Noticias relacionadas con la Innovación Educativa

Virtual reality for midwives: an Australian example

Tony Bates - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 17:44

Connolly, B. (2018) How virtual reality is transforming learning at the University of Newcastle, CIO, 8 March

This article includes a couple of nice, short videos demonstrating the use of AR and VR in a University of Newcastle nurses’ program in Australia.

The first one, below, demonstrates the use for breech positioning and placenta replacement (click image to play):

University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The second demonstrates a neonatal resucitation scenario when a newborn baby stops breathing.

University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

These are very good examples of the power of AR and VR to enable students to practice and learn in a safe environment without danger to patients. The technology is accessible via mobile phones or tablets so students can practice in their own time as well as in the VR studio with an instructor.

What would be useful to know is the cost of producing such VR applications and the number of students that make use of the equipment over the length of a course – in other words, what is the return on investment, compared, with, for example, traditional video? What are the added benefits? Do learning outcomes improve? We need much more research into these questions.


Parkland Survivor To Trump: 'Show Us That You Aren't Owned By The NRA'

Huffington Post - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 14:10
"Show us you’re better than the other politicians," student David Hogg said.

Students value diversity, inclusion more than free expression, study says

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

College students value a diverse and inclusive environment more than free speech rights, according to a new study on student attitudes on free expression.

The report from Gallup and the Knight Foundation comes at a turbulent time on college campuses nationwide, where students have challenged the principles of the First Amendment -- they have called for controversial campus speakers to be disinvited, and when they disagree with speakers’ message, have shouted them down. They’ve also called for administrators to invest more in diversity initiatives and are demanding clear statements from them against speech they deem hateful.

Asked to select which is more important, about 53 percent of the students interviewed for the study picked diversity, versus 46 percent who chose free speech. This data is based on telephone interviews with 3,014 traditional-age students (18 to 24) at 100 four-year institutions, both public and private.

When the authors broke down the data further, they provided a clear picture of what certain campus demographics prioritize. About 61 percent of men favored free speech rights far more than a diverse and inclusive campus (39 percent). Conversely, 64 percent of women believe that diversity is more important, versus 35 percent who picked free speech.

Differences emerge with race, too. White students tended to value free speech more -- 52 percent compared to 47 percent who picked diversity and inclusion. About 68 percent of black students, meanwhile, said diversity was more important compared to 31 percent for free speech.

 a diverse and inclusive society or free speech. 53 percent of students say diversity is more important than free speech.“We are seeing increasingly diverse campuses, much more diverse than they would have been a generation ago,” said Sam Gill, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for communities and impact.

Thus, Gill said, universities and their leaders are finding themselves adjusting to the demands of contemporary students -- creating new jobs and offices that fill students’ calls for diversity.

The foundation and Gallup (which partners with Inside Higher Ed in sponsoring events and publishing other reports) conducted a similar survey in 2016 and found similar results, though in this round they found students continue to skew more in favor of protecting diversity than free speech.

For instance, in 2016, about 22 percent of students reported wanting “a positive environment” if it meant certain speech, even that which is hateful but legally protected, was prohibited. In this year’s study, that number rose seven percentage points.

But what was most striking to Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup’s higher education division, was how much students appeared to be critical of social media, despite its proliferation in their lives.

Roughly 57 percent of students thought that debate on political and social issues took place online rather than in person at their colleges (43 percent).

Despite the popularity of online platforms, though, students reported social media tended to stifle free speech in many ways. About 60 percent of students indicated that too many people block others online with whom they disagree -- this is up 12 percentage points from 2016.

About 59 percent of students said people feared being attacked online for their views, an uptick of 10 percentage points from 2016. And 83 percent of students said that it is too easy for anonymous users to post online.

Colleges have struggled to compete as the forum for debate and discussion in a digital age, when the conversation has turned online, Busteed said. Institutions must reclaim the debates and create productive campus talks, he said.

Busteed noted that campuses don’t always successfully publicize some of these initiatives. As his survey notes, students aren’t always aware of the campus opportunities or policies (such as whether a campus speech code exists).

“If we’re really embracing it, we’ve got to communicate what we’re doing,” he said.

Previous research into students’ beliefs on free expression found even when they respected the ideals of the First Amendment in theory, they did not always want to follow them in practice. Students also were unsure of the protections the First Amendment offered, with many believing that it did not allow for hate speech (even though it often does).

This also came through in the Gallup/Knight report, with 64 percent of students believing that the First Amendment shouldn’t protect hate speech. About 70 percent of students said that campuses should restrict certain slurs, and 30 percent believe they should prohibit some politically oriented speech.

Gill said that while students should learn about the intricacies of the constitution and receive a civic education, more importantly, students “are taking to a new level” the debate around the First Amendment. Over time, exceptions have been added to free speech law -- fighting words, not being able to shout “fire” in a crowded theater -- and he said he believes this generation will be at the forefront of conversations around this evolving issue.

“There is a much more profound conversation going on about how free expression figures into our democracy,” Gill said. We’re going to have a much more educated group lead into that conversation. We’re talking societywide about the strength of our democracy, and this is a huge opportunity for universities to show leadership in addition to having to react to challenging situations.”

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Signaling confidence in liberal arts education, DePauw commits to 100% employment for graduates

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

As colleges go, DePauw University has a pretty good track record of ensuring "gainful employment" for its graduates, roughly 95 percent of whom have a relevant job or a place in graduate school within six months of earning their bachelor's degree.

But that wasn't good enough for the parent of one prospective student recently.

“‘Johnny really wants to go to your school, but Johnny has to get a job,’” Mark McCoy, DePauw's president, recounts the parent saying at an admissions event for the Indiana liberal arts institution.

McCoy couldn't contain himself. “Thank goodness you stopped him in the nick of time and threw yourself on the tracks,” he responded. “Because nobody with a liberal arts education gets a job.”

These are trying times for leaders of liberal arts institutions like DePauw. There have long been questions about whether a liberal arts degree is the best route to a job immediately after graduation, McCoy says. "But now people seem to be saying, if you get a liberal arts education, you’ve precluded the possibility of ever getting a job."

There is abundant evidence that a liberal arts education prepares graduates for successful careers, as well as, of course, a successful life. But with many parents and policy makers increasingly focused on students' first jobs, DePauw is making a grand statement to show that it can do that, too.

With its Gold Commitment, which DePauw quietly rolled out during its current admissions cycle, the university promises every graduate a "successful launch." The university vows that for any student who does not have an "entry-level professional position" or acceptance to graduate school within six months of graduation, DePauw and its employer partners will either give them a full-time entry-level position for at least six months, or the university will give the graduate another semester of education tuition-free. (DePauw isn't the only party that makes a commitment: students must meet a set of academic, behavioral and other requirements to qualify, and alumni will be expected to step up to help current students.)

