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Midwestern State's handling of sexual assault cases under fire

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

Students at Midwestern State University in Texas are fuming over administrators’ response to campus sexual misconduct and a joke about sexual assault made by the dean of students.

At a forum on campus safety this week, Matthew Park, the associate vice president for student affairs and the dean of students, welcomed the crowd of students and faculty members back from the recent spring break.

“Starting off with sexual misconduct,” he said, “I hope that we don’t see another increase in reports as a result of last week’s activity,” referring to spring break. He then laughed.

His comments were captured in a video that was posted by local news media and to Twitter.

Park until recently also handled the university’s Title IX-related cases, but those duties were partially removed after his comments, said a university spokeswoman, Julie Gaynor. Administrators at Midwestern State, an institution of about 6,000 students, “wear many hats” because of its size, but it is now seeking a full-time director for Title IX cases, Gaynor said. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination, requiring institutions to investigate allegations of rape and other sexual misconduct on college campuses.

Gaynor said Park’s comments were not appropriate. She described a moment in the forum when an attendee asked Park if his joke was appropriate, and he immediately gave a “sincere apology,” Gaynor said.

The local press, the Times Record News, documented that exchange. Park, according to the newspaper, said, “Thank you for calling me out because I know I’m not perfect as well. So thank you.”

Park did not respond to a request for comment.

In part, the forum was organized in response to a digital campaign that emerged last month, #ComplicitMSU. An anonymous Twitter account with the same name was launched and has posted about the university’s failings around sexual assault and retweeted others who have done the same.

In a six-minute YouTube clip created by #ComplicitMSU, a student says another male student has been allowed to remain on campus despite having at least five no-contact orders in place because of complaints against him.

Gaynor said she could not confirm those accusations.

In interviews, students and a professor said that the administration has handled the issue of sexual assault callously. And that was before the dean made a joke about sexual assault at a forum about sexual assault.

A professor, who asked for anonymity to be candid in criticizing university leaders, said he was baffled by administrators’ lack of response on sexual assault. Other faculty members haven’t discussed this issue much, the professor said, but students have started rallying and speaking up more.

Some students have feared talking about this more publicly because they fear retaliation by the administrators, the professor said.

“There’s outright anger expressed by a majority of the students,” he said. “They just felt otherworldly in a way. They want to know, why is this happening? Why do you not care, how can you not care about this issue?”

Ashlee Fandrich, a senior at Midwestern State, penned a lengthy blog post about the hashtag and the experiences she and her friends have had with preventing campus sexual assault.

Fandrich, on her blog, describes how a friend who was raped did not want to report because she felt the university would do little to help.

In an interview, Fandrich said she’s attended the university for two years and only once remembers administrators publicizing any steps they took to reduce sexual assault. Now, she can’t walk down a hallway without hearing about the problems plaguing the university and #ComplicitMSU.

She did not attend the forum, but said it was poorly advertised and scheduled at an inconvenient time of day -- 3 p.m. on a Monday, when many students would be in classes. Gaynor said a little more than 150 people attended the forum, a mixture of students, professors and staffers.

Fandrich said she would tell administrators to take people seriously when they say sexual assault is a problem on campus.

“I wish they would listen and try to take what their students are saying to them to heart,” she said.

Jaylon Williams, secretary of the student government association and a resident assistant of three years, attended the forum and walked away feeling that “it was just for show.”

Williams said residents of the university feel like nothing is accomplished on sexual harassment because incidents are reported to the resident assistants, who then tell administrators, with no results.

“Now they are scrambling to cover themselves to get things together,” Williams said. “We have the processes in the place, we have the policies, it’s just our administrators are not on top of anything.”

Gaynor outlined new measures the university is creating following the forum. She said some of these steps were already in the works, but have been accelerated. The university alerted students to these changes Thursday.

Among some of the changes are:

  • Beginning Monday, students involved in sexual misconduct cases will be assigned a case manager, who will keep them up to date on the status of investigations and more.
  • A sexual assault response team has been created to help coordinate resources for survivors of sexual assault, with the involvement of both the health and counseling centers on campus.
  • A position dedicated to handling Title IX and the Clery Act (which requires colleges to report certain crimes to the federal government), with an intended hiring date of midsummer.

The university was “aware” of the problems related to sexual assault on campus, Gaynor said. But administrators did not know about “the emotion” behind these issues and how needed changes were. She said the forum was “eye-opening.”

“This has been a difficult and unfortunate situation,” she said. “My heart really hurts and so we are trying to respond as quickly as we can with the concerns.”

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President Trump holds forth on community colleges, campus politics

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

President Trump loves vocational training. Community colleges? Not so much.

Trump on Thursday appeared at the "Generation Next" White House forum alongside Charlie Kirk, a conservative campus activist who heads Turning Point USA. In between talking up tax cuts and his administration's work rolling back federal regulations, the president weighed in on the value of vocational training. And repeating a sentiment he expressed to a conference of conservative lawmakers last month, he again appeared to dismiss community colleges. As they did after his earlier remarks on those institutions, community college leaders said they showed the president was misinformed.

In the midst of answering a question from Kirk about tax cuts passed last year, Trump repeated an anecdote he tells frequently about a former classmate who was "not going to be Einstein academically" but could fix an engine or a motor blindfolded.

"But he’ll never be a student, nor did he want that kind of learning, that kind of whatever you want to call it," Trump said. "So we need vocational schools. Now, they call them, a lot of times, community colleges. I don’t think it’s an accurate definition."

The comment echoed a statement from February in which he complained to Republican lawmakers that many people don't know what a community college "means or represents" and suggested that "vocational" is a preferable term. Those earlier remarks prompted several leaders in the community college sector to complain that Trump had taken an overly simplistic view of the mission of those institutions and downplayed the significant role they have in training students for new careers even as they prepare others to move on to four-year colleges.

Community college leaders again urged the president to learn more about the work their institutions do.

“I would welcome an opportunity to speak with the president about the wealth and breadth of programs and services our 1,200 community colleges provide annually to millions of individuals," J. Noah Brown, the president and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees, said in a statement Thursday.

And Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California Community Colleges chancellor, said he would be happy to clear up any misunderstanding the president has about the nation's community colleges.

"In California, half the students who graduate from California State University and nearly a third who graduate from University of California started at a community college," he said in an emailed statement. "Our students become doctors, engineers, diesel mechanics, firefighters, computer scientists, nurses and more as they move our state forward and become active participants in our democracy."

Before Trump's appearance Thursday, his daughter Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to the president, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta took part in a separate panel focused on education and careers. Ivanka Trump said the administration was focused on expanding alternatives to four-year degrees, including apprenticeships.

But even groups supporting that goal have seen the Trump White House take few concrete steps so far. After Trump's comments on vocational training last month, Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition, said "talk is cheap" and that so far Trump's actions had weakened skills training.

"Unfortunately, to date, the president’s agencies have either called for deep cuts to work-force programs or they have refused to spend the training resources Congress has already given to them," he said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed last month.

Popularity on Campuses

Asked by Kirk, whose group aims to promote conservative activism on campus but has been secretive about its funding sources, what he would say to conservative students who feel "ridiculed and silenced," Trump dismissed the idea that he struggles with support on college campuses.

"I think the numbers are actually much different than people think. I think we have a lot of support. If they have one campus or two campuses that, we know what they are, it gets all the publicity," he said. "We have campuses where you have a vast majority of people that are, perhaps, like many of the people in this room -- you could call it conservative, you call it whatever you want -- but they’re people that want free speech. If you look at what’s going on with free speech, with the super left, with antifa, with all of these characters -- I’ll tell you what, they get a lot of publicity. But you go to the real campuses and you go all over the country or you go out to the Middle West [sic], you go out even to the coast in many cases, we have a tremendous support. I would say we have majority support."

