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The proportion of the U.S. college-going population made up by nontraditional students -- at least by some common markers -- has dropped off in recent years as the economy has continued to improve.
And among those pursuing graduate education, the share of black students accumulating significant student debt levels has shot up sharply, outpacing other student groups.
Those are among the takeaways of researchers reviewing new federal data on postsecondary students with a particular focus on how they pay for their educations.
The latest iteration of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), a nationally representative survey of postsecondary students, was released this week. The data from the survey, which is administered every four years, reflect the student population for the 2015-16 academic year.
Higher ed researchers have weighed in with early thoughts via outlets like Twitter or in longer analyses of findings from the new data.
Ben Barrett, a policy analyst with the Education Policy Program at New America, noted in a blog post that the share of students with nontraditional characteristics has grown steadily over the past decade. That’s been true of racial and ethnic diversity, low-income and first-generation status, age, and attendance status.
But the NPSAS data show significant recent reversals in those trends for the percentage of undergraduates receiving a Pell Grant as well as the share of first-generation college students. The dropoff in Pell recipients was driven entirely by changes in enrollment at community colleges, which serve a disproportionate number of those students. The share of first-generation students, however, declined in every sector of higher ed.
The proportion of older and financially independent college students has also shrunk since 2012, the previous survey year, possibly because of a stronger economy. Typically, when the economy is weaker, workers will return to college to get new credentials and improve their job prospects. But with a more robust job market, there is less demand for higher ed, particularly in the community college sector.
“To be sure, these trends have occasionally differed in surprising ways across institutional sectors of higher education, and the dip over the past four years may have more to do with an improving economy than any critical reversal in enrollment trends,” Barrett writes.
The proportion of students of color enrolling in undergraduate programs has continued to grow as has the share of students attending part time. So colleges and universities in the U.S. will need to continue to focus on how they serve a more diverse student population.
Most recently, a report from New America this week argued that the federal Parent PLUS loan program has exacerbated the racial wealth gap by allowing low-income black families to take out debt they can’t repay to finance the cost of a child’s college education.
The new federal data indicate that those racial disparities could bear greater scrutiny in graduate education as well. Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University who studies higher education finance, used the new NPSAS data to examine the racial makeup of grad students taking out six figures in loan debt (including both undergrad and graduate loans).
For most racial and ethnic groups, the percentage of students with at least $100,000 in loan debt remained fairly steady -- within one percentage point -- of 2012 levels. But for black students, the share of such borrowers shot up from 21 to 30 percent. That’s three times, Kelchen noted, the rate for white students.
He said the two most likely reasons for the disparity are fewer family resources for black students to draw on to finance an education as well as their chosen field of study -- more of those students may be entering fields like education that offer fewer graduate assistantships, for example. Other recent research, meanwhile, have found that female and black graduates are paid less than white male peers with college degrees, suggesting an even bigger premium on a graduate degree.
Racial disparities also exist in the proportion of graduate students with no debt, although those numbers have changed little since the 2004 survey year.
“Students are going to either be stuck with that debt for a long time or taxpayers are going to have to forgive a large portion of it,” Kelchen said.
The only real federal aid available to graduate students right now is income-driven repayment, Kelchen said, which offers loan forgiveness after 25 years. But that backend subsidy will get more scrutiny from policy makers as projections of the federal costs for graduate lending.
“Then it becomes a question of how much in student loans taxpayers should forgive, particularly when they’re going to graduate and professional students,” Kelchen said.Student Aid and LoansEditorial Tags: Financial aidRacial groupsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
- George Washington University: Marcia McNutt, president of National Academy of Sciences.
- Johnson & Wales University: Laura Freid, president of the Maine College of Art, and others.
- Morton College: Doug Bruno, head women's basketball coach at DePaul University.
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Marylhurst University, a Roman Catholic institution located on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., announced Thursday that it would close by the end of the year, after nearly 125 years of operation.
The university has seen its enrollment plummet from 1,409 in 2013, when many colleges' enrollment swelled as people returned to college during the Great Recession, to half that (743) in 2017. Because the university has a history of serving adult students -- two-thirds of its enrollees attend part time, and 80 percent are over the age of 25 -- its enrollment patterns look more like those of community colleges and for-profit institutions, which have taken a beating as the labor market has (partially) recovered.
Marylhurst said in a written statement that it would help 81 students graduate by the end of this summer and work with more than 320 remaining students to help them transfer to other colleges and universities.
The university plans to turn its campus back over to the religious order with which it is affiliated, the Sisters of the Holy Names.
