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Ohio colleges learn personal messages and information boost summer enrollments

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-16 07:00

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Some Ohio community colleges have found that adding a personal touch to email messages and other correspondence sent to students has helped increase attendance in summer courses.

The colleges are part of an ongoing study project to encourage students to take summer courses in the hopes of helping them complete college. The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment, or EASE, study is being conducted by MDRC, a nonpartisan, nonprofit social policy research organization, which released its findings this month and presented them Monday during the American Association of Community Colleges' 99th annual convention in Orlando.

The study, which is being conducted at 10 community colleges in Ohio, has so far found that personalizing the wording in emails and letters to students about their financial aid had positive results. Those students were more likely to enroll in summer courses. And more students enrolled in summer courses after they received the personalized emails and letters from their colleges along with tuition assistance to cover the gap between their existing financial aid and the cost of summer attendance.

The study found 31.5 percent of students enrolled in summer courses in 2017 and 2018 when they received personalized emails and letters. Only 26.2 percent of students enrolled in summer courses with generic information. Those students who received the revised messages and tuition assistance enrolled at an even higher rate -- 38.4 percent.

“We know from previous MDRC research that students who enroll in summer courses are more likely to persist,” said Camielle Headlam, the EASE project manager and a research analyst at MDRC. “One barrier we found is that financial aid for summer courses is complex.”

She said students may not understand that they have financial aid available for summer classes because financial aid award letters are lengthy and confusing, or they may be discouraged by additional forms they have to complete to enroll in summer courses.

Some of the colleges in the study altered written communications with students by directly referring to the student by name or including relevant personal details, such as the amount of aid money they had available to attend summer classes. The messages also include contact information and the name of an adviser the student can contact, which were details that hadn't been used before.

“We used to say ‘Dear student’ or not even that,” said Bob Haas, chief strategy officer for Marion Technical College. “Now everything has a student’s name. It’s personalized.”

Marion Tech, one of the 10 colleges in the study, also includes specific course recommendations to students that will help them complete academic requirements for their major so they can graduate.

“It’s labor intensive and there’s no real way to automate it,” Haas said. “It takes a little work, but we are doing it.”

Haas said the college worked with MDRC to also craft the timing of the messages so they aren't sent on Fridays or holidays.

According to MDRC research, 80 percent of the community college students had leftover aid from their federal Pell Grants that could have been used to pay for summer courses. But only 20 percent of community college students enroll in summer classes. Students may have misinterpreted or overlooked information about their summer aid, or they may have thought they used all their available aid, according to an MDRC report.

Many colleges have seen enrollment increase in their summer courses since Congress agreed to restore year-round Pell Grants in 2017. The MDRC study took place in 2017 before the return of year-round Pell and in 2018 after it was reinstated.

Headlam said the colleges saw enrollment increases prior to and after the restoration of year-round Pell, an indication that the personalized messaging based on behavioral science does play a role in increasing student summer attendance.

However, the researchers didn’t see any changes or effects on fall semester re-enrollment, which remained flat at 55.8 percent across all 10 colleges.

"We were a little disappointed by this, but we would have to get many more students to enroll in summer courses to see an impact on fall re-enrollment," Headlam said.

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Colleges start new academic programs

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-16 07:00
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Archaeology group faces backlash over how it handled known harasser's attendance at meeting

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-15 07:00

The University of Alaska at Anchorage banned archaeologist David Yesner from its property and events over what it determined were credible sexual misconduct claims -- and told students last week to alert the police if they saw him.

Yet just days later, Yesner was allowed to attend the annual meeting of Society for American Archaeology in Albuquerque, N.M. Anthropologists present, some of whom have identified themselves as Yesner’s targets, filed complaints with meeting organizers and sought to have him kicked out.

Yesner was apparently allowed to stay, however -- even as a science journalist who confronted him was allegedly ejected from the meeting.

Some 800 academics have since signed an open letter to the society, saying that it “protected an individual who had claims of sexual harassment against them substantiated, who had already been banned by other institutions,” and in the process “aggrieved survivors of sexual harassment both in attendance and those following the escalating events on social media.”

The society’s “inaction” in light of a “serious danger” at the meeting “indeed had a ‘chilling effect on learning and workplace experiences’ at the conference,” the letter continues, quoting the society's Statement on Sexual Harassment and Violence. Consistent with what attendees have shared on social media, the letter says that “survivors and allies had to adopt a buddy system to try and keep themselves safe, while missing out on many panels they had paid to attend.”

Signatories demanded an apology from the society and an update to its harassment policy, along with training for all staff on relevant, proactive procedures. The letter also requests that Yesner be banned from all subsequent events, plus conference refunds for those impacted by his presence this year.

Yesner, who could not immediately be reached for comment, retired from Alaska in 2017 but was recently denied emeritus status over a flood of student allegations of misconduct spanning his long career on campus. Yesner has not commented publicly on the allegations, and he declined to participate in the university's investigation into his conduct.

That investigation, first obtained by KTVA, found that Yesner created a hostile environment for the students and violated numerous university policies against sexual misconduct, including assault. The nine complainants' reports ranged from inappropriate comments and touching, to taking pictures of students' breasts at work sites, to -- in one case -- rubbing his genitals against a student in a public shower. The reports were deemed credible.

Last week, Alaska emailed students to say that Yesner was “banned and trespassed from all property owned, controlled or used by the [university], including but not limited to UAA campuses.” The email asked students to alert authorities if “you see him or become aware of his presence in any such location.”

The society did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Yesner. In a series of tweets, it explained that existing policies had led to some registrations being revoked. New complaints -- presumably about Yesner -- were being dealt with according to its antiharassment policy, it said Friday. Citing confidentiality, it declined to elaborate on any particular case.

SAA has been in the forefront in creating an anti-harrassment policy that is designed to make the meeting a safe space for all attendees, which includes SAA staff. 1/2 #SAA2019

— SAA (@SAAorg) April 13, 2019

When complaints come in, we investigate immediately. At the 84th Annual Meeting, this process has resulted in SAA having to take appropriate action, including withdrawing multiple meeting registrations. 2/3 #SAA2019

— SAA (@SAAorg) April 13, 2019

Today, SAA received formal complaints about a different meeting attendee. We are proceeding according to the SAA Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures as published in the program for the SAA 84th Annual Meeting. We will be issuing updates. #SAA2019

— SAA (@SAAorg) April 12, 2019

Michael Balter, a science journalist who was at the conference in part to speak on a panel about Me Too, said that he was kicked out for confronting Yesner and asking him to leave.

Balter shared on his blog what he said was an email from Oona Schmid, association director, revoking his registration.

“As much as I recognize that you are trying to share your concerns, your calls are not appropriate,” reads the email. “Given the nature of this outreach, SAA must withdraw your 2019 conference registration per our Standard of Conduct Policy. I will arrange for you to receive a refund as soon as possible. Please refrain from attending the rest of the conference including your participation in Saturday's session.”

Balter told The Scientist that journalists “shouldn’t necessarily be kicking the subjects of their reporting out of meetings, but quite frankly nobody else was protecting these students” and he “considered this an emergency.”

Some meeting attendees have said that Yesner did not preregister. That would perhaps explain why the association did not block him from attending ahead of time. But numerous commenters have stressed the importance of preparing, in advance, for multiple contingencies in keeping conference attendees safe.

Kristina Killgrove, teaching assistant professor in anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, publicly stepped down from her role as chair of the society's media relations committee over the incident. In her resignation letter, Killgrove said that Yesner "was a known threat with sanctions in place from his former employer." And while the society "could not have known that he would register on-site, the response from SAA staff and other leadership when the issue was first raised both in person and on Twitter on Thursday, by [Balter] has been nothing short of appalling."

As a result of the society's "inaction in revoking Yesner’s registration, three survivors left the SAA conference early and were also forced to out themselves on social media to counter the SAA’s disingenuous and dangerous statement that the SAA has a Code of Conduct 'designed to make the meeting a safe space for all attendees,'" Killgrove said.

 

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Colorado system finalist defends LGBTQ record despite congressional votes

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-15 07:00

A hastily released announcement by the University of Colorado system naming the sole finalist to be its next leader is causing heartburn among a few Coloradans -- including a Board of Regents member -- who realized only afterward that they aren't comfortable with a few of the finalist's key congressional votes.

The four-university system’s Board of Regents last week voted unanimously to make Republican former Minnesota congressman Mark Kennedy the sole finalist for the job. Kennedy, who has led the University of North Dakota since 2016, served three terms in Congress, from 2001 to 2007. While in Congress, he voted in favor of restrictions on abortion and against gay marriage. He also voted to support a failed effort to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

As North Dakota's president, Kennedy has also clashed with a member of the State Board of Higher Education after allowing his chief of staff to work remotely from Texas with a $25,000 travel stipend. He has suggested that part of the outcry was because the chief of staff is African American.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Kennedy on Friday said his six-year congressional voting record, which doesn’t reflect his current beliefs on LGBTQ rights, matters less than his slightly longer eight-year record as a professor, university administrator and president. He’ll support Colorado students, staff and faculty, he said, “no matter who they love or how they identify.”

