diversity

Academic Minute: Higher Education Gender Gap

In today’s Academic Minute, Claudia Buchmann of Ohio State University explains the growing gender gap that exists on college campuses. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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Student Says Nut Allergy Forced Her Out of College

A student at the University of Washington at Tacoma says she was forced to withdraw because the university changed the way it dealt with her severe nut allergy, ABC News reported. The student said that, last year, the university posted "peanut/nut-free classroom" signs on classrooms she used. But this year, the university didn't use the signs but said it would send a letter to all students in the classes asking them not to bring nuts. The student says this approach is not sufficient. But the university says that it can't assure the absence of nuts, and was trying to take reasonable steps to minimize the risk.

 

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Debate on report on immigration leads to scrutiny of Harvard dissertation

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Controversy over Heritage Foundation report on immigration ignites debate over whether Harvard should have approved a dissertation that claimed an IQ deficit for Hispanics.

Saint Augustine's Drops Plan to Acquire Saint Paul's

Saint Augustine's College, in North Carolina,  announced Friday that its leaders do not believe that it should proceed with the idea of acquiring Saint Paul's College, in Virginia. Both are historically black colleges founded by the Episcopal Church and Saint Augustine's agreed to explore taking over Saint Paul's after the latter lost its accreditation, effectively endangering its survival. A statement issued Friday by Saint Augustine's said, "After careful due diligence and much deliberation, Saint Augustine’s University has decided that to pursue the acquisition is not a fiscally responsible option." The statement added, however: "At the request of Saint Paul’s College officials, the Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees will allow Saint Paul’s to present a plan to the Saint Augustine’s University Board by May 31, 2013 in hopes of reversing this decision."

New Study of Historically Black Colleges

A new report, "The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities," was released Thursday by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The report details the role of black colleges, outlines demographic trends in enrollments and discusses educational and financial challenges facing the institutions.
 

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Protest at San Marcos on Decision Not to Punish Sorority

Students at California State University at San Marcos held a protest outside the president's office Thursday to protest the university's decision not to punish Alpha Chi Omega sorority following a racially insensitive incident, KPBS reported. The sorority held an event in which members posed for photographs dressed as Latina gang members, and then posted the photos to social media. One of the students who protested said: "To come to school where people don’t understand that there’s real struggles behind these things; that they’re real, we have to go home to them whenever we go home to our families or our communities. And it’s not funny. It’s not funny to us. In fact, it’s hurtful."

 

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Study: Hispanic College-Going Rate Tops White Rate

An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics graduating from high school in 2012 enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates from the same class, of whom 67 percent enrolled in college.

According to Pew, Hispanic college-going has seen a long-term increase, especially since the recession hit, whereas enrollment by white high school graduates has gradually declined since 2008.

In addition, the high school dropout rate among Hispanic 16 to 24-year-olds has been cut in half since 2000, when it was 28 percent, compared to 14 percent currently. The white high school dropout rate has also declined, albeit only two percentage points and from a lower base (7 percent to 5 percent).

Recent High School Dropouts (numbers in thousands)

Race/ethnicity 1999-2000 2011-2012
Hispanic 101 134
White 384 197
Black 111 124
Asian (unavailable) 19

Ratio of High School Completers to Dropouts

Race/ethnicity 1999-2000 2011-2012
Hispanic 3:1 5:1
White 6:1 12:1
Black 4:1 4:1
Asian (unavailable) 9:1

(Both tables from Pew Research Center)

Although they surpass white students in the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college, Pew added, Hispanic graduates still lag behind in some aspects; for instance, Hispanic high school graduates have a 56 percent likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college, as compared to 72 percent for white graduates. They are also less likely than whites to be full-time students or earn a bachelor's degree.

Pew offers two possible explanations for the increased Hispanic enrollment: the worsening job market (unemployment among Hispanics 16-24 has increased seven percentage points post-recession, compared to five points among whites) and the emphasis Hispanic families are likely to place on a college education (according to two separate 2009 Pew surveys, 88 percent of Hispanics 16 and over agreed that a college degree is necessary for success, compared to 74 percent of Americans overall who said that).

 

 

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Report Urges More Help for Women at Community Colleges

A new report from the American Association of University Women makes several recommendations for furthering women’s success in community colleges, a goal the report calls “too often overlooked.”  Based on their research, authors Andresse St. Rose and Catherine Hill make two primary recommendations: “Support student parents” and “Increase the number of women in nontraditional fields, including STEM.”

"While we celebrate the accessibility that community colleges provide women … access alone is not enough," St. Rose said in a conference call Thursday.

According to the report, women make up 57 percent of the students who attend community colleges; many of these women are financially limited and/or academically underprepared, and about 25 percent have children. As such, the report recommends increases in on-campus child care at community colleges, which is offered at fewer than half of such institutions.

The report also singles out the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a program for low-income parents offered at all of Arkansas' community colleges, for praise. CPI offers assistance to low-income parents through a combination of tutoring, academic advising and career services. "More schools and states need to follow this example," St. Rose said during the call.

Associate Degrees Conferred by Community Colleges, by Gender, 2009–2010

Major Women Men
Health professions and related programs 84,526 15,778
Education 11,577 2,877
Computer and information sciences 3,359 10,860
Engineering technologies 2,628 15,629
Personal and culinary services 2,500 1,560
Mechanic and repair technologies/technicians 785 11,332
Mathematics and statistics 317 690
Engineering 282 1,902
Construction trades 210 3,073

Source: AAUW analysis of U.S. Department of Education, 2010.

St. Rose and Hill also call for expanded information and support for women seeking degrees in STEM fields; women enrolled in community colleges, they say, currently tend toward traditionally female fields such as nursing, education and cosmetology, and are therefore underrepresented in STEM-related areas (see table). Their recommendations on this include more active recruitment, ensuring that academic advising programs are not reinforcing gender stereotypes and bolstering the gender equity provisions found in the Perkins Act, which provides federal support for technical education.

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New papers suggest summer outreach can help low-income rising freshmen

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Two new Harvard papers indicate outreach to low-income students in the summer before college can have a significant impact on whether they enroll.

Parsons calls off master class by John Galliano

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Parsons calls off master class by John Galliano, the designer widely condemned as anti-Semitic, saying he would not agree on a "frank discussion" of his career.

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