Marylhurst's Board of Trustees, during "months of extensive analysis and thoughtful deliberation," considered "numerous reorganization scenarios and strategies," but found "no viable financial path that would have enabled us to sustain the high level of academic programming for which we have always strived without putting an extreme, unsustainable burden on our students, faculty and staff,” Chip Terhune, the chair-elect of the board, said in the statement.
The university also said the decision to close now would ensure that Marylhurst "didn’t encounter the accreditation issues, recalled loans or negative audits that often accompany other universities’ closures."
Marylhurst shares some things in common with the growing number of small private colleges that have closed or merged in the last year, including shrinking enrollments and a modest endowment ($20.5 million in 2016). It also is a religious institution, many of which have been disproportionately challenged because their demographic bases are ebbing.
But the university differs from them in some other ways. First, it isn't in the Midwest or the Northeast, which are struggling most with declining populations, especially of traditional-age young people. And while Oregon as a whole also faces a declining college-age population, that is most true in the state's rural regions, whereas Marylhurst sits 10 miles outside Portland, which is booming.
And Marylhurst is not one of those small private institutions that is undifferentiated from the rest. A former women's college, it has historically been an early experimenter, establishing a prior learning assessment program in 1976, going online in a meaningful way in 1996 and beginning a degree completion program in 1998.Editorial Tags: Breaking NewsBusiness issuesLiberal artsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
El presidente de la empresa familiar no entiende España sin Cataluña y reclama que baje la tensión política
Michigan State University will pay half a billion dollars to the survivors of abuse by a disgraced former professor and doctor at the institution, Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of women.
It is believed to be the largest settlement of its kind involving sexual misconduct and a university, blowing away the $109 million payout from Penn State University to the more than 30 survivors of abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
What remains unclear is how Michigan State will pay for the settlement.
The institution’s financial future has been complicated by the waves of lawsuits stemming from the Nassar case -- the $500 million settlement covers 332 claimants. A university spokeswoman, Emily Guerrant, declined to comment to Inside Higher Ed on where the money will come from -- although the university announced Wednesday that $425 million will be distributed now and $75 million will be set aside in a trust fund in case other victims come forward.
Since the scandal has unfolded, two financial ratings agencies have downgraded Michigan State to a negative outlook, though they maintain the institution has good credit. Still, this development, along with predictions that enrollment might drop, has led to questions on how the university will cover the settlement costs.
No confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement would be attached to the settlement, which the institution described as agreed to “in principle.”
“We appreciate the hard work both sides put into the mediation, and the efforts of the mediator, which achieved a result that is responsible and equitable,” Robert Young, a lawyer for Michigan State, said in a statement.
Michigan State took in $2.9 billion in the 2016-17 academic year, according to its public financial statements, about 30 percent coming from tuition dollars, which could take a hit given wide news coverage of the Nassar case.
But state aid has continued to rise modestly, and the university's endowment sits at about $2.7 billion.
Likely, the university will pay the settlement in a combination of future bonds and general university revenue, or perhaps unrestricted parts of the endowment, said Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University.
Its insurance policy, of which Inside Higher Ed could not immediately obtain a copy, caps payouts related to sexual assaults at $39 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this year, both S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investor Service lowered Michigan State’s financial outlook to “negative.” This would affect the interest rates it could obtain.
Kelchen said while this might cost the university tenths of a percentage point on interest rates, on hundreds of millions of dollars, this would add up.
He expected that enrollment would likely remain stable, but the university would need to wait to see if the number of out-of-state or international students would decline because of the scandal, which would more drastically affect its cash flow.
Interim president John Engler told Michigan lawmakers earlier this year that he expects the settlement money to be taken from tuition revenue and state money, remarks that legislators sharply criticized.
A report from Moody’s stated that Michigan State’s large research enterprise and donor support help its credit. But turnover at the university concerned the agency -- both the president and athletics director resigned in the wake of the Nassar revelations. The settlement also does nothing to resolve continuing investigations by the U.S. Education Department or the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“Michigan State University’s announced settlement in principle potentially removes some of the uncertainty around the financial impacts of the Nassar cases,” Susan Fitzgerald, associate managing director at Moody’s, said in a statement. “However, the details of the funding sources and timing are not yet available. Moreover, the university continues to face scrutiny from a number of parties which will continue to be a credit challenge.”
While survivor advocates applauded the settlement, in interviews they said that more importantly, Michigan State must rework its policies to prevent this from happening again.
By settling, the university with acknowledged the financial fallout of rape and sexual assault, said Alyssa Peterson, policy organizer for advocacy group Know Your IX. But administrators should consider further measures that students and others have lobbied for -- free counseling, or expunging from transcripts poor grades that may have resulted from the abuse.
