Higher Education News
F. King Alexander is gaining a reputation as an outspoken advocate of higher education — even when that means facing off with conservative politicians.
Between 2013-14, the number of students from India studying in the U.S. and other Western countries grew by over 10 percent compared to 8 percent for China.
North Carolina State University weighs reallocating money from the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to stay competitive in recruiting.
Last week, across the country, educators were celebrated during Teacher Appreciation Week. For our own part here at ED, we carried out a number of activities with the sole intention of expressing gratitude for those who’ve chosen this unsung profession. A lucky few of us listened in when Secretary Duncan called classroom teachers across several disciplines and in various parts of the country.
Although my interactions with educators here at ED remind me daily of the intelligence and genuine passion it takes to work as an educator, during our calls, I was struck by a humility that is unmatched in any other profession. In a day and age where tweets, social media posts and news stories are dominated by a celebrity’s dress or public figure’s snarky comment, truly remarkable acts of teachers’ kindness, support, and heroism are just part of what’s lost in the cyberspace of minute-to-minute broadcasts.
This week, that humility was so apparent in a three-word phrase that my Education Department colleagues and I heard time and time again: just a teacher. “I can’t believe you called me, I’m just a teacher.” “I never aspired to be anything other than just a teacher.” I’m not sure what to say, Mr. Secretary, I’m just a teacher.”
Each of them, in turn, describing themselves in this way: I’m just a teacher.
From the young Albuquerque teacher who inspires her seniors to a college-attendance rate five times higher than the national average for Native students. To the Baltimore art teacher who wouldn’t allow riots just blocks from her campus to come between her students and their community beautification project on the morning after the worst of the city’s violence. To the true teacher leaders—who’d never think to apply that term to themselves—who decided to leave stable classroom assignments to work in disadvantaged schools with high-needs, struggling students to try and make a difference.
There’s a lesson here, for all of us, but it’s not one to be taught or explained. It’s demonstrated, in all those kind, supportive and heroic actions in classrooms and schools, humbly performed by individuals grateful for the opportunity to have a positive impact on the life of a child.
For teachers, everywhere, actions they do selflessly, every single day—Thank you!
Karen Stratman is the Director for National Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education.
If you’re a student, parent, or borrower and you’re logging in to a U.S. Department of Education (ED) website – like fafsa.gov, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) at www.nslds.ed.gov, StudentLoans.gov, StudentAid.gov, and Agreement to Serve (ATS) at teach-ats.ed.gov – you will be asked to create new log-in credentials known as the FSA ID.
The FSA ID – a username and password – benefits you in four ways:
- It removes your personally identifiable information (PII), like your Social Security number, from your log-in credentials
- It creates a more secure and efficient way to verify your information when you log in to access to your federal student aid information online
- It gives you the ability to easily update your personal information, like your phone number, e-mail address, or your name
- It allows you to easily retrieve your username and password by requesting a secure code be sent to your e-mail address or by answering challenge questions
Creating an FSA ID is simple and only takes a few minutes. You’ll have an opportunity to link your current Federal Student Aid PIN to your FSA ID. Doing so allows you to use your newly created FSA ID almost immediately to log in to the five ED websites listed above. Even if you’ve forgotten your FSA PIN or don’t have one, you can still create an FSA ID.
The final step in creating an FSA ID is to confirm your e-mail address. You’ll be sent a secure code to the e-mail address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you retrieve the code from your e-mail account and enter it – to confirm your e-mail address is valid – you’ll be able to use this e-mail address instead of your username to log in to the five ED websites, making the log-in process EVEN simpler!
Remember, your federal student aid account information is valuable. Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account. And you should never share your FSA ID.
For more information about the FSA ID, please visit StudentAid.gov/fsaid.
April Jordan is a senior communications specialist at Federal Student Aid.
The director of Yeshiva College’s writing program refused to preside over cutbacks in full-time teaching positions.
Medical College’s Next President to Focus on Health Care for the Underserved, and Other News About People
James E.K. Hildreth is returning to Meharry Medical College, a historically black institution, after serving as a dean in California.
Financial support for doctoral students often divides them into haves and have-nots.
Paul J. LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, says the book makes him think about how higher education either contributes to or works against racism.
It didn't take long for the New England Patriots' surreal scandal to end up in a course catalog. But a professor and a dean say their class is much more than a simple gimmick.
The Department of Education really looks forward to Teacher Appreciation Week every year!
