Inside Higher Ed

Duke president tackled weighty issue of Confederate statue after just weeks on the job

17 hours 50 min ago

Vincent E. Price had been the president of Duke University for 49 days when a statue of Robert. E. Lee was taken out of the entrance to the university chapel this weekend.

In those 49 days, he’d gone from being vaguely aware of the statue’s existence to learning that it was vandalized as Confederate monuments across the country came under a wave of new scrutiny in the days following a violent white supremacist rally around a statue of Lee in Charlottesville, Va. He’d reached out to students, faculty members, alumni, Duke senior leaders and trustees. And he’d decided that Duke’s Lee statue needed to be removed.

“It was clear that a lot of attention was being given to the statue and that the issues that had percolated for some number of years here on campus were rising with a new sense of urgency, and certainly with a heightened visibility,” Price said in a telephone interview Monday, two days after the statue was removed.

Not everyone agreed about what should be done with the statue, Price said. But opinions tended to lean in the way of taking it down in light of its history, the challenges of the moment, safety concerns and as a way to express Duke’s institutional values.

Those values, as Price explained in an email that went out to students, faculty, staff and alumni Saturday, are a “commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred.”

The events of the last week at Duke stand out as a stiff test for a new president at one of the premier private universities not just in the South but in the country. They expose the college presidency’s nature as an executive position that is often less about planned priorities than it is about making difficult decisions under less-than-ideal circumstances and at inopportune times. They also show that presidents seasoned and unseasoned are ultimately defined by the decisions they make.

“I think there are moments that define who we are as a leader,” said Alvin Schexnider, a senior fellow with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and a former chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. “It matters less that you’re in a new position than what you bring to it -- not just in the way of skills and talents and that sort of thing, but what your core values are, what you believe in.”

A New President Faces an Old Statue

Duke has traced the history of the Lee statue back to the late 1920s and early ’30s, when stone carver John Donnelly was trying to decide what figures to carve for the university’s chapel. The building had been designed to echo Europe’s Gothic cathedrals with their entrances flanked by stone carvings of biblical figures and saints. But James B. Duke was a Methodist, so carvings of saints were deemed inappropriate. Eventually, 10 figures from Protestant, Methodist and American Southern history were selected.

They included Lee, who was stationed in stone alongside the country’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, and a Southern poet and musician who died in North Carolina, Sidney Lanier.

A new level of controversy swirled around the Lee statue after white nationalists rallied around a Confederate monument to Lee in Charlottesville earlier this month. On Aug. 14, a crowd toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., just a few miles from Duke’s campus. Then between Aug. 16 and Aug. 17, someone vandalized the statue of Lee at Duke Chapel.

Price only learned that the statue had raised issues at Duke in the past after the events in Charlottesville, he said. He started a historical review of the circumstances under which it was placed at the chapel and began reaching out to university constituencies. Those activities had already started when the statue was vandalized.

The vandalism gave the issue more urgency. Price decided to take the statue down. It will be preserved so students can study Duke’s past.

The events stoked mixed feelings about a number of issues, even among Duke leaders.

The chapel’s defacing was a disappointment, Duke Chapel Dean Luke Powery told The Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C. Powery called it “unfortunate” that the defacing happened rather than a conversation that could still have led to the statue being removed. But it happened, and now he believes it makes sense to look at other carvings and statues on campus.

“I looked at the empty space, and a couple of things came to mind,” Powery said, according to the newspaper. “I saw it as a hole, or a void. But it is a hole that in many ways represents a hole in the heart of the United States and the ongoing struggles of racism, hatred and bigotry -- all the things we’re seeing in our streets. We haven’t come as far as perhaps we thought we had come as a nation.”

Price also decided to create a commission of faculty, students, staff, alumni trustees and members of the Durham community to look at future steps related to the university's history. It’s tasked with examining how Duke memorializes individuals and recommending principles to guide the university through future questions. In addition, the university plans an exhibition in its library, a campus conversation about injustice in Duke’s history and a forum to explore freedom of speech and academic freedom.

“I have every hope that the statue, far from being the end of things, will be the beginning of things,” Price said. “We have to have a clear and unvarnished understanding of where we’ve been to understand where we are today and, most importantly, where we want to go in the future.”

Considering History, Constituents and the Future

The fact that Price is new to the Duke presidency made the decision harder in some ways and easier in others, he said. It made it more difficult to identify thoughtful advisers, because he didn’t have a long history with anyone. Yet it also gave him cause to find such advisers quickly. He also credited a transition process that had brought him up to speed on Duke even before he took over.

Duke is no stranger to controversies wrapped up in matters of race. Perhaps most infamously, its previous president, Richard H. Brodhead, found himself in the middle of a storm of issues surrounding race, gender and athletics just two years into his tenure when a woman accused three members of the university’s lacrosse team of raping her in 2006.

The woman, who was black, had been hired to perform as a dancer at an off-campus party and alleged she was raped by white lacrosse players. Brodhead canceled Duke’s lacrosse season, and the university suspended two of the accused players who had not yet graduated. But prosecutors eventually dropped charges in the matter, and the university eventually settled a lawsuit filed by the former lacrosse players. Some campus groups pushed Brodhead hard to be tough on alleged wrongdoing by athletes, but many alumni accused him of acting too quickly, especially as the case against the athletes unraveled.

That case was, of course, very different from the one surrounding a statue of a Confederate general. Price did not mention it during his interview Monday. But the two situations show how college and university presidents face a wide, unpredictable range of highly charged issues.

The search that led to Price’s hiring was concerned about issues of race and identity, said Peter Feaver, a professor of political science and public policy at Duke who was a member of the search committee that selected Price.

Before starting at Duke, Price had been the provost at the University of Pennsylvania since 2009. At Penn, he was also a professor of communication and political science.

“He had lived it as provost,” Feaver said. “He was very much in the inner circle with the president of Penn. My sense was he was ready on day one.”

In Feaver’s opinion, Price’s handling of the statue issue proves he was ready. Duke might have found itself in a crisis if it were still wrestling with whether to leave the Lee statue standing outside the chapel a month into the semester, Feaver said.

Feaver also pointed out that Price was willing to take advantage of work started by his predecessor. Duke had already begun some processes that were relevant to the statue under its former president, Brodhead. Those included a task force on hate and bias, of which Feaver is a member.

“It’s something for President Price to build on,” Feaver said. “That’s something a less confident leader might have flailed about for a while, and maybe an overconfident leader wouldn’t have taken advantage of the work that’s been done.”

University presidents face an unbelievably complex landscape, according to Dennis Barden, senior partner at the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer. Universities’ different constituencies are diverse, and in some cases, a president will leave someone unhappy no matter what they decide.

“I know out there in the body politic there is a tendency to think of colleges and universities as being peopled by only one side of a particular academic debate, but believe me, they’re not,” Barden said. “There are people who are passionate on every side.”

Duke’s Facebook page is a reflection of that. Reactions to the president’s decision included angry posts from those who said they were alumni who would withhold donations and others who said they approved of the move.

Price acknowledged that alumni and donors were among those he reached out to about the issue of the statue. He also said he knows he will not please every constituency with every decision he makes.

Many different campus constituencies will give a new president good and bad advice in a situation like the one Duke faced, said John Lombardi, former president of the University of Florida and the Louisiana State University System, in an email. Yet sometimes presidents face a very limited number of choices.

That’s true even if new presidents have fresh stores of political capital to draw upon with the trustees whose support they need to do their jobs.

“Duke has had conversations about these issues before, so taking down a statue of Robert E. Lee in this moment of time at Duke in the South is clearly not something that provided a wide range of options,” Lombardi said. “A new president will surely have lots of support because he won't have used up any of his credit in previous controversies, and the trustees and faculty, and at least some significant proportion of vocal students, will also give him the benefit of doing the appropriate thing in this context and this time.”

Duke is hardly alone in grappling with issues of race and monuments that harken to the country’s troubled past. Just this weekend, the University of Texas at Austin removed statues of Lee and other Confederate leaders. Bowdoin College pulled from public space a plaque honoring Jefferson Davis and its alumni who had fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy.

To many, the removal of such public displays is an important step. Yet the issues underneath are unlikely to fall with the statues.

“I’ve been around a long time,” said Schexnider, the former Winston-Salem State chancellor. “In my experience, racism, anti-Semitism, any kind of chauvinism, oftentimes are just beneath the surface. We can remove the monuments, but what else lies ahead?”

Editorial Tags: College administrationImage Caption: Robert E. Lee (center) in Duke Chapel, prior to removal, and President Vincent PriceIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Study of top public universities finds limited faculty diversity, and yet signs of progress -- except for African-Americans in STEM

17 hours 50 min ago

Efforts to diversify the faculty may not be focusing enough on key areas, namely math-based fields -- especially when it comes to black faculty members. And such efforts haven’t led to any premium in pay for those hired to contribute to campus diversity. That’s all according to a new study of faculty representation and wage gaps by race and gender in six major fields at 40 selective public universities.

Consistent with existing research, the study says, black, Hispanic and female professors are underrepresented, while white and Asian professors are overrepresented across disciplines. But nearly all of that can be attributed to underrepresentation of black and Hispanic men and women and women of all backgrounds in the natural sciences, technology, engineering and math, it asserts.

A comparison of senior and junior faculty members suggests increasing diversity over time -- especially in STEM -- except for a key group: black faculty members.

The study attributes observed differences in faculty representation by race and gender to related differences in the number of Ph.D.s in various academic fields, and their backgrounds and experience. Again, though, the exception is black faculty members, who are overrepresented in non-STEM fields relative to Ph.D. production, and underrepresented among STEM faculty relative to Ph.D.s granted.

Those same factors explain some of the disparities by gender, but not all, according to the study.

“If a rationale for policies to improve faculty diversity is to provide role models for underrepresented students, and if it is presumed that students will gravitate toward such role models, the current diversity imbalance in higher education implies that students from underrepresented groups may be nudged toward lower-paying, non-STEM fields,” the study says. “This would serve to perpetuate an already-existing imbalance in the work force, both in academia and the broader labor market.”

A simple takeaway is that “STEM and non-STEM fields exhibit very different diversity conditions, which merits consideration in the design of policies” to increase faculty diversity, the study notes.

“Representation and Salary Gaps by Race-Ethnicity and Gender at Selective Public Universities,” published this month in Educational Researcher, was written by Diyi Li, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and Cory Koedel, an associate professor of economics at Mizzou. They note that their campus, among others, has been a seat of student unrest concerning faculty diversity, or lack thereof: at Mizzou, for example, the Legion of Black Collegians has demanded an increase in the percentage of black faculty and staff members campuswide to 10 percent by this academic year.

Although it is “straightforward to obtain aggregate data on faculty representation at universities,” the authors say, “contemporary policy discussions would benefit from more detailed information.” For example, they say, “it would be useful to know how faculty diversity compares across fields, and whether universities are behaving in a way consistent with placing independent value on a faculty member’s contribution to work-force diversity.”

To inform such questions and conversations, Li and Koedel looked at racial and gender diversity and wage gaps on 40 campuses in six departments they considered “inclusive” of STEM and non-STEM fields: biology, chemistry, and economics; and educational leadership and policy, English, and sociology, respectively. Data were hand collected from public institutions holding top slots in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and concerned mostly tenure-track and tenured professors in the 2015-16 academic year.

Source: Cody Koedel

In addition to finding that that underrepresentation of black, Hispanic and female faculty members is driven by the STEM fields, the paper also says that patterns of racial and gender representation by field generally align with patterns in Ph.D. production. (Doctoral data were taken from the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates.)

Examining faculty representation by rank, the authors found that assistant professors are less likely to be white and more likely to be Asian and Hispanic, and less likely to be male, than associate and full professors. That’s true of all fields, especially those in STEM.

The glaring exception, of course, is that black faculty members are just as underrepresented among junior faculty members as they are among senior faculty in STEM.

Regarding wage gaps, the study says that black and Hispanic male faculty members earn, on average, $10,000 to 15,000 less annually (unadjusted for any factors) than their white counterparts. That’s about 8 to 12 percent over the average wage studied, some $120,195. Adjusted for various factors, however -- namely academic field, experience and research productivity -- the racial wage gap generally disappears.

The unconditional or unadjusted gender gap is even larger, at about $23,000. Controlled for various factors, the wage gap between men and women shrinks to about $4,000 -- but that’s still statistically significant, according to the researchers.

Koedel said Monday that a major takeaway is that underrepresented minority and female faculty members have a much higher representation in lower-paying fields, even when non-tenure-track faculty members (who are disproportionately female and underrepresented minorities) are excluded from the sample.

And of the finding that there's no apparent wage premium for faculty members who increase campus diversity, despite many institutions having launched major campaigns around that goal? Older research did not identify a wage premium, but some may have expected that to change in recent decades, Koedel said.

The study notes that one way to increase faculty diversity in STEM without the ability to offer a premium is to recruit from lower-ranked departments. There’s little evidence that that’s happening thus far, though. Koedel said he didn’t know whether his findings would be different at major private institutions, which presumably would have more flexibility in terms of allocating funds for hires that contribute to diversity goals.

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Facing criticism, Cambridge University Press changes course and won't comply with Chinese government censorship request

17 hours 50 min ago

Cambridge University Press reversed course Monday and restored access to more than 300 journal articles it had blocked from its website in China, after coming under heavy criticism from scholars for caving to a request from Chinese government censors. But even as the press restored access to articles in The China Quarterly, the revelation of another Chinese government request to censor articles in The Journal of Asian Studies, also published by Cambridge, suggests the issue isn’t going away.

Cambridge Press had previously blocked access in China to more than 300 articles in the China Quarterly journal, a key source for scholarship on the nation, in response to what it said was a request from “a Chinese import agency.” The censored articles largely deal with sensitive subjects in China, such as the massacre at Tiananmen Square and the pro-democracy movement, the Cultural Revolution, the restive Xinjiang region, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet.

The press said on Friday it had complied with the request to remove the individual articles so as not to risk having all of its content blocked in China. Scholars accused the press of putting its economic motive of retaining access to the massive Chinese market ahead of academic freedom imperatives. They also accused the press of actively abetting the Chinese government’s project of creating a sanitized narrative of Chinese history and politics by deleting specific articles deemed by government authorities to be unacceptable.

In a statement Monday, the press confirmed it had restored access to the articles. “Following a clear order from its Chinese importer, Cambridge University Press reluctantly took the decision to block, within China, 315 articles in The China Quarterly,” the press said. “This decision was taken as a temporary measure pending discussion with the academic leadership of the University of Cambridge, and pending a scheduled meeting with the Chinese importer in Beijing.”

