Thinking 'Bigger Than Me' in the Liberal Arts

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:05

Despite the perception that the arts primarily promote individual expression, arts training can create opportunities for something more.

Categories: Higher Education News

Big-Ideas Courses Are Lessons in Humility

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:01

They can’t possibly fulfill all the goals that faculty members and students set for them. But that in itself is thrilling and instructive.

Categories: Higher Education News

Proposal to Offer Job-Friendly English Ph.D. Draws Criticism

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:01

A doctoral program proposed at Georgetown University includes preparation for nonacademic careers. But critics say it would cheapen the degree.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Hottest Seat on Campus

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:01

With growing competition for students, enrollment leaders face more scrutiny and less job security.

Categories: Higher Education News

Transitions: Cal State Poly Pomona Chooses New Leader; New York Institute of Technology Appoints Admissions Dean

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:01

Soraya M. Coley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University at Bakersfield, will lead the polytechnic university.

Categories: Higher Education News

Bobby Fong, College President of Final Four Fame, Dies Suddenly at 64

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:01
Ursinus College comes to grips with the loss of its leader.
Categories: Higher Education News

George Washington U. Snags a Decipherer of Ancient Texts

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-09-14 22:00
Christopher A. Rollston, who left a seminary in Tennessee in 2012 after a conflict with administrators, will teach students a historical approach to translating religious texts from antiquity.
Categories: Higher Education News

AmeriCorps – An Incredible Gift to Our Schools

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-09-12 10:26

Today marks the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, the national service program that has helped 900,000 Americans give a year of their lives in service to this country. Hundreds of thousands have served in our schools as teachers, tutors, and classroom assistants. In fact, AmeriCorps volunteers are hard at work in 11,700 schools across the country right now. AmeriCorps volunteers have strengthened our nation in so many ways, believing that those who love their country can change it. They have helped communities rebuild after natural disasters, from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to the tornado in Joplin, Mo. They have made our parks cleaner and more accessible.  And they have increased access to healthy foods for people living in poverty. I’m heartened that much of AmeriCorps’s impact can be felt in our schools.

We know that giving kids the education they deserve takes entire communities working together, and AmeriCorps has connected people looking to make a difference in public education in strategic and meaningful ways. During my time as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and in my visits to schools across the country as Education Secretary, I have seen how AmeriCorps volunteers serving with Teach for America, City Year, Public Allies, and other organizations have helped to educate and support our nation’s children. And I have seen how they inspire even more individuals to take up the mantle of service – 4 million Americans volunteered alongside AmeriCorps members in 2013 alone.

We don’t just think national service programs can benefit kids. We know. I’ll share one example:  39 percent of the 6th – 9th graders working with City Year volunteers improved an entire grade level in their English and Language Arts courses during the 2012-2013 school year. Students with City Year volunteers spent an aggregate of 14,600 more hours in the classroom thanks to the volunteers’ attendance improvement efforts.

We know there is potential for national service to do even more for our kids. That’s why last year I announced a new partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service – School Turnaround AmeriCorps. Through this innovative program, 650 young people have been given the opportunity to serve in the nation’s lowest-performing schools. I visited one of these schools in Washington D.C., Stanton Elementary. What I saw was inspiring: 18 young City Year corps members working alongside teachers to ensure that kids receive the education they deserve. Corps members motivate kids in the morning, tutor them throughout the day and afterschool, and act as great role models.

What’s perhaps even more heartening is that there are eight AmeriCorps alums on staff at Stanton Elementary today; their service experience inspired them to continue helping kids. Across the country, 60 percent of AmeriCorps volunteers go on to work in nonprofits and public service. Kids need talented, dedicated, and passionate educators in the classroom, and AmeriCorps is helping to recruit this next generation of education leaders.

While I missed out on AmeriCorps by a few years, I took a year off of college to work in my mother’s afterschool tutoring program in the south side of Chicago. That year transformed my life. It’s a big reason why I do the work I do today.

On the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, I want to thank the leaders in Washington who crossed party lines to launch this national service program, along with the tireless advocates who help the program continue to grow and thrive. But, most importantly, I appreciate the people who serve and volunteer. You demonstrate what is possible when we commit to furthering our nation’s highest ideals. You are solving our biggest challenges, strengthening communities, and increasing opportunity for our children. Our nation’s future is brighter because you serve. Thank you.

Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Our Eight Favorite Photos from this Year’s Back-to-School Bus Tour

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-09-12 06:56

Secretary Arne Duncan’s fifth annual back-to-school bus tour ended on a high note on Wednesday with a pep rally in Memphis.