Colorado officials told The Denver Post last week that they rushed to issue a public announcement on Kennedy’s nomination after an April 9 news story in the Grand Forks Herald quoted multiple sources saying he was about to leave North Dakota. Kennedy himself also formally announced last week that he intended to take the Colorado job.

A former top financial official with Pillsbury and Federated Department Stores, Kennedy represented Minnesota in Congress from 2001 to 2007. He initially won a seat in a suburban district southeast of the Twin Cities that was later dissolved. In 2002, he won election to a different district northwest of the Twin Cities. Voters there re-elected him in 2004.

Among other votes that closely aligned with GOP priorities of the time, Kennedy voted in 2006 to support President George W. Bush's veto of a stem cell research measure. The veto override failed in the House, giving Republicans a victory.

Kennedy also voted in 2006 for the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to say that marriage consists only of a union between one man and one woman. It failed in the House. In a statement issued during debate on the amendment, Kennedy complained that "a few local politicians and radical judges" had put traditional marriage in jeopardy, requiring Congress to act. "This amendment would settle the question once and for all, and stop these liberal activists from redefining marriage in Minnesota and the rest of the country."

Mardi Moore, executive director of LGBTQ advocacy organization Out Boulder County, told the Post that she was fielding questions from the community about Kennedy's record. “I’m just disappointed the university did not select a leader with a better record on civil rights,” she said.

Kennedy said his views on LGBTQ issues “have evolved -- and I am committed to showing respect for all of our community.”

In 2011, Kennedy took a job teaching at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School and later directed George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, where he also taught.

Kennedy pointed out that he has spent two years longer in academe than in Congress. “I have a track record as to how I’m responding to defending and protecting LGBTQ+ rights,” he said.

He noted that under his leadership, the University of North Dakota passed a policy banning discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The policy, he said, “is at least as strong, if not stronger, than CU’s.”

He also said he appointed LGBTQ staff and faculty -- including an LGBTQ dean -- “and expanded the amount of support” for diverse groups across campus. “So I have a very strong track record and I’m committed to being a champion for all students.”

Kennedy, who has called same-sex marriage “a settled issue,” said, “I am going to be a strong supporter of students, faculty, staff, members of our community, no matter who they love or how they identify. And I will give them my full respect and support and be committed to being a leader for all.” He has said that if he gets the job, the first phone call he'll make is to Colorado governor Jared Polis, the state's first openly gay governor. Polis has not commented on Kennedy's appointment.

Sue Sharkey, chair of the Board of Regents, told the Post that Kennedy is “not running for office. He’s not running for Congress. He’s not going to be making votes in the Legislature. He’s not running a campus like a chancellor. He’s a CEO of a $4.5 billion institution. This is overshadowing the wealth of experience he has to run a university system.”

In a joint statement issued Saturday with Vice Chair Jack Kroll, she said the board spoke with Kennedy "at length" about his stances on same-sex marriage and other issues. "We did not rush and did not compromise in our efforts to find the strongest candidate."

Kennedy, who holds an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan but who does not hold a Ph.D., last year was one of four candidates for the presidency of the University of Central Florida -- he was not selected, the Herald reported, in part because of his congressional votes against same-sex marriage.

Jim Poolman, a former North Dakota legislator who was on the search committee that selected Kennedy in 2016, told the Post that Kennedy's effort to lead UCF so early in his tenure soured North Dakotans a bit on his leadership. “It’s difficult to operate an institution when people think you’re looking at every opportunity to leave,” he said.

Kennedy’s North Dakota tenure has also been marked recently by a quiet dispute with the Engelstad Family Foundation, a major funder, over what the logo on the university’s basketball court should look like. The university in 2016 changed mascots from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks, in part because the NCAA and a local American Indian tribe found it offensive.

In emails between Kennedy and a representative of a university benefactor, Kennedy said the “Fighting Hawks” logo should appear, rather than simply “North Dakota,” as the benefactor preferred.

The emails, between Kennedy and Engelstad Family Foundation trustee Kris Engelstad McGarry, whose late father underwrote a $110 million hockey arena, show that Kennedy was frustrated by the foundation’s push to leave out the hawk logo. McGarry told the Associated Press that many longtime North Dakota fans “do not identify with Fighting Hawks” and would be alienated by the logo. “We believe that the community should make their own decisions and that the change should happen more organically, over time, rather than have it pushed,” she said.

Colorado regent Linda Shoemaker told the Post that it was “unfortunate” the university system had to release Kennedy’s name prematurely, “because we didn’t even have the opportunity for our own staff to do the vetting that we would have expected to be done prior to announcing this finalist.”

She said the Board of Regents met on April 3 and 4 at Denver International Airport to interview six candidates selected by the system’s presidential search committee. The system has not named the other five candidates, but Shoemaker said each was interviewed for two hours.

One regent, Lesley Smith, told the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera that regents didn’t discuss Kennedy's voting record during his interview, but that he discussed his support for gay people while answering a question on diversity. The board was satisfied with his answer, but Smith said she is "getting a lot of pushback from constituents" on his congressional voting record.

She tweeted last week, "Some information about Mark has come to light that is concerning; my colleagues and I will be exploring this further."

Smith said she sent the tweet in response to others tweeting critiques of her support of Kennedy. "We all want to be aware of anything that might be a flash point," she said.

The Herald earlier reported on a controversy surrounding Kennedy's decision to keep Angelique Foster, his chief of staff, on board working remotely from Texas -- a move criticized by at least one state Board of Higher Education member. Kennedy has said the arrangement was meant to be temporary but that he extended it because he couldn’t find a qualified replacement.

In an interview with the Daily Camera, Kennedy said part of the criticism was because Foster is African American. "I'm quite confident it is about more than remote working," he said, but he later told the newspaper that he didn't want his comments on race to be overblown. "North Dakotans are very welcoming, inclusive people that have made Angelique feel warmly received," he said.

Kennedy has said he'll visit the university system's four campuses the week of April 22. State open-records law dictates that finalists for the university job must wait 14 business days after their names are revealed before regents can vote on the appointment. In the meantime, a protest against his candidacy is scheduled for today in CU's Norlin Quad.

Asked if he was frustrated by the finalist process, Kennedy said he’d let the University of Colorado answer such questions. “I have no comment on the process.”

But he added that there are “lot of things germane to the discussion that a lot of people aren’t talking about, like: ‘What are the skills you really need to provide leadership to a system of the scale and potential impact of the University of Colorado?’”

Kennedy said any leader of such a large system needs “a trifecta skill” consisting of business and management acumen, an academic background and the ability to engage with different public constituencies.

“Whatever kind of engagement it takes, discussing whatever topics people want to first talk about before we get to ‘How are we are going to elevate the university in its impact?’ I’m happy to do -- and it’s an important part of the job.”

Kennedy may need to tread lightly in Colorado over the next few weeks, since the intense media coverage of his candidacy has prompted North Dakota University system chancellor Mark Hagerott to say he considers the news a “de facto notice” of Kennedy’s resignation.

In a letter sent to Kennedy Friday and obtained by the Herald, Hagerott said that while he hadn't received a formal notice of resignation, he would treat Kennedy's April 10 statement "along with your statements to the media outlets since then, as a de facto notice of resignation effective June 15, 2019."

Reached late Friday by the Herald, Kennedy said he should have clarified his statement.

“I maybe should have put ‘we would be sorry to leave UND.’ It is not a final deal. It is highly unusual that it is not the final selection, but that option remains until the regents vote again in two weeks.”

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Barnard suspends police officers after incident with black student

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-15 07:00

Barnard College has placed on leave campus safety officers who physically stopped a black student from entering the library building Thursday night. The incident, videotaped and shared by Barnard students on social media, has led to protests and a quickly organized campus meeting, and to a promise by the college to fully investigate what it is calling an "unfortunate incident."

On yesterday at Barnard College A black Columbia University student was entering the library when he was racially profiled by police (interestingly referred to as “public safety” officers). But “safe” to who?

Caroline Cutlip pic.twitter.com/JLddzcniBo

— Black With No Chaser (@BlackNoChaser) April 13, 2019

The student is enrolled at Columbia University, with which Barnard is affiliated. Columbia students are permitted to use Barnard's library. Video shows him objecting to being asked for his identification and also for being restrained by officers. After he gave the safetey officers his ID, they said they needed to check his status and asked him to leave the building.

Barnard has a policy of checking IDs as people enter various facilities after 11 p.m., and this incident took place close to midnight. But many students said that the policy is inconsistently enforced, and that applying it to a black person -- particularly in this way -- constitutes racial profiling.

Barnard's president, Sian Leah Beilock, has sent two messages to the campus about the incident. In the first, she said in part, "As many of you are aware, there was an unfortunate incident last night in the Milstein Center that has raised concerns about our safety and security policies and how they are enforced. I have spoken to Roger Mosier, our vice president for campus services, about last night's events. We deeply regret that this incident occurred, and we are undertaking a thorough review of our public safety officers’ actions, and will address our processes and procedures and how they are applied."

In that message, she invited students to a "listening session" Friday evening.

