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Transitions: E. Gordon Gee to Lead Higher-Education Effort in Ohio; Community College of Denver Gets New President
Ohio's governor asked Mr. Gee, who led Ohio State University, to find ways to make college affordable. Read about that and other job-related news.
Subra Suresh was elected to the Institute of Medicine this year. He is already a member of the other two National Academies.
In a new book, Howard Gardner and Katie Davis say social media may be pushing young people to prematurely cement their identities.
Glimpses of Life in Academe From Around the World.
In August 2013, President Barack Obama announced the Administration’s plans and proposals for combating rising college costs and making college affordable for American families. The President’s plan included three parts: paying for performance; promoting innovation and competition; and ensuring that student debt remains affordable.
As part of an effort to gather public input about these proposals, and in particular the development of a college ratings system, the Department of Education will be hosting open forums around the country. These open forums are designed to offer the opportunity for members of the public to provide feedback and input on the Department’s plans and proposals, and to hear the input of others.
Today, the Department is pleased to announce that the first of these forums will take place on Wednesday, November 6th, at The California State University-Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. The forum will be held in the Loker Student Union, Ballroom C from 9am-3pm PST.
The open forum is free and open to the public. Individuals desiring to present comments or feedback at an open forum must register by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Open Forum Registration.” Each participant will be limited to five minutes for comments. The Department will notify registrants of the location and time slot reserved for them. An individual may make only one presentation at the open forums. Walk-in registrations will also be accepted for any remaining time slots on a first-come, first-served basis at the Department’s on-site registration table.
For those unable to attend the forum in person, testimony may also be submitted online, by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by mail to 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, room 7E313, Washington, DC 20202-0001.
If you wish to testify and use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339 for more information.
If you have difficulty understanding English you may request language assistance services for Department information that is available to the public. These language assistance services are available free of charge. If you need more information about interpretation or translation services, please call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (TTY: 1-800-437-0833), or email us at: Ed.Language.Assistance@ed.gov.
Transcripts from the open forums will be made available on the www.ed.gov Web site for public viewing.
The remaining open forums will be announced soon. Please continue to check the Department of Education’s College Affordability and Completion website, www.ed.gov/college-affordability for updates. Additional information about the President’s plan can be found here.
When my colleague, Andrea Falken, director of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), asked me to accompany her on site visits to honored schools in Oregon and Washington, I quickly agreed. As part of the Education Built to Last Facilities Best Practices Tour, the plan was to make brief visits over three days to about a dozen schools across the Pacific Northwest, recognizing them for their outstanding environmental impact, health, and education and bringing more attention to their strategies, so that other schools might do more of the same.
As a long-time environmentalist, I was eager to learn more about how top-notch K-12 educators are helping students understand the perils that face our planet. How do these educators get the message across without scaring the kids? Do the students understand the root causes of the problems and their personal role in solving them? What books, films, experiments, and lessons are most useful? How do the best schools link environmental education with more traditional subjects such as social studies, science and math?
What I discovered in Oregon and Washington, however, surprised me. The questions that I thought were most important were, indeed, important, but it turned out they were secondary to a far more vital issue: what is the quality of leadership at each school?
“ED-GRS sites aren’t innately well-resourced,” says Falken. “But they’re resourceful.” What makes the difference? In a word: leadership. More specifically, some leaders seem to have an ability to turn the most modest means and activities — say, a patch of dirt in a parking lot, or the need to clean up after lunch — into engaging, meaningful, stimulating learning opportunities.
Take, for example, Amy Kleiner, the remarkable principal of ED-GRS honoree Sunnyside Elementary School, in Portland, Ore. “One of our challenges is the steady gentrification of the neighborhood around us,” Kleiner told us during our visit. “Diversity is important in nature, and it is also important in school, so we have to work hard to overcome the obstacles.” One way Kleiner and her team are overcoming these challenges is by making use of every square foot of her school’s grounds to advance understanding about critical environmental issues.