In many ways, the goal is not a huge lift for DePauw, given the high rate at which its graduates currently launch successfully. Its typical annual graduating class is roughly 500 students, so the 5 percent each year who don't land a job or get into graduate school amounts to about 25 people.

“Parents are legitimately concerned about the first job. If we take that issue off the table for you, because we’re so sure it works, we think parents will go, ‘Now I can stop worrying about this, I can give them the best education available, which is the liberal arts education.’”

But by making a highly visible promise -- similar to but distinctive from guarantees that a handful of other institutions have made in the past (see box below) -- the university and McCoy hope to make a statement not about what the institution will begin doing, but what it has been doing all along.

"This is not, 'those liberal arts don't work, we've got to change the liberal arts so they do,'" McCoy says. "We already provide a viable, powerful education that works. We're just adding to the structure, codifying some things, so it works for everyone."

The Liberal Arts Under Fire

With the rise in student debt levels and the lingering effects of the Great Recession, doubts about the value of a college degree has risen, too -- and the liberal arts have taken a particular pounding.

That has led to lots of discussion (in, among other places, Inside Higher Ed's opinion pages) about whether liberal arts colleges and programs should become more focused on shorter-term vocational outcomes, by changing their offerings, how they operate, and the like.

Other Colleges' Guarantees

Capitol Technology University

Davenport University

Thomas College

Udacity and boot camps: Promise money back if graduates don't get jobs

McCoy believes the debate about whether the liberal arts does and should prepare students for long-term career success or short-term employability is a flawed one. "Yes, we believe that you should go college not just to make a living, but to make a life," he says. "But that's not to suggest that you're not preparing them to make a living."

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, has been listening in on a set of focus groups the higher ed lobbying group has been doing with the public, with a tilt toward supporters of President Trump. His assessment: "The public’s summary of the purpose of a higher education is jobs, jobs, jobs. They often have difficulty defining the reasons one might get a higher education beyond employment."

Given the stagnant wages for many Americans in the decade since the recession, it's "pretty understandable" that Americans might feel that way. That's not to say that higher education can or should let that perception stand, Hartle says.

"I think the higher education community in general has tended to assume that the public understands the widespread and diverse purposes of higher education, and we've erred in doing so. We need to talk about the many ways that going to college transforms people’s lives -- developing moral reasoning, civic engagement."

But college leaders shouldn't assume they can just "change the discussion -- few organizations and institutions in our society can do that," Hartle says. "Institutions have to meet the public where they are, particularly liberal arts institutions, and particularly in regions of the country with stable or declining populations."

Like, say, Indiana.

Responding to a ‘Flawed Narrative’

DePauw does not fit the profile of a "struggling" liberal arts college. The 180-year-old Methodist institution enrolls about 2,200 students, admits about two-thirds of its applicants, has an endowment of about $650 million, and has already raised $320 million in a capital campaign slotted to bring in $300 million.

McCoy, a former dean of DePauw's music school, enthusiastically embraces the liberal arts. "I want the world to be more liberally educated, and more people to consider this type of education, here and everywhere," he says.

But doubts about the liberal arts' value impede that goal -- not so much for students but for parents.

"Parents are legitimately concerned about the first job," he says. "If we take that issue off the table for you, because we're so sure it works, we think parents will go, 'Now I can stop worrying about this, I can give them the best education available, which is the liberal arts education.'"

Focusing on students' postgraduation outcomes isn't new for DePauw -- it has long focused on experiential learning and has had a center for entrepreneurship for nearly 40 years. But it will as part of the Gold Commitment become more intentional in what it offers (and demands of) students.

Beginning next fall, every student will have a "commitment adviser" in addition to the academic advisers DePauw undergraduates have always had. These advisers will ensure that students fulfill the various experiences and obligations they must to complete their end of the bargain, including graduating in four years, remaining in good behavioral standing and participating in one of the university's co-curricular centers (entrepreneurship, civic engagement, ethics, etc.) and its sophomore institute focused on life after DePauw. (A software system will help track whether students are availing themselves of the opportunities and requirements.)

Other "innovations" are likely to follow in future years, but these will be tweaks to what DePauw has long done as part of its liberal arts education, McCoy says, not radical departures from it. Unlike many small private colleges that have added degree programs in fields such as nursing and business and pharmacy, DePauw has clung tenaciously to its liberal arts roots.

"This is upping our game on ourselves a little bit, and we have to be prepared to continue to innovate," he says. "But mostly this is simply us doubling down on what we do well, and since it does, we're willing to guarantee it."

DePauw expects alumni to help with internships along the way and positions for graduates who might need employment after graduation, in exchange for reaffirming to them that "we're dedicated to making your institution relevant and your degree worthwhile," McCoy says.

Programs Elsewhere

DePauw may be the most visible institution to promise students will find jobs, but it isn't the first.

Thomas College, in Maine, has had its Guaranteed Job Program since 1999. If a student is unemployed six months after graduation, the college will make monthly payments on their federally subsidized student loans for up to a year, or they may enroll tuition-free in up to six evening graduate courses at Thomas. Students may also re-enroll at Thomas if they are in a job that isn't in their field of study.

Since 2001, only two students have used the loan payoff benefit, while another five have taken advantage of the educational benefit in the previous decade. Roughly 92 percent of students sign a contract to opt in to the program, which obligates them to follow a series of steps designed to prepare them for career success.

Corey Pelletier, director of career services at Thomas, says the guarantee has not significantly altered the institution's job placement outcomes (which were already good, in the low 90s), nor has it radically increased enrollment demand.

But it helps the college back up its mission of ensuring that students graduate with the practical skills to succeed, and the requirements of the program have "added to students’ experience here, getting them more experience and exposure to the workplace. It only works because it's aligned with our mission."

More Than a Gimmick?

Many colleges of all types, but perhaps especially small private institutions like DePauw, have embraced strategies designed to differentiate them from other institutions or reinforce what marketers call their "value proposition." Critics have dismissed as gimmicks the "tuition reset" decisions by numerous colleges to lower their tuition by as much as a third, for instance.

"There's a long history of schools implementing some significant step that boosts their enrollment in the short term, but may not have much impact over the long haul," said Hartle of ACE. "Any time you can use a word like 'guaranteed,' you're going to encourage people to look at you a little bit more closely."

McCoy acknowledges that DePauw hopes its commitment will sway students (and parents) who are skeptical that the university can get them the first job they want. But DePauw has "no desire to be larger than our traditional size, so we do not feel that other schools should be threatened by this," McCoy said via email in response to a reporter's question about whether its initiative could hurt some of its liberal arts college peers.

