Students Push for More Access to Course-Evaluation Data

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:01

Many professors, however, resist what they see as a move toward public consumer-style ratings.

Categories: Higher Education News

Open-Source Software for College Administrators Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ After 10 Years

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:01

The consortium says its products for core functions at colleges have become a viable competitors, even as it struggles to gain converts.

Categories: Higher Education News

For a Sunnier Outlook, Psychology Dean to Leave Indiana for California

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:01
Rick Holigrocki, after many years in the Midwest, will be founding dean of a Graduate School of Psychology at California Lutheran University.
Categories: Higher Education News

Writing Instructor, Skeptical of Automated Grading, Pits Machine vs. Machine

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:01

Les Perelman, formerly of MIT, invented an automatic essay generator that can fool essay-grading robots.

Categories: Higher Education News

President Emerita Shares Videos on Teaching First-Generation Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:01

Kathleen A. Ross directs an institute at Heritage University that is showing professors how to help nontraditional students succeed.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Arizona and Wayne State U. Name New Vice Presidents for Research

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 22:00

Kimberly Andrews Espy is leaving the University of Oregon to take the post at Arizona. Read about that and other job-related news.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Artists Have the Floor

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-04-27 12:26

Glimpses of life in academe from around the world. 

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Southern California Creates New Center for Genocide Research

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-04-25 14:00

The center will function as the research arm of the USC Shoah Foundation, known for its enormous collection of testimony from survivors of mass atrocities.

Categories: Higher Education News

Taking Action to Improve Teacher Preparation

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-04-25 10:42

Recruiting, preparing, developing and supporting great teachers has a direct impact on the learning and success of America’s students. Research confirms that the most important in-school factor in a student’s success is a strong teacher, and excellent teachers are especially important for our neediest students. However, the vast majority of new teachers – almost two-thirds – report that their teacher preparation program left them unprepared for the realities of the classroom.

President Obama believes that we need to give schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job and reward the best ones, and give teachers the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion. Earlier today, the President directed the U.S. Department of Education to lay out a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs for public discussion by this summer, and to move forward on schedule to publish a final rule within the next year.

The Administration’s plans will:

  • Build on state systems and efforts and the progress in the field to encourage all states to develop their own meaningful systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities.
  • Ask states to move away from current input-focused reporting requirements, streamline the current data requirements, incorporate more meaningful outcomes, and improve the availability of relevant information on teacher preparation.
  • Rely on state-developed program ratings of preparation programs – in part – to determine program eligibility for TEACH grants, which are available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field in a low-income school, to ensure that these limited federal dollars support high-quality teacher education and preparation.

These critical changes will help to increase recognition for high-performing teacher preparation programs, and create a much-needed feedback loop to provide information to prospective teachers, schools and districts, and the general public, and drive improvement across programs.

Read more about the Obama Administration’s proposal, get a pdf copy of our teacher prep infographic, and visit to learn about additional ways the administration is ensuring that teachers and leaders have the support they need from preparation and through their careers.

Categories: Higher Education News

How to Keep Your Teens Learning This Summer

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-04-25 07:34

Summer can be a challenging – and pivotal – time to engage high school students in activities that both keep their interest and provide benefits in the long run. It’s no simple task to offer stimulating and valuable options that can compete with the allure of screen time and hanging out with friends.

How are you helping your teen remain engaged this summer? Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education

But research shows that summer is too important to overlook. Without learning opportunities, students – especially those from low-income families – fall behind in math and reading skills over the summer months.

The good news is that there are many things parents and kids can do to stem the losses, and even accelerate learning and engagement. There are also things parents can do to help older students to find a summer job and get inspired for college and future careers.

Picking up from HomeRoom’s earlier post on Stopping the Summer Slide, here are more ideas on how parents and mentors can engage teens during the summer and give them a leg up on what comes next.