The institution should revamp training for employees on reporting rape, said Taylor Parker, an associate with Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, which consults with campuses about their obligations under the federal gender antidiscrimination law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She’s also the compliance coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinator at the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Parker said she was concerned that the university had already quantified how much it would reserve for future victims. She said she would not want survivors who go public later to feel impeded or pressured not to pursue court action.
“It’s sad to say that these types of situations are a double-edged sword,” Parker said. “While I think that this is one form of justice, it’s still that reactionary justice that we have to have because so many individuals failed in the first place.”
John Manly, a lawyer for the survivors of Nassar's abuse, on Wednesday called the settlement “historic.”
“This … came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced,” he said in a statement. “We appreciate the diligent efforts of [attorney] Mick Grewal and the survivors’ attorneys throughout the nation who worked to obtain this measure of justice and healing. We also thank the mediator and all who participated in crafting this settlement. It is the sincere hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society.”
Nassar is in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing Michigan State athletes and scores of gymnasts he examined in his capacity as a doctor for the U.S. gymnastics team. The settlement only applies to those who sued the university.Editorial Tags: Legal issuesSexual assaultIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Michigan State University
The homepage of Trilogy Education Services' website prominently displays the phrase “Universities Trust Trilogy.”
Trust is an important part of universities’ bargain with Trilogy. The company runs coding boot camps for the continuing education divisions of dozens of well-known institutions such as Rutgers University, the University of California, Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology and many more.
But Trilogy doesn’t run boot camps under its own name. It uses the branding and reputation of its university partners to attract students, often with only a small “powered by Trilogy Education Services” listed at the bottom of webpages that advertise the boot camps.
In exchange for leasing their names and spaces, universities’ continuing education divisions get a share of tuition revenue generated by the Trilogy-run boot camps. The universities say the partnerships also help fulfill their mission of providing non-degree-level credentials and job-relevant training to local adults and a smaller number of university graduates and/or students.
But critics and competitors of Trilogy argue that the company’s close partnership with universities could be misleading to students, who may not understand that the program is being delivered through a third party. For example, online student reviews, which are largely positive, include some students who report feeling "blindsided" when they realized that their boot camp was run by Trilogy, not the host university.
Any student who completes a Trilogy boot camp gets a noncredit university-branded certificate, but the institution will have played a limited role in delivering their training.
A Close Collaboration
Dan Sommer, Trilogy's CEO, said the company aims to be transparent about its role in the university partnerships. And prospective students are told that universities have selected Trilogy as a partner during their enrollment process. He said partnerships between continuing education programs and third-party providers such as Trilogy are "very common."
Asked whether prospective students are concerned about Trilogy's role in the university boot camps, Sommer said students "take a lot of comfort" in knowing that the program has been approved by 34 universities in North America, and that there are standardized processes across the network.
Trilogy was founded in 2015 and raised $30 million in venture capital last year. Unlike some boot camps, such as Dev Bootcamp or the Iron Yard, which closed after sinking money into real estate and struggling to stand out, Trilogy's model of leasing university brands and space appears to be working well. Sommer said he didn't set out to create a typical boot camp. "I said, 'Wouldn't it make sense for a top-tier university to offer skills-based education?'"
Rutgers was Trilogy’s first partner, Sommer said, and was instrumental in shaping the program and its "deep" university partnerships. University faculty members vet and review Trilogy’s curriculum, and the institution has the final say in Trilogy’s instructor and teaching assistant hires. In addition, Trilogy and its partners are in frequent contact throughout the duration of each program to discuss weekly student feedback reports. Universities also participate in networking and mixer events for Trilogy students.
Trilogy’s boot camps cost around $10,000 for a 12-week full-time or 24-week part-time program, delivered in person on university campuses. The part-time option is more popular, said Sommer, and allows students to continue full-time work as they study. Classes typically contain 25 students, with one instructor and two teaching assistants. A base curriculum, designed by Trilogy, can be customized to meet the needs of local employers. Currently offered programs include ones in web development, data visualization and analytics, UX/UI design, and cybersecurity. Trilogy also offers career service support to its students, including résumé and portfolio reviews, interview training, and networking events.
Liliya Spinazzola, director of the center for professional education at the University of Texas at Austin, said her institution began looking seriously at coding boot camps about five years ago. Internal research showed there was high demand in the Austin area for coding skills, but the university didn’t have the capacity to build and deliver its own training, said Spinazzola.
After being approached by several boot camps, UT decided to partner with Trilogy in 2016 and is “very pleased” with the results. Spinazzola praised Trilogy’s industry connections, its integration of skills that meet the needs of local employers into the curriculum and its career-support services.