"Every institution has its own truth," he continued. "This is something that we see as a way for us to clearly have 'skin in the game.' Other institutions may increase their value proposition in other ways. I hope they will find their own way to increase the share of students that are getting a great liberal arts education."

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Durbin scrutinizes Wells Fargo's contracts with colleges as new data show how bank fees hit students

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

California State University, Sacramento, bills its OneCard as official student identification that can be used for much more.

A OneCard can be used to access campus facilities and for day-to-day financial needs, according to a Sacramento State website about the card. The website links to another site for the San Francisco-based banking giant Wells Fargo, where students can connect checking accounts at the bank to their student identification cards in order to have some bank fees waived. The site also notes that a Wells Fargo branch is “conveniently located in the Hornet Bookstore,” with bankers on-site to answer questions.

“California State University, Sacramento and Wells Fargo have teamed up to offer you the Sacramento State OneCard, a convenient single-card solution that gives you free access to cash at Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide, as well as to make purchases using your Personal Identification Number (PIN) when linked to a Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account,” the website says.

With a few clicks -- which many students might not make -- users can find a Department of Education-mandated disclosure showing just how many bank accounts have been linked to OneCards, how much those accounts have cost students and how much Wells Fargo pays Cal State Sacramento under its Campus Card program.

The website lists 13,788 active accounts for the year ending June 30, 2017. On average, the holders of those accounts paid $47.35 for the year -- money drawn from costs like foreign ATM fees or overdraft fees. Wells Fargo paid Sacramento State $119,764, mostly in royalties, although about $25,000 went to marketing and operational support.

In other words, in one year Wells Fargo collected more than $650,000 from fees on Sacramento State-linked accounts and paid the university just under $120,000 in return.

The fees Wells Fargo charges to Sacramento State and dozens of other universities are under new scrutiny after Senator Dick Durbin last week sent a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan, asking him to stop any plans the San Francisco-based bank has to expand on college campuses. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, was concerned after two recent developments rocked Wells Fargo and called its basic business practices into question.

In February, the Federal Reserve levied harsh penalties against the bank after a string of revelations showed it had opened extra accounts in customers’ names and required some customers to take out automobile insurance deemed unnecessary. Although those scandals were not tied directly to the bank’s actions on campuses, Wells Fargo also found itself factoring heavily into a January Wall Street Journal report about the fees banks charge to students at their college partners. That report found Wells Fargo charges students many of the highest average fees among college-connected bank accounts.

“While the Federal Reserve takes steps to correct your bank’s irresponsible behavior, I urge you to halt any efforts to expand your offering of financial products on college campuses until the Federal Reserve lifts its sanctions,” Durbin wrote. He also asked Wells Fargo to provide an up-to-date list of all colleges and universities with which it has agreements for providing students with financial services.

Wells Fargo is reviewing the letter, according to a spokesman. It’s not clear if the bank will respond.

The bank-connected college ID card is relatively common. In addition to the numerous colleges with which Wells Fargo contracts, several other major banks, like PNC Financial Services Group and U.S. Bancorp, strike card deals with colleges.

Participating colleges argue the banking deals ensure their students have access to basic, low-cost banking services while providing campuses with funds to help subsidize operating costs and the expense of printing ID cards. But detractors say some colleges are funneling students to banks that take advantage of their young customers with high, unexpected fees that could be avoided if only students shopped around for better terms. A 2016 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found dozens of college banking deals place no limit on account charges like overdraft or ATM fees.

It can be tempting to dismiss the inquiry from Durbin, a senator in the minority party concerned about banking fees at a time when the Department of Education is pursuing plans for a prepaid student aid card. But the issue of college-sponsored banking products could continue to be important in light of Education Department regulations going into effect in recent months. Those regulations apply to deals between financial institutions and colleges under which the financial institutions directly market products to students. They require colleges to disclose data including average costs paid by account holders.

The Wall Street Journal’s analysis looked at fees charged by banks in such deals and found Wells Fargo was responsible for 22 of the 30 highest average fees from the 2017 fiscal year. Community college students and students at regional public colleges paid the highest average fees, the Journal found. Accounts connected to PNC had 20 of the 30 lowest average fees.

After Durbin sent his letter, Inside Higher Ed conducted an examination of data for Wells Fargo accounts connected to 29 different colleges for the year ending in June 2017. Students at the University of Florida, where there were 37,353 active accounts, paid the lowest mean costs among the group -- $31.51 each. Students at Metropolitan State University in Denver paid the highest at $83.85, although just 247 accounts were active. The next highest mean costs were at Florida A&M University, where 6,219 accounts paid a mean cost of $67.99. In each case, median costs were far lower than mean costs, indicating a relatively small group of students pays far higher fees than the student body as a whole.

Wells Fargo paid a wide range of sums to institutions in 2017. Its smallest consideration paid was $10,421 to Fayetteville State University. Its largest was $340,000 to Texas A&M University. Fayetteville State had the second-fewest active accounts -- 543 -- behind Metropolitan State. Texas A&M had the most, 38,386.

Payments Wells Fargo makes to a university are determined through a bidding process between college and bank, not the sum of fees students pay, according to a Wells Fargo spokesman. The fees customers pay are determined based on how they manage their accounts, and the bank’s campus card program waives monthly service fees for participants who link a Campus Card to a specific checking account.

That waiver doesn’t cover other fees, like charges for using out-of-network ATMs or returned check fees. In the end, the amount of fees levied can be vastly different when comparing campuses.

“For example, some campuses have higher concentrations of nontraditional or part-time students with more complex banking needs, such as sending wires or purchasing more checks,” the Wells Fargo spokesman, Jim Seitz, said in an email. “Others may have high international populations that send and receive money to/from overseas.”

So where does that leave Wells Fargo-affiliated colleges like Sacramento State? Asked about the average fees paid by account holders at Sacramento State -- $47.35 -- Seitz said the fee is for the entire year and equates to less than $4 per month. Many students pay no fee, he said.

But other colleges have deals with different banks that resulted in lower fees. PNC Bank’s deal with Penn State resulted in average fees of $14.32 for 13,216 students. The same bank’s deal with the University of Illinois System resulted in average fees of $15.03 paid by 10,903 active accounts. PNC paid Penn State considerations totaling $1.14 million. It paid the Illinois system $1.1 million.

Leaders at Sacramento State argued the comparison is apples to oranges. For instance, the Illinois considerations of $1.1 million include rent for branches and ATMs. Because of California law, such lease payments aren’t included in disclosed considerations, said Gina Curry, associate vice president for financial services at Sacramento State, who oversaw the university’s OneCard program for several years and helped to negotiate the university’s last Wells Fargo contract revision.