  • Look for a summer learning program geared toward teens and the transition to college. Many colleges and universities offer programs that are intellectually challenging, relevant to teens, and help begin to prepare them for college or career.
  • Encourage and work with your high school student on setting his or her own goals for college, career, and life. Talk about their talents, what motivates them and why, and arrange a visit to a college that suits their interests and your budget.
  • Have your high school student identify a career of interest and research it together online or at your local library. Seek opportunities for him or her to observe or shadow someone in an interesting occupation or connect with a professional mentor, either online or in your community.
  • Suggest your teen consider being a mentor or junior staffer in a summer program. High school students make credible and supportive mentors to younger children in summer learning programs, camps, and afterschool programs.
  • Help your teen understand what is needed to gain employment, such as a resume and cover letter, filling out a job application and interview skills. Use these activities to prepare for or pursue a summer or afterschool job.
  • Plan a service project or volunteer. Volunteer positions can provide valuable experience in job skills such as planning, communication and collaboration. Similarly, service projects can require older youth to research and plan and will expose them to new aspects of their community.
  • Planning a summer vacation? Ask your teen to take an active role in the planning. Is your teen’s room in need of a new look? Have him or her sketch ideas, calculate projected expenses and prepare a presentation to make a case for the changes. Research, budgeting, and advocacy are valuable skills.
  • Summer is a great time to be outdoors! Encourage your teen to stay active in the summer. Walk or take hikes as a family, and encourage outdoor activities with peers. Don’t forget to also keep healthy snacks around the house, such as fruits and veggies.
  • Read a young adult book together with your teen and a group of his friends. Meet regularly for a mini-book club with journaling and discussion about the book.

Having a voice and choice is important to your high school student when deciding how to spend the summer. Collaborate on options and offer ideas, but ultimately, let them choose.

I’ll be sharing more ideas on summer learning on Twitter through Summer Learning Day on Friday, June 20. Follow the National Summer Learning Association at @SummerLearning, and join the conversation with hashtag #SummerSuccess.

Sarah Pitcock is CEO of the National Summer Learning Association

Categories: Higher Education News

4 Mistakes I Made With My Student Loans and How You Can Avoid Them

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-04-25 06:00

It’s been tough for me to come to terms with, but, unfortunately for me, I am not in college anymore. In fact, this spring marks three years since I graduated from college and went into repayment on my student loans. I know, not the most exciting thing in the world, but important. So while I don’t claim to be a student loan expert, I have learned a lot of lessons along the way, mostly through trial and error. In hopes that you won’t make the same mistakes I did, here are some things I wish I had known when I was graduating and getting ready to start repaying my student loans:

  1. I should have kept track of what I was borrowing

Let’s be real. When you take out student loans to help pay for college, it’s easy to forget that the money will eventually have to be paid back … with interest. The money just doesn’t seem real when you’re in college, and I didn’t do a good job of keeping track of what I was borrowing and how it was building up. When it was time to start repaying my loans, I was quite overwhelmed. I had different types of loans and different interest rates. When I did eventually see my loan balance, I was pretty shocked.

You can avoid this problem. Had I known there was a super easy way to keep track of how much I’d borrowed in federal student loans, I would have been much better off. Just go to, select “Financial Aid Review,” log in, and you can view all of your federal student loans in one place! How did I miss that?

  1. I should have made interest payments while I was still in school

If you’re anything like me, you probably consumed your fair share of instant noodles while trying to survive on a college student’s budget. Trust me, I get it. But one thing I really regret when it comes to my student loans was not paying interest while I was in school or during my grace period. Like I said, I was far from rich, but when I was in college, I did have a work-study job and waited tables on the side. I probably could have spared a few dollars each month to pay down some student loan interest. Remember, student loans are borrowed money that you have to repay with interest and more importantly, that interest may capitalize, or be added to your total balance. My advice: Even though you don’t have to, do yourself a favor and consider paying at least some of your student loan interest while you’re in school. It will save you money in the long run.

  1. I should have kept my loan servicer in the loop

If you’re getting ready to graduate or have graduated recently and haven’t heard from your loan servicer, make sure you check that your loan servicer has up-to-date contact info for you. When I graduated and moved into my first big-girl apartment, I forgot to change my address with my loan servicer. I found out that all of my student loan correspondence was going to my mom’s address. I hadn’t even thought to update my loan servicer with my new contact information. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Keep your servicer informed of address, email, and phone changes.

  1. I should have figured out what my monthly loan payments were going to be BEFORE I went into repayment

By the time my grace period was over, I had a decent idea of how much I had borrowed in total, but I had no idea what my monthly payments would be. I thought I was fine. I had started my new job and been paying rent and other bills for about six months. Then my grace period ended, and I got my first bill from my loan servicer. It was definitely an expense I hadn’t fully taken into account.