Campus opposition to either his administration or conservatives was overstated, Trump said.

"I think it’s highly overblown," he said. "Highly overblown."

Even though those comments appeared to dismiss the oft-repeated complaint from conservatives that campuses aren't welcoming to their politics, Kirk rushed to concur with the president. He added, however, that his group often speaks to students who support the president but are too fearful to say so because of their campus's culture.

Survey data doesn't track opinions of Trump among college students in particular. But Brandon Busteed, who oversees Gallup's work on education and work-force issues, said via email that the organization's latest study on views of free speech among college students on four-year campuses showed that 66 percent of those students identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 27 percent identify as Republican or lean Republican.

The group did not in that survey ask any questions about views of Trump. However, the latest Gallup survey numbers show the president has abysmal approval ratings among young people age 18 to 29. In a sample for Jan. 29 to Feb. 25, Trump had a 24 percent job approval rating among that cohort. Among respondents age 50 to 64, his job approval was almost twice as high at 46 percent.

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Trump administrationImage Caption: President Trump and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk Ad Keyword: President Trump Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

SUNY Binghamton engineering professor offends by asking about "white" engineering society in response to email from black students' group

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

The professor involved says he was just joking. But many think his all-department email asking about a “National Society for White Engineers” in response to an event notice from a black engineering students' group wasn’t funny.

Last week, the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at the State University of New York at Binghamton sent out an invitation to a fund-raising dinner on an engineering department Listserv. In response, Victor Skormin, distinguished service professor of electrical and computer engineering, wrote, “Please let me know about a dinner of the National Society for White Engineers.”

Students in the society chapter and others on the Listserv immediately took issue with Skormin’s statement. The next day, Binghamton president Harvey G. Stenger issued a statement of his own to the department, saying that both he and Provost Donald G. Nieman found Skormin’s email “deeply offensive.”

“Clearly,” Stenger wrote, “this is neither the level of professionalism that we expect from members of the Binghamton community nor is it compatible with the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion. We support the mission of the students and faculty active in the National Society of Black Engineers and recognize the important contributions they make to the university, their disciplines, and our society.”

Stenger said he and the provost hoped Skormin “understands the pain that he has caused.”

Skormin told Inside Higher Ed via email that his comment was “intended strictly as a joke.” He’s apologized in an email to his department, saying that throughout his long tenure on campus he’s always emphasized his “belief that all people have relevance in this world and deserve the best chance at opportunities.”

Because his field is challenging, he continued, “I often make funny and sarcastic statements, helping students to ‘recharge’ their attention mechanisms. People who know me personally can testify that such statements are never offensive, sometimes funny and, the most important, do enhance the learning experience.”

Unfortunately, Skormin said, the email in question “left room for the misinterpretation of the statement, and consequently the statement was grossly misplaced. I did not intend to offend any of my past, present or future student recipients, nor any of my colleagues. Please rest assured that the impact of the message did not reflect my intent … To any and all who have been in receipt of the email, please accept my personal and professional apologies.”

A spokesperson for Binghamton noted the apology and said that Skormin also met with representatives from the Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

Siaki Tetteh-Nartey, a student member of Binghamton’s National Society of Black Engineers, told that she doesn’t want to see Skormin fired, since it wouldn’t change anyone’s mind about the issues at hand. Instead, she said she wants a “dialogue about why these [diversity-based] groups are still relevant in this day and age, in addition to what they do.”

She added, “We cannot expect people to learn from their misstep if we do not sit down with them.”

The first conference of the National Society of Black Engineers was held in 1975. Seeds of that event were planted four years earlier, when two undergraduates at Purdue University asked their dean of engineering about starting a group to promote the success of black engineering students, among whom retention rates had been relatively, and even exceedingly, low.

While those retention rates have improved, promoting diversity and inclusion remains a priority for engineering and the other science, technology and math fields.

Noting a “proliferation” of online, personal attacks against scholars researching issues of diversity and inclusion in STEM, the American Society for Engineering Education this week issued a statement condemning such attacks -- and their potential to slow progress in an area that is a priority for work-force development. Engineers in particular tend to describe diversity as crucial to their creative, solutions-based and competitive international field.

Norman L. Fortenberry, executive director of the society, on Thursday said that diversity within the population of engineers -- including students -- “is fundamental to the good practice of engineering because of the wealth of perspectives and ideas it brings to the table.” Diversity is “not only a social good,” he said, “but a business imperative in an increasingly competitive global environment where one must take cognizance not only of cultural differences, but differences in available, sustainable natural resources, and in customs and mores that will frame how engineered artifacts are used.”

DiversityEditorial Tags: EngineeringFacultyImage Source: SUNY BinghamtonImage Caption: Victor SkorminIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

Late snowstorm strains schedules and budgets, but college leaders say planning can relieve the pressure

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

As the fourth snowstorm in three weeks worked its way up the East Coast Wednesday, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth planned to close its campus at 6 p.m. Yet administrators considered themselves lucky because of the timing of the storms.

“They've been on weekends and spring break,” said John Hoey, vice chancellor for public affairs. “It's made all the other planning around it a lot easier.”

The timing worked out again. On Thursday morning, the 8,600-student university opened for business as usual after the storm dropped less snow in the region than initially forecast.

Colleges elsewhere along the coast weren’t quite as lucky. The College of New Jersey, for instance, closed Wednesday and only reopened at noon Thursday after Ewing, N.J., was hit with about eight inches of snow. Leaders there say they could spend more than originally expected on snow cleanup costs this year.

Budgeting for costs tied to the weather is an imprecise science, but it’s one colleges have to undertake. There’s been no shortage of potentially costly weather events in the last year, whether you’re counting snow, rain or wildfire. And some predict extreme weather is likely to increase because of climate change.

Colleges don’t necessarily build their budgets with an eye toward climate science, though. Many believe contingency funds are always a good mechanism to build into budgets, because they can save leaders from having to scramble to find money for unexpected repairs or cleanup after an intense storm.

Endicott College, on the coast of Massachusetts, has increased its contingency budget more than fourfold in the last five years, to over $1 million. The move looks prescient right now. Storms earlier this year damaged four sections of the college’s seawall, which runs almost a quarter of a mile, according to its president, Richard Wylie.

“You could just hear the wall crumbling,” he said. “My house is right near the seawall, and I’ve got to tell you, I thought lightning was coming every minute. It was loud, and you just knew things were caving in.”

Wylie estimates damage will likely total nearly $1 million. But the price tag could end up being more by the time damage is fully assessed and repairs are finished.

The 4,800-student college budgeted about $2.5 million for campus maintenance this year -- not insignificant in a $180 million expense budget. The college planned for some seawall maintenance, but not necessarily the amount that will now be required. So without contingency funding, the seawall damage could have been a significant source of budgetary pressure.

Trustees might have been worried about having to borrow to make repairs, Wylie said. But the college has been preparing for contingencies. The budgeting practices help assure trustees and parents, Wylie said.

“I have to be able to assure parents that when you have a catastrophe like this, the cost of education is not going to go up to cover it,” he said. “From my perspective, the goal here is to be prepared for these things. They’re going to happen.”

Even for colleges that haven’t suffered substantial physical plant damage, snow removal costs can be a significant budgetary variable.

The College of New Jersey expects to see a large impact from northeasters on this year’s budget, according to Luke Sacks, head media relations officer. Emergency personnel worked for more than 26 hours to allow the college to open at noon Thursday. The college is no stranger to extreme weather, having closed for five days after Hurricane Sandy. It hasn’t changed its budget processes in recent years, although budgets sometimes require supplemental funding for equipment replacement, materials and labor.

Some say the greatest weather-related costs aren’t from paying workers to clear campus. They’re from suspending operations and losing staffing time.