Jessica Brinker, interim director at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Sean Butcher, program director of technology and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, echoed Spinazzola’s praise of Trilogy as an “excellent partner.”
All three said they are happy with the student outcomes of the Trilogy program, but they didn’t share data about completion rates or the jobs students get after graduating. Spinazzola said Trilogy’s data reporting is “improving all the time,” adding that the company is "still a start-up."
Asked to share details of their financial arrangement with Trilogy, Ernie Costello, assistant dean of business and STEM at UC Berkeley Extension, confirmed that the university has a tuition revenue-sharing arrangement with Trilogy -- similar to the arrangement many institutions have with online program management partners. Both Berkeley and UT Austin confirmed that they initially entered two-year deals with Trilogy and are now looking to extend their partnerships, possibly even applying the part-time boot-camp model to other areas of skills training, such as business administration.
Costello said the share of the tuition revenue that UC Berkeley Extension receives from Trilogy has increased over time. The university currently receives a roughly 50 percent share of the program's net income (gross tuition revenue minus Trilogy's operating expenses). In the first year of the partnership, Berkeley made around $2 million from the program, said Costello. In exchange, the university provided classroom space and academic oversight of the curriculum and instructors, and managed the process of issuing academic certificates.
Liz Eggleston, co-founder of coding school comparison site Course Report, said she has been tracking university partnerships with boot camps. She said Trilogy is not the only player working with continuing education divisions (Learning House’s Software Guild currently has partnerships with seven institutions), but it is the biggest.
Unlike Software Guild and many of its competitors, Trilogy doesn’t publicly share data about the success of its graduates. This is a strategic decision, said Sommer. While the company tracks student outcomes closely and shares them with its university partners, it doesn't want to use the data for marketing purposes, as it could be "misinterpreted" or lead to "false expectations," said Sommer. The company wouldn't want to give students the impression that landing a job in tech is easy, he said. "Our goal is to educate students on quality and what, ultimately, they're going to achieve," said Sommer.
Admission to the Trilogy boot camps is highly selective, said Sommer. He added that graduation rates are over 90 percent and more than 1,500 employers have hired Trilogy graduates. While the company doesn't share information about how long it takes students to find employment, or the types of jobs they land, Sommer cited "countless stories of success" of students moving into new careers after taking a course from Trilogy.
Though Trilogy says it is delivering a quality product, and its partners appear to be happy with results, some of Trilogy's competitors and other observers in the boot-camp space said the company should be more transparent about its results. Student outcomes reports are an important tool for potential students to evaluate boot camps, said Eggleston. She recommends that potential students review these reports closely when choosing a boot camp, in addition to reading student reviews and visiting classrooms.
“The best boot camps are typically transparent about their student outcomes, whether they publish these themselves or through an organization like the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting,” said Eggleston. CIRR aims to verify the outcomes reported by boot camps, and was created by Skills Fund, a student lender focused on boot camps.
Sheree Speakman, CEO of CIRR, said a lack of accountability is a widespread issue in higher education, and particularly among boot camps. Speakman said she would love to see Trilogy start to report data such as completion rates, employment outcomes, job titles and salaries for graduates. She noted that the number of schools reporting data through CIRR is growing, but it could be much higher.
Liliana Monge, co-founder and CEO of boot camp Sabio, and Darrell Silver, co-founder and CEO of boot camp Thinkful, both said Trilogy will need to become more transparent about its outcomes to survive. In the short term, Silver said Trilogy can get away with not disclosing this information because students trust the university partners' brands. But, he said, "Inevitably, for a program to succeed, it has to be producing outcomes reports."
“Trilogy is getting a lot of schools excited about it, and they’ve done a good job convincing schools that it’s a good way to find new revenue and to serve students in their community. But whether they’ll last will come down to quality,” said Silver. Monge has previously been critical of Trilogy, which she said tried to recruit recent Sabio graduates as teaching assistants. Monge said Trilogy's instructors typically had little industry experience -- a point Sommer disputed, saying the boot camp's instructors typically have seven to eight years of experience in the field.
Ryan Craig, managing director of the investment company University Ventures, said Trilogy’s strategy of working with universities “through the side door of continuing ed” is a smart one for the company -- few continuing education divisions (which he described as “profit centers for universities” that typically operate “fairly independently” of their parent institution) would say no to "free revenue."
But Craig, whose firm has invested in competitors of Trilogy, said he suspects “in the next few years we’ll see some regret among those universities who are lending their brand out to Trilogy.” Students are enrolling with the expectation of good employment outcomes, but there’s “no indication” that this is the case, said Craig.
