Higher Education News

Seventh Cohort of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Announced

On May 16th, the U.S. Department of Education named the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The 2018 cohort includes 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

Curious what it takes to be a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School? Here are a few of the actions that the 2018 honorees are taking:

Students began gardening offsite in 2013 and secured funding to construct an onsite gothic arch hoop house in 2014 to grow vegetables complete with solar.

Magnificat High School, Rocky River, OH

Ever since Magnificat High School (MHS) opened in 1955, the school has reflected the Humility of Mary Community charism of humility connecting MHS with “the whole earth community” and the justice theme of Care for God’s Creation. The 19-acre campus is developed with this in mind.

Magnificat has participated in a demand response program through its energy provider since 2013, earning annual rebates. The school’s most recent renovation included the installation of occupancy sensors, light tunnels, and sustainable furniture, paneling, and flooring. Students installed a rain garden planted with natives, diverting a 2,500 sq. ft. roof section of stormwater from the city sewer system.

Students have inventoried and evaluated campus trees and actively develop plans to re-forest the campus. Rain barrels are used to supplement irrigation of the vegetable garden.

In 2008, the Magnificat recycling program was formalized with single-stream recycling and a separate contract for composting. Magnificat began its conversion to a paperless environment in 2011, offers two water refilling stations, and the cafeteria uses compostable plates and utensils.

Magnificat is a no-idling campus with signage posted at student pick-up locations. The school encourages community members to walk or ride a bike to school, and students walk to all local field trips.

Students’ gardening efforts have resulted in the donation of over 670 pounds of organically grown vegetables to the local Meals on Wheels program. The hoop area was expanded in 2015 to include a 3-season pavilion to be used as outdoor classroom space.

It is a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation and also certified and registered as an official Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. In 2012, Magnificat obtained the Fair Trade School recognition.

Magnificat’s Sustainability and Seeds of Service Club (SOS) students have been invited to conduct tours and presentations.  Marine Science Club students engage in experiential learning on the Floating Lab at Hinckley Lake. Students participate in a two-day biodiversity investigation on campus and quantify their findings. They visit a recycling center/landfill and a waste-water treatment plant. Retreats in natural settings for students are offered at every grade level. Magnificat introduced “Mother Earth,” (the environmental science teacher dressed in character) to the school community in 2008 and she appears at school gatherings to help raise awareness.

Fifty-eight percent of Central’s electricity is renewable, thanks to an impressive roof-mounted solar array.

Central High School, Grand Junction, Colorado

Central High School was built in the 1960s, and the current building has been modernized and retrofitted to increase energy efficiency.  Central reduced energy use by 39 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent, water by 36 percent, and reduced the number of individual fluorescent lights from 1489 to 154. The school is working to relocate its current greenhouse to a planned outdoor classroom, so that environmental science classes can mentor and work alongside students in special education.

Central is proud of its physical fitness commitment of 225 minutes per week, the staff’s monthly participation in Wellness Challenges, and the requirement for all students to take advisory classes for 90 minutes a week. Central offers a recreation club that plans monthly activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, skiing, snow shoeing, river rafting, hiking, and biking. A component of each outing is teaching stewardship and ecology of each area visited.

The Outdoor Wilderness Leadership in Science program teaches participants science concepts and leadership skills that prepare them for an opportunity to become camp counselors for a weeklong wilderness camp for sixth grade students. All students at Central are required to take an environmental science course or AP Environmental Science, typically during their freshman year. Exposure to units such as natural resources, weather and climate, ecosystems, populations, and interactions has stimulated tremendous growth in student understanding of the need to be environmentally responsible and civic-minded. The Green Team at Central is a student-run organization and a direct result of this dedication to environmental science curriculum.

Being located near the Konza Prairie, one of the last remaining tallgrass native areas in the Flint Hills, allows MOUSD students access to a pristine prairie in which to investigate plants, animals, ecosystems and environmental disturbances.

