Higher Education News

Is Student Debt Big Enough to Hold Back the Economy? What the Research Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 1, 2018 - 4:36pm
The chairman of the Federal Reserve told senators on Thursday that America’s student-loan burden could affect economic growth. When it comes to homeownership or small-business creation, he might be right.
Categories: Higher Education News

Anita Hill Will Speak at Wesleyan’s Commencement After First Choice Is Accused of Sexual Comments

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 1, 2018 - 3:08pm
Daniel Handler, the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, stepped aside as graduation speaker at Wesleyan University, in Connecticut.
Categories: Higher Education News

How to Make Sure Students Graduate With More Than a Diploma

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 1, 2018 - 8:12am
At a recent conference, George Kuh, an expert on the student experience, argued for a broader definition of student success.
Categories: Higher Education News

Making Sure Students Graduate With More Than a Diploma

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 1, 2018 - 8:12am
At a recent conference, George Kuh, an expert on the student experience, argued for a broader definition of student success.  
Categories: Higher Education News

Tennessee System Renews Call for Post-Tenure Review, an Effort Faculty See as a Threat

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 28, 2018 - 5:17pm
A new proposal, like one that was scuttled in 2015, is perceived by faculty on the Knoxville campus as signaling "the end of tenure."
Categories: Higher Education News

Shadowy ‘Group of 17 Faculty’ Adds Confusion to Chapel Hill’s Silent Sam Debate

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 28, 2018 - 4:28pm
The group, claiming to represent senior faculty members, vowed to take down the Confederate monument on its own. Then it eased off the threat.
Categories: Higher Education News

Rural Montana Students Become Citizen-Scientists through Place-Based Learning

U.S. Department of Education Blog - February 28, 2018 - 1:20pm

Six Montana students are warmed by a campfire with their teacher, Judy Boyle, and some of their parents who have come along on the ‘field study trip.’ The students, ranging from 1st to 7th grade, journal about the symbiotic relationships and geothermal features they observed and recorded during the day. Place-based education is one way Boyle enables her students to engage with science, their natural environment and community.

The Advantages of Being a Small, Rural School

Life in Divide, Montana, may look a little different from the norm in more populated areas. The two-room schoolhouse serves the six students enrolled at Divide Public School. On their commute to school, the Divide students and their teacher could be held up by a different kind of traffic – a herd of elk.

Divide student Cameron Breitzman waters vegetables. The students are investigating whether or not seed tape works and if they can grow watermelons in Montana (and inside!).

Boyle said she has the same students each year from kindergarten through 8th  grade, so she is forced to find new material to keep her students engaged.

Heidi Kessler, parent of former and current Divide students, says because of the personal relationships Boyle develops with her students, she’s able to determine their strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, which she uses to keep them challenged.

Hands-on learning is a means for Boyle to maintain exciting content.

“Place-based learning is taking your students out in the real world,” Boyle said. “It’s the real-world application of what they’re doing in school.”

Being a rural school without a cafeteria or bus program has its benefits. Boyle says there are fewer restrictions for her to take her students out of the classroom and into their environment.

Boyle trained in place-based learning through several programs, specifically for lessons on watersheds. The Big Hole River is frequented by the Divide students, who collect water quality data as part of the research they perform outside of the classroom.

Boyle says the study of watersheds and their field study trips allow the students to learn about virtually every type of science – such as hydrology, geology and biology.

Divide Students’ Community Involvement and Recognition

In 2010 and 2011, the students conducted a research study on the impact of the reconstruction of the Divide Diversion Dam. Their research consisted of surveys sent to community members, interviews with the project’s head engineer and other local environmental actors as well as a series of water quality tests.

“The Big Hole Watershed Committee invited the students to their community meeting, and each student, from kindergarten to 8th grade, presented their findings to the committee,” Boyle said.

Student Keegan Breitzman feeds the fish the students are raising inside their school.

At the committee meeting in the summer of 2011, the students received support from people who were involved in their study – ranchers, parents and community members. The Big Hole Watershed Committee awarded the students $100, which they used to purchase the lab coats they wear while conducting water quality tests.

Boyle said presenting the study to the committee had a great impact on the students, allowing them to have pride in their work and identify as citizen-scientists.

The Divide students’ work on the diversion dam project so impressed the staff with the Clark Fork Watershed Educational Program they wrote letters of recommendation for students to attend Montana State University’s Water Summit, according to Kessler. Two 7th graders and one 6th grader from Divide made history in 2011 when they were accepted into Montana Water Summit for junior high and high school students. The 6th grader, Winchester Kessler, was the youngest student to ever attend the summit.

At the water summit, the students studied the water system at the Yellowstone National Park. They broke off into groups with each group completing its own research task.