A $100 million campus with 80 percent of its costs coming from personnel loses a little more than $300,000 for a day of closure, according to Guilbert Brown, acting assistant vice chancellor at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

“In our state system today, at least four institutions are closed due to Winter Storm Toby, at a total cost in the range of $1.5-2 million just for salaries,” he said via email Wednesday. “There are additional costs related to snow removal, freeze/thaw and building damages, and lost revenues for food and other sales.”

It’s hard to control for costs related to lost time. Telecommuting is sometimes an option, but it’s not possible or useful for every situation.

Dean College in Franklin, Mass., allows a “good-sized” budget to cover eventualities, according to Brian Kelly, assistant vice president for capital planning and facilities. This winter has actually been less difficult to manage in comparison to other winters for the college, which has almost 1,000 students on campus, he said via email.

“The only thing unusual about this year’s weather is the timing,” he said. “Typically, major snowstorms occur earlier in the season, but as a small institution, we have the benefit of being agile and responsive to changes.”

The timing of storms could end up putting the most pressure on scheduling for athletics and academics.

“It's definitely had an absolute out-of-pocket impact,” said Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. “It's also making it very hard to have everyone finish up all their classes. There have been a number of two-day closures at schools with each of these storms, and there's not a lot of time left in the semester to be making up and figuring out how to get all the material in before exams start.”

To the extent they can, colleges still try to control weather-related costs. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been lucky with the timing of storms this year, but it’s also worked to slash costs after spending about $900,000 on snow removal last year.

It bought salt and other road-treating materials outside the winter storm season, when the price was lower, and returned formerly outsourced plowing duties to its own workers. Leaders now project spending about $400,000 on snow removal this year, even with the recent succession of storms.

Campuses are ultimately at Mother Nature’s mercy when it comes to dodging weather-related costs and scheduling headaches, acknowledged Hoey, the university’s vice chancellor for public affairs.

“This is a little bit of an outlier this year,” he said. “It's about how many other storms you've had.”

Some trends point to more extreme weather around the globe. This year’s snowy March in the Northeast follows a 2017 that was the most expensive year on record for severe weather and climate events, according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Statement on State of the Global Climate, which was released Thursday.

The beginning of 2018 started where 2017 left off, said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas. In a statement, he referenced densely populated areas in the northern hemisphere being “gripped by bitter cold and damaging winter storms.”

The WMO pointed to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that are far higher than at any time in modern history, predicting a future with more extremes in weather, climate and water.

The National Centers for Environmental Information have estimated total losses in the United States from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria at $265 billion. Some of those costs were shouldered by colleges and universities.

Hurricane Harvey caused numerous colleges in Texas to shut down, brought flooding to campuses and forced student evacuations. The University of Houston system currently estimates damage costs of $53 million, although that could still change.

When Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused massive damage in the Caribbean, they did not spare universities, damaging buildings, straining budgets and displacing students.

In a more recent case of severe weather, Jacksonville State University has closed its campus through April 2 because of tornado damage sustained Monday. Officials have said it could take a week or more to fully evaluate building conditions and draw up contingency plans for classrooms and student housing.

In December, wildfires in Southern California prompted campus closures and canceled classes. The University of California system has insurance that covers many weather events like wildfires. But campuses also budget for emergency supplies, according to a system spokeswoman. Generally, campuses take an “all hazards” approach to emergency preparedness, getting ready for everything from earthquakes to floods, she said.

Editorial Tags: FacilitiesImage Source: Lauren H. Adams, the College of New JerseyImage Caption: The College of New Jersey closed for snow Wednesday and half of Thursday.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

The 2018 compromise spending bill for higher education, by the numbers

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

Congressional negotiators late Wednesday reached an agreement on a bill to fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year, which began in October.

In general the bill increases spending for most programs important to higher education, in many cases significantly so.

The table below shows rounded figures for the amounts appropriated by Congress in 2017, proposed by the Trump administration and agreed upon in this week's compromise.

Both houses must pass the bill by Friday to avoid another government shutdown.

  2017 Appropriation (millions) 2018 Proposed
(millions) 2018 Negotiated
(millions) % Change, 2017 to 2018 EDUCATION DEPARTMENT         Financial Aid Programs         Maximum Pell Grant (not in millions) $5,920 $5,920 $6,095 3% Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants 733 0 840 14.6% Federal Work-Study 990 500 1,130 14.2% Institutional Aid         Strengthening Institutions 87 0 99 14.5% Strengthening Tribal Colleges 28 28 32 16.4% Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions 14 14 16 15.9% Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) 245 244 280 14.3% Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions 63 63 72 13.9% Strengthening Predominantly Black Institutions 10 10 11 11.1% Strengthening Asian-American and Native American/Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions 3 3 4 21.2% Strengthening Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions 3 3 4 21.2% Minority Science and Engineering Improvement 10 10 11 14.6% Aid for Hispanic-Serving Institutions 108 108 123 14.3% Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans 10 10 11 14.6% Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions 8 8 9 8.4% National Technical Institute for the Deaf 70 70 73 4.4% Gallaudet University 121 121 128 5.8% Howard U 222 222 233 5% HBCU Capital Financing 20 20 30 47.1% Student Assistance         TRIO Programs 950 808 1,010 6.3% GEAR UP 340 219 350 2.9% Special Programs for Migrant Students 45 45 45 1.1% Child Care Access 15 0 50 231.1% Program for Students With Intellectual Disabilities 12 12 12 1.7% Career-Technical/Adult Education         Perkins State Grants 1,118 949 1,193 6.7% Adult Education 582 486 617 6% Graduate Education         Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need 28 6 23 -17.9% Other Areas         Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education 0 0 6,000 n/a International Education and Foreign Language Studies 72 0 72 0% Teacher Quality Partnerships 43 0 43 -0.2% Office for Civil Rights 109 107 117 7.3% Inspector General 59 61 61 3.2% Institute of Education Sciences         Research, Development and Dissemination 188 195 193 2.7% Statistics 110 112 110 0% Statewide Data Systems 32 34 32 0% LABOR DEPARTMENT         Adult Employment and Training 815 490 846 3.8% Dislocated Workers Training 1,242 732 1,262 1.6% Apprenticeship Grants 95 90 145 52.6% STATE DEPARTMENT         Educational and Cultural Exchanges 590 285 646 9.5% OTHER AGENCIES         National Endowment for the Humanities 150 42 153 2.1% Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 11 7 12 9.1% Institute for Museum and Library Sciences 231 23 240 3.9% AmeriCorps 386 2 412 6.7% Department of Defense Basic Research 2,077 2,240 2,343 12.8% National Institutes of Health 33,260 25,833 36,161 8.7% Health Workforce Training 839 383 1,061 26.5% National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science 5,765 5,712 6,222 7.9% Department of Energy Science 5,392 4,473 6,260 16.1% National Science Foundation 7,472 6,653 7,767 3.9% --Research 6,034 5,362 6,334 5% Education 880 761 902 2.5% Facilities 209 183 183 -12.4% Commerce Department National Institute of Standards and Technology 688 600 725 5.4% Agriculture Department Research 1,362 1,253 1,408 3.4% Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

New data on bar passage show wide variation in law schools' rates

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins

Nearly nine out of 10 law school graduates who sat for the bar exam within two years of graduating passed it, according to new data from the American Bar Association.

But more than 10 percent of law schools had at least a quarter of their students fail the exam, and more than one in six schools had rates below 80 percent, the ABA data show.

The new data represent the first time that the ABA has released data for all of its member schools on what it calls the "ultimate" bar passage rate, rather than the one-year rates by which law schools have typically been judged.

Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which oversees accreditation of law schools, said the change “allows for more current information to be collected and reported,” to help prospective law students better choose schools. “It also gives us a snapshot of how law graduates are doing over a two-year span at each school,” he said.