“The academic leadership of the university has now reviewed this action in advance of the meeting in China later this week,” the press’s statement continues. “Academic freedom is the overriding principle on which the University of Cambridge is based. Therefore, while this temporary decision was taken in order to protect short-term access in China to the vast majority of the press’s journal articles, the university’s academic leadership and the press have agreed to reinstate the blocked content, with immediate effect, so as to uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the university’s work is founded.”

The press did not respond to requests for comment. It is unclear whether any other Cambridge Press content remains blocked in China. A message from the editor of The China Quarterly, Tim Pringle, which circulated widely on social media last week, said that the censorship request involving the journal followed a similar request involving more than 1,000 ebooks published by CUP.

In a statement Monday, Pringle expressed support for the decision by the press to repost the China Quarterly articles. “It comes after a justifiably intense reaction from the global academic community and beyond,” Pringle said.

“Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research,” Pringle said. “It is not the role of respected global publishing houses such as CUP to hinder such access. The China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous, double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity.”

Experts interviewed by Inside Higher Ed described China’s move to censor The China Quarterly content as part of a broader push by the Chinese Communist Party to shrink the space for public discourse and critical writing. Although international, English-language academic publications with highly specialized and small audiences have to a large degree been left alone by government censors to date, that seems to no longer be the case.

The Association for Asian Studies said Monday that it had received notice from Cambridge Press “that a similar request has been made by China’s General Administration of Press and Publications concerning approximately 100 articles from The Journal of Asian Studies, an AAS publication.”

"The officers of the association are extremely concerned about this violation of academic freedom, and the AAS is in ongoing discussions with CUP about how it will respond to the Chinese government. At the present time, no JAS articles have been removed from CUP website search results in China," the association said.

"We oppose censorship in any form and continue to promote a free exchange of academic research among scholars around the world."

It remains to be seen what business consequences Cambridge University Press might experience as a result of the decision to restore access to the censored China Quarterly articles -- and whether all of its content will be blocked from the Chinese internet.

An unsigned op-ed that appeared Sunday in a state-run Chinese paper, The Global Times -- a publication known for its nationalist, aggressive approach -- framed the matter as a question of sovereignty, with China having the right to block information on foreign websites it deems harmful and Western institutions having an obligation to abide by Chinese laws and regulations when operating there. “Western institutions have the freedom to choose,” the editorial said. “If they don't like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China's internet market is so important that they can't miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.”

Scholars offered measured praise of Cambridge Press's decision to reverse course on Monday. “The decision by Cambridge to not help Chinese authorities censor The China Quarterly is a good one,” said Alex Dukalskis, an assistant professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. “Pressure from academics and media coverage undoubtedly helped Cambridge reverse its decision, and Cambridge should be commended for listening. However, the Cambridge statement was not decisive because it did not mention the issue of censored books or how the press would handle censorship demands in the future. The Cambridge episode is a small part of the larger issue of preserving academic freedom as China becomes more powerful and internationalized in the higher ed sector. For example, academics at many universities with Confucius Institutes and active branches of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association have voiced concerns about pressure to self-censor. So, we can celebrate the Cambridge decision for now, but these issues are not going away. Preserving academic freedom on issues that the Chinese Communist Party euphemistically deems ‘sensitive’ will require vigilance.”

Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, offered a similar perspective about the importance of Western academic institutions figuring out how to engage with China. Balding had organized a petition calling on Cambridge to reverse its initial decision on The China Quarterly and raising the specter of boycotts of Cambridge Press and its journals.

“To their credit I fully understand that they’re in a difficult position,” Balding said. “I’m not unsympathetic to where they’re at. I think it was a mistake in the first place to block it, but to their credit I think they’ve come out and said, ‘We’re not going to do this,’ and hopefully this will prompt a conversation in scholarly publishing houses and colleges and universities about how best to engage China going forward. This problem essentially continues to worsen, and there’s very little thought given to how best to manage this situation with China -- and I don’t think continued acquiescence is the right strategy.”

"This is beyond simply within Chinese borders at this point," Balding said. "China is trying to censor all kinds of activity well outside its borders."

"This is not the end of a complex issue," said Greg Distelhorst, an assistant professor of global economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Difficult decisions remain for how academic presses can simultaneously engage with China and maintain their integrity. For example, if all foreign-published scholarship was blocked in China, researchers in China would suffer most. I do not envy Cambridge or other academic presses trying to make policies for this challenging operating environment."

"That said, creating politically sanitized versions of top academic journals -- and worse, publishing those journals under Cambridge's name -- would be a bad policy," Distelhorst said. "I am happy to see Cambridge change course."

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Anthropologist examines how for-profits wrought change among law schools

17 hours 50 min ago

The for-profit college sector and the Obama administration's response to its rapid post-recession growth have been topics of intense debate in higher education. Legal education has played a niche role in the sector. But anthropologist Riaz Tejani, an assistant professor of legal studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, argues that for-profit law schools took advantage of the deregulation of higher ed to turn the issue of access on its head -- opening up a new market for outside investors while creating a bifurcated legal education system, with the for-profit sector serving many nonwhite, low-income students who were not earning spots in traditional law schools.

Tejani taught for three years at a for-profit law school, an experience he incorporated into his just-published study of legal education, Law Mart: Justice, Access and For-Profit Law Schools (Stanford University Press).

While at the law school, which he refers to with the pseudonym New Delta School of Law in his book, Tejani says he began to observe "curious mutations" in the delivery of higher education to students. He began the active research -- mainly interviews -- for his study after leaving the school.

Q: What are the outcomes for students like at these law schools?

A: The outcomes are not good. They aren't universally bad -- there are just enough graduates getting public-sector and small-firm jobs to say these are possible. But the global outcome metrics are some of the lowest in the ABA-[accredited] schools -- low bar passage and low grad income rates. As I said, this could be factored into tuition pricing (discounting for risk) or federal loan availability. But they so far haven't been. The [percentage of] people getting top corporate firm salaries that would justify full tuition [is] very small to negligible. This is true across the board, but especially acute in a start-up law school aiming to remedy the "justice gap." There is in effect a risk premium being charged for professional access.

Importantly, outcomes at the school I observed were actually pretty high initially, prior to a wave of extreme growth just before the enrollment bubble burst. At that time some senior professors were saying "pump the brakes," but they were ignored or dismissed. Almost exactly three years later, bar outcomes crashed. The drop was something like 90 to 30 percent.

Q: You acknowledge in the book that for-profit law schools are a small subset of legal education and for-profit higher education. But you also say they’re kind of a bellwether for for-profit education and higher ed more broadly. Why is that?

A: A lot of it has to do with timing. They came into emergence just before, No. 1, the big skepticism about higher education generally, especially public financing of it. And, two, before a huge wave of innovation, particularly technical innovation, was brought in to try to address the first problem. They came in early on and started studying new techniques for delivering education in general and professional education in particular.

Because they come at it with a huge financial resource pool, they have the capacity to study what’s coming up on the horizon and what new techniques are available. So the timing is such that they’re early adopters of high-technology delivery as well as other teaching best practices that are intended to streamline legal education. They’re able to adopt and implement a lot of those techniques, and then you have the onset of the Great Recession.

You have the financial bubble from a global perspective, and then you have the fallout within the legal services industry and the law school industry. It's at that point that other law schools start to emulate [for-profits] either directly by looking at how for-profits are able to sustain themselves independent from state subsidies, for example, and other kinds of things or independent of a larger state university system. Or, indirectly, they see these techniques taking over across the sector and adopt that. There comes about a wave of new best practices in delivering higher ed and professional education for which these for-profit law schools are on the leading edge in adopting.

Q: You say for-profit law has opened access to students from socioeconomic backgrounds or academic backgrounds who haven’t traditionally been able to pursue legal education at prestigious programs. But that's also meant that diversity is concentrated among lower-ranking programs. What does that say about the promises of market-based access that you say has replaced more traditional access programs, like affirmative action?

A: The key thing to understand about neoliberal access is that you still have the promise of mainstream inclusion and upward mobility -- all the things you traditionally think of when you think about access -- socioeconomic and educational access. Those promises are still there. In fact, they’re a big part of what sells the project either internally to investors or externally to students. And so, it’s this dual marketing of access. It’s neoliberal in the sense that it places a significant limit on the degree of inclusion, the amount of inclusion and mobility, that groups taking part in it are actually able to achieve.

It essentially further bifurcates the profession and the educational sector into high and low tiers. Now, that bifurcation has already been there. And my senior colleagues studying the sociology of the legal profession have pointed this out for a long time. But what's new here is, first of all, a greater realization of that duality, and secondly this financialization of it -- this project to make it financially profitable to outside investors, to render access in this way.

So it’s this combination of three or four things all going on at the same time that makes this different from previous efforts to grant access. The important thing to remember here -- other writers and experts on this, of which there are not many, but the few people who have written on this have called this the “law school scam” pretty explicitly. The problem is it's not a scam, specifically. It's just taking the broader logic of the system that we’ve created to a further extension or to its next logical point, which is to turn access into a for-profit venture.

Q: When you say the further logic of the system, do you mean the legal education system as a market?

A: I mean both legal education and higher education. Let’s walk backwards through history. Once upon a time, ethnoracial, socioeconomic minorities had little to no access to higher education and certainly not just law but other learned professions in the West. And then you have the opening up of access through what become affirmative action programs. And you have resentment about that, backlash to that throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and a rollback of meaningful affirmative action.

So what’s left, essentially? On the one hand, there is a need for “diversity” and access, but on the other hand there’s not really public state-sponsored support for that. So what’s left is a private industry, private market approach to rendering access. It’s at that point that you see the kinds of practices and kinds of abuses I think that this case study represents.

Q: You found for-profit law schools advertise themselves as meeting this demand for legal services in underserved areas or communities. But some of the students you spoke with reported that perceptions of their programs appeared to hurt their career prospects. How does prestige in the legal market undermine their hopes of meeting unmet needs in their communities or for just furthering their own careers?

A: The overlay of rigid status hierarchy and prestige hierarchies have for a long time limited the prospects of students coming out of some schools versus others. It’s just [been] a latent part of the legal profession for a long time. The problem is that -- among many other problems -- is that schools in the so-called fourth tier, or “unranked tier” -- now people talk about a fifth tier at the very bottom -- really try to downplay the significance of that hierarchy.

So, just within this for-profit that I studied, you have overt marketing and internal policy attempts to downplay or minimize the importance of what the hierarchy is going to look like on the outside. In other words, the effort of the school is focused solely on getting students in and probably getting them graduated and potentially getting them past the bar. Those three things are their bread and butter, because they affect all their metrics, which affect accreditation. But what’s ignored is the realities of practice on the outside.

What's striking to me is the lengths to which a school like this will say, “Hierarchy and prestige don’t matter -- it's whatever you want to be.” So suddenly, the students are somehow themselves set free, unleashed, to be whatever they want to be and their destinies are unfettered by sociology, when, in fact, it’s just not true.

It’s nice and it’s aspirational but the reality if you're being perfectly honest with students is that they will face obstacles on the way out. And students do succeed. There’s a fraction that make it into assistant attorney general positions, public defender positions. But the problem is the notion that you have unlimited upward mobility just by having the J.D. in your hand, rather than understanding and recognizing the social and cultural implications of where you got that from and the long-term effects of that.

The downplaying of the significance of those things allows the institution to charge premium tuition. Because, if you were going to truly value and assess your degree based on what benefits it will bring in the long term, then you have to discount the price of what the J.D. should cost students coming out of a school like that. If you want to create from scratch new law schools to improve access to justice and to get marginalized communities into the legal profession, we have to recognize that (a) they're going to be probably held back by the novelty of the school itself, the lack of prestige and (b) the tuition should account for that. The value of the degree over the long term should be priced into the tuition, and that’s why making it for-profit is somehow inimical to the access-to-justice mission.

Q: You observe that legal education programs are priced roughly the same no matter what their ranking is or what kind of success their graduates find. There's at least one credit-rating agency that’s based ratings of programs on a gainful-employment basis. But you say that uncritically evaluating legal education on a market basis misses a moral component of the role that legal education plays. How should that inform the work of policy makers and regulators who oversee these programs?

A: In an earlier version of the book, I had a section laying out several different policy solutions, but we rolled those back -- partly because the sector is changing so quickly and things are moving as we speak. So that some of the things I was initially suggesting are coming to be or at least are on the table.

You could implement a policy that the Department of Education set up a system of three or four tiers of schools based on creditworthiness and then cap the maximum amount of funds that it will disburse to students attending those schools based on creditworthiness. That seems like the most logical way to, on the one hand, keep public finance flowing so that students can attend wherever they want to. That was the original purpose of this -- to give full autonomy to students in these decisions.

But, on the other hand, there’s a massive information asymmetry where schools know the value of the degree they're generating but the students don’t ahead of time. So, whatever funding regulator is there -- in this case, the Department of Education -- it could set down what it’s willing to pay or loan, let’s say, what it’s willing to lend out in the present. Just as a matter of protecting the students over the long haul, because they’re the ones paying it back. Or the taxpayers who would be liable if there’s a default.

Q: Do you see this study as a call for more active regulation of this market?

A: Yes, I’d say unequivocally. Although, like I just said a moment ago, it holds back on being too explicit with policy suggestions, partly because methodologically what it's meant to be is a descriptive account, a case study of what can go wrong in the absence of robust oversight. So it wants to do that job well and it doesn't want to overstep too much. It's teasing out this long debate between free marketeers and social protectionism.

This goes way back -- and the key economic anthropologist on this is Karl Polanyi -- but there's this long historical debate between, should the market decide and should we just unfetter the market so that it can sanitize the sector, eliminate underperforming actors -- basically shining sunlight onto a disease. Or, do we need state intervention of a kind of that laypeople would think of as social democracy or socialist type of intervention -- basically controlling the market in a way that drastically limits what transactions institutions can enter into with their students but always with social protectionism in mind, with the idea that there is an asymmetry in the power relationship between, let's say, a student who is fresh out of college and needs to borrow $200,000 over the next three years, and is promised a certain upward mobility for doing that, or on the part of an institution that can really better assess whether that's true or not and, in most cases, knows that it's not.

Q: The Department of Education indicated recently that it might restore access to Title IV funds to Charlotte School of Law, a for-profit in North Carolina, after it was cut off by the Obama administration for admitting too many students unlikely to succeed and pass the bar. (Subsequently, the law school closed its doors.) Should the Trump administration's handling of this case be seen as indicative of its commitment to regulating the sector?

