups did not independently verify the hate incidents reported in the survey, said Christopher Jones, a co-author of the report and assistant vice president and director of equity in the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Case Western University. But these reports were based on the last two years and would not have included incidents that later turned out to be not true.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, though, said in November that nearly 280 hate crimes had been reported to the agency by campus police forces in 2017. This was an uptick from 257 in 2016 and 194 reports in 2015.

Three-fourths of those who took the AAAED survey said some sort of hate-bias episode occurred within the last two years. And 38 percent reported that in the last two years, a hate-bias incident happened once per semester.

In terms of types of hate-bias acts, about 64 percent of the professionals reported that in the last two years they encountered some sort of bias in the form of leaflets or pamphlets with racist or Nazi symbols. About 54 percent indicated in the past 24 months they knew of hate speech on campus.

Jones said "it stood out" how frequently these incidents were happening.

"That was particularly telling," Jones said.

Most often with hate-bias incidents, administrators are finding outside groups -- such as those geared toward white nationalism -- are coming onto the university grounds and distributing literature.

This has been previously documented by other groups. The Anti-Defamation League documented 107 incidents of hate or bias during the 2016-17 academic year, and a majority of them concerned fliers on campus.

But minority students are also finding evidence of bias in classrooms, said Shirley J. Wilcher, executive director for AAAED. Professors might be calling out black students to answer questions about race, or women to address perspectives on gender, Wilcher said. Also common is displays of hate inside residence halls, or on social media, which can spread quickly. But leaflets are among the most major issue, Wilcher said.

The groups developed a tool kit for universities to use to plan for such episodes.

Colleges need to develop a communication strategy to address an incident as soon as possible, said Richard Baker, assistant vice chancellor and vice president for equal opportunity services for the University of Houston System.

Officials should make clear what each individual person’s role is during such a crisis, what their job would entail, Baker said. Administrators, even if they run into First Amendment issues where speech or an act would be protected, can denounce the activity in the harshest of terms, which will often ease student concerns.

“Students in particular want action -- they don’t want silence,” Wilcher said.

This strategy was employed successfully in 2017 at the University of Florida, which was one stop for white supremacist Richard Spencer on his tour of campuses nationwide. He was attempting to rile the student body with his fringe views, Spencer said publicly. (He has since ceased his countrywide circuit after encountering financial problems.)

When Spencer proclaimed that the university president, Ken Fuchs, “stood behind” him, Fuchs replied on Twitter, “I don’t stand behind racist Richard Spencer. I stand with those who reject and condemn Spencer’s vile and despicable message.”

The tool kit also suggests that officials set up an easy way to report incidents, such as providing a complaint form online and also a hotline, and then advertising those avenues to the campus.

Establishing a hate-bias team is also an option -- these have become quite common on campus, and they often are charged with investigating a problem and also providing support for students who feel marginalized or attacked.

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College of New Rochelle announces that it will likely close this year

Inside HigherEd - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:00

The College of New Rochelle announced Friday that it will likely close by the end of the summer of 2019.

A memo to the campus from the president and board chair said, "The college continues to experience significant cash flow challenges. In multiple forums, President [William] Latimer has stated that the three courses of action facing the College of New Rochelle include closure and teaching out existing students, partnership or standing alone. At this point in time, it appears unlikely that the college will be able to continue operations beyond the end of the summer 2019 semester."

The memo goes on to say that the college is in discussions with "an educational institution that is party to a memorandum of understanding," but that the proposed MOU would not preserve the college. "That institution is not considering a merger or acquisition of the college and is not considering the assumption of any of the college’s debt," said the memo. "The discussions are now focused on finalizing an arrangement with that institution that would meet the continuing educational needs of CNR’s students without interruption and may necessitate the retention of a number of faculty and staff."

The College of New Rochelle has some challenges that are typical of Northeastern private colleges without much money. But with enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, the college has more of a student base than do many other private institutions.

The college's economic free fall has roots that are different from those of other institutions. In 2016, the college announced the abrupt resignation of President Judith Huntington, saying that the turnover at the top came after trustees learned of “significant unmet financial obligations” that had the institution preparing for major budget cuts and possible financial exigency. Then a few weeks later, the college announced that it had not made payroll taxes for two years and owed about $20 million in such payments. Further, the college had additional debts of more than $11 million and said that budgets prepared for the board were inaccurate.

Since then, the college has made major cuts and has been accused of making faculty members (who have lost their jobs) pay for mistakes made by administrators. The college has also been trying to resolve issues related to the unpaid taxes and incomplete budgets. The memo issued Friday said, "The College of New Rochelle‘s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, have not been completed due to open audit items. These include negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service to abate accrued penalties under the installment plan for the college’s outstanding federal tax liability that were stalled during the shutdown of the federal government and are ongoing. Because of this matter and the ongoing financial challenges, the college’s auditor has not yet made a final determination as to CNR’s ability to continue as a going concern."

The cuts have been controversial and contested in court. A New York State judge ruled last week that the college improperly dismissed a group of tenured professors in 2017, in violation of terms set in the faculty handbook. Additional hearings are now being held before a ruling on whether they’ll get their jobs back, possibly with back pay, but that would come as the college is now expected to close.

Two colleges -- Green Mountain College and the Oregon College of Art and Craft -- have already announced closure plans this year. Hampshire College has announced that it will not admit a full freshman class while the college explores options for mergers or partnerships.

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Accreditor rejects appeal of decision to revoke Bennett College accreditation

Inside HigherEd - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 08:00

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has rejected Bennett College's appeal of a December decision to strip it of accreditation. The appeals panel of SACS found the December decision "to be reasonable, not arbitrary, and based on the standards cited," said a statement released by the accreditor.

Without accreditation, a college's students are not eligible for federal aid. Because the vast majority of Bennett students receive federal grants and loans, a loss of accreditation could make it impossible for the college to function. Bennett is a small, historically black women's college -- one of two such colleges in the country. It enrolls about 400 students and is located in Greensboro, N.C.

On Friday evening, Bennett announced that it had obtained a federal court order saying that accreditation would remain in place pending a legal challenge to the SACS decision to reject the appeal. That news means that students will continue to be eligible for aid while that process continues.

Bennett president Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, in a Friday press briefing, stressed that the fight over the college's future was not over. "The accreditation process can be slow and even disappointing at times," she said. "The negative decision by [SACS] to remove Bennett from membership will not disrupt the daily operations of college. We will continue educating our young women to become analytical thinkers, effective communicators and phenomenal leaders.  We urge everyone to keep the faith and know that Bennett College is standing strong."

In addition, Bennett announced that it has started the process of seeking accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, and that a TRACS team would visit the Bennett campus in March. TRACS has recognized some colleges after they lost accreditation elsewhere.

After the December decision, Bennett announced a fund-raising campaign with the goal of raising $5 million to show that the college was financially sustainable. The college topped that goal, raising $8.2 million, encouraging supporters of the college.

The SACS announcement noted that colleges are permitted to provide updated financial information when an accreditation decision is being appealed. "The appeals committee found that Bennett College had 'failed to show that the institution possesses resources demonstrating a stable financial base to support the mission and scope of programs and services,'" the SACS announcement said.

This article has been updated.

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