administrators

Questions institutions should ask themselves to determine if they are operating in a racist way (opinion)

Bedelia Nicola Richards highlights five questions you should ask yourself to determine if that's the case.

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Is Your University Racist?

New presidents or provosts: Georgia Southern Golden West Goshen Lock Haven Mississippi Rochester St. Cloud St. Edward's

  • Jeffery Boyd, provost at Tidewater Community College, in Virginia, has been chosen as president of Rochester Community and Technical College, in Minnesota.

Western Governors' New Fund-Raising Arm for Scholarships

Western Governors University is a fully online, competency based institution that now enrolls about 100,000 students. The nonprofit on Thursday announced the creation of a new fund-raising arm that will seek to pay for scholarships for students to attend WGU and to "accelerate innovation on behalf of our students," Allison Barber, the chancellor of WGU Indiana, who will lead the new WGU Advancement, said in a web video.

The fund-raising organization will work with foundations, corporations, associations and individual donors to raise money, WGU said. Early supporters include the Strada Education Network and the Lumina Foundation.

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The value of co-presidencies both in and outside of academe (opinion)

They could offer significant benefits and are not rare if one looks beyond academe, argue Karen Gross, Chris Forrest and Brandy Forrest.

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New Federal Data Also Show Enrollment Declines

Undergraduate enrollment in the United States, widely measured as decreasing for the last six straight years, fell by more than half a percent from fall 2015 to fall 2016, according to newly released data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The new federal data report shows that the total number of students enrolled in college nationally declined from 17 million to 16.9 million during that same period.

The percentage decline was nearly twice as much during the following academic year (meaning total enrollment during the year as compared to just the fall), falling from 20.0 million from 2015-2016 to 19.8 million from 2016-2017.

The figures were among the highlights of The Condition of Education 2018, a congressionally mandated annual report summarizing the latest statistical information on education in the United States.

The number of degree-granting institutions that enrolled first-year undergraduates also fell along with the number of students, according to the report. There were 4,147 such institutions during 2015-2016 but the number dropped to 3,895 during 2016-2017.

The report, which is used by policy makers and others to monitor educational progress, noted slight upticks in undergraduate retention and graduation rates. The retention rate for first-time undergraduates at four-year institutions was 80.8 percent in 2015-2016 compared to 80.7 percent in 2014-2015. (At two year institutions the rate was 62.3 percent in 2015-2016 compared to 61.3 percent in 2014-2015.)  

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New student coalition alleges press is suppressed at Christian institutions

New student coalition is alleging religious institutions are regularly squashing student newspapers. 

Why academe should honor prickly women (opinion)

You may see them in the women who won’t back down. You may see them in the colleagues who ask “pointed” questions. You may see them as the loud voices taking up all the space in the room.

They are known throughout history as the “killjoys,” the “ice queens,” the “hysterics,” the “ball-busters.” They are the “Prickly Women” -- the women who don’t let things go, who stand up for themselves and others, and who question the status-quo of structural inequities and outdated institutional practices. They stick out decidedly among the “bro-hood” of academic administration.

Despite the negative connotations and perceptions they incite, Prickly Women have exactly the kind of insight and persistence needed as the crises in higher education continue to mount. We argue that among the deluge of advice being tossed around to address those crises, one of the most radically simple solutions would be to identify your Prickly Women and listen to them.

They are not the newly minted Ph.D.s, nor are they the “up-and-comers” who bring much needed enthusiasm into the conversation about higher education. Prickly Women have been through the wars. They have seen colleagues fall or be pushed out. They have seen the fast fixes thrown like darts at a wall to see what sticks. They have most likely been among those darts -- among those members of underrepresented groups invited to join the hallowed halls of academe only to be left to their own devices

There are many of them, and they are not all the same. They each have their own challenges and battles. They are black, they are white, they are Latinx, they are Queer. They are moms, they are single, they are able-bodied or not.

Their identities intersect in a myriad of ways. They are not always allies nor are they always friends. But if you look around your institution for mid-career professionals, you will find Prickly Women with tales to tell and scars to show. And, you will see they have been systematically silenced -- and relegated to do the hard, thankless service work that keeps institutions running.