Various contracts can cover a wide range of different services. When college leaders sign a bank deal, they evaluate more than just the amount they will receive from the company or the fee schedule under which students will have to pay, Curry said.

Sacramento State wanted a bank with a physical presence in the area, she said. Having local branches allows students to access ATMs without paying a service charge, and it allows them to visit banks if they have needs that can’t be served by an ATM.

Wells Fargo was also willing to make important concessions, Curry said. It was willing to open accounts for so-called unbankable students, who might not normally qualify for a standard no-fee bank account because of a troubled financial history -- like bouncing checks. Wells Fargo also agreed to only market bank accounts in university-related materials, meaning credit cards are excluded. And when bank employees appear on campus at events like orientation, Sacramento State representatives accompany them and monitor their language.

“If they are like, ‘This is the campus bank account,’ we tell them, ‘Nope,’” Curry said. “We tell them they can’t come back, and they send somebody else.”

Of course, those rules don’t necessarily prevent Wells Fargo from marketing other products, like credit cards, to students after they are the bank’s customers. And then there is the issue of the behavior that caused the Federal Reserve to sanction Wells Fargo. A deal with Wells Fargo could easily be seen as a campus endorsement of the bank, its products and its practices.

Sacramento State representatives had “long conversations” about the opening of mystery accounts with Wells Fargo, Curry said. The university makes clear to students they can bank anywhere they choose.

On the issue of whether Wells Fargo is charging too much in fees, Curry said she is uncomfortable with the idea that students are young and don’t know enough to avoid fees. Students have a responsibility to manage their bank accounts, she said.

“It gets a little tricky, because I come from a collections background,” she said. “I want to hold people accountable for their bad practices, whether that be late fees on campus or whether you bounce checks.”

The University of Illinois System also evaluates many different factors when choosing a bank, according to a spokesman. Colleges are required to conduct at least biennial reviews to make sure fees on the whole are consistent with or below prevailing market rates, he said. But the system also looks at which financial institutions provide services in the region and evaluated a total of 79 data points.

Meanwhile, it’s clear contract terms could incentivize colleges and banks to behave in different ways. For instance, Sacramento State’s contract with Wells Fargo pays it escalating royalty amounts based on the percentage of enrolled students who have linked checking accounts to their cards. The university receives $95,000 when the weighted campus card penetration reaches 30 percent. The scale slides down to $15,000 for zero percent penetration and all the way up to a royalty of $275,000 for 100 percent. Some other colleges have moved away from payments based on account volume or penetration, choosing instead to take flat fees.

Curry rejected the idea that the royalty schedule would motivate Sacramento State to encourage students to link their cards with Wells Fargo bank accounts. While Wells Fargo has increased its campus penetration over time, the university budgets for the current level of penetration and has grown used to it, she said. It simply wants students to have a bank but does not encourage them to switch to Wells Fargo, she said.

Nonetheless, it’s clear different banks can have varying levels of success on campus. The University of Illinois System contracted with TCF Bank from 2007 to 2015 before moving to PNC. With TCF, an average of about 14,000 accounts were opened annually. With PNC, the average is about 5,000 per year.

It’s also clear that banks want to enlist customers early. About four out of five students graduating with an account under Wells Fargo’s Campus Card program remain with the bank after college, according to its spokesman, Seitz.

“We want to build lifelong relationships with customers, and we know that the experience a student customer has with us will impact our opportunity to serve the customer’s future financial services needs,” he said via email.

Durbin also asked Wells Fargo to indicate whether it had notified students at colleges and universities about the recent sanctions from the Federal Reserve and whether it would impact them.

“I will be watching your bank’s process in improving its company policies and practices with great interest, especially with respect to your treatment of America’s student consumers,” he wrote.

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Students and faculty members at Augsburg U rallying around professor facing deportation

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

Mzenga Wanyama, an associate professor of English at Augsburg University, has a month to make plans to return to his native Kenya or face deportation, immigration officials in St. Paul said Friday.

Fearing that Wanyama might be detained during his Friday appointment at the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, dozens of student and faculty supporters rallied outside, holding signs saying, “Please Don’t Deport Our Professor.”

Cheering when Wanyama emerged from the building, some vowed to keep raising awareness about his pending deportation -- one of several to involve longtime faculty members in recent weeks.

Wanyama, who came to the U.S. in 1992 to attend graduate school -- first at Howard University and then the University of Minnesota Twin Cities -- has checked in at least quarterly with immigration officials since his request for asylum was rejected in 2010. He has been allowed to stay in the U.S. since that time but was asked to check in with ICE early this month with his family, amid increased agency action against undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.

Wanyama, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the weekend, said Friday that he was told to return to ICE with evidence of his plans to return to Kenya. He and his wife, a registered nurse who also has been asked to leave the U.S. for lack of legal status, have three children: two recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and one who is an American citizen.

Katheryn Wasylik, Wanyama’s attorney, told the Star-Tribune that all undocumented immigrants are now ICE targets. “I think what has changed is that discretion ICE had to prioritize the individuals who need to leave -- that’s gone now,” she said.

Shawn Neudauer, an ICE spokesperson, said the agency “has instructed [Wanyama] to provide evidence that he intends to comply with the judge’s final order of removal” from 2012.

Wanyama taught at St. Cloud State University before moving to Augsburg a decade ago. He specializes in postcolonial theory and literatures and African-American literary history.

Many of his students have praised his teaching. An online petition signed by more than 11,000 supporters quotes Robert Cowgill, chair of Augsburg’s English department, as saying that Wanyama “is an invaluable tenured member of the Augsburg community. Augsburg's students need Prof. Wanyama.”

Augsburg president Paul C. Pribbenow said in a statement that the institution “believes deeply that our country is great because of our embrace of people from a diversity of life experiences. This is in our mission, and you can see it in our students, faculty and staff.”

Wanyama’s “teaching and research in African-American literary history and in postcolonial theory and literatures play a critical role in our undergraduate curriculum,” Pribbenow said. “His work enriches the education that Augsburg provides, advancing students’ scholarship in writing and literature well beyond what this university would be able to provide without him.”

Calling Wanyama “a role model for the professional aspirations and accomplishments of future leaders in our city and country,” Pribbenow said, “we strongly stand behind him and believe he should be able to stay in the U.S.”

In January, ICE officials arrested Syed Ahmed Jamal, a Park University instructor of chemistry and father of three, on his front lawn in Lawrence, Kans. Jamal, a native of Bangladesh, was granted a temporary stay of deportation last month after he was put on a plane back to his home country. He was offloaded in Hawaii and taken to a detention center there. Jamal’s attorneys have since said that his work permit was valid until October 2018.

