The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Monday voted no confidence in Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, and in the system's Board of Regents. The vote follows the board's rejections of proposals made by faculty groups that they said would protect academic freedom in new system policies on tenure and the elimination of faculty jobs.
Among the statements in the resolution of no confidence: "[A] primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical-thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial" and "The erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university."
Cross released a statement in which he said that he wants to work closely with faculty members, but that he also has to "work in partnership" with state leaders. "This state and its people are counting on us, working together, to help improve and expand quality of life and economic prosperity. I will continue working with faculty at UW-Madison and other institutions and partners throughout the state to advance the UW System for the good of all of Wisconsin," he said. The system also released a statement from the board chair affirming support for Cross.
General Assembly, the largest of the skills boot camp providers, today released a public framework for measuring student outcomes. Boot camps are not accredited. And while many claim job-placement rates of more than 90 percent, those numbers typically are not verified by outside groups. But Skills Fund, a student lender for boot camps, and other players are seeking to play that role.
To design its standards for reporting and measuring student success, General Assembly worked with two major accounting firms to craft an approach public companies use to measure nonfinancial metrics such as social impact and environmental sustainability.
"Our goal is to start a conversation about outcomes predicated on the use of consistent definitions and the application of a rigorous framework and methodology," the company said. "Over time, we hope to develop new measures of return on education that consider income or other criteria that can be used by students and other stakeholders to understand student success in even more specific and granular ways."
The University of Hartford is facing increasing criticism over its plan to sell a significant collection of political artifacts, The Hartford Courant reported. The university says that it can't afford to maintain and display the collection, and so it looking for an auction house. The collection reportedly will bring in several million dollars. But critics say that the university took the collection as a gift and has an obligation to preserve it. Further, they note that the university obtained funds from Congress for a museum that it briefly used before converting the building to another purpose.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday published an article revealing the 21 colleges that benefited from an adjustment the U.S. Department of Education made to the institutions' student loan default rates. The department had not disclosed which colleges received the controversial default-rate tweaks, even when members of the U.S. Congress asked.
The newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the list, as did Inside Higher Ed, unsuccessfully. But the department mistakenly released the information to the Journal. The colleges included 10 for-profits, many of them small, six historically black colleges or universities, and five community colleges.
The U.S. Department of Education will offer researchers new access to federal data for studies that "can inform and advance policies and practices that support students’ postsecondary success and strengthen repayment outcomes for borrowers," the White House announced last week. The pilot program will allow experts -- starting with Federal Reserve Board researchers this fall -- to apply to access and match student-aid data files with other surveys and administrative data, the Obama administration said, while keeping data safeguards in place.
The new Advancing Insights Through Data program "builds on the administration’s recent efforts to leverage government data in ways that can improve service delivery, promote transparency and strengthen accountability, particularly through the College Scorecard, which includes the most comprehensive, reliable data ever published on students’ postcollege earnings and repayment outcomes," the White House said.
Part- and full-time faculty members at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles voted 54-7 to form a union affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, they announced Friday. Many instructors are working filmmakers and members of other industry unions. The conservatory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
David Horowitz's campaign -- posters with names of students and professors backing Israel boycott -- condemned as intimidation and leads to students blocking car carrying president of San Diego State U.
Chicago State University told 300 nonfaculty employees on Friday that their jobs had been eliminated, The Chicago Tribune reported. Chicago State has been among the public colleges in Illinois most vulnerable to the state never having adopted a full budget for the current fiscal year, and officials said that a minimal appropriation last week would not go far enough. The cuts include senior administrators and people in just about every job category.
MILWAUKEE -- I don’t have a clever lead paragraph for an essay about an oversubscribed conference on college-student hunger and homelessness in 2016 in the wealthiest nation on earth.
At last count, 130 people from California, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, among other places, had arrived here in cold, rainy Milwaukee for #RealCollege. An idea just two months ago at the Wisconsin Hope Lab, #RealCollege opened this morning at 7:45 a.m. Our plan yesterday and today is to decide what to do about hunger and homelessness in what educational leaders never hesitate to call the finest higher educational system in the world.
As I write, I don’t know where I am going to sleep tonight. The reservation I know I made wasn’t waiting at the hip Aloft Hotel last night. In the rain, I scrambled to the downtown Hilton. With a mega volleyball tournament in town, Aloft and the Hilton and Milwaukee are full tonight. How much of the conference will I miss looking for somewhere to sleep tonight? A conference on homelessness on a cold, rainy day, and I don’t have anywhere to sleep tonight? Yes, Lord. Message received.