In the second, she said, "The college is hiring an independent investigator to review what transpired Thursday night and to provide us with recommendations for further action. The public safety officers involved, as well as the public safety supervisor, have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation."

Students have continued to protest over the incident.

Photos of the protest. Taken from the @bwog liveblog. pic.twitter.com/6EmGdLYYrl

— Andrew Wang (@andrwwang) April 13, 2019

Racial profiling is a major national issue, but many minority students and employees have been stunned to find that colleges that pride themselves on inclusivity can be places, in encounters with local or campus police, where nonwhite people can be questioned for, in effect, being on or near campus while black.

Yale has seen two incidents involving black students. In 2015, a black student was briefly detained by campus police officers who were looking for another person. The student's father is a New York Times columnist, who wrote about his anger about the incident. Then last year, a white Yale University student called the campus police upon finding a black graduate student taking a nap in the student's dormitory common room. The police came, and the black student needed to get her identification card to show that she belonged in the building.

Also last year, police were called at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst over a longtime employee, walking to his office. While police questioned him (and found nothing questionable), they sealed off the building.

Not all of the investigations have found wrongdoing in the way black people were questioned.

Smith College found last year that there was a "legitimate, nondiscriminatory" reason for an employee to call campus police on a black student who was eating her lunch in a residence hall living room. Some questioned the findings.

And not all of the incidents involve African Americans.

At Colorado State University last year, a woman called police on two Native American brothers she believed were not really part of a tour group, but who were doing nothing wrong. They were for a time separated from the group so police could question them.

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AACC puts focus on building apprenticeships and work-force relationships

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-15 07:00

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The nation’s leading association for community colleges is helping its member institutions focus on building more apprenticeship programs and becoming experts for work-force development in their communities.

Community colleges were successful at getting more students into college during the last century, Walter Bumphus, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Community Colleges, said during the group's 99th annual convention in Orlando this weekend, but more work is required to close racial and economic equity gaps in academic achievement and guaranteeing graduates are employed in well-paying jobs.

“We can be the delivery and work-force training arm for the country,” he said.

AACC and the U.S. Department of Labor partnered earlier this year to launch the Community College Apprenticeships initiative, which will produce 16,000 new apprentices over the next three years. Bumphus and other AACC officials provided more details Sunday during the convention about how colleges could join the partnership, which will use $20 million in federal funding to help create the apprenticeships.

“The idea is to not just train individuals directly but to build a framework for a national system,” said Jennifer Worth, senior vice president of work-force and economic development for AACC. “That’s never been done before, and AACC wants to be a leader in this space.”

President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 calling for an expansion of apprenticeship opportunities. His administration created a 20-member task force of experts to find ways to make the expansion happen. Bumphus was a member of the task force.

The Labor Department released a report by the task force last year, which criticized traditional higher education for failing to adequately prepare graduates for the work force. The report also released a "road map" for an alternative federal system for apprenticeships and called for more industry involvement.

AACC will select 80 community colleges to help develop the apprenticeships with employers and expects each college to train 150 apprentices annually over the three-year period. The group has also identified four community college and business partnerships that are expected to produce 1,000 apprenticeships each, Worth said. AACC will announce the 80 colleges once they have been selected and the four partnerships once they’ve signed formal agreements, she said.

Worth called the initiative a “massive undertaking.”

The Community College Apprenticeships initiative would help the two-year institutions identify externships, internships and cooperative agreements that could be defined as apprenticeships and help institutions define high-quality apprenticeship programs with the help of a 55-member task force assembled by AACC, Worth said.

She said the initiative will help colleges provide students with more clarity about the apprenticeships by providing them with information such as the long-term career options, salary scales and the earning potential of specific fields.

“We need to have clearer information so a company or an apprentice can find and get information about all of these,” Worth said. “This has the ability to really stand up AACC in a wildly new way and lead the field in this work-force space."

Sandra Kurtinitis, president of the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland and chair of the AACC board, said everything the colleges do, whether they train nurses, accountants, poets or musicians, should be considered work-force development.

“For us, and I wish Harvard [University] would say this, too, our education agenda must be an economic agenda,” Kurtinitis said. “Why do we exist? We don’t just exist for the nobility of purpose. We have a purpose. We have meaning. We are the key to access and substance. But that agenda has to be an economic one.”

Kurtinitis said as community colleges shift focus to building more partnerships with businesses and industries to create apprenticeships or short-term certificate programs, those efforts should be considered as successful as increasing traditional graduation rates.

“If you only measure our degrees, you will never get the full dimension and power of what the community college in America is doing,” she said.

More than 62,000 students attend CCBC, Kurtinitis said, but only about 30,000 of them are in a degree-seeking program. The other 30,000 are working on short-term credentials that often are not calculated in some measurements of academic outcomes, such as federal graduation rates.

“If you can’t count them, too then you will never get the true value and strength of America’s community colleges,” she said.

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-15 07:00
  • Bridgewater College, in Virginia: R. Mark Laursen, clinical associate professor in Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and director of athletic training services.
  • Clark University: Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Columbus College of Art and Design: Isabel and Ruben Toledo, the artists.
  • Concordia College, in Minnesota: Colum McCann, the artist and author.
  • Emerson College: Soledad O’Brien, the journalist.
  • Metropolitan College of New York: Reverend Winnie Varghese, senior priest for justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street.
  • Mount Aloysius College: U.S. representative Glenn “GT” Thompson.
  • Newbury College: Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of the Dimock Center.
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology: New Jersey governor Phil Murphy.
  • Ohio Dominican University: Sister Margaret Ormond, president of the Dominican Academy.
  • Paine College: Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator.
  • Palo Alto University: Malik S. Henfield, associate dean for academic affairs, research and faculty advancement at the University of San Francisco School of Education.
  • Siena College: Kate Gutmann, an executive at UPS.
  • Taylor University: Vice President Pence.
  • Wellesley College: Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University.
  • Willamette University: Bell Burnell, co-discoverer of the first radio pulsars; and others.
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Georgetown students vote to pay reparations for university's tie to slavery

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:28

As the debate over reparations heats up, Georgetown University students voted Thursday by a large margin to impose a fee on themselves to pay reparations for the university's ties to slavery.

The student election commission announced the results early this morning. The measure attracted just under two-thirds of voters and passed, 2,541 to 1,304.

The measure calls for the university to start with a fee of $27.20 per semester in the fall of 2020, "in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown," referring to the slaves sold by Jesuits to finance the university in its early days. The resolution says that proceeds from the fund "will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits -- with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities."

The proposed fee would be a tiny fraction of the price of attending Georgetown, where tuition alone is more than $55,000 this year.

While the measure is not binding on the university, the vote comes as Democratic presidential candidates have elevated the national debate over reparations. The vote also marks a potential shift in higher education.

In recent years, many colleges -- including Georgetown -- have conducted studies of their ties to slavery. Those studies have led to publications, academic conferences and monuments that honor the labor of slaves.

But the vote by Georgetown is the first move to have students pay reparations.

The resolution calling for reparations summarizes the argument this way: "As students at an elite institution, we recognize the great privileges we have been given, and wish to at least partially repay our debts to those families whose involuntary sacrifices made these privileges possible. As individuals with moral imagination, we choose to do more than simply recognize the past -- we resolve to change our future. And since we truly wish to 'go, set the world on fire,' we choose to do so in this place, on this day and with this ballot." (The quote refers to a guiding idea of Jesuit philosophy.)

The university has praised the discussion set off by the student referendum but stopped short of saying it will adopt the new fee.

Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, issued a statement that said in part, "We value the engagement of our students and appreciate that they are making their voices heard and contributing to an important national conversation. Any student referendum provides a sense of the student body’s views on an issue. Student referendums help to express important student perspectives but do not create university policy and are not binding on the university."

A Georgetown senior, Hunter Estes, in an essay in The Georgetown Review, outlined reasons he opposes the reparations fee. He questioned whether there is a system in place to appropriately use the funds, and he noted that every additional expense puts a stress on student budgets (and the financial aid budget of the university).

"At the end of the day, this referendum raises a larger question of who should be culpable for the failures of an institution," Estes wrote. "My question is, why should students accept the moral and financial burdens of the university’s apparent failures. If one believes that the university has not done enough in the process for memory and reconciliation in regards to slavery, then why not hold the school accountable? … I ask, why is it that to correct an injustice, we should place upon the students another injustice, in regards to the mandated acquisition of student money with no ability to opt out?"

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Survey: 2-year and 4-year college presidents disagree about community college bachelor's degrees

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00

Inside Higher Ed survey finds two-year presidents favor -- and four-year presidents oppose -- letting community colleges offer the degrees. Survey also explores free college and barriers to transfer.

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Ousted dean returns at Western Kentucky

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00

Institutions often double down on unpopular decisions, fearing they’ll otherwise be perceived as weak.

Not Western Kentucky University. In a speedy show of what many on campus are calling strong leadership, the institution reinstalled a dean whose ouster last week brought down the provost.

The university’s new acting provost, Cheryl L. Stevens, announced the decision to reinstall Larry Snyder as dean of the Potter School of Arts and Letters in a campus email.