Beginning in February, officials start planning events to let teachers know that ED respects those who make a difference in the lives of children on a daily basis. Each year a new, novel idea pops up on how to express our gratitude and this year was no different. In response to the teachers who wanted authentic engagement, our team at ED called teachers personally to thank them for their contributions.
Forty-one staff members, several of them former teachers, called 380 teachers from across the nation to express gratitude for educating America’s children. Phone numbers were obtained through recommendations of employees who have interacted with teachers that are making a difference and exemplify teacher leadership in the classroom. Employees also referred their favorite teachers from their days as students.
During the phone calls, ED staff asked the teachers for feedback. Sharla Steever of South Dakota told us that she is working hard on a new Native American initiative and was glad to participate in the Teacher Leadership Lab in South Dakota last week. Haydee Taylor-Arnold of Missouri asked us to support foreign language programs so students could become global citizens. Haydee also told her caller that having the support of Secretary Duncan as a teacher leader has been especially meaningful for her. Kathy Hopee in New York wanted us to know about our efforts to increase student engagement in STEM education programs.
Not only were teachers excited to get a call from the Department of Education, ED staff was energized by the connections. Several individuals remarked that their ability to have a conversation with teachers was the best part of their day. Dr. Khalilah Harris of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans remarked “We should do this all the time!”
Cheers to a new tradition!
Mia Long is a Lee Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education.
The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to access and complete a postsecondary education. In an era of rapid change and innovation, we have sought to encourage those colleges and universities developing new ways to serve students better, especially low-income and first-generation students.
That’s why I’m thrilled that we’ve announced the second round of the First in the World grant program. This year we will award $60 million to colleges and universities to encourage innovative new practices on campuses, including $16 million to Minority Serving Institutions.
Applying for a grant
For the first time this year, the First in the World program will have two tiers: a “development” tier for innovative projects that are supported by “strong theory” (defined in the grant announcement) and larger grants in the “validation” tier will be awarded to applications for interventions supported by significant evidence. Since a key goal of the FITW program is building an evidence base, all funded grants will include rigorous evaluation.
In the development tier, projects will be funded in three areas (with specific descriptions in the announcement):
- Improving teaching and learning
- Developing and using assessments of student learning
- Facilitating pathways to credentialing and transfer
In the validation tier, projects will be funded in these four areas:
- Improving success in developmental education
- Improving teaching and learning
- Improving student support services
- Influencing the development of non-cognitive factors
We seek proposals from institutions of higher education, including those that partner with other institutions or organizations. Visit the FITW website for links to the announcements, application information, and webinar details.
Call for peer reviewers
Peer reviewers, not ED staff, review and rate all FITW proposals – they play a critical role! So we need strong, knowledgeable, innovation-minded peer reviewers. If your institution is not applying for a grant, please consider applying, or encourage colleagues with the requisite skills to apply. Information can be found on the FITW website.
Building on success
The Department is excited that by the fall, we will have awarded more than $135 million to support innovation in higher education in the last two years. All of the 24 grants from the 2014 competition are underway. Some examples include:
- Gateway Community and Technical College (KY) is redesigning programs to encourage students to progress more quickly through college, including by redesigning remediation and classroom spaces.
- Hampton University (VA) is redesigning many courses, including through the use of project-based learning and the incorporation of technological tools (such as the Khan Academy) into courses.
- Southern New Hampshire University is developing an online competency-based program to wholly reimagine remediation. It will include modules, assessments, practice opportunities, and games that could be embedded within a student’s academic program.
We are mindful that a key role of the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging innovation, including through funding, regulatory flexibilities, and celebrating best practices. In the FITW program, we look forward to supporting the most innovative new thinking to support first-generation and low-income students.
Ted Mitchell is the Under Secretary of Education.
The Peabody Institute, known for educating classical-music stars like André Watts, is re-examining how to prepare its students for a rapidly changing industry.
A veteran Chronicle reporter, fielding questions on radio call-in shows and at conferences, finds widespread skepticism about the value of a college education.
At small, tuition-dependent colleges, the wooing grows more intense, and more creative. Oreos, anyone?
A protest at Tufts University is the latest example of fasting-as-activism. Here’s a primer on whether the strikes work, and on how colleges can respond.
The failure to spin off the system is a setback for Gov. Scott Walker. It could be worse news for the system’s president.
A study of college students linked their negative experiences with diversity to educational setbacks, and positive ones to less-significant gains.