“Universities need to watch themselves,” he said. “Do you really want to be marketing a $10,000 unproven product to your recent graduates who are already thousands of dollars in debt?”TechnologyEditorial Tags: Adult educationCareer servicesCareer/Tech EducationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: University of Texas at Austin
Professor faces possible disciplinary action after university review finds he harassed and retaliated against student he once dated
An associate professor of accounting at East Tennessee State University “should be held accountable” for creating a hostile environment for a student he once dated. That’s according to an investigative report on the case forwarded this month to President Brian Noland.
The professor, Anthony Masino, continued teaching throughout the investigation, as the university determined he was not an immediate risk to students. Yet multiple student, staff and faculty witnesses reported that Masino spoke poorly of the student he dated as being a "cheater" with "mental issues" during the investigatory period. The professor dated multiple other former students, according to the report.
Masino, who denies the allegations of harassment and retaliation, plans to appeal the finding. He is within the 10-day window for doing so, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Whether or not Masino violated the campus’s policy on consensual amorous relationships was not part of the investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender-based discrimination. But Masino also is alleged to have violated the rule, on which he weighed in as a member of the Faculty Senate -- while he was dating the student. According to university records, he described the new rule as a legal vulnerability.
Based on “credible” evidence such as time-stamped photos of Masino in bed, emails and text messages, investigators determined that Masino and the student’s romantic relationship began in September 2016, when she was still his student. But Masino says the sexual relationship did not begin until December of that year, at the end of the semester
“We have an abundance of evidence to that point, which we’ll share during the appeal, and lots of things can be doctored,” said Donald Spurrell, Masino’s lawyer.
Last year, East Tennessee State terminated another professor found to have harassed students and faculty members in the music department, including by making regular sexual comments. David Champouillon, director of jazz studies, denied the allegations against him, but a committee of faculty peers that reviewed his case recommended dismissal. Unlike Masino, Champouillon was suspended during the investigation into claims against him.
‘Nothing Wrong’ With a Relationship
According to the investigative report regarding Masino, an undergraduate student filed a complaint against him in February of this year, saying that Masino pursued her for a romantic and sexual relationship in September 2016, when she was a student enrolled in his Principles of Accounting II class. The relationship lasted more than a year, she said.
The student told investigators that she initially resisted Masino’s advances over concerns about dating her professor. But Masino allegedly told her that there was “nothing wrong” with entering into a relationship, since he had helped write the university’s policy on consensual and sexual relationships.
East Tennessee State’s consensual relationship policy prohibits relationships between an “evaluative authority and any other individual over whom that person has a form of authority,” since such a connection “implies a conflict of interest.” The evaluative authority must disclose any relationship that is a potential conflict of interest to his or his supervisor, to be resolved according to the policy. Any failure to make such a report will be investigated by the Office of Equity and Diversity.
The university’s Board of Trustees approved that specific policy in June. Joe Smith, a university spokesman, said prior policies also prohibited relationships where one party had evaluative authority over the other. But that rule was articulated in more than one university document, he said, and the Faculty Senate and campus equity and diversity staff wanted it written in one common place.
Masino, who served in the senate while the policy was under revision, spoke out against it in January 2017, according to meeting minutes. In an earlier meeting, he challenged the constitutionality of prohibiting certain kinds of relationships between adults.
“In my opinion, they are opening many doors for litigation,” Masino said that January -- as he was dating the student complainant. “The policy has many holes and cannot answer very specific questions. Legally, there are issues with the policy they have created. I have not gotten my questions directly answered. I encourage everyone to put input on the website.”
Claims of Harassment and Retaliation
Soon after the relationship ended, Masino and the student had a conversation in his office about maintaining a cordial relationship within the College of Business, she told investigators. (Masino had previously shown up to her house uninvited and called her friends, pretending to a member of their church to gather information about her, she alleged.) Masino kissed her and invited her to stay for “more free experience,” but she left the building, she said.
In the following days, Masino allegedly flipped off the student and mouthed expletives at her on campus on two separate occasions, as well as at a local Walmart. Later, he grabbed the student by her arm outside one of her classes and led her to a faculty lounge to apologize for his behavior, telling her that her “immaturity” made her unable to understand his actions, she said.
When the student brought up Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, an extracurricular service accounting program in which she hoped to participate, Masino allegedly said that another professor would oversee her participation if she passed her exams. He also professed his love for the student and said he would marry her "tomorrow," she said.
Days later, however, Masino allegedly said that he could not participate in the service program if she did.