It is almost redundant at this point to talk about the stereotypical, angry female colleague or leader. The literature is full of evidence to show us that our image of Prickly Women is an entirely constructed one. They are the product of stereotypes that suggest women hold the floor longer than their male colleagues; that they are prone to irrational, emotional outbursts; that they are angry when providing constructive feedback. They are “bossy” leaders, those who incite mistrust should they take on the mannerisms of their male colleagues.

In fact, you may begin to see them as men should their anger be expressed across their faces. They are in a catch-22: if Prickly Women take on the feminine role of care-giver, they are seen as weak and less serious; if they adopt the confidence and “agentic behavior” lauded in their male colleagues, they become bitches. In other words, traditional gender roles deny them access to academe, while betraying those roles relegates them to the sidelines as people worthy of admonition and punishment. In fact, even the crisis in higher education today has been blamed on Prickly Women. A recent article suggests that one reason trust in higher education may be eroding is the number of women who have joined its ranks and obtained success.

But instead of dismissing Prickly Women, we must embrace them. The metaphor itself shows the value of Prickly Women -- they are sharp, they cut through the academic bullshit and prevarication that keep higher education spinning its wheels instead of moving forward.

What Prickly Women have to offer is the ability to let go of what is not working, the willingness to try new things, the ability to listen to others without feeling threatened, and the courage to be leaders when needed and followers when inspired. They are keenly aware of their own limitations while still capable of valuing the strength in others. At this point in their careers, they convey and respect vulnerability, the kind that draws unlikely partners together to combat common foes.

Prickly Women on campuses have deep institutional memory and history. They have knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past. They see why shiny, new programs aren’t the answer to your problems; they see what the “boring” time-tested programs have to offer. Prickly Women know who the players are, they know what the games are, they know what the rules are and when and how to break them.

Prickly Women very likely have strong, robust networks of prickly pissed-off colleagues and they know how to engage those networks to get the real work done. They want others to succeed and are good mentors who have “seen it all.” Prickly Women are perceptive; they have vision. Their ideas are informed by the people working anonymously on college campuses. Prickly Women have a strong desire to simplify institutional bloat and to find synergies with what is already working on campus. This desire to synthesize comes from Prickly Women’s voracious reading; they are always on the lookout for scholarship that makes them better mentors, instructors and colleagues.

Prickly Women are not interested in reinventing the wheel, and they are not after your power.

Prickly Women work hard. They are scrappy; they will sacrifice even when given little praise. They still have a lot of time left in the academic gig, and despite it all, they still want your institution to thrive and have contributions to make.

Contrary to popular opinion, they do not have thick skin. They can be hurt. If you mistreat Prickly Women, they may curl up in defensive hedgehog positions and you will lose some of your best unknown, uncelebrated, and un-championed resources. Above all, Prickly Women are full of empathy, passion, and concern for others. They are guided by an ethical compass that we desperately need in the landscape of higher education today.

Don’t grind them down. Don’t ignore them. Make them your allies. Use their sharpness, pointedness, prickliness to your advantage. Don’t fear Prickly Women. Find and engage them.

And, if you are a Prickly Woman, find your prickly comrades. Take comfort among their ranks. Build an altar to the feats of Prickly Women everywhere. Persevere.

M. Soledad Caballero is associate professor of English, and Aimee Knupsky is associate professor of psychology, at Allegheny College.

 

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In Praise of Prickly Women

Canada's top digital learning program to be absorbed into academic department

After four decades as a freestanding entity with budget autonomy, a center for distance education programs and research will be absorbed by its university's social sciences and humanities department. Some faculty members are unhappy.

U.S. Distance Learning Association has new leader

Reggie Smith III will serve as the U.S. Distance Learning Association's CEO and executive director after serving for seven years as chairman emeritus of the association's board of directors.

In 2009, Smith was elected the first African-American president of the association's board. A year later, he achieved the same milestone in the board's chairman position. He has worked in various capacities since the Distance Learning Association since 2004.

Online Learning Consortium unveils new e-book

The collection of excerpts from prominent digital learning leaders' writing touches on teaching, data analytics and institutional strategy.

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