Similar to Wanyama, Jamal was ordered deported in 2011 but had been allowed to stay in the U.S. since that time based on regular check-ins with ICE.

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Graduation rates for black athletes lower than most students', study shows

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

After years of studying black male athletes, Shaun R. Harper has learned a frustrating lesson -- the inequity among these men in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s five most powerful conferences isn’t disappearing.

Harper, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center on Race and Equity, has released a new study highlighting the disparities in graduation rates among black male athletes compared to the rest of the student population.

This is his third edition of the report, dating back to 2012, and shows that the graduation issue persists, as does the "overrepresentation" of black men on football and basketball teams.

"I would say one of the things surprises me is the durability of the inequity, given all of the rhetoric of the NCAA commitment to student athlete success,” Harper said in an interview. “The NCAA in recent years produced these television commercials that said black male student athletes in Division I graduate at higher rates, and that’s just not true.”

As Harper’s report identifies, it’s at best a half-truth. While across the board in Division I, black male athletes do graduate in higher percentages than black college men who don’t play sports, that’s not the case with the 65 institutions that comprise the Power 5, the NCAA’s wealthiest leagues: the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conferences. These are the colleges most in the sports spotlight that have, for decades, dominated football and men's basketball championships.

A little more than 55 percent of black male athletes at the Power 5 colleges graduated within six years, versus 60 percent of black men in the overall undergraduate population and about 76 percent of all undergraduates.

Only three institutions in the Power 5 -- the University of Louisville, Mississippi State University and the University of Utah -- graduated black male athletes at rates higher than or equal to their undergraduate populations.

Harper pointed to Louisville as one of the most improved since he last conducted the study in 2016.

(Notably, Louisville’s men’s basketball team has spent several years in the harsh light of scrutiny -- the powerful head coach there, Rick Pitino, was fired last fall after two major scandals.)

But Louisville boosted its graduation rates for black male athletes by 18 percentage points in two or so years, from 47 to 65 percent, which puts Louisville ninth highest in graduation rates among the 65 colleges and universities in the Power 5. A Louisville representative did not provide comment in time for publication.

The top three institutions for graduation rates of black male athletes were Northwestern University at 88 percent, followed by Vanderbilt University and University of Notre Dame, both at 86 percent.

Conversely, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University had the lowest graduation rates, at 37 percent, 36 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

The University of Georgia’s graduation rate also fell the most since 2016, from 51 to 36 percent.

Georgia provided a statement to a reporter from the athletics director, Greg McGarity: "We are dedicating the resources necessary to enhance the academic performance of all our student-athletes. There is always room for improvement in every measurement of academic and athletic achievement and we are committed to constant improvement in all areas of our program."

Louisiana State did not respond to a request for comment.

Harper relied on federal graduation rates for his study, as well as the NCAA’s data on athletes on scholarship to demonstrate that despite few black men enrolling in these universities, their big-time sports teams often are composed primarily of black men. This year, in a supplement to the report, he also recalculated the graduation data using the NCAA’s metric, the graduation success rate. Federal graduation data do not account for transfer students, but Harper said the differences in the two data sets were minimal.

Black men made up only 2.4 percent of undergraduate students enrolled across all 65 institutions, but they comprised 56 percent of basketball teams and 55 percent of football teams.

Institutions that highly prioritize sports will use every resource in the athletics departments to recruit black male athletes, sometimes from high schools with a poor academic record, and then don’t provide them the necessary support once they enter college, Harper said.

This also relates to the stereotype that black men have more athletic prowess than smarts, which can be quite damaging, Harper said.

Harper noted the professional leagues recruit a minuscule portion of college athletes, less than 2 percent, which leaves many players with few options once they have graduated, if they have done so.

He is advocating for a portion of athletics money be funneled instead toward admissions offices, which could use the funding to more aggressively entice black male high school students who wouldn’t be attending college for sports.

“Some would likely argue that affirmative action policies might not permit such targeted recruitment of one specific racial group,” Harper writes in the report. “Somehow, there is considerably less institutional anxiety about potential affirmative action backlash when coaches do all that is necessary to recruit Black men for participation on revenue-generating sports teams.”

The report also shows that only about 12 percent of the head coaches for men’s basketball are black, as are 15 percent of athletics directors. None of the Power 5 commissioners are black.

Harper advocates in the report for new commissions at multiple levels: institutionally, among the conferences and the NCAA. These panels would be charged with developing disaggregated data reports on athletes so college leaders could figure out how best to fix these disparities.

An NCAA spokeswoman, upon request for comment, forwarded the association’s database on race and gender demographics, which contains some of the information Harper requested.

On black athletes in Division I, NCAA president Mark Emmert said the following in a statement in November: “Student-athletes are reaching their academic goals and earning degrees at record rates. The dramatic improvement in the graduation rate for African-American student-athletes in all sports is a significant achievement, and our student-athletes and member schools should be proud of the work they are doing. The goal of the NCAA’s academic polices and programs is to prepare students for life after college and graduation is integral to this success.”

The NCAA spokeswoman told Inside Higher Ed she had forwarded Harper’s suggestions to its Office of Inclusion.

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Who would win the NCAA tournament if academics ruled the day?

Inside Higher Education - Lun, 12 Mar 2018 - 01:00

In a year in which the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I men's basketball tournament threatens, more than usual, to be tinged by scandal and questions about the sport's future, Inside Higher Ed offers its annual antidote: a look at how the tournament would unfold if teams' academic acumen mattered more than their skill on the court.

A tradition since 2006, our Academic Performance Tournament determines the winners of each game in the tournament by comparing the academic performance of teams, as measured by the NCAA's own -- admittedly less than perfect -- metrics for judging academic success.

We first look to the academic progress rate, the NCAA's multiyear measure of a team's academic performance. (Among other things, the APR excludes athletes who leave in good academic standing, so high-octane programs where players tend to go pro early can still fare well on the measure.)

When two teams tie, we turn to the NCAA's graduation success rate, which measures the proportion of athletes on track to graduate within six years. In the event of a tie on that metric, we then turn to the federal graduation rate, a different formula that the government uses to track graduation rates.

There were some unusual "games" this year, with a total of nine programs with perfect APR scores of 1000 creating a larger than usual number of ties, including two that went to the federal graduation rate as a third-level tiebreaker.

Click here Inside Higher Ed's men's basketball bracket shows Kentucky, Villanova, Gonzaga and Bucknell in the Final Four, with Bucknell defeating Kentucky for the see who emerges the winner of this year's Academic Performance Tournament. And as always, fun as it is, we don't recommend using Inside Higher Ed's bracket as the basis for your office pool.