This year’s theme – “Partners in Progress” – focused on the partnerships between the Department of Education and state and local educators that help to ensure all of America’s students have access to a quality education.

Secretary Duncan and senior ED officials got to see and hear from teachers, principals, families, and students as the tour moved through Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Below you’ll find eight of our favorite images from the tour:

The tour began at Spelman College, America’s first historically black college for women, in Atlanta. Here Secretary Arne Duncan participated in a roundtable, where he discussed effective teacher recruitment strategies with students, educators and school officials.


Snapping a selfie! Students from Spelman and other HBCU’s got a chance to meet the Secretary during his visit on Sept. 8.


“If somebody tells you that you’re not college material … prove them wrong.” First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about her Reach Higher initiative during her speech at Booker T. Washington High School.


Day one of the bus tour wrapped up in Carrollton, a small Georgia community near the Alabama border, where Secretary Duncan took a tour of a Southwire manufacturing facility. He also heard from students involved in the 12 for Life program.


Secretary Duncan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on the evening of Sept. 8. Earlier this year, Duncan paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” speech, which highlighted the importance of providing equal education opportunities to everyone in America.


After two days on a bus, it seemed that everyone on the tour needed a little “space”. On Sept. 9, Secretary Duncan toured the U.S. Space and Rocket Center — home of Space Camp — and joined more than 250 middle and high school students and educators for a discussion about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.


Times have changed when it comes to learning! Secretary Duncan and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke read to students from an e-book during their visit to the Chambliss Center for Children. Chambliss has run a 24/7/365 childcare program since 1969. The program serves parents who are either working or in school, and is designed to provide educational opportunities and increase school readiness for Chattanooga’s youngest learners.


Hundreds of students at Cornerstone Preparatory School in Memphis, Tenn., welcomed Secretary Duncan during the final day of this year’s “Partners in Progress” back-to-school bus tour. Once a school where only two percent of students were proficient in math, scores in that subject have increased by 23.1 points over the past three years and scores in reading and language arts have increased by 13.2 percentage points, with support from Race to the Top and other federal programs.


Categories: Higher Education News

What You Need to Know About the Past 7 Days

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-09-12 03:00

Higher education's talking about sexual assault on campus, Steven Salaita, college ratings, Goucher College's video applications, and more.

Categories: Higher Education News

What’s Next in the Steven Salaita Dispute?

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-09-12 02:55

The Illinois board’s vote to reject the outspoken scholar marks not the end of the story but the beginning of the next chapter.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Illinois Board’s Denial of Job to Salaita Is Unlikely to Quell Controversy

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 13:44

After an 8-to-1 vote against him by the university’s trustees, the scholar and his supporters, on the campus and off, pledge further action.

Categories: Higher Education News

Proving the Possible

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:00

Hundreds of Memphis students with red pom-poms welcomed Secretary Duncan to town on Wednesday, the final day of this year’s “Partners in Progress” back-to-school bus tour. Tennessee — in its fourth year of a federally funded Race to the Top grant — was one of the first grantees tapped to implement a comprehensive statewide plan for improving education, with broad community support.

Students from Cornerstone Preparatory School in Memphis, Tenn., cheered when the bus tour arrived. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education)

Race to the Top — an investment that represents less than one percent of total education spending in America — has combined with other federally supported reform programs to fuel significant education improvements in states across the country. But, as Arne pointed out, the credit for encouraging early results goes to state and local partners—educators, families, faith-based, business and civic leaders — who’ve been determined to make things better for children, even though change can be hard.

“What’s going to sustain this is the hard work, the heart, the commitment of folks doing this,” Arne told more than 100 supporters of district and charter schools in Memphis. “The cumulative impact of all that hard work has been extraordinary.”

That impact is evident at Cornerstone Prep, which serves children in one of Memphis’s poorest neighborhoods. Once a school where only 2 percent of students were proficient in math, scores in that subject have increased by 23.1 points over the past three years and scores in reading and language arts have increased by 13.2 percentage points. T-shirts worn by the faculty and staff at Wednesday’s rally also attest that Cornerstone is “Proving the Possible.”

College banners are everywhere on campus, to keep everyone focused on the end goal. To the students cheering in the hot schoolyard out front, Arne delivered a back-to-school pep talk.

“A lot of people will tell you what you can’t do,” Arne said. “Don’t listen to them. Use that as fuel to keep you going.”

Changes, Challenges and Champions in Nashville

Earlier in the day, Arne joined National PTA President Otha Thornton and parents and teachers from Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to discuss the impact in classrooms of some of the largest changes America’s schools have seen in decades.