A: Absolutely, yeah, I think that’s a red flag right there, in part because if you contextualize it a little bit, you see that the secretary of education has a number of loose entanglements with that for-profit corporation that owns several of the law schools. So, I believe her consultant who assisted in her bid for the education secretary position was subsequently hired by, if not this for-profit legal ed company, then one of its partners in, I believe, in Florida. That's one thing.

The second thing you can point to is the partnership of one of these for-profit subsidiary schools with a historically black college and university in Florida and then the subsequent commencement address by the secretary of education to that historically black college.

Those two superficial connections are indicative of a deeper interplay between public and private interests. In a major way, that’s a subtext of what my book is talking about. But this has been going on for a couple of decades, and it's just the most recent and high-profile example of this back-and-forth between the private entity that we’re worried about and the so-called watchdogs in the government, in the regulatory community, who are supposed to be at the wheel.

Q: From your observations, how did for-profit law schools find creative ways to come into compliance with regulations when the pool of applicants for legal education tightened up?

A: I’ll give you just one quick example, which is fairly widespread now. This may be one of our examples where back to your earlier question about how is this a bellwether and in what sense was it on the leading edge. Law schools began hiring their own graduates to work as tutors or some other function within the school and could call that academic employment. This started about eight to 10 years ago, I believe.

The ABA then developed new reporting requirements for employment. They require schools to report data on outcomes. They changed the reporting requirements for employment outcomes to capture that distinction between true external employment and this internal kind of fluffing up of employment statistics. The school I studied very much took up that practice and subsequently did have to report on that. And then just most recently it's become so widespread that I guess some of these schools must have lobbied the ABA to relax the reporting requirement once again.

Just in the last few weeks, there's been a big debate among legal education policy folks, people at the ABA, to unravel and go back to this earlier lax reporting requirement. And then the transparency movement, all these activists working on this, reacted badly to that and said no, no, this is an important requirement. So that was one of the practices, one of the things I would point to.

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Beloit releases annual mind-set list to help us understand new generation of freshmen

17 hours 50 min ago

Each fall, faculty members and administrators find themselves flummoxed when first-year students give them blank looks about some cultural reference that once seemed universal. To help out academics who are not quite as in touch with student culture as they once were, Beloit College publishes an annual mind-set list to promote understanding of the new students. (A Views essay today seeks to provide such a list about faculty members.)

Here is this year's list for the Class of 2021.

  • Their classmates could include Eddie Murphy’s daughter Zola and Mel Gibson’s son Tommy, or Jackie Evancho singing down the hall.
  • They are the last class to be born in the 1900s, the last of the Millennials -- enter next year, on cue, Generation Z!
  • They are the first generation for whom a phone has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph and research library.
  • Electronic signatures have always been as legally binding as the pen-on-paper kind.
  • In college, they will often think of themselves as consumers who’ve borrowed a lot of money to be there.
  • eHarmony has always offered an algorithm for happiness.
  • Peanuts comic strips have always been repeats.
  • They have largely grown up in a floppy-less world.
  • They have never found Mutual Broadcasting or Westinghouse Group W on the radio dial, but XM has always offered radio programming for a fee.
  • There have always been emoji to cheer us up.
  • The Panama Canal has always belonged to Panama and Macau has been part of China.
  • It is doubtful that they have ever used or heard the high-pitched whine of a dial-up modem.
  • They were never able to use a Montgomery Ward catalog as a booster seat.
  • Donald Trump has always been a political figure, as a Democrat, an Independent and a Republican.
  • Zappos has always meant shoes on the internet.
  • They are the first generation to grow up with Watson outperforming Sherlock.
  • Amazon has always invited consumers to follow the arrow from A to Z.
  • Their folks have always been able to get reward points by paying their taxes to the IRS on plastic.
  • In their lifetimes, BlackBerry has gone from being a wild fruit to being a communications device to becoming a wild fruit again.
  • They have always been searching for Pokemon.
  • They may choose to submit a listicle in lieu of an admissions essay.
  • Dora the Explorer and her pet monkey, Boots, helped to set them on the course of discovery.
  • The seat of Germany’s government has always been back in Berlin.
  • JetBlue has always been a favorite travel option, but the Concorde has been permanently grounded.
  • By the time they entered school, laptops were outselling desktops.
  • There has never been a Coliseum in New York, but there has always been a London Eye on the Thames.
  • Once on campus, they will find that college syllabi, replete with policies about disability, nondiscrimination and learning goals, might be longer than some of their reading assignments.
  • As toddlers they may have dined on some of that canned food hoarded in case of Y2K.
  • An ophthalmologist named Bashar al-Assad has always provided vision for the Syrian military.
  • Whatever the subject, there’s always been a blog for it.
  • U.S. Supreme Court decisions have always been available at its website.
  • Globalization has always been both a powerful fact of life and a source of incessant protest.
  • One out of four Major League Baseball players has always been born outside the United States.
  • Carl Sagan has always had his own crater on Mars.
  • A movie scene longer than two minutes has always seemed like an eternity.
  • The Latin music industry has always had its own Grammy Awards.
  • Ketchup has always come in green.
  • They have only seen a Checker Cab in a museum.
  • Men have always shared a romantic smooch on television.
  • They never got to see Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Stein co-host a quiz show or Dennis Miller provide commentary for the NFL.
  • As toddlers, they may have taught their grandparents how to Skype.
  • The image of Sacagawea has always adorned the dollar coin, if you can find one.
  • Having another child has always been a way to secure matching tissue to heal an older sibling.
  • There have always been Latino players on the ice in the NHL.
  • Napster has always been evolving.
  • Nolan Ryan has always worn his Texas Rangers cap in Cooperstown, while Steve Young and Dan Marino have always been watching football from the sidelines.
  • The BBC has always had a network in the U.S. where they speak American.
  • There has never been a sanctioned Texas A&M bonfire.
  • There has always been a Monster in their corner when looking for a job.
  • Wikipedia has steadily gained acceptance by their teachers.
  • Justin Timberlake has always been a solo act.
  • U.S. professional baseball teams have always played in Cuba.
  • Barbie and American Girl have always been sisters at Mattel.
  • Family Guy is the successor to the Father Knows Best they never knew.
  • Motorola and Nokia have always been incredibly shrinking giants.
  • Melissa has always been too nice a name to be attached to a computer macrovirus.
  • The Mars Polar Lander has always been lost.
  • Women have always scaled both sides of Everest and rowed across the Atlantic.
  • Bill Clinton has always been Hillary Clinton’s aging husband.
  • Archaeologists have always imagined dinosaurs with colorful plumage.
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Colleges start and complete capital campaigns

17 hours 50 min ago

Starting Off

  • Central New Mexico Community College has started a campaign to raise $20 million by 2020. Priorities include job-training programs and efforts to increase completion rates.
  • College of Wooster, in a private campaign since 2013, announced the public phase of a campaign to raise $165 million by June 30, 2018. Top priorities include student aid, academic strength, experiential education and the life sciences.

Finishing Up

  • Duke University has raised $3.85 billion over seven years. The campaign funds will finance, among other things, 85 new endowed professorships.
  • George Washington University has raised $1.02 billion over six years, topping the $1 billion goal a year early. More than $177 million will support student aid.

Has your college started or completed a campaign? Email info and links to editor@insidehighered.com.

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Cambridge University Press blocks access to 300-plus articles on request of Chinese censors

Mon, 2017-08-21 07:00

UPDATE: On Monday morning, The China Quarterly's editor posted to Twitter a statement saying Cambridge University Press officials had pledged to repost the articles that were removed. Anger over the removal of the articles is the subject of the article that follows. Inside Higher Ed will have additional coverage Tuesday morning. The following is the tweet from the journal's editor.

China Quarterly Editor's statement: Cambridge University Press to unblock censored material today. pic.twitter.com/5GwnpnNVj3

— The China Quarterly (@chinaquarterly) August 21, 2017

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

In a major concession to Chinese government censors, Cambridge University Press blocked access in China to more than 300 articles and reviews in the journal The China Quarterly, which Cambridge publishes. Many of the articles that were censored have titles that touch on sensitive issues in China, such as the massacre at Tiananmen Square and the pro-democracy movement, the Cultural Revolution, the restive Xinjiang region, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet.

“We can confirm that we received an instruction from a Chinese import agency to block individual articles from The China Quarterly within China,” Cambridge University Press said in a statement on Friday. “We complied with this initial request to remove individual articles, to ensure that other academic and educational materials we publish remain available to researchers and educators in this market.”

The press’s statement continues, “We are aware that other publishers have had entire collections of content blocked in China until they have enabled the import agencies to block access to individual articles. We do not, and will not, proactively censor our content and will only consider blocking individual items (when requested to do so) when the wider availability of content is at risk.”

The press's statement also references "the recent increase in requests of this nature." A letter from the editor of The China Quarterly that was shared extensively on social media said the request regarding the journal followed a similar request involving more than 1,000 ebooks published by Cambridge.

Many China scholars criticized Cambridge University Press's decision to comply with the Chinese customs agency’s censorship request, and faulted the press for prioritizing its continued access to the massive Chinese market ahead of academic freedom imperatives. CUP’s most recent annual report describes having achieved “double-digit year-on-year growth in China for the last five years through close collaboration with Chinese publishers, large private education service providers, leading foreign language schools and new education technology companies.” Cambridge University Press has many lines of business, and it is not clear whether the double-digit growth refers only to the company's English-language teaching business (the topic of the section of the report where the reference to growth appeared). 

“Clearly, they put their economic interests ahead of their principles,” said James Leibold, an associate professor of Chinese politics at La Trobe University, in Melbourne, Australia. “Obviously with the rise of China, it has increasing weight both in terms of economic weight but also ideological weight in the world. We need to engage with China, but at the same time as we engage with it, we’re confronted -- probably even on a daily basis -- with little decisions about how we engage with China. Do we make some compromises of our principles?”

“In this case the decision was to compromise what I think should be CUP’s principle of academic freedom,” said Leibold. He described the press's decision as “shameful.”

“The press is participating in creating a sanitized partial history of China,” said Greg Distelhorst, an assistant professor of global economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Distelhorst co-authored a statement with Jessica C. Weiss, an associate professor of government at Cornell University, urging the press to reconsider its decision and arguing that the very prestige of The China Quarterly -- which they described as "pre-eminent in the field of China studies" -- is "precisely why publishing a censored edition in China will cause so much harm."

"Chinese students and scholars reading a censored version of The China Quarterly will encounter only historical facts and scholarly analyses approved by political authorities. Worse, Chinese readers will learn the sanitized history directly form the official website of Cambridge University Press," Distelhorst and Weiss’s statement says.

In an open letter published on Medium, James A. Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University, described CUP's decision as "a craven, shameful and destructive concession to the PRC’s growing censorship regime. It is also needless."

"Cambridge University Press’s current concession is akin to The New York Times or The Economist letting the Chinese Communist Party determine what articles go into their publications -- something they have never done," Millward wrote. "It would be unimaginable for these media to instead collaborate with PRC party censors to excise selected content from their daily or weekly editions. Rather, NYT and The Economist are banned in their entirety -- but they remain whole. There are not incomplete, scissored-up, CCP versions of The New York Times or The Economist online in China. In a similar fashion, Google chose to pull out of China rather than let its searches be CCP-screened and selectively blocked. Cambridge University Press, on the other hand, is agreeably donning the hospital gown, untied in the back, baring itself to the Chinese scalpel, and crying 'cut away!' But even this metaphor fails, since CUP is actually assisting, like a surgical nurse, in its own evisceration. The result is a misleading, neutered simulacrum of China Quarterly for the China market."

Another scholar offered an alternative view. "As an #academic & library liaison working in #China, I welcome @CUPAcademic's position to ensure majority of content still available," Mike Gow, a teaching fellow in humanities and social science at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, said on Twitter.

“I share the concerns expressed by many about the implications of censorship,” Gow said via email. “CUP are clearly in between a rock and a hard place on this issue, and I think it’s a lose-lose situation for them. However, the alternative to compliance, where CUP would withdraw from the Chinese market, would seriously impact both research and teaching across the arts, humanities and STEM subjects in China. So from my own perspective, as an academic who works, teaches and researches in China, the CUP decision is the better decision: it doesn’t restrict as much as it guarantees the availability of teaching and research materials. Apparently a catalog of [50,000] books and 380 academic journals would otherwise be unavailable.”

The editor of The China Quarterly, Tim Pringle, said in a phone interview that members of the journal’s editorial board weren’t involved in the decision to block access to the content. “As you can see from the statement that CUP put out, they were instructed to remove 300 articles and book reviews or risk the entirety of their content. That was the decision they made. We weren’t involved with that decision; we were informed of it afterwards,” Pringle said.

Pringle said his next priorities are to gain a greater understanding of how the censorship order came about and at what level and in which agency of the Chinese government it originated. Cambridge press officials plan to meet with Chinese government officials at the Beijing Book Fair to discuss the censorship requests this week (a spokesperson for China’s embassy in the U.S. did not respond to an emailed request from Inside Higher Ed for comment).

“Once we are completely aware of that process and who made the decision, then we will be in a stronger position of making a call of how we best promote academic freedom in China,” said Pringle, who emphasized that The China Quarterly’s selection and review process will not change at all.

“This does appear to be a reflection of a narrowing of the space for public engagement across Chinese society,” said Pringle. “I think it fits with how academic freedoms have been narrowed in China over the past three, five years.”

Others echoed that point.

“I think it is part of a broader pattern,” said Kingsley Edney, a lecturer in politics and international relations of China at the University of Leeds, who studies China’s management of information and propaganda in a global context. “This is the kind of issue faced by lots of companies or institutions that are dealing with China. Google had to deal with a similar situation where they were forced to choose between complying with the censorship rules or essentially being shut down, but as far as academic publications go, traditionally that’s been, I wouldn’t say a bastion of free speech, but it’s certainly an area that has traditionally been left alone for the most part -- particularly foreign, English-language academic publications, because the audience for these articles is so small. It is very unusual to be taken quite so far.”

“It’s a very difficult situation because I think that ideally you take a stand there and you say these are the values of our company, this is the full offering of what we publish and take it or leave it -- but it’s very difficult for a company to just leave,” Edney continued. “Google decided that it wasn’t worth it to continue censoring; they decided that the reputation costs to them were too great. I would hope that universities and university presses would similarly weigh out the reputational risks of complying as well as the direct financial costs.”

“Cambridge University Press is damaging its reputation, and damaging its business to some extent in that way,” he said.

H. Christoph Steinhardt, an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for China Studies, suggested a number of possible or intended effects of the government’s move to censor the articles.