The ABA, not surprisingly, emphasized the positive in the bar-passage data. The aggregate one-year bar-passage rate for those 2017 graduates who sat for the exam rose to 77.2 percent, up from 74.3 percent in 2016. The one-year rates ranged from 100 percent for Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison to below 30 percent for Arizona Western Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

About 40,000 students graduated from the ABA's 202 law schools in 2015. Of those who sat for the bar within two years, the ultimate aggregate pass rate was 87.8 percent. (About 1,100 students did not sit for the exam, and law schools were unable to give the ABA information on about 1,000 more.)

But 24 schools had rates below 75 percent, and another 13 had rates below 80 percent, as seen in the table below.

School Name 2015 Graduates Number Who Took Bar Exam Within 2 Years Number Who Passed Bar Exam Within 2 Years % That Passed Bar Within 2 Years U of Detroit Mercy 150 109 62 56.9% Arizona Summit Law School 417 395 236 59.7% New England Law 335 302 182 60.3% Pontifical Catholic U of P.R. 203 191 116 60.7% Inter American U of Puerto Rico 169 155 99 63.9% Northern Kentucky U 131 117 75 64.1% St. Mary's U 224 211 137 64.9% U of District of Columbia 71 67 44 65.7% Atlanta's John Marshall Law School 146 120 81 67.5% U of Toledo 99 89 61 68.5% U of Wyoming 77 74 51 68.9% Valparaiso U 132 124 86 69.4% Western Michigan U 680 628 438 69.7% Syracuse U 189 184 131 71.2% Ohio Northern U 67 64 46 71.9% Florida Coastal School of Law 407 394 284 72.1% South Texas College of Law Houston 325 312 225 72.1% Golden Gate U 161 155 112 72.3% U of South Dakota 62 55 40 72.7% Howard U 130 118 86 72.9% U of North Dakota 69 56 41 73.2% Barry U 244 234 172 73.5% Whittier Law School 140 136 101 74.3% American U 480 399 299 74.9% Duquesne U 144 139 105 75.5% Ave Maria School of Law 88 83 63 75.9% Thomas Jefferson School of Law 238 228 175 76.8% Southern U 214 142 109 76.8% Mississippi College 123 114 88 77.2% U of Dayton 93 88 68 77.3% U of Puerto Rico 186 165 128 77.6% Appalachian School of Law 60 60 47 78.3% Florida A&M U 135 120 94 78.3% Charleston School of Law 144 139 109 78.4% St. Thomas U (Florida) 159 154 121 78.6% U of La Verne 38 38 30 78.9% Catholic U of America 134 130 104 80.0% Loyola U Chicago 262 222 178 80.2% Touro College 182 177 142 80.2% Texas Southern U 155 146 118 80.8% U of San Francisco 167 163 132 81.0% Creighton U 125 117 95 81.2% Western State College of Law 112 108 88 81.5% Florida State U 250 237 194 81.9% Drake U 120 117 96 82.1% McGeorge School of Law, U of the Pacific 218 208 171 82.2% U of St. Thomas (Minn.) 138 135 111 82.2% North Carolina Central U 179 169 139 82.2% U of North Carolina 232 218 180 82.6% Faulkner U 89 87 72 82.8% Southwestern Law School 306 298 247 82.9% Indiana U Indianapolis 269 230 192 83.5% U of Buffalo School of Law 199 195 163 83.6% Hofstra U 301 285 240 84.2% Suffolk U 467 436 368 84.4% U of Maine 78 71 60 84.5% Nova Southeastern U 285 267 226 84.6% William & Mary Law School 179 165 140 84.8% California Western School of Law 218 214 182 85.0% Southern Illinois U-Carbondale 111 101 86 85.1% Roger Williams U 119 116 99 85.3% Vermont Law School 165 158 135 85.4% Indiana U Bloomington 195 186 159 85.5% U of Texas at Austin 357 338 289 85.5% U of Baltimore 268 250 214 85.6% New York Law School 353 338 290 85.8% U of Arkansas at Fayetteville 137 130 112 86.2% Santa Clara U 213 211 182 86.3% Quinnipiac U 116 110 95 86.4% U of Arizona 158 148 128 86.5% Case Western Reserve U 144 134 116 86.6% U of Oregon 119 112 97 86.6% John Marshall Law School 381 368 319 86.7% Albany Law School of Union U 172 169 147 87.0% Elon U 92 85 74 87.1% Capital U 149 141 123 87.2% Pepperdine U 199 196 171 87.2% U of Pittsburgh 200 189 165 87.3% Georgia State U 199 188 165 87.8% Willamette U 102 99 87 87.9% City U of New York 111 108 95 88.0% West Virginia U 134 125 110 88.0% Widener U Delaware 167 159 140 88.1% Loyola U New Orleans 198 187 165 88.2% DePaul U 253 240 212 88.3% U of Arkansas Little Rock 123 112 99 88.4% U of Maryland 255 235 208 88.5% Mitchell Hamline School of Law 230 209 185 88.5% Northern Illinois U 101 97 86 88.7% U of Massachusetts Dartmouth 58 53 47 88.7% U of Minnesota 239 233 207 88.8% Michigan State U 292 269 239 88.8% U of Mississippi 142 117 104 88.9% Stetson U 270 252 224 88.9% Duke U 214 200 178 89.0% U of Hawaii 108 101 90 89.1% U of South Carolina 211 202 180 89.1% U of Nebraska 128 121 108 89.3% Lincoln Memorial U 20 19 17 89.5% U of Idaho 108 105 94 89.5% U of New Hampshire 71 68 61 89.7% U of San Diego 246 241 217 90.0% Temple U 253 243 219 90.1% Cleveland State U 117 112 101 90.2% Lewis and Clark College 201 164 148 90.2% U of Tennessee 123 113 102 90.3% U of Richmond 159 156 141 90.4% Rutgers U 401 388 351 90.5% U of California, Hastings 301 294 266 90.5% Texas A&M U 227 221 200 90.5% Washburn U 117 116 105 90.5% Pennsylvania State U Dickinson Law 55 53 48 90.6% Western New England U 93 86 78 90.7% U of California, Davis 188 183 166 90.7% U of Alabama 144 140 127 90.7% U of Montana 79 76 69 90.8% Samford U 134 109 99 90.8% Tulane U 241 229 208 90.8% Regent U 125 121 110 90.9% Northeastern U 169 167 152 91.0% U of Nevada Las Vegas 139 135 123 91.1% Oklahoma City U 143 135 123 91.1% U of Illinois 177 169 154 91.1% Pace U 142 138 126 91.3% Seattle U 262 243 222 91.4% U of Akron 142 128 117 91.4% Chicago-Kent School of Law 282 257 235 91.4% U of Memphis 109 106 97 91.5% U of New Mexico 109 106 97 91.5% Concordia Law School 26 24 22 91.7% Brigham Young U 142 134 123 91.8% Mercer U 115 111 102 91.9% Columbia U 417 408 375 91.9% Saint Louis U 199 190 175 92.1% Louisiana State U 189 178 164 92.1% U of Utah 125 117 108 92.3% Villanova U 217 208 192 92.3% U of Miami 401 368 340 92.4% Washington and Lee U 176 173 160 92.5% U of Houston 219 214 198 92.5% U of Kentucky 126 124 115 92.7% Loyola Marymount U 372 362 337 93.1% Liberty U 61 60 56 93.3% Arizona State U 219 212 198 93.4% Chapman U 132 126 118 93.7% New York U 486 474 444 93.7% Georgetown U 692 656 615 93.8% U of Missouri Kansas City 140 130 122 93.8% Texas Tech U 203 198 186 93.9% U of Denver 271 254 239 94.1% Southern Methodist U 240 238 224 94.1% Wake Forest U 147 136 128 94.1% U of Southern California 216 211 199 94.3% Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva U 365 353 333 94.3% U of Louisville 131 124 117 94.4% U of California, Irvine 114 107 101 94.4% U of Tulsa 111 108 102 94.4% Drexel U 132 127 120 94.5% Boston College 244 237 224 94.5% Fordham U 410 372 352 94.6% Pennsylvania State -- Penn State Law 98 93 88 94.6% Emory U 312 303 287 94.7% Brooklyn Law School 336 333 316 94.9% Northwestern U 288 276 262 94.9% Widener Commonwealth Law 85 82 78 95.1% U of Georgia 190 187 178 95.2% Seton Hall U 194 187 178 95.2% Washington U 231 219 209 95.4% St. John's U 249 246 235 95.5% Wayne State U 129 125 120 96.0% Cornell U 183 178 171 96.1% U of Colorado 157 153 147 96.1% George Washington U 465 436 419 96.1% George Mason U 145 141 136 96.5% Belmont U 87 86 83 96.5% U of California, Los Angeles 336 320 309 96.6% Gonzaga U 120 117 113 96.6% Boston U 208 206 199 96.6% Vanderbilt U 184 178 172 96.6% U of Cincinnati 104 101 98 97.0% U of Notre Dame 179 178 173 97.2% U of Oklahoma 155 148 144 97.3% Ohio State U 172 162 158 97.5% U of Missouri 127 124 121 97.6% U of Kansas 134 129 126 97.7% U of California, Berkeley 281 267 261 97.8% U of Connecticut 152 138 135 97.8% Campbell U 142 140 137 97.9% Florida International U 141 141 138 97.9% U of Florida 309 305 299 98.0% U of Michigan 357 348 342 98.3% Harvard U 590 511 503 98.4% U of Iowa 141 133 131 98.5% Stanford U 191 184 182 98.9% U of Washington 194 191 189 99.0% U of Chicago 196 193 191 99.0% Yale U 212 194 192 99.0% U of Virginia 366 357 355 99.4% Marquette U 229 221 220 99.5% U of Pennsylvania 246 235 234 99.6% Baylor U 112 109 109 100.0% U of Wisconsin 213 213 213 100.0% Editorial Tags: Law schoolsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

