U.S. Higher Education News for September 18, 2015

 

“Editorial: Measuring the Payoff of College.” Tampa Bay Times 18 Sep. 2015: A, 10.

President Barack Obama wisely abandoned his plan for the federal government to rank all 7,000 American institutions of higher learning, from Harvard to hairdressing schools. But the U.S. Education Department has done something smarter. It has created a vast database to let families and prospective students reach their own conclusions by searching and sorting relevant financial information, including the median salary of students 10 years after they started school.

The website, collegescorecard.ed.gov, allows anyone to see a treasure chest of information about any school. Most important, it allows students to get an honest assessment on what a college will probably cost them, the debt they might incur and the range of salaries that students go on to earn after graduation. Perhaps most telling, the site calculates the percentage of students who, six years after they started school, are out-earning a typical high school graduate.

College, of course, isn’t just about a future paycheck. It also should create critical thinkers and engaged citizens. But even poets and philosophers need to pay the light bill, and if a college can’t manage to help its students out-earn high school graduates, it’s time to ask some probing questions about whether it’s worth the cost. . . .

Higher education and incomes

School…………………………………………Median earnings 10 years after starting college

University of Florida………………………$51,300

Florida International University……..$45,100

University of Tampa………………………$44,400

Florida State University…………………$44,000

University of Central Florida………….$43,000

University of South Florida……………$41,700

University of North Florida……………$41,600

Florida Atlantic University…………….$41,400

Florida Gulf Coast University…………$41,200

Eckerd College……………………………..$40,800

Florida A&M University………………..$37,300

University of West Florida…………….$36,300

Note: These are the median annual earnings, 10 years after they began college, of former students who received some form of federal aid.

 

Haurwitz, Raplh K.M. “Regent: Texas Public Colleges Need Inspector to Police Them.” Austin American-Statesman [TX] 18 Sep. 2015: B, 3.

Texas higher education institutions are not capable of investigating themselves or properly handling open-records requests, a University of Texas System regent said Thursday as he called for establishment of an inspector general’s office to ride herd on public universities.

The regent, Wallace L. Hall Jr., sued UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven in June after the chancellor said Hall could not have access to confidential student information from an investigation into favoritism in admissions at the Austin flagship. The case is pending in state district court in Travis County.

Hall said that an inspector general could also field complaints from members of boards of regents. But it’s doubtful that such a plan would gain much traction in the state Legislature, which of late has been far more interested in reducing government than expanding it.

Speaking at a conference in Austin sponsored by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, Hall recounted his efforts to obtain records from UT-Austin and the UT System on a variety of topics, including the Law School Foundation, procurement practices and gift-counting procedures, as well as admissions.

“Over the last 4½ years, it has really been one cover-up after another,” Hall said.

His inquires have led to some reforms, but they have also earned him sharp criticism from fellow regents, lawmakers and others. A legislative panel declined to seek his impeachment and a grand jury declined to indict him, but both accused him of abusing his office after exhaustive investigations of his activities. . . .

 

“Local News.” [sic–This Is an Odd Heading for This Article] Herald-Sun [Durham, NC] 18 Sep. 2015: A, 1.

WINSTON-SALEM – Five months after tinkering with the pay ranges for the system president and campus chancellors, the UNC system’s Board of Governors is about to do likewise for other administrators, down to the level of assistant dean. . . .

In practical terms, the proposed ranges allow more variance in what executives at the system’s 17 campuses can receive in salary, when they’re first hired and over the course of their careers.

Actual salary raises, however, will remain a function of what money’s in the state budget in any given year. The fiscal 2015-16 budget . . . promises funding for one-time, $750-a-head bonuses.

As for hiring rates, in the future “we’re going to be judging chancellors and the president of the system and department heads on how well they administer” the pay scale, said G.A. Sywassink, a trucking executive and board member who chairs the Personnel and Tenure Committee. . . .

The new scale will vary not just with the position, but with the campus. . . .

But the proposal sparked criticism ahead of Thursday’s meeting, coming from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a conservative group based in Raleigh and bankrolled by the family of former state Rep. Art Pope, R-Wake.

Two of its staffers, Jesse Saffron and Jenna Robinson, penned a commentary that said salaries at the system office and on the campuses are already “beyond the pale.” . . .

But it’s not particularly easy to argue that UNC’s executive salaries are out of line with the private sector’s.