Manhattan-Ogden Unified School District, Manhattan, Kansas

In Manhattan-Ogden Unified School District (MOUSD), in north central Kansas, all students learn, grow, and work to reduce environmental footprint, impact, and costs through millions of dollars’ worth of water and energy conservation and savings in tight budget times for the state.  MOUSD provides all students with environmental and sustainability lessons at each grade level, in order to prepare for the changing world, as well as build hubs in the community for best practices to be shared as a world-class school district.

Uniquely positioned in the Flint Hills region of tallgrass prairie and in the agricultural heartland, MOUSD offers an innovative space for learning. For the past five years, the district has completed incredible student-centered projects districtwide at multiple sites with evidence-based results. Since 2013, MOUSD has been awarded some $250,000 from local, state, and federal sources to invest in specific projects that have allowed students to have equitable access to tools for environmental learning.

The entire district has been diverting millions of pounds of trash from the solid waste streams into commingled recycling bins, with a local business partner helping to bring recycling to the small rural community.  In 2017-18, MOUSD has organized Go Green Champions and Leadership Teams. There are fresh fruits and vegetables daily with the secondary schools having salad bars. A fruit and vegetable of the month and fruit and vegetable program help to showcase local produce.

Onsite gardens, greenhouses, and composting help to offer nutrition, science, and agricultural education and reduce waste. The district nearly halved its water consumption in one year and reduced energy use by over 20 percent in three years.  Repurposing and Recycling Education Space (RARES) serve as a gathering point for low-tech tools, project-based learning, open inquiry projects, reverse engineering, and creative expertise, making good use of items that would otherwise go to the landfill.

The district offers bicycle safety education, a community based bicycle loaner program, designated carpool lanes, and a no-idling policy. The custodial team has moved away from all cleaning chemicals to Tersano, a system that turns tap water into a safe, effective cleaner and sanitizer. Each building is using advanced HVAC systems with high efficiency appliances.

Through Jacksonville State University, middle school students study Terrapin Creek near Piedmont, Alabama. On campus and out in the community, JSU aims build future naturalists, scientists, and children with a general love for the outdoor world.

Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama

Jacksonville State University is home to the Little River Canyon Center. Opened in 2009, it is one of the state’s first LEED-certified public buildings.

The facility is used to offer sustainability education to the public. For 26 years, JSU Field Schools have provided diverse, in-depth programs, including environmental education programs, outdoor recreation programs, field trips, outreach, summer camps, general public programs, and festivals that are designed to nurture an appreciation of Alabama’s natural and cultural significance, celebrate diversity, and foster stewardship of the natural world.

Throughout campus, energy management systems in JSU buildings monitor and control temperature and identify operational issues. HVAC upgrades improve indoor air quality and respiratory health through better ventilation, as well as contaminant and moisture control. The installation of campus hydration stations three years ago has saved 83,300 bottles and food service has saved 5,800 gallons since 2010 by going trayless.

JSU is a tree-friendly campus with drought-tolerant and runoff-resistant landscaping. External vendors provide removal and recycling of waste and properly dispose of all hazardous waste and chemicals. The “When You Move Out, Don’t Throw It Out” program began in 2017, in partnership with the Salvation Army.

The Gamecock Express, JSU’s diesel transit system since 2009, provides alternative transportation and features bike racks for those combining two alternative modes of transit. Food service provider Sodexo uses 92 percent Green Seal certified cleaning products and works closely with local produce distributors to maximize the fruits, vegetables, and dairy products sourced locally. The recreation outdoor adventure program provides resources that allow students to access the local outdoor areas more effectively, from kayaking to rock climbing to fishing to mountain biking to hiking.

JSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Science for graduates pursuing careers in those disciplines. The JSU Biology department is the home to the Center for Tick-Borne Disease Ecology. JSU’s Alabama Math and Science Teaching Initiative (AMSTI) distributes 2,700 science kits to teachers in 15 school systems in 7 counties and 70 schools, educating 67,500 students.