Please follow me on Twitter @dougledIHE.

Editorial Tags: AthleticsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: The Academic BracketTrending order: 2

Betsy DeVos Says She's 'Misunderstood,' Then Struggles To Explain Her Own Policies

Huffington Post - Dom, 11 Mar 2018 - 23:34
Education secretary also admits she hasn't visited underperforming schools.

Students Rally To Defend Gay Athlete As Westboro Baptist Church Plans To Picket School

Huffington Post - Dom, 11 Mar 2018 - 12:17
Classmates plan to surround Jake Bain with "unity, care and courage” Monday.

'School Choice' Is A Lie That Harms Us All

Huffington Post - Dom, 11 Mar 2018 - 07:01
Radical self-interest and self-preservation is the rotten, racist core of ideology of "school choice."

Uncharted Territory: Inside New York City’s School Of Last Chances

Huffington Post - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 22:31
At a charter high school in a high-poverty area of Brooklyn, New York, many kids don’t graduate in four years. Seeing their achievements requires looking beyond the data.

Videos from three ‘inspiring’ online leaders

Tony Bates - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 18:02

Drexel University Online as part of its excellent Virtually Inspired blog has posted three videos of  ‘thought leaders’ in online learning. You can find them here. Each video is less than 10 minutes in length

The three are:

If you are really into masochism, you might want to compare these with a video of ‘three founding fathers’ of  distance education:

  • Michael G. Moore
  • Sir John Daniel and
  • myself.

As a counterpoint it would be nice to see some videos from women, people of colour or younger instructors discussing their experience of online learning. Any suggestions of where to look? As a starter I suggest Audrey Watters talking about ‘Is education broken?’

A New Poll Shows What Teenagers Really Think About Guns

Huffington Post - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 14:33
Teens' opinions often mirror adults' views, but some differences stand out.

More U.S. Schools Are Offering Safe Spaces For LGBTQ Youth

Huffington Post - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 07:58
A study finds that school-based practices for LGBTQ students has surged in the past 8 years.

Texas Tech professor who says university punished him for opposing tenure can take case to trial

Inside Higher Education - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 02:00

In another legal win for the Texas Tech University professor who hates tenure, a Texas appeals court green-lit his state-level suit against the institution this week for trial.

The decision, written by Justice James T. Campbell, reverses a lower court’s dismissal of James Wetherbe’s retaliation case against Texas Tech.

“Because we find Wetherbe alleged his challenged speech on tenure touched on a matter of public concern and because we ascribe no merit to appellees’ responsive arguments, we sustain Wetherbe’s issue,” the decision says.

Wetherbe, Richard Schulze Distinguished Professor of Business, has long been a critic of the tenure system, especially in business schools, on the grounds that it can limit innovation. He’s shared his opinions on campus and off, including in high-profile op-eds.

Saying that he lost out on professional opportunities because of his public comments and op-eds against tenure, Wetherbe sued Texas Tech for retaliation in a federal court in 2012. That suit was dismissed in 2014 on the grounds that Wetherbe's comments against tenure through 2012 weren't substantive enough to back up the retaliation claims. But a second suit alleging continued retaliation was revived last year by a federal appeals court, based on a decision similar in its logic to Campbell’s.

Wetherbe’s state-level suit says that Texas Tech further retaliated against him for comments against tenure he continued to make after filing the federal complaint. Among other claims, Wetherbe says he was demoted to a “professor of the practice,” denied access to data pertaining to a specific scholarship fund and removed from various leadership roles and as professor of an M.B.A. skills communication course.

As it did in the federal case, Texas Tech argued that Wetherbe’s comments on tenure were not a matter of public concern, but merely pursuant to his employment and therefore not protected by the First Amendment

While the lower court sided with Texas Tech on that issue, the district appeals court did not. Campbell in his decision wrote that whether a public employee’s speech is constitutionally protected involves several considerations: whether it was made pursuant to official duties, and, if not, whether the speech was on a matter of public concern. Last, if the speech doesn’t pertain to a matter of public concern, is the employee’s interest in expressing his concerns balanced with the employer’s interests in performing its services efficiently?

Citing opinion pieces Wetherbe had written or been quoted in, such as those in the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal, Campbell said Wetherbe sometimes described his own experiences but was largely adding to an ongoing debate about the value of tenure. Among other public documents about tenure, Campbell's decision also refers to a survey of provosts published by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup in 2013 that asked about tenure.

Moreover, Campbell said, echoing the federal appeals court decision from 2017, “Wetherbe’s personal involvement in and experience with tenure do not necessarily devalue his speech on the topic in the public square.”

Fernando Bustos, Wetherbe’s attorney, said Thursday that the new decision is the second time an appeals court has held that speaking out against tenure is protected by the First Amendment (and, in the latter case, the Texas Constitution’s free speech clause).

The issue is not whether Wetherbe is qualified for tenure, Bustos added, since he’s been tenured four times -- including at Texas Tech -- but rejected it.

“We are grateful that the court of appeals has cleared this case to go to trial and we look forward to receiving a redress for these damages as soon as possible,” Bustos said.

Wetherbe said that a dean he blames for much of the retaliation has now left the university for unrelated reasons, and that he’s anxious to settle. Texas Tech’s model seems to be to play out all legal options in hopes that he’ll give up, he added, “but I’ve run marathons. I don’t look like it now, but I’m used to running marathons.”

Chris Cook, a university spokesperson, said via email, “No actions have ever been taken against Wetherbe for his position on tenure or for any articles he has written about tenure or any other subject.” Asked about next steps, Cook said the university hasn’t had a chance to discuss an appeal yet, “but there are other dispositive motions we will pursue in the future.”

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Prominent scholar accuses Trump economist of plagiarism

Inside Higher Education - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 02:00

In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Susan Dynarski, an economist and professor at the University of Michigan, accused Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, of in a 2007 column presenting her proposal to streamline the federal student aid system as his own without citing her or her graduate student co-author.

A council official contested Dynarski's account.

The tweets followed an appearance by Hassett at the U.S. Capitol in front of the Joint Economic Committee to discuss President Trump's new steel and aluminum tariffs.

Dynarski, an expert on student financial aid policy, wrote in the tweets that in May 2006 she and her co-author, Judith Scott-Clayton (now a prominent scholar at Columbia University's Teachers College), released a paper showing how the complexity of the student aid financial aid system overburdens those who are least able to pay for college. The paper argued that a "radically simplified process" could distribute the same aid by collecting much less information from students.

