Month: December 2016

Global Survey of Academic Freedom Issues in 2015 [Post 16 of a Series]

ACADEME BLOG

Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 1

In late spring 2015, tensions between the federal government of Nigeria and two group’s representing faculty at Nigerian colleges and universities, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), became a very public issue. The federal government had failed to release monies earmarked to improve the nation’s system of higher education, and the faculty groups sought to reaffirm a public consensus on how integral the development of better staffed and better equipped colleges and universities is to the nation’s future development. An article published in the Lagos Daily Independent included the following statistics: “China with 1.4 billion people has 1,983 universities, India with 1.2 billion people has 177 universities, United States with 318 million people has 2,680 universities compared to Nigeria with about 178 million people and just 128 universities” (“Controversy . . .”)

The federal government’s commitment to…

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Court Blocks Mandatory Drug Screening at State College

ACADEME BLOG

In an article for Reason, Jacob Sullum reports:

“Last week a federal appeals court ruled that requiring incoming students at a state college to surrender their urine for drug testing violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches. . . .

“Linn State Technical College, now known as the State Technical College of Missouri, started demanding incoming students’ urine  in 2011 because members of its advisory council thought it was a good idea, not because there was any reason to believe the school had any special drug­related safety problems.

“‘Accidents are not common at Linn State, and the college has not attributed any accidents to student drug use,’ the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit notes in its decision upholding a federal judge’s injunction against the college’s drug testing program. ‘Linn State had no reason to believe that it had a student drug­use problem greater than any…

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Average Student Debt by State

ACADEME BLOG

The following data is from the Student Loan Report produced by 24/7 Wall St.

This news release provides a summary explanation of that report, highlighting the key findings and aspects of the methodology:

“Total student debt in the United States, at approximately $1.26 trillion, is the second largest consumer debt in the country after mortgages. The average debt of all U.S. college undergraduates, including those who did not take any student loans, is around $16,929 per student, according to new data from student loan news website the Student Loan Report.

“Students graduating in Utah have the least debt, at an average of $7,527 per student. College students in New Hampshire lead the nation with average per-student debt at graduation of $25,740.

“Because average debt per student includes graduates who did not borrow, the actual debt burden of students who did take out loans is even higher. In Utah, the average…

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Likely First-Rounders in This Year’s NFL Draft

ACADEME BLOG

Business Insider has aggregated the NFL draft projections of five “experts”: Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Jr., Rob Rang, Matt Miller, and Steve Palazzolo. What is of interest to me is less who the particular players are than which programs they are playing for. Before listing the individual players, I have aggregated the results by conference. That the SEC accounts for half of the top prospects, that the SEC and Big 10 account for two-thirds of those prospects, and that no program outside of the five major conferences (except for Notre Dame) has produced any of the top prospects, all illustrate the degree to which college football has become increasingly divided between a relatively small number of programs that produce tremendous revenue and all of the rest who seem to be chasing the mirage of such revenue and its associated value in institutional “branding.”

ACC: 4

Clemson 2

Louisville 1

Florida…

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Global Survey of Academic Freedom Issues in 2015 [Post 15 of a Series]

ACADEME BLOG

Mexico

In January 2015, the Universidad Valle de Mexico campus in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo was “closed for more than a week due to threats and attempted extortion by gangsters”: “The campus closed in response to a threat received from a criminal gang that wanted to enter the facilities, and if not [permitted to do so], [said] it would retaliate,’ said Sophie Anaya, vice president for corporate affairs and communications for the Universidad Valle de Mexico” (Pena). The Nuevo Laredo campus has an enrollment of about 700 and “is part of the network of U.S.-based Laureate International Universities, which operates educational institutions in over 20 countries” (Pena). According to Anaya, university “officials were working on a plan to offer alternatives so students [could] continue their education” (Pena). The Nuevo Laredo campus is not the first Mexican campus of the Universidad Valle de Mexico to be closed in…

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Statistics of the Day: Higher-Ed Related

ACADEME BLOG

POSTED BY MARTIN KICH

In a recent item on its website, University Business reports the following from its annual survey of “campus technology leaders”:

Statements Tech Leaders Say Will Apply to 2017

75% anticipate greater enrollment in online courses

60% predict they will expand their online education program options

49% predict they will expand their online learning infrastructure

32% predict additional resources will be devoted to online learning

22% predict more will be invested in technology to enable flipped classrooms/distance learning

15% predict there will be no plans to offer online-only courses

3% say they are launching their first online-only courses

2% say they will pull back on online offerings

 

A Look Back

67% anticipated greater enrollment in online courses for 2016

56% expected to expand online program options for 2016

45% planned to devote additional resources to online learning for 2016

 

Cybersecurity Focus

29% of respondents who reported their institutions were victims of a cyberattack in 2016 (up from 12% in 2015)

32% of tech leaders said special attention and additional resources will be devoted to cybersecurity…

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Global Survey of Academic Freedom Issues in 2015 [Post 14 of a Series]

ACADEME BLOG

Continental Europe

In 2015, as the influx of refugees into Europe began to reach crisis proportions, Markus Kressler and Juan David Mendieta co-founded Kiron University, an institution exclusively available to refugees. The two major issues for the university’s potential students were access and funding. The issue of access was addressed by making the university entirely online. The issue of cost was addressed by initiating a crowd-funding campaign, by enlisting more than 100 volunteer fund-raisers and instructors, and by drawing upon available online courses: “Kiron uses courses put online by existing universities–including Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and MIT–to provide courses in engineering, computer science, business administration, architecture and intercultural studies. The courses are certified by the European Credit Transfer System, making each degree program internationally recognized” (Heilpern). However, that’s not to say Kiron does not have input in its degree programs. The university produces its own learning materials, third-party content and e-learning…

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