“She loved it,” Heidi, Winchester’s mother, said about her daughter’s experience at the Montana Water Summit. “She’s one of those life-long learners; she gets excited about learning.”

From being the youngest student to ever attend the Montana Water Summit to bringing home awards from three science fairs, Heidi said Winchester thrived at Divide School because each day was a new project and experience. Seven years after attending the summit, Winchester is a Presidential Scholar at Montana Tech majoring in mechanical engineering.

Today’s Divide students continue to monitor water quality at Big Hole River, but they also pursue new projects, such as website design and coding.

Taking Science Home and Bringing Science In

Boyle says she knows she’s had an impact when her students take the science they learn at school home with them.

Boyle’s pride in her students’ desire to learn was evident in her voice when she said her students would conduct water quality tests on their own and then come to school to report their findings.

The students at Divide are surrounded by science, even in the classroom. Students study plants using growing tables and rainbow trout they hatch and raise right in their classroom.

“My window sills are covered with things that parents, community members and kids bring in because they know we are studying them,” Boyle said. “We’ve got elk antlers, various rocks and samples of wood. You name it, we have it.”

“It’s science that’s actually bringing a lot of my students to school.” Boyle said. “They get so excited discovering things on their own or engineering things on their own. They’ve become great students because they see worth in what they are learning.”


Savanna Barksdale is an intern from Texas Tech University at the U.S. Department of Education.

Continue the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo at the top: Divide students release fish into Bozeman Pond last year.

The post Rural Montana Students Become Citizen-Scientists through Place-Based Learning appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

Richard Spencer Will Speak at Michigan State — Way Out on a Farm

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 28, 2018 - 12:06pm
The white supremacist is scheduled to speak on Monday at the university’s Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, in an auditorium typically used for livestock auctions.
Categories: Higher Education News

Rochester Faculty Senate Censures Professor Accused of Harassment

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 6:47pm
In a narrow vote, professors condemned T. Florian Jaeger, who was largely cleared of misconduct by an independent investigation.
Categories: Higher Education News

A New Approach for California’s Community Colleges

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 3:23pm
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system, talks about a major new project to create fully-online competency-based programs for job training.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Guide to Writing Good Academic Prose

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 2:55pm
Steven Pinker and other experts offer advice that will make your scholarly work less cumbersome or convoluted, more clear and cogent, and maybe even a joy to read.
Categories: Higher Education News

Wisconsin-Superior Leaders Mulled Their Ability to Skirt Shared Governance in Cutting Programs

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 2:54pm
Emails show that administrators discussed whether they could eliminate more than two dozen programs without consulting professors.
Categories: Higher Education News

How Students Cheat in a High-Tech World

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 2:51pm
With students going online and around the globe to find ghostwriters and other illicit aids, here’s what educators are doing to stem the rising tide of deception.
Categories: Higher Education News

She Left Harvard. He Got to Stay.

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 27, 2018 - 10:17am
Did the university’s handling of one professor’s sexual-harassment complaint keep other women from coming forward for decades?
Categories: Higher Education News

Michigan State’s Ex-President Now Holds a Prestigious Professorship. Some of Her Colleagues Aren’t Happy About It.

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 26, 2018 - 6:53pm
Faculty members say Lou Anna K. Simon’s scholarly credentials don’t make the cut for the elite award.
Categories: Higher Education News

Colleges Can’t Completely Shield Undocumented Students if DACA Lapses. Here’s What They Can Do.

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 26, 2018 - 6:22pm
Anxiety and frustration hang above undocumented students and the faculty and staff members who are trying to support them.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why Admissions Leaders Have — or Haven’t — Spoken Up for Prospective Protesters

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 26, 2018 - 6:08pm
With emotions running high since shootings at a Florida high school, many colleges have assured gun-control advocates that punishments would not hurt their applications. But some colleges have feared to speak out on the matter.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Texas President Will Repay $27,000 for Expensive Flights

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 26, 2018 - 12:55pm
Gregory L. Fenves violated the university’s travel policy in booking first- and business-class seats, according to an audit.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. Opens New Investigation Into Michigan State's Handling of Nassar Scandal

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 26, 2018 - 12:04pm
The new Title IX investigation will look at systemic issues in the university’s handling of the incidents involving Larry Nassar, the secretary of education said.
Categories: Higher Education News

Safeguard Research Integrity

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 25, 2018 - 4:30pm
As universities find themselves increasingly forced to court industry dollars, their need for private-sector partners may outpace their willingness to set firm rules on ethical boundaries or to investigate when things go wrong. There’s little consensus on what should be done, but some proposals for better safeguards may offer administrators ideas for preventing corporate influence on campus.
Categories: Higher Education News


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