CQ is a specialist journal read inside China by a tiny circle of academics and policy researchers,” Steinhardt said via email. “These people have the capacity to get around online blocks. They also have sophisticated opinions that are broadly aware of all the issues researched in CQ articles, but range from highly critical to highly supportive of the Chinese government. Thus, if the intended effect was to change the thinking of this group, it will certainly not work. Blocking access will neither change their ability to read these articles, nor make them more supportive of the state. By contrast, virtually all opinions by Chinese scholars I have read in various WeChat discussion groups and heard privately ranged from bewilderment to outrage.”

That said, Steinhardt suggested this could send a message to Chinese scholars about what they themselves publish. “There has been a tacit understanding among scholars in China that certain research should not be discussed in public, but can to an extent be published in Chinese academic journals and internal publications/discussions (this space has been shrinking substantially recently),” he said. “Publications in English-language academic journals have been regarded as more or less unaffected by the boundaries of discourse within China. The policy now signals to Chinese scholars that English-language publications will be monitored more closely. It will most likely deter more Chinese scholars from researching the domains affected in this specific measure (Tiananmen, Mao era, Cultural Revolution, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, etc.), and aiming for publication in English journals. If this is the intended effect, I suspect it will work.”

“A similar potential intended signal is to let scholars outside of China know that touching these topics may invite negative consequences,” Steinhardt added. “But again, this has already been well-known among such scholars and is unlikely to alter their research strategies.”

In a blog post, Jonathan Sullivan, the director of the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute and a member of The China Quarterly's executive board, wrote that his major concern is that the move against the journal and CUP "sets a precedent for further articles to be blocked or for other China studies journals to face similar restrictions … One fears that targeting CQ could be the precursor of a concerted effort to influence work published in the West on topics the Chinese government deems unpalatable."

"This is not the first time Beijing has leveraged the economic power of the Chinese market for political gains," Sullivan wrote. "The fear is that it won’t be the last time that Western academia is the target. China’s influence in Western academia has increased as a result of the economic power of overseas Chinese students and funding for academic institutions, including via the conduit of Confucius Institutes. This influence has been leveraged to prevent events on campuses by speakers like the Dalai Lama, who are persona non grata in China. Academic institutions in the West need to be vigilant about potential threats to academic freedom. If, for example, the Chinese authorities, through various means of influence, deter Western researchers from working on topics Beijing deems ‘sensitive,’ it would be enormously damaging for the integrity of Western academia. Numerous scholars have been refused visas to China because of their work, a symbolic threat that is particularly pernicious for junior scholars fearful of the effects of doing 'sensitive' research."

One prominent scholar who has been refused visas to return to China since the mid-’90s, Perry Link, said via email that, odd as it might seem, “this event can be seen as good news. The CCP’s elite families have been moving for two decades, and accelerating in the last few years, to domesticate China’s people through 1) censorship of information, 2) indoctrination instead of education and 3) intimidation. Abroad, their goal is to extend their power globally, largely through economic power but with military adventures, I’m afraid, only five or 10 years away. Their goal is be No. 1.”

"The West just isn't getting it about this clear trend," said Link, a distinguished professor and the Chancellorial Chair for Teaching Across Disciplines at the University of California, Riverside. "Kim Jong-un is a small problem compared to what Beijing has in store for the world. For the Cambridge University Press to suppose that it can send some people to the Beijing Book Fair and talk anybody out of the long-term trend that the CCP elite has set is naïve in the extreme. It is also emblematic of what many people, including academics, in the West like to cling to."

"So why is the bald censorship good news?" he continued. "Because it might get at least a few more people to perceive what is really going on. For that, the sooner the better."

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The internet can be a brutal place for women in economics, paper finds

Mon, 2017-08-21 07:00

Several recent studies suggest women have a harder time than men making career inroads in economics: female economists take longer to have their papers accepted by journals, for example, and they get relatively fewer tenure-track jobs. A new working paper is notable, then, in that it appears to shed light on some of the attitudes and stereotyping working against them.

The paper, by Alice H. Wu, a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, who is currently a research specialist at Princeton University and in 2018 will begin doctoral studies at Harvard University, investigates gendered language used on the popular Economics Job Market Rumors forum.

Using methods from text mining, machine learning and econometrics, Wu analyzed more than a million posts on the website over two years. Over all, she found that conversations between anonymous parties on the forum become significantly less academic and professionally oriented -- namely, more personal and skewed toward physical appearance -- when women are mentioned.

Using her own classification system, Wu counted the number of academic or professional words and personal or physical words in each post. On average, posts specifically about women contained 43 percent fewer academic or professional terms and 192 percent more terms about personal information or physical attributes.


Source: Alice Wu

On gender-related posts, words most strongly associated with women are mostly inappropriate, Wu says. “The occurrence of these words in a forum that was meant to be academic and professional exposes the issues of explicit biases in social media.” Top examples of such words are "hotter," "hot," “attractive,” “pregnant,” “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” “tits,” “lesbian,” “bang” and “horny.” By contrast, the list of top words associated with men includes references to sexual orientation but also "philosopher," "keen," "motivated," "slides," "Nordic" and "textbook."

It's well-known that such terms are frequently used to describe women online, but the site Wu studied is mostly used by economics graduate students and Ph.D.s, not a general audience.

Analyzing comment threads, not just individual posts, Wu also found that conversations focusing on women show similar patterns. Posts also tend to deviate more drastically from being academic or professional if the prior post is related to women.

Confining her analysis to discussions of high-profile economists (based on the Research Papers in Economics index), Wu also found some evidence that women receive more attention than their male counterparts.

Wu says in her paper that gender stereotyping can be subtle, making it difficult to measure. Moreover, she says, people tend to hold back on their beliefs due to a desire to appear politically correct. So the anonymity of the Rumors site “provides a natural setting to study the existence and extent of gender stereotyping in this academic community online.”

Results suggest the need “for changes to maintain an inclusive online environment for everyone in the academic community,” Wu wrote. “The casual setting of this online forum cannot be an excuse for gender stereotyping conversations, and the freedom to express one’s opinions anonymously should not be abused to create a sense of isolation, which can be discouraging and harmful to the academic and professional development of all genders.”

Wu said Saturday that she first heard about the forum from friends who were curious about comments about prominent economists, and that she was “shocked” when she saw some of the remarks about women. So she became interested in trying to quantify what was happening.

Asked about how her findings might translate to campus, Wu said she was optimistic that commenters on the forum aren't representative of the field, and that “things will get better as we discuss the issues openly.”

David Card, Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at Berkeley and Wu’s thesis adviser, said he also hoped commenters don't reflect the views of the profession as a whole. But it doesn’t take “a large fraction of hostile colleagues to affect the environment,” he said. Card noted, for example, how the recent remarks of a now former Google employee alleging that women are inherently less suited for work in tech roiled the industry.

“All it takes is one person making disparaging comments to set a negative tone that may cause some young women to opt out of the field,” he said. “In my experience people who assert statements like that are often immune to evidence or rational argument, and envision themselves as superior beings who are more enlightened than the rest of us.”

Erin Hengel, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Liverpool, published the paper on delayed publication timelines for women earlier this year. Specifically, she found that women spend two years getting their papers past peer review and into journals, compared to about 18 months for men. That’s despite her additional finding that women’s papers were more readable both before and after peer review. Hengel said this week that if Wu’s paper “reflects the opinion of even a minority in the field, it suggests female economists still struggle professionally with being taken seriously.”

Coupled with her own findings, Hengel said Wu’s research also suggests women lose valuable work time responding to extra scrutiny. When female economists are called out by colleagues, either in peer review or an anonymous online forum, she said, “they’ll spend more time perfecting their papers and less time writing new papers. This certainly impacts the quantity of their output.” And unless that conscientiousness is appropriately rewarded, via higher acceptance rates (which they’re not), “women are at a disadvantage in the academic job market.”

While economics remains a field with relatively few women, there’s nothing in Wu’s research to suggest that the field is worse (or better) than others in terms of stereotyping of women. Indeed, the internet in general is a harsh place for women, and women professors. An analysis of Rate My Professors, for example, found that words such as "smart" and "intellect" are more likely to be used in ratings of men than women, and "genius" is more likely to be used to describe male than female professors in all 25 disciplines for which data were available.

Words more likely to be found in reviews of women, meanwhile, included “bossy,” “nurturing” and “strict.” The same was true of fashion-related words, such as “frumpy” and “stylish.”

Still, some have criticized the economics forum in the past for allowing targeted discussions of women. One such critic is Melissa S. Kearney, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland at College Park, who thanked Wu on Twitter this week for her work.

Here's the thing: we women will keep researching, writing, advising, teaching, & reviewing. Bc we ❤️ econ & that's what we do. @AEACSWEP

— Melissa S. Kearney (@kearney_melissa) August 19, 2017

Economics Job Market Rumors reposted moderation guidelines after numerous on-site references to Wu's article -- some of them critical, and some of them laudatory. 

Via email, an unnamed administrator for the forum said Wu’s paper “shows that we can do a better job in the economics profession, and [the forum] will definitely do its part to assist with this.”

The site has a “very strong policy against sexism, racism and homophobia,” which is enforced by a team of male and female moderators and a trained bot, the administrator said. "We have improved things dramatically over recent years, with moderation becoming stronger and user attitudes starting to move in the right direction.”

At the same time, users of the forum “recognize the enormous value that the site provides to people in the economics profession,” the administrator said. In addition to offering information on the job market and current research, the administrator added, the site has helped to strengthen scientific rigor in economics by identifying errors and highlighting conflicts of interests in major papers. 

Hengel said Econjobrumors.com “is not without merit,” in that, if “you’re willing to wade through a lot of junk, you will find many thoughtful posts — some of which were really helpful to me when I was on the job market."

Unfortunately, she said, it “likely comes at a cost, by placing a disproportionate burden on women and other minorities that I’m glad is finally being talked about.”

Jeffrey R. Brown, the Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and dean of the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wrote on his blog that it would be easy to dismiss Wu's findings "on 'intellectual' grounds," since there is little doubt that there is "sample selection bias in favor of trolls and malcontents." 

That's beside the point, however, he said, adding, "This should not be happening at all, and senior, tenured, visible economists – especially we men who numerically dominate the profession – have a shared responsibility to change it."

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Charlottesville fallout: Student says he was kicked out of a college for participating

Mon, 2017-08-21 07:00

As college students were identified as participants in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month, there seemed to be little that their institutions could do about it. Although they received calls from other students and communities to discipline or expel students involved, Washington State University and the University of Nevada, Reno, were bound to protect their students' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

Not so at private colleges, however, where at least one student has been kicked out, and another has voluntarily left after he says he received death threats.

Pensacola Christian College kicked out student Allen Armentrout after he was photographed standing in front of the Robert E. Lee statue at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Confederate flag in hand, three days after the "Unite the Right" rally took place. Armentrout did not attend the rally, where white nationalists and white supremacists shouted racist and anti-Semitic chants and violence broke out, culminating in the death of a woman when a protester drove his car through a crowd of counterprotesters. Instead, Armentrout said he went to the park after the rally to honor Lee.

"I have been released from my school and will be unable to return to college to finish my senior year," Armentrout told local media. "I'm processing this and making adjustments to my life to compensate for this scrutiny."

Armentrout was photographed wearing a Confederate uniform and carrying a Confederate flag, saluting a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. He said neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan were distorting the history of the American South, and that Lee was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

"I believe a Christian institution should support patriotic individuals who want to stand for American tradition and beliefs. It really hurts me a lot when you try to do what's right and you get attacked," said Armentrout.

Pensacola Christian College still took issue, although it hasn’t been releasing information on the matter, citing privacy policies in place to protect students. Pensacola did not return a request for comment from Inside Higher Ed.

Nicholas Fuentes, an 18-year-old at Boston University, is leaving after having started a degree in political science -- of his own volition, The Boston Globe reported. Fuentes, who denied being a white nationalist and said he rejects Nazism, said the rally was about protesting “immigration, multiculturalism and postmodernism.” He said he has received threats that make it impossible to stay at the university.

“The rally was about not replacing white people,” he said.

On Friday, Aug. 11, protesters chanted, “You will not replace us,” and “Jews will not replace us.”

“You can call us racists, white supremacists, Nazis and bigots. You can disavow us on social media from your cushy Campus Reform job,” he said in a Facebook post. “But you will not replace us. The rootless transnational elite knows that a tidal wave of white identity is coming. And they know that once the word gets out, they will not be able to stop us. The fire rises!”

Neither Fuentes nor Boston University responded to requests for comment.

But calls from community members that students be kicked out aren’t the only demands universities are facing. In addition to renewed calls for Confederate statues and monuments to be removed, the University of Virginia -- where protesters in Charlottesville marched, torches in hand -- is facing calls to revoke the degrees of notable alumni behind the rally.

Richard Spencer, an outspoken white supremacist who attended the Unite the Right rally, and Jason Kessler, who organized it, both hold degrees from UVA. A petition has circulated in recent days, with more than 9,000 signatures, calling on the institution to revoke their degrees. The university did not return a request for comment.

“I graduated from UVA in 2005, and it makes me feel ill that I have to share my alumni status with the men responsible for terrorizing the city of Charlottesville and bringing torch-bearing nazis and klansmen [sic] to the Lawn,” the petition reads.

“I do not care that they earned the class credits needed to get a diploma from UVA. I do not care that they were never caught for honor code violations while they were students. They have violated our university and all if [sic] its students past and present in a way that goes far beyond cheating on a test. They do not deserve to be a part of the UVA community.”

Whether UVA responds to the petition remains to be seen, although most colleges revoke degrees only for academic violations such as cheating, not for political stances taken by graduates after they've left.

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IT productivity paradox in higher education ‘overstated,’ study suggests

Mon, 2017-08-21 07:00

In 1987 the Nobel prize-winning American economist Robert Solow famously observed, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

Solow was referring to the slow productivity growth of the American economy following the technology boom of the 1970s and ’80s, but some scholars argue that this so-called IT productivity paradox also exists in higher education today. Despite increasing investments in technology in higher education (from spending $765 per student in 2002 to $925 per student in 2013), there is still heated debate over whether these investments are justified.

Now, a recent study in The Journal of Higher Education has found that investments in technology do indeed appear to lead to increases in productivity for institutions -- but not for all institutions in the same way.

“The general logic we see in the scholarship is that investments in technology aren’t going to result in productivity gains,” said the lead author of the study, Justin Ortagus, an assistant professor of higher education administration and policy at the University of Florida. “We think that claims for this productivity paradox may be a little overstated.”