The student said the volatility of Masino’s behavior gave her “anxiety,” made her afraid and interfered with her studies. She also alleged that Masino spread rumors that she was “crazy” and a “cheater” within the department.
Masino, meanwhile, told investigators that the student pursued him for a relationship, but he refused to date her until after grades were in. He said he probably fell in “love” with the student “before [he] ever touched her.” He described their relationship as serious, with discussions about marriage.
After the relationship ended, Masino said, the student stalked him, allegedly breaking into his home, appearing near his children’s school and sending him photographs she’d taken of his personal financial documents. He shared police reports he’d filed against the student with investigators related to some of the alleged behavior. Yet the investigative report notes that police did not find evidence enough to take action against the student. It also says there was no evidence that student had broken in to Masino's home.
Masino admitted to “interjecting” into departmental conversations about the Title IX investigation and said that students had asked him about it.
An executive aide in the business school told investigators that Masino told her that a student who had mental health issues, with whom he’d been in a relationship, was stalking him. She said she was able to identify the student in question by that conversation and others, and that Masino also accused the student of cheating on him. A business manager in the college shared a similar account.
Masino’s chair told investigators that he was aware of another prior relationship between a student and Masino, in 2013. He also said that Masino was angry and wanted him to call the police on the student complainant when she came to a volunteer tax program day in February. He eventually told Masino to go home, however, and things went smoothly.
Another professor in the department told investigators that Masino told her he’d dated a student in her class and broke up with her over her alleged cheating. The professor said she had to tell Masino not to identify the student, but that she later realized who it was anyway. Masino also insinuated that the student cheated in the colleague’s class, the professor said.
Another witness, a former student who said she began dating Masino weeks after she finished taking his course, reported that the student complainant student showed up at Masino’s house one evening earlier this year and called her names. The police were called. A former graduate student whom Masino dated in 2016 also said he’d told her about the relationship and he'd been “cheated” on.
Spurrell, Masino's lawyer, said Masino and other members of the senate raised concerns about the dating policy because they feared it "would jeopardize sovereign immunity" and therefore be unconstitutional. Yet prohibitions against relationships between students and those who have evaluative authority over them are typical on college and university campuses. A small but growing number of institutions also have banned undergraduate-faculty dating altogether.FacultyEditorial Tags: FacultyMisconductImage Caption: Anthony MasinoIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
Ohio college unveils second year tuition-free for students who finish 30 credits in their first year
Most scholarships and tuition-free community college programs either focus on covering the entirety of a student's two years in college or at least the first year.
But with more two-year colleges shifting focus from student access to completion, there is growing interest in how to ensure that more students don't stop out after one year.
Marion Technical College, located in Ohio, found a solution in an unusual place -- Inside Higher Ed's "Confessions of a Community College Dean" column. That solution, offered by writer Matt Reed, proposed making the second year of college tuition-free, not the first.
"We were trying to find ways for students to take classes in the summer for free and researching how to incentivize students," said Ryan McCall, Marion Tech's president. "We'd been thinking about it and talking about it and then I read Matt's article. Do we stick with the summer idea or do we try to go further and expand it to the idea of providing students with a second year free after they've proven they want to do the work and be here?"
Reed's idea came after news last year about the plan from Jerry Brown, California's Democratic governor, to cover the first year of community college. The state already boasts some of the lowest tuition rates in the country, but for cash-strapped areas, Reed wrote that the "buy a year, get one free" model would be more useful. A few community college districts in the state have been considering changes to their local tuition-free programs to cover the second year, while the statewide one-year Promise program covers the first. Ohio doesn't have a statewide tuition-free program.
"The up-front cost would be much less because it wouldn't cover students who walk away after a semester or two," Reed wrote. "But the message to students would actually be positive. ‘Show us you're serious,’ the program would say, ‘and we'll help you finish.’ The free second year is earned by the successful completion of the first. It looks less like a freebie and more like a reward. It answers the cultural desire for 'skin in the game' by having students work for it."
Thus emerged the Marion Tech idea, better known as the Get to Next Scholars program. Incoming students will receive a tuition-free second year -- or 35 credit hours free -- if they complete at least 30 hours of college-level courses in the first year while earning at least a 2.5 grade point average.
As part of the program -- and to encourage students to pursue the 30-hour credit minimum -- students will receive a $100 stipend toward books each semester, in addition to access to a dedicated adviser.
McCall said there was some concern at the college that first-year students wouldn't see any benefits to the work they were putting into going full-time, so they added the textbook stipend for both years.
Reed, in an interview with Inside Higher Ed, said he applauded Marion Tech for expanding on the idea by providing the stipend and additional academic support.