New presidents or provosts: Bennett Cleveland State Embry-Riddle Labouré Lord Fairfax Oneonta Queen's Quinnipiac St. Augustine Saint Michael's Scranton

Inside Higher Education - Hace 15 hours 57 mins
  • Kimberly Blosser, vice president of academic and student affairs at Lord Fairfax Community College, in Virginia, has been promoted to president there.
  • Dorothy Browne, founding dean and professor of public health at Jackson State University's School of Public Health Initiative, in Mississippi, has been appointed provost/vice president for academic affairs and student affairs at Bennett College, in North Carolina.
  • Jack P. Calareso, president of St. Joseph’s College in New York, has been chosen as president of Labouré College, in Massachusetts.
  • Jeff Gingerich, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cabrini University, in Pennsylvania, has been named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Scranton, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Ian Greer, vice president of the University of Manchester, in Britain, has been selected as president and vice chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, in Northern Ireland.
  • Divina Grossman, former chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, has been appointed president of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, in Florida.
  • Lon D. Moeller, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College at the University of Iowa, has been named senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.
  • Barbara Jean Morris, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fort Lewis College, in Colorado, has been named president of the State University of New York at Oneonta.
  • Judy D. Olian, dean and John E. Anderson Chair at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been selected as president of Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut.
  • Harlan M. Sands, vice dean and CFO of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has been chosen as president of Cleveland State University, in Ohio.
  • Lorraine Sterritt, president of Salem Academy and College, in North Carolina, has been selected as president of Saint Michael's College, in Vermont.
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Meeting the challenge of online degrees for the professions

Tony Bates - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 16:44


Tina the Avatar from Drexel University’s nursing program. Tina not only responds to questions asked by students but can also be physically examined and will respond according to how she is being treated.

Chatlani, S. (2018) Navigating online professional degrees – potential and caution, Education Dive, March 21

In previous posts, I have pointed out the challenges of getting online qualifications recognised by professional associations, for instance:

The Chatlani article though shows how some institutions have worked with professional associations to obtain recognition.

Which institutions have received recognition from professional associations?

Chatlani looks at several institutions who have succeeded in getting their online professional degrees recognised. These include:

  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • Western Governors University College of Health Professions
  • Faulkner University’s Masters of Science in Counseling
  • The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law

To these institutions I would add a couple of Canadian examples:

Some of these programs are not fully online, but are hybrid, with a good deal of online learning however.

How to get online professional degrees recognized

First, it ain’t easy. It’s no good just trying to convert your on-campus content into an online version. You have to do much more to satisfy professional associations – and quite rightly, in most cases.

The biggest challenge is providing a satisfactory online context for experiential learning: enabling students to apply what they have learned in an online environment that is ‘real’ enough to transfer to an actual workplace. Typical examples would be:

  • use of video, computer simulations, and augmented or virtual reality to teach procedures and/or motor (hands-on) skills
  • use of remote labs/equipment that students can manipulate online
  • ‘virtual’ offices, companies or workplace situations that mirror real companies and their work
  • online development of inter-personal skills through one-on-one online monitoring
  • use of synchronous as well as asynchronous delivery: Syracuse designed their law program so that 50% of each online course will be in real time with students and professors interacting just as they would in a residential program, with intense Socratic dialogue in real time
  • on-campus evaluation of specific skills, such as counselling, even if they are taught online.

In addition to providing appropriate experiential learning, there are general quality issues to be addressed:

  • secure validation of student identity and online assessment;
  • investment in ‘best practice’ online course design, which will involve using learning design and learning technology specialists;
  • opportunity for substantive interaction between faculty and students; 
  • close monitoring of student activities;
  • extensive training of faculty in online teaching.

This is rather a daunting list, even if not all of these requirements apply to all professional training.

Will it be enough?

One has to look to motive here for moving online. One motive is a scarcity of professionals (or more likely, a coming scarcity). This is one major reason for Queen’s University’s Bachelor in Mining Engineering. A shortage of professionals pushes up the costs of professionals and  a shortage of professionals may mean that there are unacceptable delays in court cases (as in Canada), for instance. Offering programs partly or wholly online enables those working or with families to study more flexibly and in the end results in a larger pool of professionals.

Another motive is cost: the cost of traditional, on-campus professional degrees is often so high that many who could benefit from such programs are just unable to afford it. The hope is that online programs can bring down the cost without losing quality.

Chatlani interviewed Christopher Chapman​, CEO of AccessLex Institute, a legal education advocacy group, who argued the hybrid degree option is necessary to make becoming a lawyer more accessible and possibly less expensive:

Truly experimentation in legal education is critical to the long-term future of the field and lawyers. This could allow for the development of better pedagogy and allow for scaling where schools may be able to eventually lower their price point.

However, often professional education does not necessarily scale easily as it may require fairly small class sizes if quality is to be maintained. This is not to say there are no economies of scale: once a simulation or a virtual reality environment is created, it can be used many times with many students, but this often means not only a heavy up-front investment, but also a sophisticated business model that allows for return on investment over several or even many years.

It is worth noting that none of the example institutions above are what might be called elite institutions, who have dominated education for professionals in law, medicine and engineering for many years, and whose alumni are often the ones who set accreditation requirements for the professional associations.

And this is the problem. It benefits existing professionals to limit the number of new professionals by making existing labour scarce. If the people who are responsible for accrediting educational programs for professional recognition benefit by keeping the market restricted and themselves come from elite institutions with no experience of online learning, then online professional programs become a huge risk for the departments planning to offer them and for the students who sign up for them.