Departing system President Tom Ross, for example, makes $550,000 for overseeing an organization that by the Pope Center’s reckoning is a $9.5 billion-a-year operation.

In Durham, the CEO of one prominent homegrown business, Cree Inc.’s Chuck Swaboda, gets $779,615 a year in salary and $5.4 million in total compensation, according to market analyst Morningstar Inc.

Cree, which makes LED light bulbs, lost $64.1 million in fiscal 2014-15 off $1.6 billion in net revenue, its preliminary numbers say. . . .

 

“Poet to Launch Baldwin Protocols Project at UD.” Telegraph Herald [Dubuque, IA] 18 Sep. 2015: C, 11.

Roger Bonair-Agard, a Chicago-based poet and educator, will present “Your Voice Matters: Authority, Language, and Agency in Higher Education” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sep. 22 , at the University of Dubuque, 2000 University Drive, in room 146 of the Myers Teaching and Administrative Center.

The presentation will coincide with the launch of an art-based critical thinking and writing project called, “The Baldwin Protocols.”

UD students, faculty and staff are invited to attend, along with residents interested in intentionally racially supportive programming that empowers all students in primarily white institutions with tools of critical analysis and writing.

The Baldwin Protocols, named after novelist, playwright, poet and social critic James Baldwin, are a series of art-based workshops, seminars and lectures which acknowledge the challenges faced by students of color in primarily white institutions.

The protocols include six weekend workshops that will study literature, visual art, music, dance and other contemporary media with expressions that allow for people’s ability to speak back to power.

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Today, there are more items of interest from newspapers outside than within the U.S.

The first two offer very different takes on the admission prospects of students in ethnic and racial minorities. They are followed by two items about South African institutions that focus on the relation between art and political activism aimed at transforming South Africa’s colleges and universities.

 

“Ethnic Minority Teenagers ‘More Ambitious’ When Selecting University Courses.” Telegraph [UK] 18 Sep. 2015.

Teenagers from ethnic minorities are less likely to get an offer from a top university because they are more likely to apply for the courses and institutions that are the toughest to get in to.

These young people are more likely to aim higher in their applications than their white peers, who tend to “play it safe”, new research published by Ucas suggests.

The admissions service looked at offers made by English universities to young English applicants from different ethnic backgrounds.

It concluded that there was no “systemic bias” against ethnic minority applicants.

Although white students were more likely to get an offer from a selective university in general, this is because those with the same predicted A-level grades from Asian, black, mixed or other backgrounds were more likely to apply to the institutions and degree courses that had lower offer rates – effectively the hardest to get in to.

Actual offer rates to students from ethnic minority backgrounds are close to what would be expected, based on their predicted grades and the courses they want to study, the analysis note says. . . .

 

Adams, Richard, and Caelainn Barr. “Ethnic Minority Students Less Likely to Win University Places; UCAS Data Shows White Students with Similar A-Level Results Are More Successful at All Levels of University Entrance.” Guardian [UK]

Black, Asian and other ethnic minority students face a persistent gap in winning university undergraduate offers in England compared with white applicants, even when exam performance is taken into account.

Data published by the admissions service Ucas show that even after adjusting for A-level scores, ethnic minority students are marginally less likely to be given offers of places, while white students with similar predicted grades at A level are more successful at getting offers.

Publication of the figures, comparing applications rates and offers at English universities by ethnic groups between 2010 and 2014, follows calls for greater transparency by the universities minister Jo Johnson.

The analysis suggested that while the gap in successful applications by ethnic minorities is more narrow than previous measures, a small but stubborn gap in success rates remains.

Mary Curnock Cook, Ucas’s chief executive, said: “This analysis is encouraging in that it does not reflect any systemic bias against ethnic minorities in higher education admissions.”

Analysis by the Guardian of the Ucas data showed that the gap in the numbers of ethnic minority students actually offered places widens as universities get less selective – meaning that leading universities such as Manchester and Birmingham appear more receptive to ethnic minority applicants than those outside the Russell Group. . . .

 

“Mbete Focuses on ‘Activism’ at Stellenbosch.” Cape Argus [South Africa] 18 Sep. 2015: 6.

TRANSFORMATION and language policy remain hot topics at Stellenbosch University as ANC chairwoman and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete addressed students yesterday.