A need for more empirical data to assess the efficacy of technology investments in higher education was a key motivation for the study, said Ortagus. He explained that measuring productivity at colleges and universities is difficult because the outputs of these institutions, much like the institutions themselves, are "multifaceted" and can't easily be boiled down into one metric.

“Colleges and universities often attempt to measure productivity by examining the number of enrolled students, the number of degrees conferred or the number of credit hours awarded,” said the study. “Yet these productivity metrics only measure the teaching component of the institutional mission and fail to consider research and service outputs alongside the teaching mission.”

Taking this into account, Ortagus and his colleagues decided to consider productivity outputs in three areas they considered central to higher education: teaching, research and public service. The researchers looked at teaching productivity by considering the number of students who successfully graduated with bachelor's degrees. The research output was measured by looking at total research funds per student, and public service by the proportion of minority students enrolled.

The authors said this metric measures "at least in part" an institution's service to the public good, because higher education should be "the catalyst for upward mobility and social justice."

An important aspect of the methodology, said Ortagus, was that the researchers included two years of "lag time" to allow for the time it takes staff, faculty members and students to adjust to new technologies. "Not allowing for this time may explain why previous research has found new technologies don't improve productivity," said Ortagus.

"It's an interesting study," said Martin Kurzweil, director of the Educational Transformation Program at Ithaka S+R. “It’s valuable because it points to an impact, and a way of measuring that impact. Now, it’s important to understand why there is an impact. When we find out what is driving that impact, that is the information that will enable institutions to take action and hopefully improve outcomes,” he said. While a lot of institutions make smart technology investments and have seen solid productivity gains, others have made poor investments and “wasted a lot of money,” said Kurzweil.

Phil Ventimiglia, chief innovation officer at Georgia State University, agreed with Ortagus that the idea of an IT productivity paradox in higher education has been overstated. He said he believes the impact of IT spending on productivity has been “muted” because so many institutions are still “very fragmented” in their approach to IT spending. He argued that a decentralized approach could lead to inefficiencies, such as multiple departments buying duplicate software licenses. “I’d like to see a comparison of the productivity data of institutions with centralized IT organizations versus a decentralized approach,” he said.

Generally, Kurzweil said he thought the study’s approach and methodology were sound, but that there were areas where the study could have been expanded. For example, due to data constraints, the study assessed only four-year colleges and universities -- institutions whose outcomes may differ from other types of institutions, said Kurzweil. The choice of outputs to reflect teaching and accessibility outcomes also could have been expanded, said Kurzweil; for example, student income could have been looked at in addition to minority representation.

The paper is frank about its limitations, which it describes as “numerous.” But Ortagus said he hoped nonetheless that the study would “add more nuance” to the conversation about the benefits of technology, which, he said, “universities can’t really afford not to invest in.”

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University of Texas and Duke remove Lee statues and Bowdoin removes Confederate plaque

Mon, 2017-08-21 07:00

Duke University on Saturday announced that it had removed a statue of Robert E. Lee from the entrance to the university chapel. On Sunday night, the University of Texas at Austin announced it would remove statues of Lee and three other Confederate leaders from a prominent campus location. And Bowdoin College on Saturday said that it would take down a plaque honoring Jefferson Davis and college alumni who fought for the Confederacy.

The moves over the weekend reflect increased scrutiny of honors for Lee and other Confederates, in the wake of the white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., the weekend of Aug. 11, where white supremacists said they were rallying to defend a statue of Lee.

Texas

Texas has for years been debating what to do about a group of statues honoring people with ties to the Confederacy. The statues have been widely criticized by minority students and faculty members, as well as others. In 2015, the university moved a statue of Jefferson Davis from the group to a museum.

Greg Fenves, president at UT, released a statement Sunday night, in which he announced the plans to remove the remaining four statues, including one of Lee. He said that events in Charlottesville prompted him to reconsider the statue issue, and that he has been talking with faculty and student leaders about it in the last week, before making his decision.

"The University of Texas at Austin is a public educational and research institution, first and foremost," he said. "The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus -- and the connections that individuals have with them -- are severely compromised by what they symbolize. Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African-Americans. That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry."

Fenves also rejected the argument of some supporters of the statues that moving them compromises efforts to understand history. "The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history. But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres."

The Texas Tribune reported that the process of removing the statues started late Sunday night.

Duke

"I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university," said a statement issued Saturday morning by Vincent E. Price, Duke's president. "The removal also presents an opportunity for us to learn and heal. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future."

The statue of Robert E. Lee has been discussed for many years but has received new attention in the last week. And some time Wednesday night, the Lee statue -- one of 10 at the entrance to the chapel -- was vandalized.

"Wednesday night’s act of vandalism made clear that the turmoil and turbulence of recent months do not stop at Duke’s gates. We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred," Price's statement said.

He also announced that he was "creating a commission, to include faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and members of the Durham community, to advise on next steps and to assist us in navigating the role of memory and history at Duke. The commission will look at how we memorialize individuals on the Duke campus in buildings and sculpture and recommend principles drawn from Duke’s core values to guide us when questions arise. I will ask this commission to work expeditiously."

Hundreds of Duke alumni signed an open letter to Price this week calling for the Lee statue to be removed. "As the statue remains in place, it continues to send the message to us that Duke is complacent with the presence of hateful, violent and racist iconography on its campus grounds," the open letter says.

David Wohlever Sanchez, a Duke junior, published a letter in The Duke Chronicle, the student newspaper, urging the removal of the statue.

“Lee is clearly a rallying figure for neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups and domestic terrorists, yet Confederate statues are often defended on the false pretense of ‘remembering history,’” Sanchez wrote. “Yes, history is nuanced. But being an influential historical figure does not automatically grant you a position of honor. There’s plenty of room for ‘remembering’ in museums and textbooks that offer context, not glorification.”

On Duke's Facebook page, reaction is mixed (and many of those commenting don't appear to have Duke connections). Some are praising Price, and others are threatening to stop donating and accusing Price of giving in to political correctness.

Bowdoin

Also on Saturday, Bowdoin College announced that it was taking down a plaque honoring Jefferson Davis and 19 Bowdoin alumni who fought for the Confederacy. The plaque will be preserved in the college's archives. Davis was included because he received an honorary degree before the Civil War. The plaque was put up -- in a building that honors the Union alumni of the college -- in 1965, the centennial of the Confederate surrender.

A statement from Clayton Rose, Bowdoin's president, said, “For the last 52 years, this plaque has hung, incongruously, in a space completed in 1882 that honors the service of alumni who fought to preserve the Union and to end slavery. What occurred in Charlottesville and the subsequent national conversation have led us to conclude that historical artifacts like this that are directly tied to the leadership of a horrible ideology are not meant for a place designed to honor courage, principle and freedom. Rather, this part of our history belongs in a setting appropriate for study and reflection. Special collections is where we preserve historical objects and records and where we invite members of our community and the public to research, study and understand Bowdoin history and the lives of those connected to the college. Critically, this move explicitly preserves and acknowledges our history, our unusual relationship with Davis and the fact that there were those at the college who did not support the preservation of the Union or the causes of freedom and human dignity.”

In 2015 Bowdoin stopped awarding a prize in the name of Jefferson Davis for students excelling in constitutional law. The cash award was endowed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

In a statement announcing the end of the prize, Rose said, “It is inappropriate for Bowdoin College to bestow an annual award that continues to honor a man whose mission was to preserve and institutionalize slavery.” The college returned the endowment fund to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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Purdue to play key role in Infosys U.S. hiring and training push

Fri, 2017-08-18 07:00

Purdue University unveiled another outside-the-box move Thursday, announcing a five-year deal with one of India’s largest technology outsourcing firms, Infosys, under which the university will perform joint research and provide training and classes for the company's employees.

The two parties cast the deal as a significant step in work-force development in both Indiana and the U.S. Given Purdue’s high profile as a public research university, it could also prove to be a notable step for higher education, moving four-year institutions further into job training more typically performed by community colleges and for-profits.

Purdue administrators hope the partnership addresses a feared talent gap in Indiana between the state’s available workers and the technically skilled candidates employers are seeking. Leaders at Infosys, which has traditionally relied heavily on importing foreign workers on visas to meet U.S. labor market needs, see the agreement as a linchpin in an effort to hire 10,000 American employees across the country over the next several years.

Leaders at Purdue are signing on to the agreement with Infosys just months after announcing the controversial acquisition of the online Kaplan University in April. The fruits of that pending acquisition, which will have Purdue taking the for-profit chain’s academic operations and turning it into a Purdue-branded nonprofit online university, could potentially be used for Infosys training.

Some Purdue faculty members are already unhappy with the new partnership, because they were not consulted about it beforehand. They were previously unsettled by not being brought to the table as the Kaplan acquisition was being formulated, and they see the Infosys deal as another infringement on their role of controlling curriculum.

But outside experts found a lot to like. They note that the agreement between Purdue and Infosys appears to approximate practices already in place at many community colleges and employers across the United States. Infosys also follows a similar training model in India, they said.

Purdue announced the partnership Thursday after Infosys earlier this year said it would locate a significant portion of its U.S. expansion efforts in Indianapolis. The company generates $9.5 billion in annual revenue and employs about 200,000 people worldwide, including a reported 27,000 in the United States.

It has said it could hire as many as 2,000 people in Indianapolis by 2021, spending millions to create what would essentially be a U.S. headquarters. State officials lured the company with an incentives package that could be worth as much as $31 million in training grants and conditional tax credits. The company plans to hire 10,000 American workers over two years at four U.S. hubs.

The U.S. hiring was seen as a concession to both changing demand for skilled workers and political realities in the United States. Infosys is one of the largest petitioners for H-1B visas for skilled workers in the country, hiring engineers from India and then outsourcing them to a wide range of companies in the United States for services like engineering and programming. That practice has sometimes been criticized as using foreign workers to undercut U.S. workers’ wages. President Trump has criticized the H-1B program, and his administration has said it will take measures against fraud and abuse in the system.

Infosys leaders have also said their U.S. clients want more locally based employees. Skilled labor is reportedly becoming harder to find in India.

“We have to create, organically, talent for the future,” said Ravi Kumar S., Infosys's president and deputy chief operating officer, in a telephone interview. “The company’s core DNA and culture is focused on training and learning and education.”

Infosys will be hiring employees who graduate from Purdue, so it made sense to work with the university for training, he said. The university’s Kaplan acquisition could also help it craft online training for employees.

Purdue released few details of its agreement with the company Thursday. The university will provide classes and training for “many” of the 10,000 American employees that the company plans to hire over the next two years. New employees will receive much of the training at the university’s campus in West Lafayette. “Lifelong learning” opportunities for existing Infosys employees will also become available online.

The university and company also plan to perform joint research and development of course materials. Those efforts will be focused on areas of strength at Purdue, like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, biopharma analytics, digital agriculture and data analytics. A center is also planned at Purdue that will seek interdisciplinary ways to solve problems faced by Infosys clients.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The partnership could mean “millions of dollars in joint research,” according to a press release.

Training of Infosys employees at Purdue has already started, according to Suresh Garimella, the university’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and a professor of mechanical engineering. About 75 employees began training last month under a program that is about eight weeks long.

Purdue is merely hosting the training right now -- Purdue faculty members are not teaching the courses, Garimella added. As the partnership evolves, the university will likely enrich training offerings and provide some training itself, potentially with faculty members. Infosys will pay Purdue for services the university provides.

“There is new employee training, but also, one of the exciting things is they would like us to co-develop training or lifelong continued education for their employees in specialist courses,” Garimella said. “Those would be both online and on-site. We’re planning them right now, and those would be in computer science and engineering management and so on.”

Garimella hopes Purdue can develop course materials to be used for Infosys across the U.S. and in India. The company plans three U.S. hubs outside Indiana in its U.S. hiring push where training will likely be required.

Infosys has already announced one of those hubs as being in North Carolina. It plans to hire 2,000 in Wake County over five years under a plan that includes state incentives of as much as $22.4 million. The company’s state incentives package in North Carolina also includes job training from the North Carolina Community College System.

The 58-college system does not yet have a concrete plan for Infosys, said Maureen Little, vice president of economic development. Because of the number of jobs involved, the effort will be a major project for the system. But much of the system’s activity is customized training for employers. It was founded around the concept of work-force development, she said.

“That’s how we got brought to the table,” she said. “Being able to work with a company, develop, design and deliver a training plan that is specific to that company’s needs.”

The Research University Role

The type of arrangements Infosys is setting up are more common at the community college level in the United States. But even elite four-year institutions have some element of work-force development.

“It does occur in research universities, it’s just more upscale,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce and a research professor at the university.

The term "training" can sound too vocational for many in higher education, he said. But many programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care have elements of employer training. They just often have more highbrow names, like "internships."

What’s different about Purdue is that the university appears to be publicly contracting out the relationship and casting it as work-force development.

“It is a well-established market,” Carnevale said. “The question is, will this market spread at four-year institutions?”

Another unanswered question is on the financial end. Training can be a cash cow. And that can be helpful for universities like Purdue, which are operating in an environment of constrained state funding -- providing contract terms are generous enough.

“I think it’s smart,” Carnevale said. “I don’t know what comes of it. Clearly it’s a good contract to get. The question is, do you get full overhead? That’s always the issue, at least in my experience.”

Left Out

Some Purdue faculty members do not like the deal, however. They raised questions about the arrangement almost as soon as it was announced. Will Purdue be hiring new instructors? If so, where? Will some professors receive extra compensation?

The overriding issue is that faculty members cherish their traditional role as stewards of the curriculum. But the faculty’s governance body was not consulted about the deal, according to David Sanders, the immediate past chair of Purdue’s University Senate and an associate professor in its department of biological sciences.

“It seems that we’re going to be negotiating with an outside source about what is our curriculum,” he said. “The Senate leadership was not, a far as I know, involved.”

Faculty with relevant expertise took part in discussions with Infosys, said Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships. Many were excited about the coming possibilities, he said.

But for Sanders, the Infosys deal is one more blow against faculty governance at Purdue. He was unhappy when the university moved on the Kaplan acquisition without consulting the Faculty Senate.

Moreover, more and more Purdue research seems to be funded by corporations, Sanders said.

“I have long been concerned about the direction that our president and Board of Trustees are taking the university,” he said. “I believe they are just trying to make us a corporate training ground. That, I do not think, is the role of a place like Purdue University.”

Purdue’s president, Mitch Daniels, is a Republican former governor of Indiana. He has been willing to try out new strategies since taking over at Purdue, not only with the Kaplan acquisition and the Infosys deal, but with income-sharing agreements and competency-based education. Daniels has also taken to speaking in soaring rhetoric about Purdue’s mission as a land-grant university for many state residents.