The best approach is to ensure the support of the relevant professional associations before investing heavily in such programs. The worst case scenario is to spend lots of money on developing such programs only for students to find that they still cannot get a well paid professional job with their qualification.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students Now Required To Wear Clear Backpacks

Huffington Post - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 08:52
"[Shout out] to America for making my school seem like jail now because legislators don't have common sense gun reform on their agendas."

Omnibus spending package boosts student aid while restricting DeVos priorities

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00

A massive spending bill agreed to by congressional negotiators Wednesday includes about $350 million in funding to address eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a top priority for Senator Elizabeth Warren throughout negotiations to fund the government through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.

That amount is a fraction of what the Massachusetts Democrat had hoped to see in a final spending package. But it’s part of a slate of new funding for college affordability and education programs in the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, which lawmakers from the House and Senate must pass quickly to avoid another government shutdown Friday night.

Congressional leaders reached a two-year budget deal last month that, critically, lifted the spending caps in place at federal agencies since 2011. But it left appropriators to fill in many of the details involving spending, including $4 billion in new student aid money over the next two years. According to a summary document of the budget deal last month, those funds were designated for programs "that help police officers, teachers and firefighters" -- a nod to the loan forgiveness program.

The funding package only devotes part of those funds to a PSLF fix, taking steps to bolster a range of student aid and college access programs.

The deal also includes an additional $3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, the biggest supporter of university-based research, as well as increased for the National Science Foundation. And the bill includes another $150 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which President Trump had sought to eliminate.

The bill also provides a $5 million pilot grant program to expand the creation and use of open educational resources, free online and usable education materials.

Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said the deal was "like a welcome thaw in a spring snowstorm."

Among the new spending on student aid, the bill boosts the maximum Pell Grant award by $175, to $6,095 for the 2018-19 school year. And it boosts other campus-based aid programs by $247 million.

In a budget proposal last month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed eliminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which provides aid of up to $4,000 to 1.6 million low-income college students. The omnibus package adds $107 million to the program, for a total of $840 million.

And whereas the Trump administration had sought to cut the Federal Work-Study program in half in its budget proposal, the omnibus bill adds $140 million, for a total of $1.13 billion.

Washington senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate education committee, cast the agreement as a repudiation of the DeVos agenda.

“After more than a year on the job, I would have hoped Secretary DeVos would have learned by now that her extreme ideas to privatize our nation’s public schools and dismantle the Department of Education do not have support among parents or in Congress, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case,” Murray said in a statement. “I’m proud to have worked with Republicans in Congress to flatly reject these ideas, and increase funding for programs Secretary DeVos tried to cut, including K-12 education, civil rights protections, college affordability, and more.”

DeVos, in an appearance this week at the House appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies, argued the White House budget proposal was in line with priorities of Congressional lawmakers.

The omnibus bill overall though adds support to programs the administration has targeted for reductions. It provides an increase of $8.5 million for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, to a total of $117 million. That office plays a key role in holding colleges responsible for investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct cases on campus, as well as gender-based discrimination more broadly.

And it also increases funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program, which assists student parents in getting childcare while they pursue a degree.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness spending, however, is a disappointment for advocates of student borrowers who have seen a number of hurdles in qualifying to have their loan debt cleared through the program. PSLF, approved by Congress in 2007 with bipartisan support, promises borrowers who work for qualifying employers in the nonprofit or public sector who make loan payments for 10 years that their remaining student debt will be cleared.

But a number of student borrowers who expected to receive the benefit have discovered that they were either placed in the wrong repayment plan by their servicer or that the Department of Education doesn’t recognize their employer as qualifying them for the program. That’s prompted separate lawsuits on behalf of borrowers.

The American Bar Association sued the Department of Education in 2016 on behalf of several lawyers who were told their nonprofit employers would not qualify them for Public Service Loan Forgiveness after they were previously told otherwise by their servicer, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority, which exclusively administers PSLF payments. And Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey last year sued PHEAA for overcharging borrowers and mishandling payments that would have put them on track to qualify for the benefit.

Warren told Inside Higher Ed last month that Congress had promised public servants a future without crushing student loan debt and that “bad loan servicing, program technicalities and bureaucratic nonsense are no excuse for going back on our commitment.”

But Ben Miller, senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, noted after the bill’s release that borrowers would quality for the PSLF fix on a “first come, first served” basis.

“The Department of Education should use this opportunity to conduct an investigation into this issue and proactively identify borrowers who got bad advice so they don't end up being too late in line for forgiveness,” he said.

Fewer than 1,000 borrowers are expected to meet eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness this year. Congressional lawmakers and state elected officials have both blamed servicing failures for endangering the progress of additional borrowers in qualifying for the benefit.

The omnibus language takes aim at the department’s plan for a new loan servicing solicitation that would overhaul the relationship between those companies, borrowers and the federal government. A recently released solicitation outlines a plan to award separate loan servicing functions to private companies. One company, for example, would handle loan payments, while another would handle data processing; currently, multiple companies handle the entire “life cycle” of loans in their portfolios.

Language in the spending bill would prohibit a new servicing plan that doesn’t allow for multiple companies contracting directly with the federal government to handle all aspects of loan repayment.

The omnibus package hamstrings other DeVos priorities by prohibiting the secretary from breaking up the Department of Education’s central budget office, a plan reported by Politico last week. It also requires the department to provide quarterly reports on borrower defense to repayment claims, which allow borrowers to seek loan forgiveness on federal student loans when they are defrauded or misled by their institution.


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Study of faculty motivation for teaching says intrinsic motivation and believing that teaching is important are linked to best teaching practices

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00

Whether it’s talking to colleagues, reading the latest research or visiting a teaching and learning center, professors have places to turn to learn about best pedagogical practices. Yet faculty members in general still aren’t known for their instructional acumen. Subject matter expertise? Yes. Teaching? Not so much.

Of course, many professors do teach well, and a new study explores what motivates them to do so. More precisely, the study’s authors wanted to test a model of faculty motivation for teaching as a predictor of using best teaching practices. They also wanted to know what motivates professors at different institution types -- bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. granting -- to teach.

As it turns out, certain factors predict professors’ intrinsic and “identified” motivation for teaching (the latter form meaning doing something because it's seen as important), in support of the authors’ conceptual model. And those kinds of “autonomous” motivations in turn predict greater use of proven, effective teaching methods -- namely instructional clarity and higher-order, reflective and integrative, and collaborative learning.

“Simply put, faculty who teach because they enjoy and value it tend to teach in the most effective ways,” said Robert H. Stupnisky, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of education and human development at the University of North Dakota.

Source: Robert Stupnisky

Other types of motivation, meanwhile -- such as seeking external rewards, satisfying self-esteem or avoiding shame, guilt or punishment -- have little to no relationship with best teaching practices, based on the study.

Interestingly, despite the common notion that professors at doctoral institutions see teaching as a distraction from their research, the study found no differences in levels of autonomous motivation or its link to best practices across institution types.

Professors from doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s institutions “are similarly motivated by their enjoyment and value of teaching,” Stupnisky said.

Why does it all matter? Institutional efforts to improve teaching should focus on nurturing faculty members’ autonomous motivation, the study says.

“We recognize that some faculty may never be intrinsically motivated to teach (i.e., teaching because of inherent enjoyment),” reads the paper, “yet the models showed identified motivation for teaching (i.e., teaching because of believed importance) were equally effective in predicting best teaching practices among faculty, which may be a more reachable goal for faculty development.”

Recommended strategies to optimize motivation for teaching include offering faculty choice in course selection as well as teaching content and style. The study also suggests offering professional development workshops and adequate teaching preparation time, along with creating ways for faculty members to connect with students and colleagues.

