Higher education

Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/09/2017 - 8:00pm in

In The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things, Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener offer an experimental co-memoir that blurs, unhooks and reweaves the relationship between “academic” and “creative” writing, while also disturbing traditional divisions between professional and personal life. The book succeeds in bringing emotion and empathy to academic writing, writes Vanessa Longden, and prompts reflection on personal practice. This […]

Protest this!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/09/2017 - 2:52am in

Back in 2011, thousands of Chilean students participated in protests against the high cost of higher education. The most famous took place in front of La Moneda, the president’s palace, dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

According to the latest statistics from the OECD report, “Education at a Glance 2017,” the costs of a college education in Chile were still very high in 2015-16.

But they’re still not as high as in the United States, where it costs more to go to college than anywhere else in the world.

Of the 35 member countries in the OECD, the United States has the highest average tuition at both public and private colleges, for Bachelor’s as well as Master’s degrees.

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Average public tuition in the United States for a Bachelor’s degree is $8,202 annually, compared to Chile’s $7,654, the country with the second-highest tuition cost.

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In terms of private education, the comparison is not even close: average tuition in the United States for a Bachelor’s degree is $21,189, far higher than in Australia, where the price is $8,827.

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The United States also has the distinction of having the most expensive Master’s degree programs—again, in both public and private institutions.

It’s enough to turn U.S. college students into heavily indebted, protesting zombies.

Tagged: Chile, higher education, protest, student debt, students, United States

Taking back control: the new university and academic presses that are re-envisioning scholarly publishing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 8:00pm in

A recent report from Jisc showcases the upward trend in universities and academics setting up their own presses in an environment increasingly dominated by large commercial publishing houses. Following up on the recommendations arising from this report, authors Janneke Adema and Graham Stone put forward some ideas on how to best support these new initiatives through community and infrastructure-building. In […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: No Man is Above the Law — Except on College Campuses

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/09/2017 - 6:45am in

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/spiked-online.com/images/mattress_girl.jpg

Freshman orientation, Columbia University, New York City, Fall 1981: Now as then, there were speeches. A blur of upperclassmen, professors and deans welcomed us, explained campus resources and laid out dos and donts. At one point, the topic of the campus drug policy came up. “You can do whatever you want in your dorm room,” we were told, “just make sure it’s OK with your roommate.” A ripple of surprise swept the audience. Several students asked for elaboration of this don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy on illegal narcotics, and were told that they’d heard correctly.

One of my friends, who grew pot plants in his window, proved the wisdom of that advice. My pal’s Born Again Christian roomie, not consulted about his grow house scheme, attacked him in what became a legendary fistfight out of a Western.

No one was arrested, though there was a stern talking-to courtesy of the R.A.

(Columbia has since changed this policy.)

The weird alternative universe of law on campus is in the headlines again due to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ announcement that the Trump Administration plans to rewrite Obama-era Title IX rules to give male students accused of rape on college campuses more rights to defend themselves.

Under a 2011 directive university administrators were advised that their institutions could lose federal education funding unless they reduce the evidentiary standard for finding a defendant student guilty of sexual misconduct from “beyond a reasonable doubt” (the same as in criminal courts, in which jurors are asked to be roughly 90% or more certain of guilt to convict) to the lower “based on the preponderance of the evidence” standard used in civil courts (50% or more).

Victims rights advocates say campus rape is an epidemic problem, that local police can’t be trusted to take rape charges seriously or prosecute them aggressively, and that the relatively friendly campus tribunals of administrators operating under the lower standard of proof mandated by Title IX are necessary to encourage victims to step forward.

Men counter that those accused of rape shouldn’t lose their rights when they step on a college campus, and that innocent defendants have been railroaded by kangaroo courts in which they’re not allowed to have a lawyer or, in some cases, to present their full defense.

DeVos referred to the bizarre case of a USC football player expelled for abusing his girlfriend even though she insists there was no abuse. This followed the news that the rape defendant in the notorious 2015 “mattress case” in which his alleged victim carried her mattress around campus and to her commencement ceremony had earned a measure of vindication earlier this year when the university paid him to settle his lawsuit and issued a statement declaring that, after years of being publicly rape-shamed in international media, he had done nothing wrong after all.

Like students at colleges and universities across the United States, I was stunned to learn that college campuses are sort of like Native American reservations: zones where the law applies theoretically but in practice is systematically ignored or enforced at significant variance to the way things go in the outside world.

The shooting of a motorist on a city street off campus by a University of Cincinnati police officer highlighted the fact that two out of three colleges have armed police forces — and that some of these campus cops are told they have the right to arrest, and even shoot, non-students in surrounding neighborhoods.

At least today’s colleges aren’t brazenly stealing land from public parks, as Columbia did in 1968 when it began construction on a gym in Manhattan’s Morningside Park. (The land grab sparked a riot and iconic student takeover of campus.)