“Given the magnitude of work to do in degree transformation, we must have stability in leadership as we work our way forward,” Stevens wrote. “I look forward to working with Dr. Snyder and the Potter College community as we continue our efforts to provide the educational experience our students want and deserve.”

Western Kentucky is undergoing an extensive program review. A governing Board of Regents committee is set to review a universitywide task force's recommendations for program transformations and suspensions today. Those recommendations, made public only this week, include cutting 101 programs. Nearly half of those majors, minors or other kinds of programs don’t have current students, according to information from the university. The rest do. Majors targeted for elimination are French and popular culture studies, both in Potter.

Stevens said that Snyder will return as dean on Monday and finish out his term, through 2021. Merrall Price, a professor of English and special assistant to the provost who was named Potter’s acting dean, will remain in the provost’s office through July 1. After that, she’ll serve in Potter as an associate dean.

“I would like to thank Dr. Price for agreeing to step up on such short notice,” Stevens added. “I know she will happy to return to her duties in the provost’s office, where she is greatly needed.”

Snyder was abruptly terminated last week by Western Kentucky’s provost of less than one year, Terry Ballman, neither for cause nor misconduct. A day later, the Faculty Senate called a special meeting and voted no confidence in Ballman. Her many faculty critics said at that meeting that getting rid of Snyder midsemester, just as the university faces a major round of program cuts, made her unfit to lead them through tough times ahead. Faculty members and students saw Snyder as an advocate for strong academic programs in the face of calls for budget cuts.

Ballman resigned the next day. And by the middle of this week, Snyder was effectively back as dean.

Snyder said in an interview that he had a case of “whiplash” but was otherwise fine. Despite the challenges the university is facing, he said, he never considered declining the invitation to return. Previously, he was set to return to his faculty job in the department of religion and philosophy.

“Part of my disappointment with the previous episode is that I thought we’d put a number of things in place to address the coming changes,” he said, referring to the program review. “I wanted the opportunity to put those in motion … I didn’t feel I could abandon the college and faculty and students until we got farther along with this process, to a better point.”

Snyder confirmed secondhand reports that he was forced by Ballman to resign. Asked why, he said it remains a mystery, apart from a vague reference to his not being a “good university citizen.”

Considering the rapid vote of no confidence and that even students protested Snyder’s firing, it appears that’s not a common opinion. Numerous professors also said Thursday that they were happy -- and hopeful -- to have Snyder back on board.

'People Tend to Like Honesty'

“We’re in the middle of this process, and this dean is an insider who knows the college extremely well and has a tremendous amount of social capital,” said Jeffrey Samuels, chair of the department of religion and philosophy. “So having someone like that at the helm of course makes implementing these changes and navigating these transitions easier.”

Stevens said that the acting dean, Price, is highly respected as well. But putting Snyder back in the dean’s office, where he’s already worked on the program review, simply assures “more faculty buy-in.”

Price said that she was “happy to step up” and “even happier to step back.”

“It’s been a turbulent time on campus and in the community, and I’m confident [Snyder] and Provost Stevens will help guide us into calmer waters,” she said.

Rob Hale, chair of English, said the reaction to Snyder’s resignation “demonstrates what a valued member of the university community he is and has always been. I really can’t think of anyone who is more respected than Dean Snyder. I’m thrilled that he’ll return to lead my college through the challenges we face. My load just got a whole lot lighter.”

Professors beyond Potter opposed Snyder’s forced resignation. Asked why he’s so beloved, Kirk Atkinson, associate professor of information systems and University Senate chair, said Snyder engages with students in ways deans typically don't, such as by showing up to their art shows and theater performances. With faculty members, Atkinson said, Snyder is a straight shooter. He’s indeed warned the faculty that program cuts will be deep. But he’s also assured them he’ll be their advocate throughout the process.

"He's honest, and people tend to like honesty," Atkinson said. 

Even in light of the new information about the cuts, he added, “the mood on campus -- especially with reappointment of [Snyder] -- has been fairly positive. People remain hopeful, and that’s a good thing.”

Snyder, who has been dean for four years but on campus for three decades, described his leadership philosophy like this: “I didn’t necessarily aspire to academic leadership. But I’ve always understood that my role is to be a servant to the college. My primary task is to pave the way for the faculty to teach and do research and for students to learn. And if I’ve done that well, folks probably don’t know a whole lot about what I’m doing behind the scenes because they don’t need to.”

Snyder also said he felt more confident about the future than he did a few weeks ago, in that “this particular episode brought the campus together in a unique and unprecedented way.”

Western Kentucky's budget problems stem primarily from steep state funding cuts. There are issues specific to Kentucky at play, such as an unsustainable public pension problem. But many institutions elsewhere are reviewing their academic programs in an attempt to stave off financial disaster. Snyder advised other colleges and universities facing change to "bring faculty into the conversation -- make them a part of it. Be as open and transparent about all of it as possible. We’re only going to pull into safe waters if we’re all pulling on the right sails."

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Proposal calls for eliminating student loan default status for struggling borrowers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00

In a speech last year arguing that higher education faces a crisis in the U.S., Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pointed to eye-popping numbers from the federal student loan program.

Only a quarter of borrowers are making progress paying down their loans, she said, while 20 percent are either delinquent or in default. More than a million borrowers default on their student loans each year, and recent research has suggested the problem is growing worse.

The consequences for those borrowers can be severe, including hits to their credit score and garnishing of federal benefits. Their college may also withhold academic transcripts, and some states will suspend occupational licenses.

While DeVos herself has yet to call for specific changes with defaults in mind, a recent proposal makes the case for Congress to reduce defaults by simply eliminating the loan status outright.

Severely delinquent borrowers could still face negative consequences like credit reporting but would not be cut off from receiving federal student aid to pursue a degree. The idea may sound radical. But it wouldn't include the major costs to the government of large-scale loan forgiveness, argues Colleen Campbell, director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress and author of the proposal.

It could also put new scrutiny on whether the tools used to collect the most delinquent loans are truly effective as Congress explores potential changes to loan repayment through an update to the Higher Education Act.

Campbell argues that by ending default, the government could reallocate the $1 billion it spends on debt collections annually to more direct assistance to borrowers when they first start to struggle repaying their loans. Eliminating default would also allow borrowers to keep their access to federal aid like Pell Grants and continue making progress toward a degree.

“The federal government has extraordinary collections mechanisms for student loans that aren’t available for other kinds of consumer debt,” Campbell said. “It’s unnecessary to place additionally punitive consequences on top of collections. So why don’t we remove one of the consequences that is most damaging to folks who have been disenfranchised and who are most likely not benefiting from their experience in the postsecondary system?”

She said federal policy shouldn’t remove tools for struggling borrowers to improve their economic situation, especially opportunities to continue their postsecondary education.

A federal student loan enters default when a borrower has been delinquent for more than 270 days. After that, the loan is reassigned from a loan servicer to a debt collection company.

Ending default status wouldn’t mean removing any tools for the federal government to collect on student loan debt, Campbell said. Severely delinquent borrowers could be automatically enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. And the government could garnish wages and withhold tax refunds for those who still don’t repay their loans.

The government could also much more effectively use the money it spends on collections each year, Campbell said, by paying for better loan servicing.

“We can do much more intensive counseling between servicers and borrowers early on to prevent the worst outcomes,” she said.

Her proposal argues that eliminating default should be accompanied by other legislative changes to the financial aid system such as streamlining repayment programs, simplifying the application for federal student aid, providing more grants to students and creating clearer paths to loan forgiveness. Campbell also calls for assessing loan servicers using more objective measures so that the companies with the best repayment outcomes for borrowers receive new accounts.

Information on defaults is limited. But analyses of recent federal postsecondary data show high rates of default among African American borrowers in particular, even those who completed a degree. Nearly a quarter of black student borrowers who began college in the 2003-04 academic year and earned a bachelor’s degree had defaulted within 12 years.

The federal data also show that defaults depend more on a student’s circumstances and the type of institution they attended than their total amount of debt. Defaults are highest, in fact, among borrowers with the smallest loan amounts. And students who enrolled at for-profit colleges starting in 2003-04 were four times as likely as community college students to have defaulted on their loans 12 years later, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

“This would overwhelmingly help people who don’t finish college, who received a certificate, who are borrowers of color, who are Pell Grant recipients,” Campbell said. “What we know about default is that it overwhelmingly impacts those communities.”

But industry representatives said debt collectors and loan servicers are "as different as apples and oranges."

"There needs to be more help for people who are delinquent," said Shelly Repp, senior adviser and counsel at the National Council of Higher Education Resources. "That doesn’t mean in our view you should get rid of debt collectors once they are in default."

Repp said removing debt collectors from the student loan system also wouldn't save the federal government money, since they only receive payments for loans they collect on.

"That doesn’t mean that more resources can’t be also applied to helping borrowers earlier in the process. As this report points out, compensation to servicer is very low."

Campbell said, however, that collections firms are paid $1,700 for each loan they rehabilitate. And the numbers for those borrowers aren't impressive -- nearly 40 percent of rehabilitated borrowers re-default within three years.