Fostering Faculty Teaching Motivation

“Faculty Members’ Motivation for Teaching and Best Practices: Testing a Model Based on Self-Determination Theory Across Institution Types,” published in Contemporary Education Psychology, is based on select data from the 2016 national Faculty Survey of Student Engagement concerning 1,671 faculty members from 19 institutions. (The full survey involves many thousands more respondents.)

For their conceptual model, Stupnisky and his co-authors drew heavily on self-determination theory. That’s a framework for thinking about personality and motivation based on the idea that people can function optimally in a given setting when their basic psychological needs are met.

The psychological needs underpinning self-determination theory are competence, “relatedness” (interaction with others) and autonomy. So the supplemental questions on the faculty survey that are the basis of the new study asked respondents whether, for example, they agreed that “I have a sense of freedom to make my own choices,” “I have confidence in my ability to do things well” and “I am supported by the people whom I care about (students, colleagues, etc.).”

The survey included other questions that gauged respondents’ motivation for teaching (“I like to,” “I am paid to,” “I would feel guilty” otherwise and more). It also asked about use of high-impact practices, such as how much a professor’s course work emphasizes “analyzing an idea, experience, or line of reasoning in depth by examining its parts.”

Conversations about self-determination theory typically involve four kinds of motivation: intrinsic, extrinsic (reward or consequence based), introjected (a kind of negative, internal motivation related to guilt), and identified. Noting links between intrinsic and identified motivation, Stupnisky and his co-authors considered them together in their main analysis under the umbrella of “autonomous” motivation.

In an advanced analysis, the authors found that all three basic psychological needs -- competence, relatedness and autonomy -- when met, had significant, positive effects on autonomous motivation, with autonomy having the largest effect. But those needs did not significantly predict introjected or external motivation.

Consistency Across Institution Types

Autonomous motivation had significant positive predictive effects on all four teaching outcomes, across institution types. There was also little difference in levels of that motivation from four-year to doctoral institutions.

Professors at doctoral universities did report slightly greater satisfaction of autonomy, competence and relatedness, as well as more external motivation, the paper says. But respondents reported the same levels of autonomous motivation.

The findings "contradict some assertions that faculty at research-intensive doctoral and master’s institutions are less or detrimentally motivated to teach," the article asserts.

Stupnisky has previously used self-determination theory to study the predictors of pretenure faculty success. He said the new study demonstrates that the right kind of motivation “matters in how faculty teach.” But attempting to motivate faculty “through guilt or rewards” is unlikely to result in better teaching practices.

Meg Gorzycki, a faculty developer and consultant at San Francisco State University, said the finding that autonomous motivation is consistent across institution type (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral) rings true with her experience. However, she said, the variables that impact instructors’ desire “to learn about and use best practice are heavily weighted on practical matters, such as time and incentives.”

Touching on a design flaw the study itself acknowledges -- that respondents were overly representative of full-time professors compared to the national reality -- Gorzycki said that on many campuses, part-time lecturers outnumber tenure-track faculty. As a result, they have a different relationship to the institution and frequently do not attend workshops and do not participate in the departmental development of programs and curriculum.

Many lecturers nationwide work at two or three different institutions, she added, “and so have little time to learn new strategies of instruction or spend lots of time reading essays or preparing new lessons.”

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Sewanee, in reversal, revokes Charlie Rose's honorary degree

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00

In February, the board of the University of the South rejected a request by students to revoke an honorary degree awarded to Charlie Rose in 2016, before reports became public that he sexually harassed many women over a period of years.

Other colleges and universities have revoked honors for Rose, just as many revoked honors for Bill Cosby and others found to have committed sexual harassment or assault. But not Sewanee, as the university is known. The board and administration upset many students not only by declining to revoke the honor but by the language of a statement explaining the decision.

That letter said, in part, "We want to be clear that we have stood, and always will stand, against sexual harassment of women or men. At the same time, we do not believe it is our place to condemn the individual. In fact, we think there is grave danger were we to go down that path. We impose a penalty where appropriate, but we also offer forgiveness. That said, it would be easy to condemn Mr. Rose and rescind the honorary degree. It is harder not to do so. The opportunity to forgive should always be taken. Condemnation has no place here … Clarification comes in the question 'Is there a hierarchy of sin?' Quickly followed by 'Are we all not sinners?' Therein lies the ecumenical rub. If we condemn a person then who among us sinners should not also be condemned?"

Further, Sewanee officials said they had no process to revoke a degree, having never before done so.

The response led to unusually personal protests and detailed theological debates. (Sewanee is owned by 28 dioceses of the Episcopal Church and takes theology and civility seriously.)

This week, the board of Sewanee announced that it had revoked Rose's degree. The board acted after creating a process for such revocations, and after numerous people connected to Sewanee and the Episcopal Church questioned the original response to the call for revoking Rose's degree.

First, the board created a four-step process to revoke degrees: a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree must be submitted to the vice chancellor (the equivalent of president). Then the request must be approved by two-thirds margins by the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate and the Board of Regents, in that order. That has now happened.

The votes followed public statements by Episcopal scholars and leaders suggesting that the university's original statements might not have reflected church thinking.

First, eight members of the theology school faculty issued a public letter saying, in fact, there is a hierarchy of sin, and removing an honorary degree would not violate any teachings on forgiveness.

"In church tradition, forgiveness is offered after repentance and contrition," the letter said. "Typically, that means making appropriate restitution to those whom the individual has wronged, and the grace of forgiveness is singularly theirs to offer. What steps Mr. Rose may or may not have taken in this regard are not known to us. But we note that forgiveness does not cancel the serious consequences of sin, nor does it require restoring an individual to the same places of honor that he had held before."

The letter went on to say, "In the School of Theology, we traffic in symbols: we teach the rituals of the church to our students; we teach them to convey the symbolum of faith, the Creed; we form them as priests so that they will know the power of symbols, symbolic action, and symbolic language to those whom they will serve. Withdrawing an honorary degree from a serial sexual offender … would surely never be sufficient. We are grateful for all of the steps to address the malformed sexual culture of this institution that are outlined in your letter. We believe there are more steps to be taken, not least a critical examination of Greek culture on campus. But symbols do matter, and the retention of its honors by one who has behaved in such a scandalous way dishonors this university. Symbols speak: while symbols without matching substance are hollow, symbols convey the deep values of a culture, a people, a university. Allowing Mr. Rose’s degree to stand is its own symbolic declaration of the university’s values."

Then a group of Episcopal bishops wrote an open letter in The Sewanee Purple, the student newspaper, that also disputed the university's original response.

"Mr. Rose steadily ascended the career ladder. However, in his climb to the top of his profession he repeatedly failed to respect the dignity of his female colleagues. By rescinding the degree, Sewanee acknowledges a reality to which we had previously been blind. This would not represent a departure from the Christian practice of forgiveness. Instead, it is a refusal to live in denial," said the bishops' letter.

"What our regents decide in the case of Mr. Rose will have ramifications beyond the boundaries of the Domain [the university's land]. Our nation is newly awakened to the pervasiveness of the harassment of and the violence toward women in the workplace, on campuses, on our streets, and in our homes. By failing to act in this case, the university remains silent in the face of a broader injustice. And to paraphrase Eli Wiesel, silence always benefits the oppressor."

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Unusual debate about politics at University of Texas at Austin

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00

Thirsty for some political inclusivity? Try COCACOLA.

No, not the soft drink. It’s an acronym created by Jordan Cope, a senior and student government representative at the University of Texas at Austin. It stands for the “College of Conservative Arts and the College of Liberal Arts,” a name that Cope had hoped would gain traction among his colleagues.

It did not -- the representatives this week rejected a piece of legislation that supported such a name change to the university’s College of Liberal Arts. The students lack the power, of course, to change the name of the college, but the debate reflects campus tensions over politics and over the way many people perceive the phrase “liberal arts” as a political term.