Don’t make the same mistake. Federal Student Aid has an awesome repayment estimator that allows you to pull in your federal student loan information and compare what your monthly payments would be under the different repayment plans that are offered. That way, you can choose the right repayment plan for you, know how much you can expect to pay monthly, and budget accordingly … unlike me.

I’ll be the first to admit that this whole process can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re new at it. But just remember, your loan servicer is there to help you. If you have questions or need advice, don’t hesitate to contact them.

Nicole Callahan is a digital engagement strategist at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. to Move Forward With Plans for Improving Teacher Preparation

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-04-25 04:00

A draft rule coming this summer will encourage states to develop their own systems for rating teacher-training programs and helping them improve.

Categories: Higher Education News

Professors at U. of Michigan Question Administrators’ Extra Pay

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-04-25 03:01

A group cites more than $46-million in previously undisclosed payouts, including premiums of tens of thousands to a few top-tier administrators.

Categories: Higher Education News

White House Adviser Reassures Small Colleges About Ratings Plan

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-04-25 02:57

Colleges in the Yes We Must Coalition were told that the plan would take account of concerns from institutions like theirs, which serve many minority and low-income students.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of California at Riverside Will Hire 300 New Professors Over 5 Years

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-04-25 02:55

The plan reflects the needs of a growing university and was made possible, in part, by fiscal prudence during years of state budget cuts.

Categories: Higher Education News

NSF’s Board Fights Back Against Threat of Tighter Legislative Control

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-04-24 13:16

In a rare public response to a piece of pending legislation, the board criticized a bill in the House of Representatives that would sharply limit its budget authority.

Categories: Higher Education News

Leaders of Learning

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Thu, 2014-04-24 07:31

It can’t be said enough, school principals seriously matter in any school improvement effort. They directly impact teacher engagement, school conditions, and family involvement, which are all big factors in increasing student performance. This is why the recent convening by the Department of Education’s School Leadership Program (SLP) is an important part in achieving our overall mission to promote student achievement for all of our nation’s students.

Bringing together 45 of its grant recipients for two days, the SLP program office provided an opportunity for districts, university programs, partner organizations, and federal policymakers to learn from each other and experts in the field about how to promote and improve excellent school leadership.

Cesar Chavez School of Public Policy students and members of the Chavez Slam Team ContraVerse, perform their original piece at the opening of the School Leadership Program conference at ED. Throughout the two day convening, these students, along with several of their classmates and their incredible teacher and coach Michael Bolds, shared insightful perspectives on education and the impact of current reforms and educators on students. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Education

From my perspective, that of an experienced district and charter public school principal, and as part of the Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program (PAF), the convening provided a valuable learning experience by those in attendance. In particular, I was struck by a presentation from Matthew Clifford, principal researcher of education, at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) who spoke about the Ripple Effect of principal influence. Principals, according to Clifford, need to be evaluated on what they can control – teacher engagement, community context, and school conditions – all of which strongly impact student learning but in an indirect way.

This concept, along with a recent report by Jason Grissom, Susanna Loeb, and Ben Master should make us all think again about what effective school leadership looks like and how our accountability systems honors the work of principals and truly incentivizes the types of behaviors our schools need from their leaders. The principal didn’t become the “most complex and contradictory figure in the pantheon of educational leadership,” overnight, as described by Kate Rousmaniere, another presenter at the convening. It is going to take a great deal of attention and thought for states and districts to create the type of learning environments and support systems required to improve school leadership practices. Luckily, there is a group of practitioners engaged in this work, and it was impressive to have them all in one room together.

A great deal of thanks goes out to the SLP team, the PAFs, to all the presenters who shared their expertise, to the students who thoughtfully challenged the adults through performance and provocative questions, and to the grantees who came with open minds and incredible experiences. Let’s hope this is one of many more such gatherings, because there is still much work to do.

Joshua Klaris is a resident principal in the Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program at the U.S. Department of Education

Categories: Higher Education News

Colleges Share Strategies That Help Disadvantaged Students Succeed

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-04-24 02:57

At a conference, members of the Yes We Must Coalition highlight how they’re working to raise graduation rates and make college affordable.

Categories: Higher Education News

Panel Is Split on Distance-Education Rule

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-04-24 02:56

The draft rule would compel more state scrutiny of online programs. Negotiators who discussed it on Wednesday were far from reaching consensus.

Categories: Higher Education News
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