A partnership between Purdue and Infosys seems sensible, said Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and the director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania. Cappelli has researched skills gaps and shortages in the United States and is familiar with Infosys and other business services outsourcing companies based in India.

Infosys mainly operates by hiring people in India and training them in information technology, Cappelli said. There, they tend to be aggressive about rolling out curricula and bringing in teachers.

“They’re pretty used to this,” Cappelli said. “The interesting question is, why don’t U.S. companies do this?”

Editorial Tags: Job trainingResearch universitiesImage Source: Megan Huckaby, Purdue News ServiceImage Caption: Ravi Kumar S., Infosys president and deputy chief operating officer, and Suresh Garimella, Purdue University’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and a professor of mechanical engineering, sign an agreement Thursday.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Report questions whether elite colleges do enough to enroll low-income students

Fri, 2017-08-18 07:00

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and its leaders, with some regularity, draw attention to a disconcerting reality of American higher education: many academically talented low-income college students who could succeed at the most elite American colleges and universities don't apply and don't know about the availability of aid that would make enrolling possible. The foundation criticizes the way many colleges recruit (with insufficient attention to those in low-income neighborhoods) and policies such as the use of binding early decision. Because applicants who apply under binding early decision programs must commit to enroll if admitted, many low-income students feel excluded, as they need to compare multiple aid offers to decide where to enroll.

A report issued Thursday -- "Opening Doors: How Selective Colleges and Universities Are Expanding Access for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students" -- praises some colleges for doing more to recruit these students, and suggests that there is much more to be done. The report recommends eliminating early decision, ending admissions preferences for athletes and alumni children, and limiting the use of standardized admissions tests.

But the report also gets a bit more granular and calls out colleges by name for some of their admissions and aid policies -- for the way they describe fee-waiver rules, how they introduce tools to let potential students figure out aid eligibility, and for the practice of many top institutions of blocking the use of a tool that the foundation says could help many prospective students and families.

The foundation starts off with evidence of why there is a problem in admissions -- based on a survey of the kind of high school students most colleges say they very much want to recruit: those from low-income families who have a grade point average of 3.8 and SAT or ACT scores in the top 15th percentile nationally.

The survey results show that concerns about college costs discourage one in three high-achieving low-income students from applying to any college. Further, 44 percent of these students never visit their top-choice college and 23 percent apply with no help from parents, teachers or counselors. These types of statistics point to all kinds of lost opportunities, the report says, and other research backs up. For instance, not visiting a top college means that these potential students don't know their opportunities there, but also -- as a recent study illustrated -- that their chances of admission may be diminished.

Fee Waivers, Beyond Just Offering Them

Most colleges and universities charge application fees ($65 is common, and some fees are higher). While the fees may seem small in the context of the total price of attending a private college, many low-income students report that they don't have the money. Colleges that have dropped application fees or made waivers automatic for many applicants have reported significant gains in the number of low-income students who apply, and who enroll.

Almost all colleges participate in programs that allow applicants to seek a waiver for application fees. But the foundation's survey suggests that this isn't working as well as it could.

Thirty-five percent of those in the group of low-income students never applied for a fee waiver, with most of them saying that they didn't know they would qualify. The report recommends that colleges do a better job of publicizing the availability of waivers and make waivers simple and easy to get. And to drive home its point, the report cites language on some college websites that it says illustrates the problem, not the solution.

For example, here is the policy the foundation found at the University of Miami: "The University of Miami accepts fee waivers from the College Board, NACAC or ACT. UM does not grant fee waivers for applicants. University of Miami employees or dependents of employees may apply using the option 'School-specific fee waiver.' If you have questions about receiving a fee waiver, you should speak to your guidance counselor."

The foundation's analysis: "The University of Miami does not grant fee waivers across the board. It appears that each waiver must be sought separately. This is especially burdensome."

The university issued this statement: "The University of Miami grants application fee waivers for all students who demonstrate financial hardship. Students can work with their high school counselor to obtain a fee waiver from College Board, NACAC, or ACT. One of the University's roadmap initiatives is to meet 100 percent of students' demonstrated financial need by our centennial in 2025, so it is evident that socioeconomic diversity in the student body is a priority."

Net Price Calculators

The report reviews net price calculators -- which in theory let a potential applicant know roughly how much aid they should receive -- at many college websites. Reviewing the calculators of Yale University and Wellesley College, the report finds the latter much more friendly to low-income students. (The Yale site is here and Wellesley's is here.)

The foundation's critique: "Observe that the first example from Yale makes certain assumptions about students that may not be true for those from low-income families: that students have access to their parent’s tax returns; that families have savings, checking, investment and retirement accounts; that family assets may exceed $200,000. Contrast these assumptions with the simpler, more welcoming language of Wellesley’s."

Yale did not respond to a request for comment.

The report also strongly endorses use of the Pell Abacus, a tool that allows low-income students, without much detail about their family finances, to get a sense of aid eligibility at various colleges. The simplicity of the tool, and its ability to allow for comparisons, makes it ideal for many students, the report says.

But 31 elite colleges, the report says, block use of the tool (which requires some connection to a college's website). The New York Times reported last year on the trend of blocking Pell Abacus, and also noted that few colleges doing so provide detailed information on their rationales.

Many of these colleges still aren't anxious to provide detail.

A spokesman for Princeton University said via email, "Princeton has its own financial aid calculator, which is available to the public and is more accurate in presenting cost and aid calculations for prospective students. Therefore, we do not see the need for an external tool."

One institution among the 31 is considering a possible change. A spokesman for Bowdoin College said via email, "The topic of whether to provide access to [Pell] Abacus is on the table and we are certainly willing to consider it. Our goal here is transparency. We want to encourage families to use our [net-price calculator] and to contact us directly if they have questions or concerns about the results. As you know, Bowdoin is need-blind. We meet 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated need for all four years with grant aid and a small work award (no loans), and we’ll talk with anyone about their situation, but we also want to be careful to protect their data. If we open the door to [Pell] Abacus -- which says it does not sell data -- what prevents another less scrupulous company from offering another tool that is not as safe? So, we’ll talk about this, and I would be happy to let you know if we make a change."

Jennifer Glynn, director of research and evaluation at the foundation and author of the report, acknowledged in an interview that calling out colleges was a new approach for the organization. She noted that much of the report is a positive look at policies working at various colleges.

"I think the focus is on what colleges should be doing and highlighting examples that highlight specific schools," she said. But the critiques were also important, and were not designed to pick on any college.

"Every school has something that it can change," she said.

 

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San Jose State criticized for return to campus of professor found to have harassed a student

Fri, 2017-08-18 07:00

More and more institutions are taking a zero-tolerance approach to harassment by faculty members. So some at San Jose State University are wondering why the university is welcoming back to campus a professor found guilty of repeatedly asking a graduate student to date him. An additional complaint was lodged against the professor in 2014.

The professor, Lewis Aptekar, is scheduled to teach two classes this fall in the graduate program in counseling education: one on research methods and -- ironically, say his critics -- one on trauma counseling and crisis intervention. He’s also slated for advising, admissions and curricular duties.

An earlier investigation by The Mercury News found that Aptekar remained chair of his department for five months after he was found to have harassed his student, by asking her repeatedly in class whether she was single and inviting her on dates (the investigation reportedly turned up allegations that he’d done the same to another student, in 2013, asking her to come to his office for “personal counseling”). Aptekar was put on paid leave in 2016, after the newspaper began its investigation.

Aptekar did not respond to a request for comment. The university said in a statement this week that it “thoroughly investigates allegations of employee misconduct” and takes action based on “what the facts tell us.”

San Jose State said it investigated two separate complaints, from 2014 and 2015, respectively, of sexual harassment against Aptekar. The more recent case came to light first, it said, and the allegations were substantiated -- resulting in a two-week suspension without pay and mandatory diversity training for Aptekar. He also stepped down as chair, the university said.

Aptekar was later placed on leave as the 2014 complaint was investigated, but the allegations were not substantiated and no appeals were filed, according to San Jose State. Thus, “Aptekar’s administrative leave has been lifted,” the university said, though he will not be serving as an adviser to students and has “elected a reduced workload as a first step toward retirement.” (He’ll still be involved in advising efforts, including an all-student advising meeting, according to a department memo, however.)

Elisa Stewart, Aptekar’s lawyer, previously told The Mercury News that Aptekar “has based his career on educating students to be excellent education counselors” and that he felt “vindicated" by the university’s investigation.

Others on campus aren’t so happy about Aptekar's return. Valerie Lamb, a student in the department, said via email that "we are all very infuriated with the situation." A protest is being planned.

One of Aptekar's department colleagues, Jason Laker, has sued San Jose State, alleging a cover-up of claims against Aptekar.

“They should not have allowed him back on campus,” Laker said in an interview. “And the irony is that now he’s teaching a counselor-education course in trauma counseling -- is this comedy?”

Laker said he was approached by a student in 2015 who alleged that Aptekar had harassed her, and he helped her launch a complaint. He says he was called a liar and otherwise retaliated against by colleagues involved in the case for his efforts, and so filed his own lawsuit -- but only after trying to resolve the issue internally, he said.

“I’ve spent 25 years in higher ed and never sued anybody,” Laker said. “I tried to meet with the president and provost, and at this point, excuse my French, I’m sort of out of fucks.”

Laker’s suit alleges that the university knew about the 2014 complaint prior to the 2015 case, but failed to investigate it -- or use it as evidence in the later case. The university has said administrators did not know about an earlier complaint by students. But a complaint was in fact filed by an associate dean on behalf of two students who wished to remain anonymous.

The university said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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Paper looks at gender norms' role in disparities in majors

Fri, 2017-08-18 07:00

Women and men are, in theory, free to choose their college majors without any interference. So why do majors -- and in turn, certain jobs and roles in society -- remain segregated?

Many women in STEM fields, for example, have cited discrimination and discriminatory attitudes as hardships they face in academia and in the private sector, and a new paper adds another factor to the mix: feminine norms, and how women perceive and adhere to femininity.

“Cultural perspectives on college major choice posit that the gender norms, stereotypes and beliefs individuals internalize contribute to persistent gender segregation in college majors,” the paper, authored by Oklahoma sociologists Ann Beutel, Stephanie W. Burge, and B. Ann Borden and published in the journal Gender Studies, reads. “Yet relatively little attention has been paid to how young women’s adherence to feminine norms may be associated with college major choice.”

The researchers found that conformity to feminine norms was associated negatively with a woman’s odds of choosing STEM and common pre-med majors, as well as arts and humanities majors. Conformity had a positive relationship with a woman’s odds of choosing majors in the social sciences, education and social services.

And while the study sampled 1,100 women enrolled at an unnamed four-year public university in the south-central U.S., its implications go far beyond just the male-to-female ratio of a classroom, department or college.

“In sum, although women’s participation in higher education has increased, persistent gender stratification in college majors contributes to gender stratification in the contemporary labor market, with women generally faring worse than men in terms of employment and earnings,” the paper reads.

The paper argues that because culture, media and literature emphasize women’s role in caregiving, for example, they also affect women’s preferences.

“Through socialization processes, children and adolescents learn and internalize these gender norms, stereotypes and beliefs, and in turn develop their own gendered preferences,” the paper reads. Additionally, women’s gendered expectations about their futures -- having roles as a wife and a mother -- might influence them to choose majors that would lead to occupations that would be more compatible for caring for a family.

That being said, the paper argues, it would follow that how women perceive their femininity can change how they view what major they should choose. The researchers measured how much their sample group adhered to norms associated with women’s role in U.S. society, among eight subsections:

  • Being nice in relationships
  • Caring for children
  • Thinness
  • Sexual fidelity
  • Modesty
  • Romantic relationships
  • Domesticity
  • Investing in appearances

Factors such as respondents’ race and ethnicity, year in college, as well as their parents’ education, were controlled.

The more that women perceived themselves as adhering to feminine norms, the more likely they were to avoid majors such as STEM or common pre-med majors. However, there were also variations in which subsections were associated with which majors.

For example, while one of the feminine norms was niceness in relationships, higher scores for adhering to that norm were associated with higher odds of choosing a major from the arts and humanities -- a section of majors that women who adhere to the norms had less odds of choosing overall.

“We found that, with background factors controlled, general (overall) conformity to feminine norms, as measured by the total [Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory] scale score, was associated negatively with women’s odds of choosing STEM and doctoral-track medicine majors, as well as arts and humanities majors, relative to choosing majors in social sciences, education and social services,” the paper reads. “Total CFNI scale scores had no significant associations with choosing a major from clinical and health sciences, business, and communication and journalism relative to choosing a major from social sciences, education and social services.”

The authors note that the study does face some limitations -- namely, that the data can only point to associations, not causations. Additionally, the authors posit what data could be gleaned from measuring women’s conformity to masculine norms, using the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory as a complement to the CFNI.

“Yet, as the results of our study suggest for feminine norms, associations between specific masculine norms and majoring in a specific field of study could be complex … Clearly, our understanding of the role of gender norms in the lives of contemporary young women and young men would be enhanced if we could examine how specific feminine and masculine norms are associated with their choice of college major.”

Despite these limitations, however, the paper could be a jumping-off point for further study of gender disparities among majors and in employment.

“Though young women have made tremendous strides in their overall level of educational attainment, gender segregation of college majors has persisted,” the paper concludes. “Our results suggest that at least some of the barriers to increased gender integration of academic fields of study may come from cultural norms about gender, and in particular femininity, which have been durable in spite of increases in gender egalitarian ideology and women’s educational attainment and labor force participation.”

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Eastern Michigan and other universities tell international students '#YouAreWelcomeHere'

Fri, 2017-08-18 07:00

Eastern Michigan University is going all out to recognize its international students.

The university is installing 108 banners featuring 108 students from more than 40 countries. The banners, which are being installed on light posts across the campus and into the surrounding city of Ypsilanti, include the hashtag “#YouAreWelcomeHere” and are one manifestation of a national campaign by that name to communicate American universities’ openness to international students.

“The overall message of being a welcoming environment for international students has just been received very positively,” said Walter Kraft, Eastern Michigan’s vice president for communications.

Eastern Michigan changes out its light-post banners annually to recognize various groups on campus. Last year the banners featured the university’s Honors College students, and in past years they’ve featured faculty members and alumni. This is the first time the university has recognized its international students in this way.

Eastern Michigan, which is in the greater Detroit area, enrolls nearly 1,000 students from more than 80 countries, with the largest groups coming from India, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Iran, Brazil, France, Taiwan and Turkey.