The debunking of that big Rolling Stone piece about a supposed rape at UVA aside, it doesn’t take a statistician to grok that college campuses, with their witches’ brew of young people out on their own for the first time, minimal adult supervision and free-flowing booze set the stage for date rape as well as sexual encounters where consent appears ambiguous. The question is: should college administrators substitute for cops and district attorneys in the search for justice? Emily Yoffe’s Atlantic series on DeVos’ proposal strongly suggests no.

Yoffe portrays a system that encourages males to feel victimized by being considered guilty until proven innocent. “To ensure the safety of alleged victims of sexual assault,” she writes, “the federal government requires ‘interim measures’ —accommodations that administrators must offer the complainant before any finding of responsibility, including steps to ensure that she never has to encounter the accused… Common interim measures include moving the accused from his dormitory, limiting the places he can go on campus, forcing him to change classes, and barring him from activities. On small campuses, this can mean his life is completely circumscribed. Sometimes he is banned from campus altogether while awaiting the results of an investigation.” This is an injustice, and saying it’s necessary in order to protect victims doesn’t change that.

The New York Times recently published an op-ed that embodied the glib view of defendants’ rights au courant on college campuses. “Of course, being accused of sexual assault hurts,” wrote Nicole Bedera and Miriam Gleckman-Krut. “And there are things that we can and should do to help accused students — namely, providing them with psychological counsel.” Seriously? Men accused of rape face expulsion, felony charges (schools can refer cases to the police) and blackballing from other colleges if they apply. They need more than therapy.

It’s easy to see why colleges, and many parents of students, want to maintain their personal on-campus legal systems outside the bounds of adult law and order. 18-year-olds are legally adults but psychologically still kids, the thinking goes. Sending even serious matters like rape charges to the police can seem like a second brutalization of victims, and perhaps even unnecessarily harsh to the accused who, if innocent, may be able to assuage doubts with a simple explanation of their actions to friendly university staff members.

Though largely well-intentioned, and despite the fact that it is opposed by the despicable Donald Trump, this Title IX-based paternalism has no place in a society that purports to respect the concept of equal justice under the law. If there’s an alleged crime on a campus, students should call the cops.

The answer to nonresponsive police who disrespect victims isn’t to truncate defendants’ rights under a parallel facsimile of jurisprudence. The solution is to reform the police and the courts so that victims aren’t traumatized all over again. Let law enforcement do its job, and let educators do theirs.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall) is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/09/2017 - 8:00pm in

As flaws in the peer review process are highlighted and calls for reform become more frequent, it may be tempting for some to denigrate and dismiss the contributions of the reviewers themselves. Maxine David has been witness to this and here makes an appeal to give space to recognise those who offer their time and expertise voluntarily and generously. It […]

What should ECRs and PhDers consider when choosing a conference? Purpose, cost, and motivation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/09/2017 - 8:00pm in

For many early-career researchers and those studying for a PhD, settling on which conference(s) to attend can be a tough and fraught decision. So what is the most important thing to consider? Pat Thomson suggests three answers to this question, covering why you believe you should go to an event, whether it represents value for money, and whether or not […]

The most productive and influential economics researchers continue to gravitate to the US from the rest of the world

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/08/2017 - 8:00pm in

In all sciences there is a heavy concentration of the most productive and influential researchers in top US research institutions. Pedro Albarrán, Raquel Carrasco, and Javier Ruiz-Castillo‘s study focused on geographic mobility and research productivity in a selection of the world’s leading economics and departments and shows how increasing numbers of scholars gravitate to the US from the rest of […]

Book Review: Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time by Filip Vostal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 27/08/2017 - 8:00pm in

In Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time, Filip Vostal examines how speed has become a key pressure within higher education through interviews with twenty academics based in the UK. While the empirical research could be broader, Luke Martell highly recommends the book for offering considered, inquiring reflections on the structures that are contributing to the acceleration of academic life. This review originally appeared on LSE Review […]

There are new frontiers for academic publishing but scholarly associations and faculty must seize the opportunities

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 8:00pm in

Scholarly publishing faces daunting challenges. Rising journal costs have seen many universities have to make strategic cuts to library collections. To Kyle Siler, the digital world has opened new niches and frontiers for academic publishing, offering many innovative and diverse possibilities. But opportunities must be grasped by scientific professional associations that have arguably lost sight of ideals of accessibility and […]

Brexit threatens UK-Latin America cooperation in higher education, but both sides can help to ensure it continues

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/08/2017 - 8:00pm in

Brexit will inevitably have far-reaching implications for UK universities, making it more challenging to promote higher education exchanges and cooperation between the UK and Latin America, for example. But current and past bilateral initiatives show that the UK’s exit from the EU should be seen not only as a threat, but also as an opportunity, writes Valesca Lima. European integration has contributed to worldwide […]

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