You can view the list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, and read a report with highlights on the 58 honorees. All schools can find resources to move toward the three Pillars on ED’s Green Strides.


Andrea Suarez Falken is Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

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The post Seventh Cohort of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Announced appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

‘Why Are Black People So Loud?’ One University Says It’s OK to Ask

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 17, 2018 - 1:28pm
In a survey it administers to people on its campus, Southern Methodist University poses stereotypical questions about different races and asks if they’d like to know the answers.
Categories: Higher Education News

After Years of State Budget Woes, the U. of Illinois Will Hire Hundreds of Faculty Members

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 17, 2018 - 1:06pm
With revenues on the rise, administrators want to invest in more faculty members. 
Categories: Higher Education News

The Future of Learning and How It Could Change Your Classroom

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 17, 2018 - 8:51am
A Chronicle reporter shares lessons for professors from her new report.
Categories: Higher Education News

Michigan State Just Agreed To Pay $500 Million to Settle Sexual-Abuse Claims. Where Will It Find the Money?

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 16, 2018 - 5:54pm
Options include using tuition, redirecting money in its budget, borrowing, or relying on insurers.
Categories: Higher Education News

Catholic U. Plan, Which Could Result in Layoffs of Tenured Profs, Moves Ahead

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 16, 2018 - 3:00pm
The university’s Academic Senate, which includes professors and administrators, voted in favor of sending the “academic renewal” plan to trustees for a final vote.
Categories: Higher Education News

Texas State U. Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Tensions on Campus

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 16, 2018 - 12:10pm
The arrests of four protesters had inflamed an already tense racial climate at the university, which has endured white-supremacist leafleting and protests over demands for diversity.
Categories: Higher Education News

Michigan State Will Pay $500 Million to Settle With Victims of Larry Nassar

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 16, 2018 - 10:47am
The university said it would hand over $425 million now and put $75 million into a trust fund for people who allege in the future that the disgraced sports doctor sexually abused them.
Categories: Higher Education News

New Evidence Adds to Troubling Picture for Black Borrowers of Student Loans

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 15, 2018 - 4:27pm
Analyses show that at both graduate and undergraduate levels, the debt burden has grown significantly greater for black students.
Categories: Higher Education News

What a Controversy Over an App Tells Us About How Students Learn Now

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 15, 2018 - 4:21pm
Texas Christian University students were accused of academic misconduct. But the episode may say even more about professors’ teaching and assessment.
Categories: Higher Education News

UMass-Boston Faculty Votes No Confidence in System’s Leaders Over Purchase of Small College

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 15, 2018 - 10:57am
The Faculty Council said the acquisition of the shuttered Mount Ida College unfairly favored the flagship campus, in Amherst, over Boston.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Daily Briefing

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 15, 2018 - 2:55am
The Daily Briefing tells individual subscribers everything they need to know about higher ed. Here’s a sample.
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Among the Hottest Job Markets on Campus: Police Officer

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 13, 2018 - 10:00pm
Colleges are hiring police officers at a faster rate than nearly any other campus jobs — at a time of heightened concern about how they operate.
Categories: Higher Education News

‘My Professional World Has Gotten Smaller’

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 11, 2018 - 4:36pm
Three scholars speak about how sexual harassment and assault have distorted their lives in the academy.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Texas System Apologizes for Revoking Nepali Students’ Scholarships

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 11, 2018 - 1:11pm
A statement acknowledges the applicants’ “anguish and hardship” and pledges to make sure “this situation never occurs again.” But most of the help for the students is coming from college advisers and admissions officials elsewhere.
Categories: Higher Education News

This Is What Georgia Tech Thinks College Will Look Like in 2040

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 11, 2018 - 11:22am
It includes new credentials to recognize continuous learning, a subscription fee model, and worldwide networks of advisers for life.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Counselor’s Thank You to Teachers

We hear about all the great teachers in the counseling office.  The one who set the times tables to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” ensuring kids will remember them forever, even if it will take a while to get to eight times nine.  Mr. Jones, the history teacher who dressed up like Benjamin Franklin for an entire week and never once broke character.  The tenth grade English teacher who finally explained “I after e” in a way that made sense.  When you put that much thought into a lesson, it’s makes for memorable teaching.