Gathered here in a warm, dry auditorium at Milwaukee Area Technical College are the Great Lakes Education Guaranty Corporation; Century College Resource and Support Center; Single Stop, Delgado Community College; Single Stop, Bunker Hill Community College; the Association of Community College Trustees; the University of California Food Access & Security Committee; the California State University Chancellor’s Study on Servicing the Needs of Displaced and Food Insecure Students; the Center for American Progress; and Anabel’s Grocery, an organization providing “structural and short-term solutions to food insecurity at Cornell.”
The federal departments of education, agriculture and housing and urban development are here, too. Twenty-four pages for the complete list of those attending.
On my smartphone, I confirm time, date and my location. Yes, the United States of America in 2016. A downloadable tool kit for college homelessness? Can this really be true? I know the answer: yes.
Should I be screaming? None of us are. Would anyone hear if we did?
This alarming information flashes by in what anthropologists one day might study as the Conference Ritual. We don’t react to PowerPoint slides telling us that “Hungry to Learn,” a December 2015 Hope Lab study of 4,000 students at 10 community colleges, found that 20 percent were food insecure, 13 percent were homeless and 39 percent worried about becoming homeless. I don’t scream, I guess, because we already know this.
Not just me wondering -- If I can sit listening to this without screaming, am I part of the problem? We’ll see. Sara Goldrick-Rab, founder of the HOPE Lab, began the day with a slide asking, “So what are we going to do?” (Disclosure: Sara is a friend. I am here on vacation days as an expenses-paid panelist.) As a call to action, the HOPE Lab this week published “Expanding the National School Lunch Program to Higher Education.”
Fine by me. Since coming to Bunker Hill Community College 10 years ago, I’ve spent more time on hunger and food stamps than teaching College Writing I, my original plan.
College student hunger has become one of my regular topics. My first column on hunger proposed using federal work study funds to pay students to study. In the trade-offs between earning money for rent and doing homework, homework never wins. The students, I wrote, needed the money for food. WBUR’s “Here & Now” invited me for an interview.
Robin Young, the host, admitted that she hadn’t believed college students were that poor and hungry. She called around, she said, and discovered my stories were accurate, and I went on the show. The Greater Boston Food Bank was listening, and monthly deliveries of 5,000 pounds of groceries began a few weeks after the show aired. The deliveries are the third week of the month -- that’s when students’ food stamps run out.
Hunger at college. After a winter without leaving my 617 area code and my windowless basement office at Bunker Hill, with Monday to Friday bread deliveries for hungry students, this is my third trip for hunger in as many weeks.
In Washington one Friday, a day off to visit our daughter, I met with the American Council on Education and took a draft of a letter requesting a Government Accountability Office study on poverty-driven hunger for college students to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office in Hart Office Building.
A week later, I was back in Washington to be on the panel ”Poverty Goes to College,” the last possible meeting slot in a deserted Walter Washington Convention Center on the last day of the American Educational Research Association annual meeting. Still, as the final event, at least I knew the 15 people in the audience were not waiting for the next panel. Plus the seven of us on the panel, this was the most people in one room I’d ever been with to discuss hunger.
Now, 130 people in Milwaukee. I guess progress on a disaster is still progress.
I wish I knew, truly, why we are here at all. I see and keep repeating the simple -- to me -- logic chain. Society -- we, the people -- accept that nutrition is essential for infants, for pre-K, for elementary, middle and high school. We encourage students to earn a postsecondary credential. No one can produce evidence that low-income high school students have more income on entering college.
We, the people, stop providing lunch. (And often bus passes, too). And higher ed leaders and policy makers and wonks keep going to meetings -- Conference Rituals, (often with free lunch) about “the completion agenda” without putting hunger on the agenda. Does it take an English major to wonder?
Still raining and cold. Tonight? An email from Hotels.com just in, confirming a room a Hyatt 13 miles out of town. I’ll take it.
Tomorrow, I’m on the concluding panel to identify next steps. I’ve sat with homeless students calling full shelter after full shelter. I could pitch Shelter.org to the foundations that are here -- Gates, Kresge, William T. Grant.
“Wouldn’t work. It would just show that the shelters are always full,” said a friend who has more experience than I do.