In addition to the banners, Eastern Michigan is promoting the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign on its social media channels, with a typical post featuring the picture, name and major of one of the 108 students featured on the banners and a quote about why they chose Eastern Michigan. The university also plans to install a 23-foot-tall, 80-foot-wide banner featuring all 108 images on the wall of a parking garage in the center of campus.

The university has also created a video as part of the campaign (below).

“We had kind of an open casting call or whatever you might want to call it late last spring while students were still on campus,” Kraft said. “We just invited anyone who wanted to participate to come out for a video shoot and these photographs.”

“We ended up with 100, 200 people who came out,” he said. “Many students who were not international students wanted to come out and have themselves videoed saying, ‘You are welcome here.’”

One of the students featured in the campaign is Veronica Konglim (right), a Ph.D. student from Cameroon who is studying education. Konglim first came to Eastern Michigan on a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a master’s in teaching English to speakers of other languages in 2009. After graduating in 2011, she returned to Cameroon, only to come back to Eastern Michigan to take up a Ph.D. two years later.

“I came back because I loved it here and I wanted to do a Ph.D.,” she said. “I had built a community here and I love the campus and the city of Ypsilanti, and besides studying I also did a lot of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. It’s something that I really enjoyed. When I had the opportunity to come back, I did not hesitate.”

“I truly do feel welcome here, so I thought maybe this is something I should really be a part of,” she said. “It was an opportunity for me to say thank you and to confirm, that yes, this is really true, I really do feel welcome here, and if anyone out there is thinking about coming here and is hesitant, my story should be a testimony that this campus is really welcoming.”

More than 250 colleges and universities have joined the national #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, which is being coordinated out of Temple University and has received the support of organizations including the National Association for College Admission Counseling and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The State Department's Bureau of International and Cultural Affairs has also promoted the hashtag on its Twitter feed.

A similar campaign in the U.K., #WeAreInternational, has the support of more than 160 universities there. That campaign started in 2013 after international students expressed concerns about negative media coverage and certain political statements about immigration, according to the #WeAreInternational website.

Many colleges participating in the U.S. campaign have created videos like Eastern Michigan's conveying the YouAreWelcomeHere message. The first such video -- and the first use of the hashtag for this purpose -- came from the international education company Study Group, which published a video last November featuring some of its partner universities.

The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign developed in the wake of last year’s presidential election and gained steam after President Trump’s executive order barring travel to the U.S. by nationals of certain Muslim-majority countries (after the ban was halted by the courts, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer to allow a modified version of the travel ban to go into effect). Many in international education have reported hearing concerns from international students about feeling unwelcome in the U.S., as well as concerns about their physical safety and ability to secure a visa.

"The reason this struck me as an important message is that it's simple and it’s positive and it’s kind of a countervailing message to a lot of the other negative images and messages that are out there," said Jessica Sandberg, the director of international admissions at Temple and the person leading the campaign.

“At the time that this idea came to light, we were facing a flurry of concerns form students, prospective and current international students, and also there was an awareness, I think, among international educators that a lot of the stories and the news and the images that were coming out of the United States at that time and unfortunately have continued until now have been very negative,” said Sandberg.

She continued, “If you work in international student admissions, then talking about safety is not new -- that’s always been a concern for international families -- but it’s escalated this year. They see that there’s a lot of internal disagreement in the United States, and concerns about xenophobia and general unrest.”

Sandberg said the videos that many universities have created as part of the campaign “show what daily life is like. If you watch the news and you see this unrest, you forget the fact that people are just going to work and school and studying in classes and going to social gatherings. We wanted to show this is what it really looks like on a day-to-day basis.”

“The other piece that I think is important is, generally, international prospective students are hearing from people like me who work in international admissions,” she said. “We wanted the campaign messages and videos to show that the support for international students isn’t just isolated to people who work in this profession, but it’s university presidents, the cheerleader and the football player and the faculty members.”

A list of participating universities -- and links to the videos they've produced -- is available here.

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Virginia students "take back" their campus with march for unity and inclusiveness

Thu, 2017-08-17 07:10

Thousands marched at the University of Virginia Wednesday night, retracing the route white supremacists took Friday but with a very different message.

Students, joined by faculty members, employees, alumni and local residents, spoke about their outrage at the hateful ideas of those who marched Friday. That march included Nazi chants.

During the march on Wednesday night, participants sang “We Shall Overcome,” “Amazing Grace,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “This Land Is Your Land” and “Lean on Me” -- as well as University of Virginia songs.

One of the speakers was Ryan Keen, who is starting his senior year.

“The greatest power we have to heal is our ability to support each other,” he said. “We have to show what we stand for and what it means to be inclusive. We will not stand for the hate that has been shown here.”

The event included a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, a local resident who was killed when a car slammed into anti-supremacist protesters on Saturday, and for state troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates. They were helping to monitor the events organized by supremacists on Saturday when their helicopter crashed and they were killed.

Some at the event spoke about how angry they were to see white supremacists at the center of the UVA campus, and how they wanted to make a statement and to "take back the lawn," as the space on campus is known.

The university has a full account of Wednesday night's march here.

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New data explain Republican loss of confidence in higher education

Thu, 2017-08-17 07:00

Not only do Republicans and Democrats have different levels of confidence in higher education, but they are coming at the issue by focusing on different issues, a new poll by Gallup shows. Republicans who distrust higher education focus on campus politics, while the smaller share of Democrats who distrust higher education tend to focus on rising college prices, the pollster found.

The data were released a month after a report from the Pew Research Center found that more than half of Republicans say colleges have a negative impact on the direction of the United States. The shift was dramatic. Two years ago, Pew found that 54 percent of Republicans said colleges had a positive impact on the direction of the United States, while this year 58 percent said colleges had a negative effect. Among Democrats, 72 percent this year viewed colleges as having a positive impact on the direction of the country.

Gallup set out to see if it would find similar partisan shifts in the view of higher education, and -- if so -- why members of the two major parties were splitting in this way. Gallup's findings largely confirm those of Pew -- a growing partisan divide on higher education.

First Gallup asked people if they have confidence in colleges and universities. (The question did not specify two-year vs. four-year, public vs. private, etc.)

How Much Confidence Do You Have in Higher Education?

  Great Deal/Quite a Lot Some or Very Little All 44% 56% Republicans (or leaning) 33% 67% Democrats (or leaning) 56% 43%

Then Gallup asked those with little or no confidence in higher education to identify reasons for their lack of confidence. Here Republicans focused on political issues and Democrats focused on more practical issues (such as paying for college). The question here was open-ended and Gallup grouped similar responses and provided the top answers.

What Are Some of the Reasons You Do Not Have a Lot of Confidence in Higher Education?

  Republicans (or leaning) Democrats (or leaning) Too expensive 11% 36% Too liberal/political 32% 1% Not allowing students to think for themselves, pushing an agenda 21% 6% Students not properly educated/education not relevant 13% 9% Poor leadership/not well run 9% 14% Graduates unable to find jobs 7% 10% Overall quality is going down 4% 11% Not focused on education/too much focus on sports 2% 5% Poor quality of professors or other employees 4% 2% Too easy to get an education/students don't take it seriously 3% 2%

Gallup also asked those with high confidence levels in higher education why they felt that way, again grouping together open-ended responses. The answers show that many Republicans seem to feel good about their own or their relatives' experiences in higher education, and that they are more likely than Democrats to believe that earning a college degree is essential for career success.

What Are Some Reasons Why You Have a Lot of Confidence in Colleges and Universities?

  Republicans (or leaning) Democrats (or leaning) Personal experience/family member/myself enrolled or graduated/college employee 32% 24% Higher education is essential to the country 16% 17% Students are well trained/educated and doing a good job 12% 20% U.S. colleges are advanced and among the best in the world 9% 10% Need a degree to get better jobs/opportunities 15% 6% Prepares students for real life/to get ahead 7% 9% Teaches students to have an open mind/to appreciate other ideas/diversity 5% 7% Good professors/instructors/administrators 2% 6% Trains students to think for themselves 2% 5%

To be sure, some Republicans have long criticized higher education for being too liberal. Jesse Helms, the late senator who was long a hero to the far right, once said of plans for a zoo in North Carolina, "Why build a zoo when we can just put up a fence around Chapel Hill?" And bashing universities -- the University of California, Berkeley, or Harvard University, or the Ivy League generally -- has long been a part of Republican rhetoric.

But perhaps more quietly, support for much of higher education -- public and private -- has been bipartisan. Democrats might have been more generous with funding in some years, or more focused on low-income students. But Republicans have been strong proponents over time of building up universities' research capabilities. And support for community colleges and many regional institutions comes from lawmakers of both parties working to support local colleges.

In this context, the Pew and Gallup findings suggest a shift in attitudes in which Republicans have a much stronger aversion to the direction of higher education, which they see as too liberal. The questions asked in the Gallup study were so general (without any definition of "college") that many may not have thought of parts of higher education (community colleges, evangelical colleges or professionally oriented online programs) that look nothing like the residential liberal arts colleges that are mocked -- many times inaccurately -- in the conservative blogosphere on a daily basis.

An analysis released by Gallup, while not endorsing the views of the Republicans surveyed, says that their attitudes could have a significant impact on higher education.

"The effect of this divide on views of higher education -- a pivotal element of the American dream for so many -- raises questions about the future of higher education in this country," the Gallup analysis says. "To what degree will diminished confidence in higher education among Republicans lead to decreased public support and funding for colleges and universities? Or, will Republican families be less likely to send their children to traditional colleges and universities, and instead seek other ways to educate them? Will various colleges and universities begin to align their brands and curricula increasingly along party lines? Is there any hope that this partisan divide on views of higher education will diminish -- and if so, what would bring that about?"

Indeed, regardless of what one thinks of Republican attitudes, Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. Of particular relevance to public higher education, 34 of the nation's governors are Republicans.

Brandon H. Busteed, executive director for education and work-force development at Gallup, said in an interview that he thought it was important for colleges to think about their "marketing and communication messages" on a range of issues. For example, many competitive colleges consider race and ethnicity in admissions -- and polls suggest majorities of white voters favor the end of such forms of affirmative action.

Busteed said that colleges need to think about the way many critics of affirmative action believe that admissions are based on a pure academic meritocracy, except for minority students. He said colleges should talk about the edge in admissions enjoyed by athletes, children of alumni, people from some parts of the country, and many other groups. This information might change attitudes about affirmative action, he said.

He also said it's not likely to be enough for colleges to just assume that Republican attitudes are incorrect. Rather, colleges need to engage the discussion, he said. For example, many colleges bemoan that some prospective students and their families judge colleges by "sticker price" and don't take into account the aid offered by institutions. Colleges are relentless in encouraging people to think about college prices beyond sticker prices, he said. They need to be equally active on qualities -- real or not -- that make many Republicans think they are liberal.

On the theme of rebranding, Busteed published an essay Wednesday urging colleges to stop using the term "liberal arts."

"Putting the words liberal and arts together is a branding disaster, and the most effective way to save or defend the liberal arts may be to change what we call them. Note, the problem isn't with the substance of a liberal arts education but with the words we use to describe it," he wrote.

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

Busteed's essay will probably rankle more than a few liberal arts professors. But it may be worth considering that Republicans are not the only ones who are challenged by the term "liberal arts."

A 2015 study by Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner, professors of economics at Stanford University and the University of Virginia, respectively, asked academically talented, low-income high school students why they didn't apply to certain kinds of institutions. With regard to liberal arts colleges, the answers suggested a lack of knowledge of what they are. Among the responses they heard from students about why they weren't applying to liberal arts colleges:

  • “What is a private liberal arts college?”
  • “I don't know what this is.”
  • “I don't like learning useless things.”
  • “I am not liberal.”
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Charlottesville tragedy and Trump remarks revive focus on statues of Confederates and other racists

Thu, 2017-08-17 07:00

The gathering of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend originated -- at least on the surface -- from the groups’ opposition to the planned removal of a Confederate monument to Robert E. Lee in the college town. And although the violence in Charlottesville has subsided, Confederate monuments remain on college campuses across the South.

President Trump's criticism Tuesday of efforts to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces further inflamed tensions, and many white supremacists reported feeling emboldened afterward. Additionally, Trump spoke of a slippery slope -- that removing Confederate monuments would lead to removing monuments and statues dedicated to Thomas Jefferson or George Washington, since they owned slaves. Perhaps unknowingly, Trump in fact touched on criticisms that have been directed at the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary, among other institutions, for their close association -- and alleged whitewashing -- of Jefferson's past.

Much of the protest movement against Confederate monuments has played out on college campuses, and it has branched out to include other historical figures who are venerated on campuses -- with building names and statues -- and in American history at large, despite their dark histories regarding race. As the coverage of Charlottesville subsides, and students across the country return to campus, those efforts can be expected to continue. In some states, however, legal roadblocks might abound, as state legislatures have taken power over public monuments and their removal, fearful that college administrations might remove them under pressure from students.

“These monuments have a gigantic bull's-eye on them,” said W. Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which boasts its own controversial ties to white supremacists.

The events in Charlottesville -- and, more significantly, Brundage said, two years ago, in Charleston, S.C., where Dylann Roof killed nine people at an African-American church in hopes of starting a race war -- have also shaped the hotly debated narrative around what these monuments stand for.

“We can see these monuments are now de facto shrines for white nationalists,” Brundage said. “If you’re a white nationalist who wants to find a public space in which to profess your beliefs, what better place than a Confederate monument.”

Statues, Monuments, Buildings on Campus

Changing anything at UNC, however, remains a challenge. In 2015, a month after the Roof shooting, a law was enacted in North Carolina that vests the authority to remove public “objects of remembrance” with the state Legislature.

For UNC Chapel Hill, this includes the memorial, known as Silent Sam (below), to undergraduate students who fought for the Confederacy.

While Silent Sam might be out of UNC’s hands, the university's trustees put a self-imposed 16-year restriction on renaming buildings after a split vote changed the name of Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall. William L. Saunders, for whom the building was first named, was born in 1831 and attended UNC. He was also a prominent member and organizer of the Ku Klux Klan. Some took issue with the renaming, since other names were floated, such as Hurston Hall, which would have honored Zora Neale Hurston, a black novelist and anthropologist who audited classes at UNC from 1939 to 1940, before the university was desegregated.

The renaming freeze, which drew criticism at the time of the vote -- a month before the Roof shooting -- limits what UNC can do in light of events like Charlottesville. At the time, trustees said insulation was the point: during the freeze, UNC is working on methods to provide more historical context for Silent Sam, as well as Carolina Hall, and has launched a campaign to provide more accurate, encompassing history around the university’s ties to slavery.