In February of the following year, Dynarski and Scott-Clayton produced a policy proposal based on those ideas for the Hamilton Project. The same month, Hassett published a column in The Wall Street Journal making the same proposal -- including analysis of the simplified structure of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship and Social Security student benefit program -- without citing Dynarski or Scott-Clayton. The whole premise of the column came from their analysis, Dynarski said via email.

When she contacted Hassett at the time, Dynarski said, he acknowledged her authorship of the ideas but refused to make a correction, although he later praised the two scholars' work in a separate publication.

"That's it. No big deal to him to steal our work but it was a big deal for me as a young scholar," Dynarski wrote in a tweet about the incident.

Reached via email, Dynarski said she made a public statement about the incident because watching Hassett "misrepresent Trump's stance on free trade brought back this memory."

"As a junior professor, I was too fearful and uncertain about my status to make this plagiarism public," she said.

DJ Nordquist, chief of staff at the Council of Economic Advisers, said Hassett has a different recollection of the incident. Hassett, previously the director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and a regular columnist at National Review and Bloomberg, did a literature review of the student aid issue and wrote his column based on several papers, including the one by Dynarski and Scott-Clayton, but it was shortened by Journal editors who removed some sources.

"She called him to discuss it; he apologized and they amicably discussed whether she would prefer he ask for a correction in the WSJ or whether she would prefer he write a new piece aimed to get the policy proposal further attention," Nordquist said in an email. "She chose the latter option, which is the [National Review] piece, and this is the first time the issue has been raised in 11 years."

Dynarski, however, insisted that Hassett refused to make a correction.

"The two -- an article and correction -- are not substitutes," she said. "I am sure he saw it as amicable. I was terrified."

Scott-Clayton said in a statement that her memory matched Dynarski's account.

"I do remember this incident, which occurred when I was a graduate student," she said. "My recollection, while a bit hazy, is consistent with what Sue Dynarski described on Twitter."

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U Illinois graduate students reach tentative contract deal after nearly two-week strike

Inside Higher Education - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 02:00

Nearly two weeks after going on strike over protracted contract negotiations, graduate student workers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reached a tentative agreement with their administration Thursday.

The new proposal, which members of the Graduate Employee Organization will continue to vote on Friday, includes several key provisions that stalled negations prior to the strike -- perhaps most significantly, guaranteed tuition waivers for teaching and graduate assistants enrolled and in good standing. The university previously wanted to reserve the right to determine and modify tuition waiver designations.

The new agreement also includes a $50 payment for teaching assistants who get their appointment letters late and wage increases for the first three years of the five-year contract: 4.5 percent in the first year and 2 percent in each of the second and third years.

Insurance premium coverage would also jump to 87 percent, from 80 percent currently. There’s a proposed 25 percent coverage for one dependent -- the first time any dependent coverage has been part of a deal for the graduate employees.

Ashli Anda, a spokesperson for the union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, said students achieved their aims because they “were and continue to be highly organized.” Given that graduate students have been working without a new contract and bargaining for a year, she said, “we had extensive time to educate ourselves and others about labor law, something many of us had never expected we'd know so much about.”

Anda, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, said members had a say in strike actions and strategies and committees worked hard to encourage participation each day.

Mary Grace Hébert, a Ph.D. candidate in communications on campus, said the strike was “successful because graduate employees worked nonstop to make it happen. It was really hard work.”

The union had a dedicated team of strike captains, building coordinators and picket captains, she said. Social media and outreach to departments on campus with historically low union participation also helped.

In addition to stopping teaching, many students also halted their research or postponed course work, putting “all our energy toward making the strike successful,” Hébert said.

By the end of the strike graduate students had taken to occupying and even sleeping in the campus chancellor’s and University of Illinois System’s president’s offices.

Noting that Illinois was among the many institutions to speak out against an ultimately unsuccessful GOP proposal to tax graduate tuition waivers last year, Hébert said she was “disappointed” to see tuition waivers at stake in negotiations.

“While waivers are nonmonetary income, they are part of our compensation,” she said. “Without guaranteed waivers, many graduate employees would not be able to attend UIUC because of the cost.” Out-of-state and international students, who make up a major share of the graduate employee population, would have been hit the hardest, she said, adding that she wouldn't have been able to come to Illinois from out of state without a waiver.

“Like many of my colleagues, I would have taken a different offer,” she said. “Guaranteed tuition waivers must remain a standard of graduate education, and our strike was an attempt to preserve that standard at UIUC and beyond.”

Many faculty members offered support for the graduate students on social media and elsewhere during the strike.

Robin Kaler, a university spokesperson, declined to answer specific questions about the agreement, citing the ongoing ratification vote. The university is “very happy,” however, she said. Between 67 and 173 graduate students went on strike for each day of the action, according to university estimates, leaving scores of classes canceled or moved.

UnionsFacultyEditorial Tags: Graduate educationGraduate studentsUnions/unionizationImage Source: TwitterImage Caption: U of Illinois graduate workers sleep out in administrative offices during their strike.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

Universities stall on ‘confusing’ distance education regulations

Inside Higher Education - Vie, 09 Mar 2018 - 02:00

Colleges are struggling to prepare for new distance education rules, which are scheduled to take effect in July.

Under the new regulations, all higher education institutions that offer classes online must demonstrate that they are authorized to operate in every state where they enroll students who receive federal financial aid. The rules also mean that institutions must make clear their refund policies and procedures for receiving student complaints.

Additionally, institutions must provide specific information to students who are pursuing professions that require state licensure, which is common for nurses, teachers and counselors, among others. Institutions will be required to inform students if they are taking a program that will not qualify them to practice their chosen profession where they live. This means every institution must track the requirements for professional licensing in every state where they operate. Failure to meet these requirements could result in institutions losing eligibility for federal financial aid.

The regulations were first published by the U.S. Department of Education in December 2016. But higher education groups say many institutions are unsure about how to follow the rules and are waiting for additional guidance from the department.

The language in the regulations about licensing information is confusing, said Leah Matthews, executive director of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Matthews is seeking clarification from the Education Department on several aspects of the regulation -- particularly what is meant by a student's "state of residence" and which format institutions should use for the required disclosures.

Matthews recently co-authored a letter to the department on this issue with Marshall Hill, the executive director of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, and Russell Poulin, director of policy and analysis with the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

“The institutions we represent clearly desire to comply with the rules, but are struggling to prepare to do so,” the letter said.

Sharyl Thompson, CEO of Higher Education Regulatory Consulting, agreed with Matthews that the language in the regulations is confusing. One of the issues, she said, is that the new rules don't use standard language about state authorization.

For example, Thompson said, references to a student’s state of residence throughout the regulations were problematic. The need for state authorization is not actually determined by where students live, she said, but where they are located when studying. For example, a student who is a resident of Kentucky might take a course online while in Arkansas, said Thompson. “Kentucky doesn’t require authorization for having online students, but Arkansas does,” she said.