Some financial aid experts say proposals like eliminating default, like efforts in recent years to promote income-driven repayment, wouldn’t actually address whether borrowers are making progress paying down their loan principal. Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of research for Savingforcollege.com, said student aid policy experts have long questioned whether collection agencies are cost-effective. Many of the most powerful tools used by those companies, he said, could be employed by loan servicers. But he said defining away defaults wouldn’t solve the fundamental issue of loan repayment.

“I do not believe that superficial changes to the name of the problem or slight tweaks to the system will provide a real solution to the underlying problem,” Kantrowitz said. “Unfortunately, policy makers have a tendency to paint a problem a different shade of blue and declare the problem solved.”

But Jessica Thompson, director of policy and planning at the Institute for College Access and Success, said the proposal was an intriguing idea.

“It really does get down to changes that we think are pretty common-sense,” she said.

Thompson said many of the most punitive consequences attached to default aren’t in the interest of the borrower or the taxpayer, because they aren’t effective at getting loans in good standing. Default status for student loans was also created under an entirely different paradigm, when private banks would make loans with backing from the federal government, she said.

The Education Department signaled last year that it was interested in moving away from use of collections firms in the federal student loan program.

And the White House made clear last month that overhauling how defaulted debt is collected remains an ongoing concern for the Trump administration. A broad-ranging executive order on higher ed signed by President Trump included a directive for the Education Department and Treasury Department to recommend reforms of collection on defaulted student debt.

Previous attempts by the Education Department to move away from reliance on debt collectors have been hamstrung by legal challenges. While the executive order could mean more political capital is put behind those efforts, action from Congress could be necessary to move the student loan system away from reliance on debt collectors.

Senate lawmakers are currently discussing a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act for the first time in a decade. Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate education committee, has proposed streamlining loan repayment by having payments automatically deducted from a borrower’s paycheck.

Some researchers have argued that payroll withholding could be the best way to prevent defaults. But Campbell said eliminating default outright would provide benefits to borrowers without overhauling student loan payments in a radical way.

“This isn’t a new repayment plan. It isn’t a complete rejiggering of how people make payments on their loans,” she said. “It’s basically a behind-the-scenes change that ultimately borrowers would experience in a very tangible way.”

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Study: Repeat rapists committing vast majority of sexual crimes

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00

Researchers have, many times over, confirmed a sobering fact: fraternity members tend to commit rape much more frequently than their non-Greek-life peers. They’ve also documented that serial offenders account for many campus sexual assaults.

But a new study quantifies in a staggering way the prevalence with which men in fraternities and on sports teams engage in sex crimes on campuses -- and how repeat rapists are to blame for a vast majority of these incidents. The report suggests that the vast majority of assaults involving alcohol are committed by serial perpetrators.

Experts on campus sexual violence said that these new data support the idea that administrators should kick out students they’ve found responsible for rape. And, they said, it demonstrates need for more targeted education -- especially among the men and groups who are committing the most sexual assaults.

Three professors -- from Union University in Tennessee, Bowling Green State University and University of Redlands -- used data from the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, or CORE, developed by the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The group there helps institutions figure out students’ attitudes toward drug and alcohol consumption.

The researchers looked at survey data from more than 12,600 male students at 49 colleges and universities in one Midwestern state that was not named. The institutions included in the sample were both two- and four-year colleges.

A little more than 5 percent of those men self-reported that they had committed a sexual assault when alcohol was involved. This matched other literature, which has put the percentage of college men who committed a broader range of sexual crimes between 6 and 11 percent.

Of those who sexually assaulted someone while under the influence, it was more common for them to do it again rather than just once. The researchers found that nearly 3 percent of the men in the overall study committed assault twice or more when alcohol was a factor.

“If you have a man who has been accused of sexual assault and you … find him responsible, it makes sense to expel him from the institution, not necessarily just give them educational sanctions,” said John D. Foubert, dean of the College of Education at Union and one of the report’s authors. “It’s cutting down on the rate of rape at the institution drastically.”

More significant was how many more incidents could be attributed to recurring rapists rather than one-time offenders.

The authors of the study weren’t precise with these data, given that students in the original CORE survey could report a range of how many assaults they had committed (again with alcohol involved). For instance, students could report if they assaulted someone three to five times -- in this case, the researchers counted that in their report as an average of four assaults per person.

The researchers documented approximately 2,071 sexual assaults -- of those, roughly 950 assaults, or about 46 percent of the incidents, were committed by students who admitted to raping 10 or more times.

S. Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, which consults with colleges and universities on sexual assaults and federal policy, said this was the most striking figure.

“Removing those repeat perpetrators from the population is the only solution in my point of view,” Carter said.

As the researchers note, the men didn’t always classify their acts as rape, per se. Other studies and interviews with men have found sometimes they consider their victim saying no to be a game or a way to spice up the encounter.

Being associated with a fraternity or an athletics team also had a positive correlation with alcohol-fueled rapes, the study found. Heads of fraternities were less likely to commit alcohol-related assaults than just members. The opposite was true for sports teams -- the leaders of the teams reported more assaults.

This reporter provided Todd Shelton, a spokesman for the North-American Interfraternity Conference, with a copy of the study, but Shelton said by email he did not have a chance to review it.

“I will say sexual violence has no place on any campus or in the fraternity experience,” Shelton wrote in his email. “NIC fraternities are committed to creating safer campus communities and recently adopted new health and safety guidelines including banning hard alcohol at fraternity houses and events to create a safer environment for members and guests.”

A previous study by Foubert shows that men who joined fraternities were just as likely to have committed sexual violence prior to college as men who didn’t join a fraternity. But the same study showed that fraternity men were three more likely to assault women than their counterparts, suggesting that fraternity culture was the driving factor for the assaults.

Institutions should more aggressively focus on teaching students in “high-risk” environments such as fraternities and sports teams, rather than just the general population, Foubert said. He said bystander training -- educating students to intervene when they see their peers are about to commit a heinous act -- has been proven to be effective. Foubert called for more research with a larger national sample, noting their information was from a single state. He said it would also be beneficial to interview directly admitted rapists to learn their motives and how they behave.

“They don’t define their behavior as rape -- they sometimes define it as seduction,” Foubert said. “I think it would be helpful [to know] what their techniques are to alert women.”

Colleges and universities trying to stamp out sexual predators could learn from law enforcement efforts to prevent terrorism, said Peter F. Lake, a law professor and director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University.

Lake used this analogy -- the public shouldn’t write off fraternities in total, just as they shouldn’t consider all people of a certain race to be terrorists. Institutions should partner with fraternities to help locate bad apples in a group or the misbehaving fraternities on campus. He said many times, the fraternity members, most of whom are not raping women, don’t have the knowledge or skills to respond to “serious psychopathic behavior.”

“If you eliminate the ones that are doing that from the culture, then the culture will thrive,” Lake said.

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Czech president blocks professorships of academic critics

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00

The president of the Czech Republic is attempting to turn the country’s population against intellectuals and polarize society by vetoing professorships for critical academics, according to an art historian who has had his promotion repeatedly blocked.

Miloš Zeman, who is known for his opposition to Muslim immigration and closeness to Russia and is often described as a populist, has repeatedly used presidential powers to block the professorships of political opponents since he was elected in 2013.

In the latest development during a dispute stretching back to 2015, Prague’s Charles University announced in February that it would launch new legal challenges against Zeman for blocking the professorships of two academics put forward by the university.

“He is struggling against intellectuals and polarizing society in this country,” said Jiří Fajt, currently director general of the National Gallery in Prague and one of the two affected academics.

The president’s “populist” aim was to convince the majority of the population that they did not need to listen to intellectuals, Fajt told Times Higher Education, eroding academic freedom in Czech universities. He wanted to undermine “the position of intellectuals in this society,” he warned.

Fajt said that he thought his appointment had been blocked in part because of his support for Zeman’s opponent during the 2013 presidential elections.

Czech presidents -- who wield far more political power than presidents in countries such as Germany, where they are in essence figureheads -- have had a long-standing right to approve professors put forward by university scientific boards, explained Tomáš Zima, rector of Charles University, but this had never caused serious issues before.

“These problems started only after Mr. Zeman became the president of the Czech Republic,” he said.

This is not the first time that Zeman has blocked the professorship of a critic. In 2013, the president refused to approve the promotion of Martin Putna, an expert on Czech literature who prior to the presidential election released a satirical impersonation of Vladimir Putin urging Czechs to vote for Zeman, Radio Prague reported.

The incident caused an outcry, triggering student protests in favor of Putna, and was seen by critics as an unprecedented use of presidential power, as previous incumbents had never overruled a university’s choice before.

In Charles University’s latest lawsuit, “our key argument in the current lawsuit is that the president cannot question or review whether a professorship candidate is sufficiently qualified or has adequate moral integrity,” explained Zima -- this is rather a judgment call made by universities themselves.

In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Zima accused the president of menacing academic freedom. “At this moment, this is a violation of rules and academic freedoms at Charles University, but in future it may concern every one of you,” he reportedly warned the country.

Charles University’s legal challenge is now being processed by Prague’s municipal court, and the university is awaiting a hearing, he said. Both professorial candidates have also filed previous lawsuits against the president, Zima added.