The lecture centred on the Freedom Charter but also focused on the rise of student activism at institutions described as the “bastion of apartheid” where “unjust systems continued to prevail”.

Mbete diverted to student activism at Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town recently. She highlighted the language policy at Maties that has been “a sore point after students protested against Afrikaans as the medium of teaching”.

The Open Stellenbosch student movement had demanded that the university change its language policy in order to become more inclusive for students of other races and cultures.

Mbete said that even though management at the university were at pains earlier this month to stress–to the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training–that it was a “multilingual institution,” it failed to mention the systematic changes that would have to be implemented. . . .

Mbete made reference to the fact that 83 percent of academic staff at the university were white while only 17 percent were African, Coloured and Indian. . . .

Vice chancellor Wim de Villiers dismissed allegations that he was not engaging with students who were members of the Open Stellenbosch movement. . . .

He said he enjoyed Mbete’s speech and thought it was “very apt.” “What I took from it was that Stellenbosch University’s path to transformation is incomplete and imperfect but we remain resolute in doing it and I sense that the chairperson was very supportive of that.”

 

Wolf, Rafael. “UWC Festival of Poetry Attracts Literary Greats. Cap Times [South Africa] 18 Sep. 2015: 4.

A POETRY festival featuring literary giants such as Dutch Poetry Laureate Anne Vegter and South Africa’s own world-renowned author Antjie Krog will unfold at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) today.

Taking place between 12.45pm and 2pm in UWC’s Library Auditorium, the festival forms part of the university’s Heritage Month celebrations and is free and open to the public.

Besides Vegter and Krog, others who will read their own work at the event include Indian poet Vivek Narayanan and local poets Vonani Bila, Valda Jansen, Thando Mgqolozana and Nkosinathi Sithole.

Their readings, together with a Frank Talk session around the meaning of Africanising higher education, form part of a broader celebration by the Steve Biko Foundation and the Mayibuye Robben Island Archives Museum, said UWC’s Aidan van den Heever.

UWC Creates will run a workshop in Wellington tomorrow titled “Writing Sexual Violence”. It also offers free Xhosa writing workshops in August.

 

Harris, Sarah. “Student Digs Ain’t What They Used To Be!” Daily Mail [UK] 18 Sep. 2015.

UNIVERSITY halls once meant students had to put up with grotty communal bathrooms, over-stuffed kitchen bins and blocked sinks – but the days of slumming it are long gone for today’s freshers.

King-size beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, flat-screen TVs, personal trainers, fresh fruit deliveries and an on-site cinema are more the order of the day.

The 131-flat development, which owners say is seven star’, has opened for students as one of the growing number of university halls offered by private firms. Apartment prices in the Leeds development, called The Edge, range from £140 to £203 per week.

Student housing charity Unipol estimated private firms provided four in five new bed spaces in 2013. But critics say it has pushed up housing costs with half of students struggling to afford rent, according to charity Shelter.

*Cambridge University has ruled out raising tuition fees above £9,000 a year. Vice chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz told Times Higher Education that teaching costs were £16,700 a year per undergraduate, but higher fees would threaten student access.

 

Zaatari, Sami. “Abu Dhabi University Upholds Academic Integrity.” Gulf News [UAE] 18 Sep. 2015.

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi University (ADU) has reported a decline in academic integrity violations from 334 cases in 2009-10 to just 29 cases in the 2014-15 academic year.

The university, which is ranked among the 50 best universities in the Arab world by QS, a professional organisation that rates universities, formed the Office of Academic Integrity (OAI) in 2009 to ensure that academic standards are upheld and that there are no violations by students or faculty members. . . .

“Faculty and staff are also educated and trained on how to uncover cases of plagiarism, cheating, collusion, free riding, presenting false credentials, fabrication of data and other academic violations,” Dr Ebrahim said. . . .

334: cases of academic violations in 2009-10

29: cases of academic violations in 2014-15

76: Cheating cases in 2009-10

15: Cheating cases in 2014-15

106: Plagiarism cases in 2009-10

11: Plagiarism cases in 2014-15

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Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Five Days:

September 13, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/14/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-13-2015/

September 14, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/15/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-14-2015/

September 15, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/17/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-15-2015/

September 16, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/18/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-16-2015/

September 17, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/19/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-17-2015/

 

 

12 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 18, 2015

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