Tennessee, like nearly every other state in the country, is in the early stages of implementing new and higher standards, better assessments and ways to use data and technology to boost student learning, as well as new efforts to support teachers and principals — all aimed at ensuring that all students are truly ready for college and careers. These changes are starting to show results, but challenges remain.

America’s high school graduation rate is at an all-time high and dropout rates are down, but one-third of high school graduates report having to take remedial classes in college. “What that tells you is they weren’t ready,” Arne said, citing the statistic. “They weren’t prepared…And that simply isn’t good enough.”

In a town hall at Nashville’s William Henry Oliver Middle School, Arne applauded PTA members for their strong stand for student and teacher success during this transition.

Secretary Duncan at a town hall at Nashville’s William Henry Oliver Middle School. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education)

“This is new for everyone,” said panelist Kayleigh Wettstein, who teaches third grade in Nashville. “As teachers, we have to get on board and be really great role models for our students.”

Parents need support to understand these changes, too. Many nodded knowingly when ED Principal Ambassador Fellow Jill Levine, who leads a magnet school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, talked about the new ways that educators are teaching math and how those methods can be unfamiliar to parents who learned a different way to work with numbers.

For Wettstein, whose students tend to come from homes where English isn’t the first language, “not all parents are the same. We have to differentiate for our kids and we have to differentiate for our families as well.”

Parent Anita Ryan marveled at a recent project at her daughter’s school, involving All of the Above, a novel about four students and their quest to build the world’s largest tetrahedron and prove their urban school isn’t a “dead end.” Ryan’s daughter and her class read the book. They studied the math behind pyramidal shapes and the engineering involved in building giant ones. They wrote persuasive essays about winning approaches to break the record. And they worked in teams to test their theories.

The Common Core State Standards that Tennessee developed with more than 40 states encourage that kind of multi-faceted, project-based learning, Ryan said. As a result, students like her daughter “get it.” “They know it. They retain it,” she said.

One risk of this big transition in education is the potential for over-testing of students, Nashville Superintendent Jesse Register said. In his district, they have identified redundancies — “we were doing too much,” Register said — and are looking for ways to scale back testing without sacrificing important data and accountability.

“Where there’s too much testing, let’s have an honest conversation about that.” Arne said, reflecting on how he views testing in his own children’s public schools. Measuring what students know and where they need more help is a way to “make sure great teaching is leading to good results, not just teaching to the test.”

Talking about another form of accountability, Arne encouraged parents and educators to look behind politicians’ rhetoric and press them to genuinely value education and invest in public schools. For too long, politicians let standards slip to make themselves look good while students were being handed worthless diplomas. Elections, he said, are the ultimate form of accountability for officials who control education budgets and policy, but campaigns rarely focus on education, especially at the national level.

Arne threw out an idea for the next race for the White House. “In 2016, could we have a presidential debate about education, where the entire nation focuses on it? Could PTA host that debate?”

Reflecting on the tour, the Secretary noted the extraordinary ways that communities in all three states we visited—Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia—have seized the opportunity to bring about bold change in education.

“I don’t learn much sitting behind my desk in Washington. I need to get out.” (Arne has visited all 50 states and more than 350 schools in his five-and-a-half years as Secretary.) “This is a time to get better … and to do it together,” he said.

From the tour’s kickoff with First Lady Michelle Obama in Atlanta, where counselors, mentors and other role models are inspiring students to set their sights on higher education, to Space Camp at NASA’s Rocket Center in Huntsville, where kids explore the wonders of STEM, to an early learning center in Chattanooga, where parents are determined to give their babies a great start in life — partners across America are coming together to build a better future for all students.

And that’s real progress.

Melissa Apostolides is a member of the Communications Development team in the Office of Communications and Outreach.

Categories: Higher Education News

Investigators Say Education Dept. Has Ignored Dozens of Recommendations

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:56

The delays have allowed problems to linger, and cost taxpayers money, according to the department’s inspector general and the Government Accountability Office.

Categories: Higher Education News

On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:55

The police at more than 100 institutions have acquired gear from the Department of Defense at virtually no cost.

Categories: Higher Education News

Student-Loan Debt Skyrockets for Elderly, Government Report Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:55

People over 65 make up a small percentage of borrowers, but their amount of debt has increased sixfold in less than a decade.

Categories: Higher Education News

In Cheeky Pushback, Colleges Razz Rate My Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:55

Faculty members in online videos read nasty student comments for laughs. And catharsis.

Categories: Higher Education News

Salaita Case Exposes Frustrations With Chancellor’s Leadership Style

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-09-11 02:53

Critics say Phyllis M. Wise gives the appearance of being open to other views, then acts independently.

Categories: Higher Education News
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