Regardless, Silent Sam, as well as Aycock Residence -- named after former North Carolina governor and avowed white supremacist Charles Brantley Aycock -- will remain for the time being, to critics' dismay.

Just a few miles away, Duke University -- which, until recently, also had a building dedicated to Aycock -- is home to its own homage to the Confederacy. Among the statues adorning the entrance to the university chapel is one of Robert E. Lee.

Following the events at Charlottesville, the statue is receiving fresh scrutiny.

“As a Methodist pastor, someone who went to the school, as someone who stood in the pulpit this Sunday and took a stand against racism, it’s disheartening,” Richard Bryant, a 1999 Duke Divinity master’s program graduate, told The News & Observer in Raleigh.

How Lee got there is a mystery of sorts, and his presence has been debated since the chapel was unveiled in the 1930s, university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld told Inside Higher Ed. The chapel borrowed inspiration from the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, but, in line with Duke’s Methodist orientation, the architect swapped statues of saints for statues of figures from Protestant and Methodist traditions, as well as figures from the American South. In addition to Lee, Thomas Jefferson is also present.

“The Duke endowment board at the time … had a discussion about this,” Schoenfeld said. “And they passed a resolution that indicated that the statues ‘should be decorative, symbolic figures, and not as representing, or known as representing any specified person.’”

Although there aren’t any immediate plans to remove the statue of Lee, Schoenfeld said that the university is aware of the controversy its presence brings.

“The short answer is yes, of course, people are thinking” about Charlottesville, Schoenfeld said. “For something like this, we think it is important to study the history, and the particular context, but also to involve the university community in a thoughtful and deliberate discussion.”

“It’s not the first time that questions about, how did these statues get into the vestibule of a house of worship, in particular the chapel, and what should be done about them,” he said.

For many, removing monuments -- or renaming buildings -- is akin to erasing history, which should be remembered no matter how uncomfortable. However, at least in North Carolina, public displays of history seem to be tilted toward white supremacy.

According to a database Brundage has helped compile, there are fewer than 30 monuments dedicated to black and white North Carolinians who fought or advocated for the Union.

“It would be safe to assume there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 North Carolinians, who, in some way, shape or form, contributed to the Union cause in meaningful ways,” he said. “You could travel from one end of the state to the other end [today], and unless you were really looking for it, carefully … you would see nothing that acknowledges their historical contribution.”

Daina Berry, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin -- which recently removed some Confederate monuments after finding they lacked a historical connection to the university, though others remain -- also said public displays of history are imbalanced.

“What about the sons and daughters of enslaved people who survived slavery and made it out of the institution, who were on the winning side of the war?” she said. “What about monuments to honor them? What about statues and monuments to honor Native Americans … who survived the Trail of Tears?”

Thomas Jefferson

While Trump posited criticism of Jefferson as a hypothetical slippery slope, some students at UVA, which Jefferson founded, and the College of William and Mary -- where Jefferson went to college -- had already beaten him to the punch.

William and Mary was in the news in 2015 when students covered a statue of Jefferson with sticky notes, calling him a rapist and a racist. UVA has also received pushback from students for its close ties, and its president's penchant for quoting the founder.

"A university setting is the very place where civil conversations about difficult and important issues should occur. Nondestructive sticky notes are a form of expression compatible with our tradition of free expression," a William and Mary spokesman said at the time. A request for comment on the university's association with Jefferson in light of the violence at Charlottesville and Trump's most recent comments was not returned on Wednesday.

"The University of Virginia has acknowledged that controversy has been part of its history, and we continue to strive to learn from it and to improve our current environment through open and constructive dialogue," UVA spokesman Anthony P. de Bruyn said in an email. De Bruyn cited efforts such as the 2013 President's Commission on Slavery and the University, as well as the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, a proposed on-campus monument that had its design approved by UVA officials in June, as examples of addressing slavery's role and sometimes-ignored association with Jefferson and UVA.

The University of Virginia’s founder "made many contributions to the progress of the early American republic," de Bruyn said. "He served as the third president of the United States, championed religious freedom and authored the Declaration of Independence. In apparent contradiction to his persuasive arguments for liberty and human rights, however, he was also a slave owner, and he did not abolish slavery as president."

Across the Country

Of course, American leaders who were known racists are not just found on campuses in North Carolina, or even in the South. Yale University and Princeton University found themselves questioning their associations with the pro-slavery Senator John C. Calhoun and President Woodrow Wilson, who resegregated the federal work force, respectively.

Wilson, an alumnus of Princeton and namesake of the school of public and international affairs, has a documented history of racism, and the institution received pressure to remove his name from the school and one of its residential colleges. Addressing the issue in 2016, Princeton didn’t remove its association with Wilson but pledged to provide more context for Wilson’s history of racism in order to paint a more accurate, if uncomfortable, picture of him.

Earlier this year, Yale removed Calhoun’s name from one of its residential colleges. Calhoun, a Yale alumnus, will remain associated with other parts of the university, however.

“Unlike other namesakes on our campus, he distinguished himself not in spite of these views but because of them,” Yale president Peter Salovey said at the time. “In making this change, we must be vigilant not to erase the past. To that end, we will not remove symbols of Calhoun from elsewhere on our campus, and we will develop a plan to memorialize the fact that Calhoun was a residential college name for 86 years.”

Both Yale and Princeton have gone on to establish systems for addressing name changes, hoping to add a sense of due process and equality for all considerations going forward.

Calhoun’s name remains associated with multiple colleges in the U.S., including Clemson University in South Carolina and Calhoun Community College in Alabama.

Statues Coming Down at Bronx Community College

On Wednesday, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York announced that it would be removing two busts from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an outdoor monument on the college's campus. Currently there are 102 people honored there, 98 of them with busts.

A statement from Thomas A. Isekenegbe, president of the college, said that the college has always embraced "values of diversity and inclusiveness" and "creating space where all people feel respected." Consistent with those values, he said, the college will remove from the Hall of Fame the busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

In South Carolina, Honors for a Man Who Boasted of Killing Black People

At Clemson, the honors college remains named for Calhoun, and a spokesman said that renaming the college has not been brought up since the events at Charlottesville. Clemson and other South Carolina public colleges, like universities in North Carolina, are blocked by state law from changing the names of physical buildings, including one named after Benjamin Tillman. Tillman led a white supremacist paramilitary organization in the 1870s and boasted of personally killing African-Americans. Representing South Carolina in the governor's mansion and the U.S. Senate, he is also credited with disenfranchising African-Americans through the South Carolina Constitution of 1895.

Despite having an objectively despicable role in history, his legacy at Clemson is protected.

"Regarding Tillman Hall itself, any possible action related to the name of the building is beyond the university’s control," spokesman Mark Land said in an email. "The building is covered by the South Carolina Heritage Act, which says that no historical structures on public property can be altered or moved without a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the General Assembly."

Clemson has attempted to correct the record on Tillman -- who also has a hall named after him at Winthrop University -- in recent years, Land said.

"Regarding the legacy of Benjamin Tillman, the university has done a lot of work over the past two years, at the direction of our Board of Trustees, to tell the complete, nonromanticized and authentic history of Clemson, including stories that are hard to hear and tell. Tillman and his legacy are part of that effort."

A history task force has been created, biographies of influential South Carolinians connected to the college are "updated, detailed and frank," and plaques mark what used to be slave quarters that housed the men and women who built the university, Land said. While Tillman Hall's name won't change, the roadway in front of it has been named after Harvey Gantt, the first African-American to enroll at Clemson.

Off Campus

Though the movement against certain monuments has significant ties to campus activism, the activism has also been apparent off campus. Following the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the city of Baltimore took down four Confederate statues.

From symbols to systems of white supremacy, they must ALL be dismantled. A small battle won today but the war is far from over. #onamove pic.twitter.com/AErXG6C0FG

— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) August 16, 2017

Among those praising the decision to remove the statues was the president of Johns Hopkins University, who noted that two were in sight of campus.

"I commend Mayor Catherine Pugh and the city council for their decision to remove Confederate monuments. We all witnessed the events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, where such statues continue to be rallying points for white supremacists’ racism, and, ultimately, violence,” Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. “We share the belief that the statues and what they represent have no place in our city and applaud this action as a way to affirm the values of diversity, equity and inclusion that strengthen our university, our city and our nation.”

In Durham, N.C., citizens toppled a statue memorializing Confederate soldiers Monday, and earlier this year New Orleans removed the final Confederate statue in that city.

“What happened in Durham, what happened in New Orleans, what happened in Baltimore is in some ways even more significant,” Brundage said. “We had debates prior to New Orleans … but now we have communities, or people in communities, making a decision, [saying] ‘Enough of the conversation.’”

Those actions, as well as the memories of Charlottesville, will likely invigorate more campus activism -- and, potentially, conflict -- around monuments and statues, Berry said.

“The events of this weekend confirm to me that a monument does not equate to historical understanding, or even the desire to know the historical context behind the individuals that are being displayed,” she said. “I have great concern, because states like Texas have open carry, and certain campuses, like UTA, have concealed carry.”

DiversityEditorial Tags: RaceImage Caption: Thomas Jefferson (left) and Robert E. Lee (center) in Duke ChapelIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Public universities are on solid ground to cancel Richard Spencer events, legal experts say

Thu, 2017-08-17 07:00

When Auburn University said it would block Richard Spencer from speaking on campus in April, the white nationalist sued -- and won.

A federal judge in Alabama rejected Auburn's argument that the speech would be unsafe, and it took place.

This precedent has not deterred the University of Florida or Texas A&M University, both of which this week have canceled plans for events where Spencer was slated to speak on their campuses, citing the violence at white supremacist events last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

Legal experts say that though public institutions are obligated to preserve campus free expression, the tragedy that played out in Virginia over the weekend likely gives presidents more concrete grounds to bar Spencer and his affiliates -- at least in the short term. They warn, however, that the reasoning the institutions gave for canceling -- ensuring student and locals’ safety -- should be applied as judiciously possible.

Auburn, a public institution, tried to halt Spencer’s talk in April, but the man who rented out a university building on Spencer’s behalf filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court, claiming the administration was squashing his First Amendment rights. A federal judge sided with the man, and Spencer was able to proceed with his speech, in which he suggested white people had lost their identities and black students on campus sexually abused white women -- just the kind of rhetoric his fans love and that many consider racist.

The University of Florida’s President, W. Kent Fuchs, released a statement Wednesday calling Spencer’s white nationalist message “repugnant.” Social media threats had called for Gainesville to be the next site for violence after Charlottesville, leading to the decision, Fuchs said.

Both the University of Florida and Texas A&M stressed in their statements the potential for violence and that they were not acting based on the offensiveness of Spencer's views.

“The University of Florida remains unwaveringly dedicated to free speech and the spirit of public discourse. However, the First Amendment does not require a public institution to risk imminent violence to students and others. The likelihood of violence and potential injury -- not the words or ideas -- has caused us to take this action,” Fuchs said in his statement.

The University of Florida’s policy, similar to Auburn’s, allows outsiders to rent campus space if they pay the required expenses, including for security, if necessary.

Auburn lost in court in part because it permits anyone to rent its spaces and so it could not tell Spencer no, Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center, said in a previous interview.

Texas A&M, meanwhile, forbids external campus lecturers from reserving a facility without the backing of a student group -- this is a change in practice from when Spencer spoke to students there last December. Spencer, with his group National Policy Institute, had announced he would target colleges, with Texas A&M as one of his first.

Given how recent the events of Charlottesville are, presidents could reasonably assume the violence could be replicated, Olivas said Wednesday.

Damaging the white supremacists’ case for the right to speak was their public association of Charlottesville with the prospective events in September.

A press release advertising the now canceled “White Lives Matter” rally at Texas A&M was headlined “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M." Similar language was used to promote the planned Florida speech.

“Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus. Additionally, the daylong event would provide disruption to our class schedules and to student, faculty and staff movement (both bus system and pedestrian),” the statement from Texas A&M reads.

The judge in Auburn’s lawsuit found no imminent threat to that campus, which is “clearly” not the case now, said Robert M. O’Neil, a former president of the University of Virginia, where the white nationalists, bearing torches, marched on Friday. O’Neil is a First Amendment scholar who also serves as a senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities.

“If you look more closely at the Auburn situation, the judge did not find any evidence of incitement or the propensity for it on Spencer’s part at that time,” O’Neil said. “The situation is dramatically different today.”

Olivas, in the interview Wednesday, said he believes the legal situation could change in a few months.

“If nothing like this happens again and no one is harmed seriously, the season will turn and they’ll come in around Thanksgiving,” he said. “It’s very difficult to say no to them forever.”

Canceling these sorts of events comes after a great deal of reflection and insider knowledge of prospective threats, said Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel for the American Council on Education. He was formerly a lawyer for Princeton University.

“The other challenge is one is trying to predict what might happen, based on the activities of folks that you do not control,” he said. “Trying to predict what others may or may not do, how various folks may or may not react, that’s a tough job.”

McDonough said he couldn’t speculate whether a lawsuit was imminent for either institution.

Spencer hasn’t publicly announced legal action, but he has taken to Twitter to praise Trump’s response in Charlottesville and retweeted one user criticizing the University of Florida.

What is @UF thinking? Its officials signed an agreement and can't do this under the 1A. @RichardBSpencer. Silly. https://t.co/cNdMaNJqCp

— Evan McLaren (@EvanMcLaren) August 16, 2017

Ari Cohn, a representative of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which generally criticizes institutions that it perceives to limit free speech, was much milder in his critiques of the University of Florida and Texas A&M.

Cohn, the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, said that colleges should not as a first resort halt events simply because of a possible safety risk.

Administrators should disclose as many details as possible about potential threats without compromising the work of law enforcement, Cohn said. He said courts have ruled that “hyperbole” such as the kind displayed in the press release for "White Lives Matter" did not by itself constitute a reason for shutting down an event.

Threats need to reach a level of specificity, he said. Cohn cited a Supreme Court case, Hess v. Indiana, decided in 1973, involving a protester at Indiana University, Gregory Hess, who was initially convicted of disorderly conduct for lewd remarks before the court reversed the decision.

Hess had said something roughly like, “We'll take the fucking street later,” but the court ruled that this was not concrete enough to be considered a real threat, which had an ambiguous time frame.

“If somewhere, someone else reacted violently, then we’d find ourselves pretty hamstrung when it comes to speaking,” Cohn said.

DiversityEditorial Tags: Legal issuesStudent lifeImage Caption: Richard Spencer speaks at Auburn University in April.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

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