2011 Open Doors Data on International Students

On November 14, the Institute of International Education (IIE), a group which advocates for and collects data about international student and scholarly travel, released this year’s “Open Doors” data at an event at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The data tracks how many students from around the world come to the United States to study as well as how many American students travel abroad for at some point in their education. I attended the Open Doors event to learn more about the state of international study today.

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The Value of Useless Research

The following guest post is by Johann Neem, associate professor of history at Western Washington University:

A recent paper by Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein argues that since many papers in literature are rarely cited, colleges and universities should reallocate their priorities in order to make better use of literature professors’ time. Prof. Bauerlein concludes: “To put it bluntly, universities ask English professors to labor upon projects of little value to others, incurring significant opportunity costs.”

One must read the report closely to understand Bauerlein’s point. Bauerlein is rejecting the broader attack on humanities research by policymakers and reformers in such states as Florida and Texas. To these critics, academic research is a waste of money.

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China’s Academic Freedom Threat

The rise of China’s influence in the world includes its connections with American universities. And the Chinese government’s attacks on free speech make this a troubling development for academic freedom.

Bloomberg reports on how China is funding Confucius Institutes in America, and seeking to limit academic freedom.

When China demanded that a Stanford professorship it funded could not have a professor who discussed Tibet, Stanford refused and the Chinese officials backed down. That’s exactly what every university should do. In fact, all universities should join together and sign a pact declaring that they will not ever infringe academic freedom, at home or abroad, at the demand of foreign governments or their agents.

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Are We in for a Wave of Privatization?

In the new issue of Academe, Bruce Burgett argues that for public universities in states like Washington, the temptation to privatize is becoming overwhelming. He writes:

Given the rise of market-based models in educational policy circles, the threat of the current moment is that the economic stress public institutions are experiencing will lead them to jump at any partnership or initiative that promises new revenue, treating their mission to provide broad access to higher education as a luxury that is unaffordable in the current crisis.

Is this going on with your state’s public institutions?

AAUP Statement in Support of Free Expression in the University of California

On November 20, the national Council of the AAUP passed the following resolution:

Statement in Support of Free Expression in the University of California

On November 9, police officers dispatched by the administration of the University of California, Berkeley violently assaulted students and faculty who were peacefully protesting. The assaults are clearly documented in video recordings circulating widely on the Internet. Some students and a faculty member were arrested and several faculty members were injured. One faculty member was thrown to the ground by her hair, even as, in the great American tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience, she was extending her hands and crying “arrest me.” It is sadly ironic that this assault on free expression took place on the Mario Savio Steps, dedicated by the University to the memory of the leader of the Free Speech Movement, which in 1964 established the fundamental principle that University students have the right to speak freely and demonstrate at the University so long as their actions are not violent and do not inordinately disrupt the University’s functions.

This assault has prompted broad outrage throughout the University of California’s ten campuses. On November 16, as many as 10,000 students, faculty, staff and members of the public gathered in Sproul Plaza as part of a University-wide strike. At the University of California, Davis on November 18 another peaceful demonstration of students and faculty was assaulted with pepper gas. Several students were hospitalized and others injured.

The AAUP joins our colleagues in California, including members of those University of California Faculty Associations affiliated with AAUP, in condemning these attacks and expresses its solidarity with those who have been unjustly attacked and arrested. All universities must make space for political dissent. Students and faculty must be free to decide on the form of their dissent and, if they so decide, to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience without fear of bodily harm arising from a violent administration response. We call upon the Board of Regents of the University of California and the University administrations to refrain immediately from further use of police against nonviolent protesters and, instead, to defend the rights of students, faculty, and staff to peacefully demonstrate.

The Myth of Male Victimhood

It’s tough to be a man. That’s the message of male conservatives who worry about how terribly oppressed men are on college campuses facing the evil feminist conspiracy. Even though the people who run universities—presidents, trustees, coaches, even tenured faculty—are overwhelmingly male, we keep getting told this myth about the victimization of men.

This week came the latest, and perhaps the most ridiculous, example when Glenn Ricketts wrote at the NAS blog about how men were avoiding college due to the fear of being charged with sexual assault:

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Jack Conway Re-elected in Kentucky

Last week’s state elections attracted attention for a variety of causes and elections, most notably the defeat of Ohio’s tough new collective bargaining law and the defeat of the pro-life “personhood amendment” in Mississippi. But for for-profit colleges, the most important election of the night mostly flew under the radar: Democrat Jack Conway was re-elected as attorney general in Kentucky, defeating Republican Todd P’Pool by ten points.

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REINS and RAA: Do for-profit colleges really need LESS regulation?

The “Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011” (H.R. 3010/S.1606; the RAA) and the “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011” (H.R.10/S. 299; the REINS Act) are two terribly disruptive pieces of legislation. Together, they pose a huge threat to the safeguards that protect the food we eat, the air we breathe, and more relevant to the topic of this particular space, access to quality higher education.

The REINS Act is the signature bill of anti-government attacks on public protections and it aims to destroy a century’s worth of progress in environmental, health, workplace, consumer, and financial protections.
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Liberals Aren’t Stupid After All

You have to say this for George Mason economics professor Daniel Klein: at least he’s willing to admit a mistake. In the Atlantic, Klein discusses his major mea culpa retracting a study last year that he trumpeted as proof that liberals are stupid about economics.

Last year, I wrote a lengthy blog post condemning Klein’s biased study, and I certainly wasn’t alone. I explained in detail why many of Klein’s questions were deeply biased, and noted:

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