Excelencia in Education to Grow

Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that focuses on Latino student success, announced this week that it had received $2.4 million in new grants from four foundations. A spokesman for the group said three-quarters of the money is aimed at growing its capacity, as opposed to funding specific projects. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $1 million, which is the largest of the four grants.

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Holistic Admissions Linked to Diversity in Health Fields

Holistic admissions policies -- in which colleges consider a candidate as an individual, and base decisions on more than a formula of grades and test scores -- have long been common among undergraduate institutions, but have also gained ground in health professions admissions, according to a report released today. The report found that more than 90 percent of medical schools and nearly half of nursing bachelor's programs are using holistic admissions. Because holistic admissions can consider such factors as a candidate's background and disadvantaged status, these policies have generally been associated with increased diversity, and the new report finds that to be the case in health fields. Among institutions with many attributes of holistic admissions, more than 80 percent report that moving in that direction led to increased diversity in the student.

At the same time, the report did not find evidence that holistic admissions -- as its critics sometimes suggest -- has led to a decline in academic admissions standards. Over the last decade, as many of these institutions expanded holistic reviews, 90 percent of the health professions programs using holistic review reported that the average grade-point average of the incoming class remained unchanged or increased, while 10 percent reported a decrease. And 89 percent reported that average standardized test scores for incoming classes remained unchanged or increased, while 11 percent reported a decrease

The report was done by the Urban Universities for HEALTH – a collaboration between the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges, with funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

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Interview with book author on roles of women's colleges around the world

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While women's colleges and universities are declining in number in the U.S. and Europe, they play a growing role in providing access and developing female leaders around the world, writes Kristen Renn.

Accreditor Gives Gordon College a Year to Justify Policy on 'Homosexual Practice'

Gordon College has a year to prove to a regional accrediting agency that its policies on gay people meet the accreditor's standards for non-discrimination, Boston Business Journal reported. Gordon's policies barring sex outside of heterosexual marriage have generated significant controversy in recent months, and the policies have drawn the attention of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, which considered the college at its meeting this month.

A joint statement by the accreditor and the college said that the commission found information presented by Gordon about its policy on "homosexual practice" to be "thorough and pertinent," and that the commission applauded Gordon's plan to engage in up to 18 months of study. The statement said Gordon would report back by next September to ensure that its "policies and processes are non-discriminatory and that it ensures its ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds, consistent with the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation." (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct the focus of the accreditor's scrutiny.)


Northwestern Grad Application Adds Question on Sexuality

Only a handful of colleges and universities have optional questions on their undergraduate applications in which applicants may share their sexual orientation or gender identity. On Thursday, the Graduate School at Northwestern University (which does not ask the question of undergraduates) announced that it will add a question on whether applicants "consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community." Dwight McBride, dean of the Graduate School, said: “It's important for us but also for others to move in this direction, as well. If we don't ask the question, we are not building a data archive and, therefore, have no way of knowing what the needs of our populations and sub-populations in our communities are -- beyond guessing and anecdote.”

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Study suggests link between ethnicity, gender stereotypes and interest in STEM

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Research suggests link between ethnicity, gender stereotypes and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Fraternity Suspended for Offensive Banner, Sprinkler

Despite the increased public discussion of sexual assault, some fraternities continue activities that raise questions about their understanding of the issue. Phi Delta Theta has suspended its chapter at Texas Tech University after a series of photographs surfaced, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported. One photo showed a banner for a party reading: “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal.” Another showed a sprinkler attached to a cutout that appeared to be the spread legs of a woman.


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Syracuse U. curbs work with program to help urban youth attend college

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Under a chancellor who says he cares more about rankings than did his predecessor, Syracuse U. scales back involvement with well-regarded program for recruiting low-income and minority students -- and those students take note.

Minority Students Protest Cuts at Syracuse U.

Minority students at Syracuse University are protesting cuts that they say will hurt the enrollment of minority students, Syracuse.com reported. Among the cuts they are protesting are a decision to reduce from three to one the cities through which Syracuse will recruit students through the Posse Foundation, which places groups of students from disadvantaged areas in colleges that will support them and provide financial aid. Syracuse officials acknowledged that they were scaling back involvement with Posse, but said that the university was committed to "attracting the best and diverse students we can from across the nation."

The protests follow a presidential transition at Syracuse in which a president who focused heavily on diversity (and who said she didn't care about rankings) was succeeded by one who has indicated more interest in rankings.


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Washington State Court: Age Bias Case Can Proceed

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that a long-time adjunct can pursue her case of age discrimination against Clark College, which passed her over for full-time positions in favor of younger candidates, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that there was evidence both to back the adjunct's claims and those of the college, and that a jury should hear the case. Lower courts had backed the college and rejected the case.


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