Fajt said that the veto had denied him the opportunity to teach students, and the lack of a professorship was an issue of “social status” and “acknowledgment of my academic qualifications,” he said. The president had raised questions about his habilitation thesis -- a kind of second doctorate -- even before 2015, he said. “I don’t know him personally at all. We have never met each other,” he said.

A spokesman for the president said that he had rejected the professors for “substantial legal and moral reasons” but did not elaborate further.

But a presidential statement in January accused Fajt of demanding a bonus to his salary from a bank that had partnered with his gallery, and of not being truthful in his professor application, claims that Fajt dismissed as “total nonsense.”

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-12 07:00
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Stevens Point abandons controversial plan to cut liberal arts majors including history and foreign languages

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point said its 2018 Point Forward plan to scrap 13 majors was an opportunity to be more nimble. Faculty members, meanwhile, petitioned to remove their chancellor and provost and asked if Stevens Point could remain a true university without core liberal arts fields such as history and foreign languages.

At the same time, professors across the University of Wisconsin system looked at Stevens Point as a test case. How would recent changes to state law and system policies making it easier to cut programs and faculty members be exercised in practice? And would other campuses follow? Even beyond the state, the university's proposed cuts attracted attention and opposition from professors and academic groups.

Now -- after already taking seven majors off the chopping block, leaving just six -- Stevens Point is cutting nothing. Chancellor Bernie Patterson announced the development Wednesday in a campus memo saying that the “curricular proposals related to Point Forward have been resolved.”

Patterson said that other budget reductions across campus, along with resignations and retirements, eliminated the need for layoffs. Department-level discussions regarding the futures of French, German, art, history, geography and geoscience nevertheless continue, he said, but none will be cut.

“The resolution of these curricular discussions marks another important milestone for Stevens Point as we seek to prioritize student and regional needs through innovative programs while also reducing our spending to stabilize the university’s budget,” Patterson wrote. “These conversations have tested our system of shared governance, but shared governance has served us well, and we have reached constructive and collaborative solutions.”

Faculty members -- while happy to avoid cuts -- didn’t quite share Patterson’s tone.

“It’s great that we’re saving the majors,” said Andy Felt, professor of mathematics and president of campus's American Federation of Teachers-affiliated faculty union (which does not have collective bargaining rights). “It’s too bad the administration dropped those plans on the campus like bombs, rather than building consensus. We’ve been through a lot as a campus and have lost a lot of great people.”

The Wisconsin system has indeed lost many faculty members since those controversial changes regarding tenure and program continuances. And the year of uncertainty at Stevens Point didn’t help from a retention perspective -- even if some of those departures may have helped the university’s immediate financial picture.

Patterson urged that the university should keep “developing and transforming our academic offerings to meet the changing needs of central Wisconsin.” Stevens Point recently announced new programs at its Wausau and Marshfield campuses, he said -- both formerly separate community colleges -- as well as a new M.B.A.

The university is also in talks with other system institutions to “bring their degrees to our branch campuses,” he said. New degrees such as aquaponics and environmental engineering are also in development at Stevens Point.

Changing Plans

The university initially planned to nix American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.

Provost Greg Summers said at the time at the university based its top-down plan on what Stevens Point was already known for and on what incoming students declare as their intended majors.

At the same time, the university planned to invest in what it called “growth programs,” including aquaculture, ecosystem design and remediation, environmental engineering, geographic information science, master of business administration, master of natural resources, and doctor of physical therapy.

The cuts weren’t about financial exigency, but rather Stevens Point trying to position itself as a kind of destination campus ahead of projected enrollment declines across Wisconsin. State budget cuts also factored in. But many professors doubted whether fundamentally changing the university’s program offerings was the right approach.

Amid campus backlash and attempts to otherwise reduce the university’s budget, Stevens Point eventually backed away from cuts to American studies, English, music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish. But the fate of the other programs remained unclear.

Stevens Point’s announcement says that French and German will remain, in “hope that faculty members in our world languages and literatures programs can join colleagues from partner [system] institutions to offer these degrees in a collaborative format.”

History is now safe, too -- but with a revised curriculum that includes a “strengthened” social science teaching option for future educators. A nonteaching option also will focus on integrating historical research, analysis and writing across contexts. The department also will become more of a general education hub.

Geography and geoscience going forward will be combined to create a new geospatial science program focused on preparation for careers that apply geospatial technologies to address social and environmental issues.

As for art, faculty members in art and design and interior architecture voted to form a new School of Design, with a new major in integrative studio practice.

Jennifer Collins, professor of political science and chair of the campus’s Faculty Council, called Wednesday’s news “excellent.”

Asked about what role shared governance played, Collins said the outcome is due in “no small part to the arduous work over the past year by faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members who spoke up and raised questions … and spent countless hours vetting the leadership’s proposals.”

One of the main critiques of the plan, she said, is that it wouldn’t solve Stevens Point’s budget woes and could possibly make them worse. So the faculty is “gratified that the chancellor has listened to and taken seriously the voices of stakeholders, and the work done by numerous committees.”

Both Collins and Felt said they’re hopeful that campus groups can continue to work cooperatively and collaboratively going forward. Specifically, Collins said, in “a positive way that positions [the university] to continue to serve the students and communities of central Wisconsin and beyond well into the future.”

Mick Veum, chair of physics, said via email that the "simple answer" was to why the proposal was pulled is "because there were enough people leaving 'voluntarily' to make the nuclear option unnecessary (period)." 

The more "nuanced answer is that the governance process bought time to find other solutions, and the proposal was not well received and exposed as poorly argued through governance, which incentivized finding alternatives," he added.

Noel Radomski, managing director of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, has followed the Stevens Point case and said late Wednesday that it appeared as if “several things finally coalesced.” Many faculty and staff members either accepted voluntary retirement or found jobs elsewhere, reducing the budget deficit, he said, and governance leaders -- especially professors -- spent “an inordinate amount of time” in committees. Those leaders are now “reaping the benefits of looking at trends, asking tough questions, identifying and prioritizing options, and advancing recommendations,” he said.

Lately, especially, Radomski noted, faculty members and deans went beyond “the status quo and incremental solutions.” The curricular innovations are based on a “strong focus on maintaining and enhancing instructional quality,” and many of the new and modified degree programs are “likely to be more interdisciplinary, which follows trends in research practices” at Stevens Point.

Radomski also credited Patterson and Summers for “walking a delicate tightrope of not pursuing top-down decision making and encouraging a collegial decision-making process.”

Wisconsin has a strong history of shared governance, he noted, but the last several years have tested it.

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Admissions scandal causes critics to question whether donor money also influences who gets accepted

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

When news of a nationwide college admissions scam involving top universities sent shock waves through higher education circles last month and made headlines across the country, Paul Kaster didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“I was like, ‘Isn’t that legal?’” said Kaster, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, which was among the colleges implicated in the wide-ranging bribery and cheating scheme. “I thought it was an open secret that wealthy parents paid universities all the time to get their kids in.”

Like many other observers, Kaster noted how the children of university donors routinely end up attending those same universities. He initially saw little difference between parents paying large “fees” or donating large amounts of money to get their children spots at elite institutions.

“But once I learned the details, I saw it was more complicated,” he said.

The details aren’t that complicated for Brian Flahaven, senior director of advocacy at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an association for fund-raising professionals in higher ed.

Parents who paid hefty bribes to university athletic directors, coaches and test takers to get their children into elite colleges and universities did so in “an effort to cheat the system,” he said. People who donate to colleges are trying to help the higher ed system.

“Things are getting muddied,” he said. People should “not conflate this criminal activity with philanthropic gifts. The admissions scandal is a criminal case; it does not implicate university development officials.”

Fund-raising professionals nonetheless now frequently find themselves explaining this distinction to people unfamiliar with the world of college fund-raising. In the wake of the scandal, that distinction seems lost on critics of the role of money and wealth in college admissions.

The critics -- and there are many -- have long considered donations from relatives of applicants to be a pernicious and influential part of the admissions process. They see the bribery and fraud at the heart of the scandal as being on a continuum of the quid pro quo extended to rich donors and believe up-front donations buy access to colleges in much the same way as behind-the-scene bribes.

CASE has tried to drive the opposite message home since the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictments of 50 people involved in the admissions buying. The association issued a strongly worded statement condemning the participants in the scheme and opposing a proposal by U.S. senator Ron Wyden of Oregon to end the tax break for college donations made "before or during the enrollment of children of the donor's family."

CASE’s statement said in part, “The actions of a handful of individuals should not sully the thoughtful and principled work of admissions and advancement professionals who work hard every day to sustain the quality and integrity of their institutions.”

The association's code of ethics, adopted in 1982, explicitly outlines these professionals’ “special duty to exemplify the best qualities of their institutions and to observe the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.”

According to the code, fund-raisers can ensure their and their institutions' integrity by not engaging in the following:

  • "They do not grant or accept favors for personal gain, nor do they solicit or accept favors for their institutions where a higher public interest would be violated."
  • "They avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest and, if in doubt, seek guidance from appropriate authorities."
  • "They follow the letter and spirit of laws and regulations affecting institutional advancement."