A typical boxy urban school is surrounded by medians that would typically feature some type of ground cover. At Sunnyside, however, those strips of land have been transformed into a perennial sensory garden, a pollinator garden, a grain garden, and a native plant garden. Each grade is responsible for overseeing a garden, under the coordination of a three-person sustainability team. The students learn by working with a water cistern, a chicken coop, several rain barrels, and a lunchtime recycling program that teaches students what they can do at home to help. “We are not going to have our students’ future limited by where they live and where they go to school,” Kleiner says. “So we work hard to give students a more complete exposure to nature and environmental science. It’s really a team effort.”
We saw the same commitment to excellence in reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness, and teaching effective environmental education at every other school we visited. At Gladstone High School, in Gladstone, Ore., administrators assisted in the creation of a Green School Club that made waves by conducting scientifically rigorous energy audits of the school facilities, leading to significant reductions in energy costs. When local voters passed a bond measure to fund school construction, “It was just natural that we’d look to build facilities that were efficient, affordable, and environmentally sustainable,” says Gladstone Schools Superintendent Bob Stewart. The result: the school added 13 percent more square footage, while simultaneously reducing overall electrical consumption by nine percent and natural gas consumption by three percent. “The students really led the way,” Stewart says. Gladstone’s latest addition, an old supermarket turned early learning center, complete with health clinic, counseling services, and blended special education pre-K, is also trailblazing toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability. “The president’s State of the Union address struck home because I thought, ‘Wow, that’s what we’re doing,’ ” Stewart says.
The following day, we saw other great leaders empowering students at Sacajawea Elementary School, in Vancouver, Wash. At Sacajawea, 15 percent of the students are active participants in the Green Team, which hosts school clean up days, cultivates native plants, and advocates for sustainable practices in the school and community. The Green Team actively monitors the health of local natural ecosystems, tracks the school’s energy usage, and oversees efforts to protect the watershed, culminating in their annual attendance at the Watershed Congress. We saw kids fishing through tubs of water to identify macroinvertebrates. In addition, the school has one heck of a media studio, where students produce a daily – live – news show, under the watchful eye of fifth grade teacher Mr. Jeff Lee. We were treated to a special live Green Ribbon edition of the morning news!
At Tahoma High School, in Covington, Wash., students became financial rainmakers, literally. Student environmental leaders won an $80,000 grant to implement storm water management strategies that prevent toxic rainwater from parking lots from polluting streams and waterways used by salmon — an essential part of the local culture and economy. “It was a great experience,” one of the student leaders told us, noting that she still visits the high school regularly even though she is now attending a nearby college. “I want to help the younger students understand what we did, and what they can do,” she said.
As I travelled back to Washington, D.C., on a red-eye flight after our visits, I could not stop thinking about these students, the others like them whom we met, and the learning environments that their teachers and administrators had worked so hard to create. It brought home a powerful reality: great leaders don’t wait for the right moment or say they can’t without trying. Instead, they roll up their sleeves and do what they can, where they are, with what they have. And, in the process, they provide a lesson for us all.
Hal Plotkin is the senior policy advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary
A university technology managers' group is asking its members to re-examine a pledge to shun "patent trolls."
Robert M. Shireman, a former deputy under secretary of education, urges federal officials to do more to discourage fraud and protect student interests.
But their role is not a particularly new one in the history of American academe, according to panelists at a discussion on Friday at New York University.
American faculty support for a scholar fired by Peking University is raising anew questions about Western universities' international engagement.
The Budget Committee's senior Republican wants to see details of the agency's peer-review process and justification for projects like "Muslim Journeys."
The Council of Independent Colleges drew up its list on the experiences of 50 colleges that received grants to enhance such programs.
One group shares findings on how to help students succeed. Another offers testimonials from students who did.
The departure of Edward O. Blews Jr., barely 10 months after he took office, came as a surprise to fellow association leaders.
Ten lenders are involved in about 90 percent of all consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about private student loans.
But the growth threatens to worsen a bottleneck that is developing as newly minted doctors compete for a frozen number of hospital training slots.
Those who participated in the coaching program were more likely to enroll in four-year colleges and to end up in more-selective institutions, a study found.
An advocacy group is urging governors to issue statements recognizing adjuncts' work, in hopes that improvements in their working conditions will follow.
The University of Phoenix's parent company reported an 18-percent drop in enrollment and a 36-percent decline in operating income in just one year.