Of course, that’s not the only way teachers become memorable.  The teacher who said just the right words at just the right time to the bully who had incredible art talent, making the student more comfortable with who they really were, and less of a bully.  The teacher who wore the cut-rate perfume a special needs student gave her at Christmas, every time that student had a spelling test—the same perfume she’d wear when attending that student’s graduation from medical school. The teacher who shows up at the Saturday soccer league and cheers loudly for all of her students on the sidelines, even though her students are spread throughout both teams, and it’s forty degrees out.

You can’t analyze a test score to determine what these teachable moments do to the learning and learning habits of students, but everyone seems to understand what they do to students’ learning, and students’ lives.  Like recess, these teachable moments inspire in ways we can’t quite measure, but we still know their worth is beyond measure.

These aren’t just discrete, feel-good stories.  Most of my counseling work for the last thirteen years has involved working with students in college placement.  In that time, every student—every single one—has had the chance to go to college; most have earned at least one merit scholarship, and for those who have been out for four years or more, nearly all of them have finished college on time.

Almost none of that is due to me.  It’s a tribute to the teacher who took a group of six year-olds into the woods for an entire class period and told them to watch and listen—and they did; to the teacher who had flags from 45 nations in his fourth-grade Social Studies classroom, and talked about the country each flag represented for a full year; to the two teachers who took significant scorn from their colleagues every year they wanted to team teach Lord of the Flies, because it threw such a wrench into the middle school schedule.

Making the most of college—and learning a trade for that matter—isn’t at all about getting in.  It’s about the absorbing, the becoming, the grappling of new ideas that doesn’t end until the idea is now an honored friend. That state of mind, the acquisition of the habits needed to do that kind of learning, is the essence of teaching.  It is alive and well in the classrooms of the colleagues I eat lunch with.  More important, it is in the hearts, minds and souls of the students they serve.

This week reminds me of the story of the principal who was interviewing candidates for a middle school English position.  The first five interviews were all remarkably short, where the principal asked each candidate what they taught.  When they responded, “I teach English”, the principal said, “I see.  Well, thank you for coming in.”

The interview with the sixth candidate started with the same question, “What do you teach?”  When the candidate responded, “Why, I teach students about the wonders of the English language”, the principal responded with, “I see.  Tell me more about that.”

It is one thing to consider Teacher Appreciation Week as a triumph over the long odds of limited budgets, aging facilities, crowded classrooms and wonky Internet connections.  That’s an important discussion to have, but this week is more about those who serve, and what they leave their students with. In the end, that is all teaching ever was; it is what it must continue to be, if our world is to continue to flourish.

The post A Counselor’s Thank You to Teachers appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

A White Student Called the Police on a Black Student Who Was Napping. Yale Says It’s ‘Deeply Troubled.’

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 10, 2018 - 5:14pm
The black student said she had nodded off while writing a paper in the common area of their dorm. Videos of what happened went viral.
Categories: Higher Education News

Duke’s President Apologizes for Barista Firings That Followed Administrator’s Complaint

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 10, 2018 - 4:28pm
Vincent E. Price said the employees, who were dismissed after the vice president for student affairs complained about a rap song they were playing, had faced “unfair treatment.”
Categories: Higher Education News

How Did Michigan State’s Interim Chief Squander a Chance to Heal?

Chronicle of Higher Education - May 10, 2018 - 4:13pm
John Engler’s blundering three months in office have inexplicably positioned the former governor as an adversary of the women who survived Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse.
Categories: Higher Education News


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