"One of the arguments I've heard against free community college is that it makes other scholarships moot and leaves money on the table," he said. "But you're still leaving room for private philanthropy to cover the first year."
Most importantly, Reed said, is that Marion Tech is rewarding behavior.
"It's one thing to jump into college and have the flush of excitement and the novelty, but after the novelty wears off, it's a lot of work," Reed said. "Now that the novelty has worn off, we'll help you finish."
Completing college can be difficult for students for several reasons, although experts pinpoint financial issues as a significant reason why students drop out toward the end of their degree programs. An analysis released last week by Civitas Learning showed one in five community college students left college without a degree despite completing 75 percent or more of the credit threshold.
But some have criticized programs that encourage full-time status at community colleges, even in exchange for free tuition. Tennessee lawmakers recently rejected a plan that would have required recipients of that state's Promise program to complete 30 credits in 12 months because it would have penalized students who also worked or were unable to commit to full-time status.
At Marion Tech, 70 percent of students attend full-time, about 70 percent receive federal aid and more than 90 percent receive some form of financial aid.
"Based on the research, they take a little bit of a heavier load, and because of momentum they have a better chance of finishing," McCall said. "Primarily, this is about helping students get their degree in a shorter time frame and for less of the cost."
Amy Adams, Marion Tech's vice president of planning and advancement, said the scholarship is still a pilot and that administrators are aware of concerns about encouraging students to pursue full-time status.
"We want to make sure they have the right support group, so we're looking at these students as a cohort coming in," she said. "They'll be assigned an academic adviser so they're all on the right pathways and taking the appropriate classes, not falling behind, not feeling overwhelmed, and meeting as a group."
The college, which enrolls about 2,700 students, didn't start marketing the program until this spring. So far it has received about 30 applications for the scholarship. The program is expected to cost the college about $30,000 initially. And officials at Marion Tech have started reaching out to donors to help expand the last-dollar scholarship.
Ultimately the goal is to increase the college's completion rates. Marion Tech's fall-to-fall retention rate is about 60 percent, while its transfer rate is slightly more than 50 percent and the three-year federal graduation rate is 21 percent, McCall said, adding that each of those rates is "unacceptable."
"If I can, I want to show the college and donors that if we had more scholarship dollars to provide to students, we can increase the retention and graduation rates," he said.Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Financial aidFund-Raising/DevelopmentImage Caption: Marion Technical College Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
EuroSWARM is a European Union-funded research project that has experimented with drones, remote-controlled cars and other sensors to create an autonomously behaving “swarm” of bots that can communicate with each other.
In a demonstration scenario, researchers set the swarm to check out a “suspicious-looking” vehicle, explained Hyo-sang Shin, a reader in guidance, navigation and control at Britain's Cranfield University, one of the project partners. The idea is that the swarm could be used for scouting an area before troops are deployed, he said.
But EuroSWARM’s military uses have critics worried. It is one of the first trial projects in a new era of E.U.-funded military research; the budget for similar activities is set to explode over the next decade.
This funding splurge, triggered by fears of European backwardness in military technology, has seen the global debate around research into lethal autonomous weapons -- colloquially known as “killer robots” -- move to Brussels.
“Although the E.U. hasn't given any funding (yet) to ‘killer robots’ in the strict sense,” said Bram Vranken, a researcher at Vredesactie, a Belgian peace organization, “it is clearly prioritizing robotic systems which are pushing the boundaries towards increasingly autonomous systems,” such as swarm systems or “integrated and autonomous surveillance technology.”
Vredesactie is one of several groups, hailing from Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, that have formed Researchers for Peace to campaign against what they call the “further militarization of the European research budget." The group accuses the E.U. of developing autonomous weapons “without any public debate.” So far, more than 600 researchers have signed a petition in support.
Aside from EuroSWARM, Vranken said, he was also worried about Ocean 2020, a 35-million-euro ($41 million) project that aims to “integrate drones and unmanned submarines into fleet operations.” The project, led by Leonardo, an Italian weapons contractor, involves several European ministries of defense, plus the Fraunhofer Society, a German applied research network.
These projects are potentially just the beginning. Earlier this month, the E.U. announced that billions will be set aside explicitly for research, a huge leap in resources compared with now, with the rest spent on development.
This will place the E.U. “among the top four” defense research and technology investors in Europe, according to the European Commission. However, this will still be peanuts compared with the United States, where the Department of Defense is spending about $16 billion a year on science and technology.
The fight in Brussels is now over how this money should be used. Back in 2014, the European Parliament was one of the first bodies to take seriously warnings about “killer robots,” calling on member states to “ban the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention.”