Cope said in a phone interview he’s aware that “liberal arts” has nothing to do with politics. But he said that left-wing views tend to dominate campus, and he wanted to highlight the other side of the political spectrum in a meaningful (satirical) way -- the right isn’t tolerated at the university, Cope said.

He grew up an outspoken conservative in a Texas high school. When he told his friends he’d be attending the university’s College of Liberal Arts in a city that’s an enclave for liberal politics, they asked him, “How will you survive?”

Cope joked that by the time he was done, it would be renamed “the College of Conservative Arts.”

His junior year, Cope tried to convince a student government representative to sponsor the COCACOLA measure, but she later told him she feared campus backlash -- which in part prompted his run for representative.

“We’re very much a political minority,” Cope said. “And it’s OK to be a political minority. What’s not OK is the political status quo targeting other political beliefs. This doesn’t solely affect conservatives -- it affects many political orientations, communists, etc. Ultimately I disagree with those political narratives, but as an advocate of free speech and a proponent of intellectual, civil dialogue, I wanted to foster an environment more tolerant toward all views.”

He stressed that the legislation was meant to be funny, but also to drive home a serious point. And even if it didn’t reach the administration, Cope considered the attention to the measure a victory. It lost in a 14-to-11 vote, but still generated much public debate.

But Cope’s attempt at humor didn’t leave everyone feeling bubbly -- namely, the student council (another branch of the student government) that represents the College of Liberal Arts.

Asked if Cope knew the definition of “liberal arts,” the president of the council, Jordee Rodriguez Canales, sighed and said she wasn’t sure.

Rodriguez Canales was angry because there appeared to be no tangible goal with Cope’s legislation, and she already felt that university administrators didn’t take the student government seriously.

“I just think it would reinforce the view of student government and would give administrators grounds to ignore it,” she said. “It’s just something that wasn’t going to happen, and just making it a joke, I didn’t appreciate it.”

She derided the idea that campus conservatives are at all marginalized, though she did acknowledge they were the minority.

The university ensures that right-leaning voices are represented by admitting those students in the first place, and never do they face the same type of bigotry as racial or other minorities, Rodriguez Canales said.

She pointed out that conservative groups have held affirmative-action bake sales, charging different races different prices, which she said she found offensive. Once, the Young Conservatives of Texas organization tried to sponsor a “scavenger hunt” for undocumented students, she said. Members of the group would walk around campus with a label that read “illegal immigrant” and students who brought those roaming members back to the group table would receive a $25 gift card.

“I think that conservatives here can express their opinions well,” Rodriguez Canales said. “But I don’t think they can be outwardly racist, as I think shouldn’t be the case in any other part of this country. The College of Liberal Arts is ensuring all types of diversity -- political, racial, ethnic or sexual identity, gender identity. I don’t think other political minorities -- like the Communist Party on campus -- feels marginalized. And no one is renaming a college in their favor -- same with the Tea Party, or anarchists on campus. I just think that it’s stupid.”

Saurabh Sharma, a junior and chairman-elect of the Young Conservatives of Texas, said his organization remained agnostic on the bill, in part because it was futile. The College of Liberal Arts is due to be renamed after a wealthy donor, Sharma said. And the student government is a “ridiculous” entity, he said -- generally its members are overinflated and misjudge what they can accomplish. Previously, the student government has tried to ban the Young Conservatives, Sharma said.

He also objected to how Cope painted conservatives as victims, when Sharma said they consider themselves “happy warriors.”

“We aren’t looking to become a protected class, we’re not trying to become a victim class,” Sharma said. “Yes, it is true there are certain roadblocks on campus, but we don’t use that as currency to score social points. We don’t like to parade around like we’re so oppressed.”

Acceptance of conservatives does not come from a student government bill or top college administrators, but a cultural shift, Sharma said. The group has tried to approach other contingents of campus with the idea they want the same for the country, “we just come at it from a different direction,” he said -- and it’s not from a place of prejudice or hate.

Some politicians in particular have perpetuated the narrative that GOP values have been squelched on campuses. Research has revealed conservatives have little faith in the value of higher education, with 67 percent of Republicans in a Gallup survey stating they had “some or little confidence” in higher ed. Of those who indicated they weren’t confident in higher education, most of them said the reason why was because campuses were too liberal or politicized.

Brandon H. Busteed, executive director of Gallup's higher education division, penned an essay when the study was released last year, arguing that higher education had a branding problem around the term “liberal arts.”

“Although there is certainly a difference between the meaning of a liberal arts education and being ‘liberal’ politically, it helps no one to fight to the death defending the term ‘liberal arts’ in the context of today's climate,” Busteed wrote. “Let's face it: Other than people in higher education or liberal arts graduates themselves, who understands what the liberal arts are anyhow?”

A 2015 study by Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner, professors of economics at Stanford University and the University of Virginia, respectively, found that low-income, academically talented students weren’t applying to liberal arts institutions because they didn’t know what they were, or identified themselves as “not liberal.”

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New policies create risks for humanities at Danish universities

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00

Major reforms of higher education in Denmark could further cut the number of students pursuing humanities subjects, observers warn.

One of the key recommendations of a report drawn up by rectors, government officials, academics and business representatives is that the number of study places available in each discipline should be linked to labor market need, which critics say is the latest sign of utilitarian drift in Danish higher education.

Explaining the reforms, Søren Pind, minister for education and research, reportedly said that “we will see a scaling down of the humanities” as a result.

Toke Dahler, general secretary of the Danish National Union of Students, said that the proposed reforms were of “very great concern” and that there was “no question” that they would cut humanities student numbers further. The report suggests that humanities degrees are “not worthwhile,” he argued.

The report recommends that universities expand degree courses where labor market demand is strong -- particularly from the private sector -- and cut them where they lead to relatively high unemployment.

This marks a policy trajectory already well under way in Denmark. Birgit Bangskjær, chief executive of the Akademikerne, which represents groups of Denmark’s graduates, explained that since 2015, Danish universities had been docking places on courses where the unemployment rate was systematically higher than average over a 10-year period.

“That means that especially programs within the humanities have been lowered,” she said. The new report says that, by 2016, courses that had funding cut in this way had lost about 2,000 places, with humanities hardest hit.

So, although the recommendations build on existing policy, they “send a signal to the university management that this is important,” Bangskjær added.

Another controversial proposal -- opposed by the Akademikerne and universities -- is to reduce the power of academics and students over curriculum design. At the moment, “study groups” of students and staff nominate course managers, Bangskjær explained. But government and some industry representatives who devised the recommendations want to give university leaders the exclusive power to appoint course managers and to reduce study groups to an advisory role, she added. “There’s a risk that the university staff are not involved themselves,” Bangskjær said. “We feel that would damage the legitimacy of the program leaders.”

Another major change would give bachelor’s graduates more of an incentive to work for a few years before doing a master’s degree. Currently Danish graduates have the automatic right to continue on to a master’s in the same subject only if they start one immediately, explained Bangskjær, meaning that about 85 percent choose to do so.

Allowing graduates to return for a master’s later on gives them more flexibility, she said, although she added that the Ministry of Finance would also like to fund fewer master’s students, an attitude that the Akademikerne disagrees with. In addition, “we believe that these students who have been working between bachelor’s and master’s are more qualified to do their master’s,” Bangskjær said.

Jesper Langergaard, director of Universities Denmark, said that it was still “too early to say” how the recommendations would feed into concrete changes.

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 22 Mar 2018 - 01:00
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Obamas To Parkland Teens: You've Awakened The Nation's Conscience

Huffington Post - Mié, 21 Mar 2018 - 13:18
Mic obtained a letter written by the former first couple that lauded student survivors for their "resilience, resolve and solidarity."


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