“Things are getting muddied,” said Brian Flahaven, senior director of advocacy at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. People should “not conflate this criminal activity with philanthropic gifts. The admissions scandal is a criminal case; it does not implicate university development officials.”

Flahaven said the subject of donations comes up repeatedly in conversations and commentary about the scandal “as people have raised questions about advantages that the wealthy have in terms of sending their children to elite institutions.

“Where the advancement piece comes in is that people think this is just another example of how wealthy people operate,” he said.

The influence of major donors on higher ed in general, and on college admissions in particular, is such a sensitive issue that advancement and development officials at numerous colleges across the country, including elite institutions not implicated in the scandal, declined to discuss it.

Countering Flawed Conventional Wisdom

Amir Pasic, dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, believes higher ed institutions should be addressing the scandal head-on.

“Colleges need to educate the community; they have to articulate the differences very clearly,” he said. “Wealthy people buying their way in is not what philanthropy is about. There’s a huge difference between donating and bribing. Both actions come from wealth, but they’re very different exercises of wealth. Of course donors get recognition and special treatment, but there’s a wall between that and the admission process.”

Well-intentioned donors “would not want to corrupt that process if they really love the institution and want to support its mission,” he said.

Some donors clearly believe they can be both generous and strategic with their gifts and have no ethical qualm about supporting the institutions and helping their children at the same time.

Maria Laskaris, the former dean of admissions at Dartmouth College and now senior counselor at Top Tier Admissions college consultants, told the San Francisco Chronicle that students from wealthy families that can donate large sums of money have improved chances of being accepted by selective colleges.

“It’s not a guarantee of admissions for sure, but it is certainly something you’re made aware of,” she said. “Colleges are always in fund-raising mode.”

“Wealthy people buying their way in is not what philanthropy is about,” said Amir Pasic, dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “There’s a huge difference between donating and bribing. Both actions come from wealth, but they’re very different exercises of wealth. Of course donors get recognition and special treatment, but there’s a wall between that and the admission process.”

A Dartmouth spokesman declined to discuss how the admissions scandal is shaping public perceptions about fund-raising. Although the New Hampshire college was not implicated in the scandal, it issued a written statement outlining steps it is taking to prevent the kind of abuses alleged in last month's indictments.

And the University of Southern California and other institutions have announced punitive measures they would take against students determined to have been accepted at the colleges through fraudulent means.

At Brown University, which enrolls some of the wealthiest students in the country, there doesn't appear to be a solid wall separating admissions operations from development operations. The university allowed its fund-raising office to set up campus tours and meetings with faculty members for applicants whose parents are Brown alumni, or who are related to wealthy individuals or others that have relationships with university fund-raisers. In some cases, the faculty members were encouraged to write letters to the admissions office about their (positive) impressions of the applicants.

A Brown spokesman said late last month that the university would end these practices. He also said the university would stop providing free college counseling -- from counselors with extensive experience in admissions -- to the children of Brown alumni, faculty members and other employees.

On Tuesday, Brown's president, Christina Paxson, announced a review of policies on "fairness" in admissions and in student life.

"Preferential treatment, real or suspected, for students based on wealth or privilege is corrosive to our community," she said in a letter to the campus announcing the reviews. "We are looking carefully at all our practices across the university -- from alumni and parent engagement, to residential life, to academic concerns, to student conduct -- to make sure that favoritism has no influence on students’ experiences."

There’s no question that the admissions scandal is a public relations nightmare for the institutions that were implicated, and it is causing headaches even for those that were not. But there may be some positive long-term effects. The scandal occurred at a time of growing public awareness and discussions about income inequality in American society, including in higher ed. Those conversations have broadened beyond the confines of academia and Washington think tanks and now are occurring in the halls of Congress and at kitchen tables.

A Different Mind-Set, A New Generation

At the Lilly School, the self-described “world’s first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy,” the next generation of fund-raisers is learning about philanthropy as college students nationally are demanding more social accountability from institutional administrators and political leaders.

“There’s an emerging sense among this generation of students of how the privileges and advantages that come with being wealthy” disadvantage students from families with modest or very low incomes, Pasic said.

“Our students reflect in many ways the ethos on campuses today,” he said. “They’re more highly aware of wealth disparities and inequality. They’re allergic to social hierarchy and procedures that are not principled.”

Pasic cited as examples students protesting campus buildings and monuments named after racist politicians and military leaders who promoted exclusionary admissions policies in the past, and students calling out university administrators for granting wealthy and powerful donors too much say in academic affairs or athletic operations.

Pasic said college students today are very aware that their peers from wealthy families “are getting a leg up” because they attended expensive prep schools, had private tutors in high school or had opportunities to study or volunteer abroad or participate in summer academic enrichment programs.

“They understand how legacy admissions and philanthropy fits into this,” he said. “Students are looking at all of that and seeing it as betraying some of the principles that colleges and universities claim to value.

“They are increasingly asking in critical ways, ‘Who are the donors to my university? Where are the dollars being invested?’”

These concerns, which are also being explored at the Lilly School, will likely shape the thinking of students being trained for professions in philanthropy. A book that is popular among the students is Decolonizing Wealth, which offers an analytical perspective on whether philanthropy does a good enough job in critically assessing and addressing some of the inequities it may actually perpetuate.

“We’re a different institution,” Pasic said. “We’re not elite. We’re a public-serving, urban institution with first-generation students who don’t come from a long line of privilege … It’s a bit of a different world when you have that background and you go into philanthropy as a staff person … and are engaging with people from very different backgrounds.”

There’s a risk that students in that position can either become very subservient to that wealth or be dazzled by it, he said.

“Hopefully our students already understand that donations and bribes are the opposite of each other,” Pasic said. “The intent is almost diametrically in opposition.”

Pasic hopes the ethics courses that are part of the Lilly School’s core curriculum, and that undergraduate and graduate students are required to take, will help them stay focused on the larger mission of philanthropy -- to do good and make positive change -- after they’ve graduated and are working.

Ethics are also embedded in other courses, such as history, comparative civil societies, gender and social justice, and other electives, he said.

The school is planning a series of seminars for students and the public throughout this semester and next focused on "philanthropy and the public good." One session will examine the boundaries of philanthropy; another will consider the future of philanthropy.

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Research: Chinese employers are more likely to call back Chinese-educated applicants than American-educated ones

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

Employers in China are more likely to call back job applicants who graduated from Chinese colleges than from American colleges. Even job applicants with degrees from very selective U.S. universities are less likely to get a call back than applicants with degrees from the least selective Chinese institutions.

Those are the top-line findings in a new working paper by Mingyu Chen, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Princeton University. Chen sent more than 27,000 fictitious job applications for entry-level positions in business and computer science to employers in China. His study, he writes, is to the best of his knowledge “the first study to provide causal evidence on the value of U.S. postsecondary education in foreign labor markets.”

Chen estimates that the 111 American universities he used on the various fictitious résumés account for about 72 percent of all Chinese enrollments in the U.S. Over all, he found that applicants who had graduated from U.S. universities were 18 percent less likely to get a call back than applicants who had attended Chinese universities. Even applicants from the most selective U.S. universities -- as defined by U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities -- were 7 percent less likely to get a call back than applicants from the Chinese universities he categorized as least selective.

Chen also found that the gap in callback rates -- while still favoring applicants from Chinese universities -- was smaller both for higher-wage jobs and for jobs offered by foreign-owned firms.

Considered all together, Chen writes that the evidence he gathered supports two main hypotheses: “First, a large part of the U.S.-China gap in callback rates can be explained by perceived better outside options for U.S.-educated applicants. Employers believe, correctly or not, that applicants from U.S. institutions have better options, making them harder to attract and retain than those educated in China.”

“Second,” he writes, “part of the U.S.-China gap can be driven by firms in China knowing less about an American education. Relative to foreign-owned firms, Chinese-owned firms are likely to be less experienced in hiring U.S.-educated workers and have less information about American education.”

By contrast, Chen concluded that the difference does not appear to be driven by negative perceptions on the part of employers about the quality of students who choose to pursue an education in the U.S. Chen found that including additional “signaling” information regarding high school credentials such as graduation from an elite high school or a high score on the Chinese national college entrance exam had no significant effect on callback rates. Similarly, inclusion of U.S. work experience -- to test the hypothesis that employers might perceive returning Chinese students as being unable to get work in the U.S. -- had no effect.

As a complement to the experiment involving fictitious job applications, Chen also conducted a survey of 260 hiring managers in China. In choosing between two otherwise identical candidates from U.S. and Chinese universities, Chen found that hiring managers chose Chinese-educated candidates for an interview almost 80 percent of the time. Asked the most important reason why they chose a Chinese-educated candidate, about 35 percent of hiring managers said that U.S.-educated candidates had better options -- that they were overqualified or more likely to choose another job or quit once hired -- and another 35 percent said a Chinese-educated candidate would be a better fit for the company. Just 7 percent said Chinese universities offer better education.

Familiarity with U.S. higher education appeared to play a role in the hiring managers' willingness to consider U.S.-educated candidates. Chen found that the interview gap between Chinese and U.S.-educated applicants narrowed when managers expressed more knowledge about an American university relative to a Chinese one, or when they worked for companies had recently hired a U.S.-educated applicant.