In February this year, members of the European Parliament amended proposals from the commission -- the E.U.’s executive arm -- to prevent E.U. funds being spent on “fully” autonomous weapons that “enable strikes to be carried out without meaningful human intervention and control.” Asked whether it supports this prohibition, a European Commission spokeswoman declined to comment on the record. For now, it is not clear if the prohibition will stand.
Those pushing for increased E.U.-wide military research point out that the Continent lags behind rivals when it comes to developing new military technologies such as drones.
But this is not an argument that impresses Laëtitia Sédou, E.U. program officer at the European Network Against Arms Trade. “One of the reasons [for the creation of the E.U.] is to try and prevent going back into this arms race,” she said.
Despite an international effort by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, governments have yet to agree to a ban on weapons where humans no longer have “meaningful control” over the use of force. What, if anything, can universities and researchers do in the meantime?
One option is to boycott institutions seen to be taking their research too far. In March, dozens of researchers threatened to boycott the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, after it opened a Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence with an arms company. This spurred a pledge from KAIST’s president that the university would avoid developing “autonomous weapon lacking meaningful human control.”
But this poses the question of how far scientists should collaborate with research projects that get close to -- but stop short of -- creating a fully autonomous weapon; there are a huge range of processes that can be automated beforehand, some more ethically challenging than others.
The “biggest ethical issue” is automating the decision to fire, said Stuart Parkinson, executive director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, a U.K.-based organization with about 750 members. But automatic takeoff and landing for drones is arguably “less problematic,” he said.
These complexities mean that “it’s hard to say this project is ethical; this is not,” Parkinson added. For this reason, universities need to make sure that researchers are ethically trained, while ethicists should be included on research teams, he said.
As with any area of fast-developing research, a decent proportion of research spending should be devoted to looking into how the technology might be misused, Parkinson argued. And at the moment “we don’t have that,” he said.
And when in doubt over the ethics of a project, just look at the funders, Parkinson advised. If the backers are military, “whatever you do will be sucked into that world,” he said.
Once an electrical engineer, Parkinson left the field after concluding that it was simply too dominated by military research funders. For some academics, “maybe it’s time to look for a different direction,” he said.
But there will be no shortage of young researchers willing to take the place of the disenchanted -- hence the need for the military funders themselves to abide by proper research ethics guidelines, Parkinson pointed out.
For his part, Shin acknowledged that his EuroSWARM project might one day be a building block of a lethal autonomous weapon system, but he argued that “any technology can be dangerous.”
He said that he would “probably” agree to work on a research project that actually involved weapons. “But I would restrict myself to things that might benefit or reduce risk to human troops or [reduce] civilian casualties,” Shin added. He is against drones ever using their own judgment to fire.
Proper regulation, rather than academic boycotts such as the one proposed against KAIST, are likely to be more effective, Shin said.
It will be “years rather than decades” before drones are able to fire on their own initiative, said Parkinson, although then their “reliability will be in the eye of the beholder.”
But in a sense, fully autonomous weapons are already with us: the Korean border already has machine-gun turrets that can in theory fire automatically on movement, Parkinson said (although the South Korean military has reportedly made sure that a human has to authorize any attack). He warned, “That’s an example of where something is already happening.”GlobalEditorial Tags: Foreign countriesTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
New presidents or provosts: Bakersfield Cape Town Cleveland Dominguez Hills Hagerstown Lewis Mars Hill New Rochelle Tacoma
- John Anthony Floyd, executive vice president of Coker College, in South Carolina, has been selected as president of Mars Hill University, in North Carolina.
- Ivan L. Harrell II, executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, has been chosen as president of Tacoma Community College, in Washington.
- Jason Hurst, senior director of work-force development for the Alabama Community College System, has been named president of Cleveland Community College, in North Carolina.
- Jim Klauber, president of John C. Calhoun State Community College, in Alabama, has been chosen as president of Hagerstown Community College, in Maryland.
- William W. Latimer, founding dean of the School of Health Sciences, Human Services, and Nursing at Lehman College of the City University of New York, has been appointed president of the College of New Rochelle, also in New York.
- Thomas A. Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California, Irvine, has been selected as president of California State University Dominguez Hills.
- Mamokgethi Phakeng, deputy vice chancellor for research and internationalization at the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, has been promoted to vice chancellor there.
- Christopher Sindt, vice provost for academic affairs at Saint Mary’s College of California, has been selected as provost of Lewis University, in Illinois.
- Lynnette Zelezny, provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University Fresno, has been chosen as president of California State University Bakersfield.