“This may sound like splitting hairs, but this is the reality in state authorization. Using the term ‘reside’ is contradictory to state authorization general practices and regulations,” said Thompson.

Without a clear definition, she said, institutions will decide what “reside” means, and it may not meet the department’s intention. Thompson said she was disappointed that the department had failed to address this issue, despite many people highlighting it during a public comment period about the regulations.

Wrong Degree for the Job

Several observers agreed that the professional licensure aspect of the regulation will be the most challenging for colleges. Many are participants in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which means that because the colleges are authorized to provide online courses in their home state, they are also allowed to operate in other member states. However, SARA does not cover the individual state-by-state requirements for professional licensure. This means institutions will have to spend significant time researching the requirements for different professions in different states and checking if their licensure-track programs meet those requirements.

“The hours it takes to research, document, create and publish disclosures is enormous,” said Thompson. “It can easily take five hours just to research one profession in one state.” And Thompson said the department’s burden calculation had “grossly underestimated” how long it would take institutions to do the work.

One of the aims of the regulation is to help students avoid a situation where they complete a degree, only to realize that it isn’t the one they need. How many students this has happened to is unknown, but several lawsuits have accused colleges of misleading students about where their credentials would cover licensure requirements. Iowa's attorney general, for example, sued Ashford University in 2014 over allegations that the university told prospective students its online degree would qualify them to teach in Iowa, when this was not in fact the case.

Greg Ferenbach, a lawyer with Cooley LLP, said many complaints of this nature are settled out of court before a lawsuit is filed, with the institution “usually denying any wrongdoing, but making amends.”

Thompson said existing regulations require institutions to notify students if they are taking a course that will not lead to professional licensure, but these rules are designed for campus-based programs -- not online ones -- and are “not nearly as detailed” as the pending rules.

Brian Muys, a spokesman for the American Public University System, said his institution “proactively and transparently” discloses whether an online program meets state licensure requirements. The APUS website, however, advises prospective students to do their own research before applying, and suggests they get in touch with admissions staff if they have questions.

While Muys said his institution would be tracking the regulations carefully, not all institutions are concerned about them. David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis for the American Association of Community Colleges, said the regulations are “pretty clear” and have a straightforward intent. Though many community colleges offer online courses, most are “primarily local institutions” that focus on their home states, Baime said, and work closely with their state agencies and accreditors.

Chris Bustamente, president of Rio Salado College in Arizona, a majority-online community college, agreed that the regulations have a "clear intention" but said adhering to the rules would create some challenges.

One complication, he said, is that some professional boards do not review programs from out-of-state institutions. In this case, an institution would need to work with the state regulatory agency and the professional board to decide if a program meets requirements for licensure or not, said Bustamente. While there is still work to do, Bustamente said he is "serious about putting students first," adding that there are "opportunities within this mandate to improve the student experience."

Bustamente and Matthews, of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, said they would like to see the development of collective directories of information that could make researching different complaint processes and state requirements for different professions “less burdensome” on individual institutions. However, the department has ruled out taking the lead in creating such resources. The department said creating a centralized federal website that lists the complaint processes of each state, for example, might be mistaken for formal approval of these processes. Additionally the department said it felt individual institutions were best placed to identify and obtain the necessary approvals from the states where they operate, as the institutions will need to “establish and maintain a working relationship with those state agencies.”

The Way Forward

Matthews, Poulin and Hill said in their letter that the department could offer a clarification on the regulations in a Dear Colleague letter. Alternatively, the feds could consider delaying when the rules would go into effect.

The timing of the implementation of the regulation is important, because GOP leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are currently pushing a bill that would completely eliminate it as part of their reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The so-called PROSPER Act would remove the pending regulations and forbid future regulation.

Congress appears to be far from passing that legislation. But even if the bill is enacted as currently written, that scenario is highly unlikely before July. This could mean that colleges spend time and money preparing for regulations that might be rendered unnecessary a short time later.

Ferenbach said some colleges expect the department to suspend the regulations before they go into effect. But he warns that “there is not much evidence that they will actually do that.”

In a blog post Ferenbach co-wrote in December, he advised colleges to prepare for the regulations as if they will go into effect. Those that don’t could be in for a “very rude, and potentially expensive, awakening,” he said. Thompson said she also is advising institutions to proceed as if the regulation would go ahead.

However, Ferenbach said the chance that the PROSPER Act will pass both chambers of Congress as currently written is “virtually nil.” He noted that while some parts might make it into a Senate version, “it seems highly unlikely that Senate Democrats will support the outright repeal of state authorization or other Obama-era regulations.”

Thompson, of Higher Education Regulatory Consulting, said she's not sure the department will delay the regulations. She said the issue doesn't appear to be high priority for the department, despite uncertainty costing institutions "considerable time, effort and money in preparing for something that may not exist in just over four months."

Thompson said a Dear Colleague letter probably would not provide enough clarity. “The regulations themselves need to be written more clearly.”

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the federal Department of Education, said the department “is aware of the many concerns expressed about this rule.” This issue “is just one of several reasons Secretary [Betsy] DeVos has called for a top-to-bottom review of the department’s regulations,” Hill said in an email. She added that DeVos is “committed to making sure the rules on the books do not limit students from having access to an education that is high quality, nimble and meets their 21st century needs.”

Obligation to Help?

Cheryl Dowd, director of the State Authorization Network for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, recently wrote a blog post urging institutions to be more proactive in helping students be sure they are enrolled in the right academic program for the career they want, regardless of whether or not regulations require them to do so.

“We have often heard that it should be the student’s responsibility to determine licensure applicability. But how is a student who has not taken the first course in their chosen profession supposed to know how a curriculum matches their state’s academic requirements?” said Dowd.

Institutions choose which states they operate in, she said, and are not required to enroll students from other states. As such, Dowd said colleges should be checking requirements in other states before offering programs there. “Shouldn’t the institution have the responsibility to determine if the program the institution chose to offer in that state meets the prerequisites in the state?” she said.

While she acknowledged that institutions have reported that the process is “difficult,” Dowd said her organization and NC-SARA are working to coordinate research and simplify implementation “as much as possible.”

She encouraged institutions to take the regulations seriously, even if they don't go into effect this year. “If the new state authorization regulation is delayed or rescinded, your institution will still be subject to SARA (if you are a member), state, legal and moral obligations.”

Online LearningEditorial Tags: Adult educationDistance educationFederal policyOnline learningState policyIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: 

16 Girls Who Changed The World

Huffington Post - Jue, 08 Mar 2018 - 04:45
Proof you're never too young to make an impact.


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