“What’s interesting about it is it raises as many questions as it answers,” said Henry Farber, Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics at Princeton and Chen's adviser. "There's a very clear answer to the yes or no question, ‘Is a U.S. degree worth more than a Chinese degree in the Chinese labor market?’ But it raises interesting questions of why. He [Chen] does a nice job of trying to follow up on some of that [by asking things] like, are the students who go to the U.S. not as good as the students who stay in China? Is there a lack of information about U.S. schools? It’s a nice empirical investigation of an issue that’s important in understanding the role of U.S. education for foreign students.”

Farber said studies of this sort, called audit studies, “have become relatively common. They're limited because it’s not about who you hire; it’s about who gets through this stage of the hiring process. You just have to be aware of the limitation.”

“It’s a small piece of the puzzle,” Farber said. “It doesn’t answer the question of over their lifetime do U.S.-educated students do better or worse.”

Chen’s research taps into a larger narrative of concern about the career prospects Chinese students face when they return home. A survey by a Beijing-based think tank last year, reported on by the South China Morning Post, found that 80 percent of returning students said their salaries were lower than they expected, and 70 percent said their position did not match their experience and skills. There have also been various anecdotal reports about overseas returnees questioning the return on investment of a foreign degree (a couple examples of news reports on this topic can be found here and here).

Chen wrote that his research has two main implications for U.S. colleges, which have become increasingly reliant on the tuition revenue they receive from Chinese students. Students from China make up the single largest group of international students on U.S. campuses.

“First, taken at face value, my results raise the question of whether the increased cost of studying in the U.S. for Chinese students is justified by better job prospects in China,” he wrote. “Even though the U.S.-China gap in callback rates decreases in posted salary, it is not positive even among the highest-paying jobs. Therefore, reasons such as consumption value (e.g., enjoyment of U.S. culture) and the small probability of being able to work in or immigrate to the U.S. may be quite important in driving students’ decisions on where to invest in human capital.”

Chen wrote that a second main implication “is that U.S. institutions may want to help students transition from an American education to a Chinese workplace. China is the largest source country of foreign students in the U.S. and accounts for 93 percent of the growth in the last decade. Hence, investing in career services can be important for schools that heavily benefit from these students.”

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Jesuits balk at affiliation for downsized Wheeling

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

Nearly two weeks after West Virginia’s Wheeling Jesuit University laid off most of its core liberal arts faculty and said it planned to focus on health care, business, exercise science and a handful of other majors this fall, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus said it will strip the university of its Jesuit affiliation.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the society said that with “nearly all Jesuit positions eliminated” and without sufficient lay leadership and programming to support its Jesuit identity, “the Jesuit affiliation of the university will not be able to continue.” It said Jesuit members of Wheeling's Board of Trustees will step down.

The university's president, Michael P. Mihalyo, told campus personnel that the university would retain its Roman Catholic identity. In a statement, he said the “rebranded” university hasn't been named yet.

Mihalyo said Wheeling will continue to offer Catholic Mass and campus ministry, “while the Ignatian ideals of service and Catholic teachings on social justice will also continue” at the Appalachian Institute, which honors Clifford M. Lewis, the first Jesuit to reside in Wheeling in 1954.

“While an end to Jesuit sponsorship is difficult for all, refocusing our academic program on those areas that reflect the intersection of the faculty’s expertise, student and work-force demands, and financial sustainability is the best path forward for the university and our students,” Mihalyo said.

The move to withdraw affiliation is apparently unprecedented in the history of U.S. Jesuit higher education.

Wheeling, the youngest of the country’s 28 Jesuit colleges, was founded in 1954 on land gifted from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. The diocese in 2017 bailed out the university in a land deal, taking physical control of its 65 acres and buildings, valued at $47.1 million. In exchange, the diocese paid off the university’s bond debt, totaling about $32.4 million, according to financial filings.

Wheeling declared financial exigency in mid-March. Late last month, it laid off about 40 percent of its full-time faculty and said it will eliminate several majors -- including theology, philosophy, history and literature -- this fall. The university will offer just seven undergraduate majors and four graduate majors, down from 47 this spring. In undergraduate studies, it will offer nursing, respiratory therapy, exercise science, education, business, criminal justice and psychology. It will offer a doctoral program in physical therapy and master's programs in business administration, education and nursing.

Nearly all of Wheeling’s traditional arts and sciences positions were eliminated.

The curriculum changes have led several faculty to observe that Wheeling would remain Jesuit “in name only” next year. Jessica Wrobleski, a laid-off theology professor, told Inside Higher Ed, “The heart of the school, and its identity, have just been cut out. It’s been pretty heartbreaking.”

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities had no comment on the announcement, but a spokesperson noted that a few small colleges have passed from Jesuit control over the past century, in different circumstances: St. Mary's Academy and College in St. Mary’s, Kans., founded by Jesuits in 1848 as a mission to Native Americans, later became a Jesuit boys’ boarding school. In the 1930s, it became the home of St. Louis University’s divinity school. Another former Jesuit college, St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La., became the Jesuit Spirituality Center. And the College of the Sacred Heart, founded in 1880 in Prairie du Chien, Wisc., and operated by Jesuits from Buffalo, became a Jesuit high school in the 1920s. The order later sold it to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

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Gallup, Bates report shows graduates want a sense of purpose in careers

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

Recent college graduates want “purpose” in their jobs, but they aren’t always finding it, according to a new survey.

The report, "Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work," from Gallup and Bates College, found that 95 percent of four-year college graduates nationally considered a sense of purpose at least moderately important in their work. (Note: Gallup conducts some surveys for Inside Higher Ed, but this publication was uninvolved in this study.)

But of the graduates who strongly felt that a purpose was important, only 40 percent said they had found a meaningful career. Only 34 percent indicated they were deeply interested in their work, and 26 percent reported that they liked what they were doing on a daily basis.

“This ‘purpose gap’ is a glaring problem for the younger work force, as millennials place a higher priority on purpose in their lives than previous generations, and they look to work more than other sources to find it,” A. Clayton Spencer, president of Bates, said in a statement. “The purpose gap is also a challenge for employers because of a strong correlation between employees’ purpose and engagement and an organization’s bottom line.”

Gallup conducted the online survey of more than 2,200 recent college graduates, 637 hiring managers and 1,037 parents of college students last year. The group also conducted multiple focus groups.

The study came about because of Bates’s interest in purposeful work. The college hosts a Center for Purposeful Work, which was created after the president instructed a group of students and professors to study the concept nearly five years ago. The center helps link students’ passions to their career paths by finding them internships or other opportunities.

"Importantly, we learned that although nearly all college graduates believe finding purpose in one’s work is extremely or very important, less than half have found that purpose," Stephanie Marken, executive director of education research at Gallup, wrote in an email. "Fortunately, we also identified a series of activities that higher education institutions can engage in to increase the odds their graduates find purposeful work -- having an applied job or internship, having someone who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams, being given realistic expectations for their postgraduation employment opportunities, and participating in a program that helps them think about finding meaning in their work."

Bates wanted to know whether certain experiences during students’ undergraduate careers helped them later in their work lives. About 56 percent of students said they secured an internship that allowed them to apply what they were learning in their classes, and 39 percent said they found someone who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.

About 31 percent of the students who had just one internship reported a high level of purpose in their job. And 34 percent of students who had two or more internships had purpose in their jobs.

Hiring managers in the focus groups said they felt that internships should be required -- they both help students find a job later and figure out what they enjoy.

“These findings lead to the conclusion that colleges and universities need to be more intentional in promoting these experiences to prepare undergraduates,” the report states.

Students reported, too, that many of them didn’t think about how their skills and interests would align to their future work.

Of the students who indicated they had a high level of purpose in their job, about 32 percent started considering what their talents were before they enrolled in college. Another 30 percent began thinking about their skills in terms of their future careers during their first year on campus.

“Students who wait until senior year to have an applied learning experience may miss the opportunity to change their major or set their sights on further education as they realign their career goals and aspirations,” the report states.

Having a sense of purpose at work can affect a graduate’s overall sense of well-being, too. About 59 percent of graduates who reported purpose in their jobs said they had a high sense of well-being. Only 6 percent of students who had a low purpose at work said they had great well-being.

The survey also examined employers’ attitudes about the liberal arts. Other studies have confirmed that employers do tend to value these “soft skills,” and in this survey, hiring managers said they felt that colleges should be teaching students critical thinking skills and to communicate effectively.

The managers said that when they’re considering hiring a candidate, they prioritize critical thinking and communication.

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Roundup of colleges starting or finishing fund-raising campaigns

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-11 07:00

Starting Up

  • Elon University is starting a campaign to raise $250 million by 2022. So far, $167 million has been raised. Student aid is a top priority.
  • Louisiana State University is starting a campaign to raise $1.5 billion for the LSU system by 2025. So far, the system has raised $571.2 million -- with major priorities being the academic and athletic programs at the Baton Rouge campus.
  • Monmouth College has started a campaign to raise $75 million by 2022. Top priorities are the endowment and financial aid. Thus far, more than $45 million has been raised.
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