Archive for October, 2015

Student Race and Income Determines SAT Scores

October 29th, 2015

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Large and growing gaps in SAT scores, by race and ethnicity, are nothing new. The College Board and educators alike have acknowledged these gaps and offered a variety of explanations, with a focus on the gaps in family income (on average) and the resources at high schools that many minority students attend. And indeed there is also a consistent pattern year after year on SAT scores in that the higher the family income, on average, the higher the scores.

But a new, long-term analysis of SAT scores has found that, among applicants to the University of California’s campuses, race and ethnicity have become stronger predictors of SAT scores than family income and parental education levels.

Further, the study has found that all three factors — race/ethnicity, family income and parental education levels — now predict one-third of the variance in SAT scores among otherwise similar students, up from a quarter in 1994. In other words, a larger share of SAT variance today than in 1994 may be predicted based on where and to whom a child is born.

The research was done by Saul Geiser and was released by the research center where he works, the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley.

Geiser is quick in the paper to acknowledge that his study is only of the applicant pool for the University of California and that he has not done research on the extent to which these trends play out nationally. However, his study was based on a very large pool: the more than 1.1 million California residents who applied to UC campuses from 1994 through 2011. And his study is based on the current and previous SAT, not the new one about to be unveiled.

But his findings suggest that those who hope for a closing of racial gaps on standardized tests used for college admissions may be in for disappointment.

Much of the study is based on regression analysis of different factors associated with SAT scores. By controlling for some factors, he can find which characteristics have the most influence.

And for those who wish race to play less of a role, Geiser notes that there were some years of hope. The share of score variance attributable to socioeconomic factors fell from 25 percent in 1994 to 21 percent in 1998. But in the years that followed it went back up to 35 percent.

In contrast, socioeconomic factors could not be linked in a major way to variance in high school grade point averages. Socioeconomic factors, including race and ethnicity, accounted for 7 percent of the variance in GPAs in 1994 and 8 percent in 2011.

Geiser considers several possible explanations for the increasing impact of race and other socioeconomic factors in predicting SAT scores. One that he takes seriously is the possibility that links growing rates of “intense segregation” in high schools, with more minority students attending high schools that are overwhelmingly minority and poorly resourced. For instance, the percentage of what researchers call “apartheid” schools — those where 99-100 percent of students are nonwhite — has doubled in the last two decades, and now represents one in 14 high schools. So the impact of race and class are, in many cases, combined for the minority students attending those schools.

Unlike some other critics of the SAT, Geiser doesn’t push for its elimination as an admissions criteria. He notes that other measures don’t necessarily help minority applicants.

However, Geiser does write that the SAT appears to be a poor predictor (especially for black and Latino students) of whether they will graduate from UC. A key caveat here is that the College Board has always stressed that the SAT is a tool for predicting first-year performance, not graduation. Still, Geiser writes that the consideration of the SAT depresses the chances of minority students getting in, while doing little to help admissions officers predict applicant success.

The solution, for Geiser, is to go back to what the University of California did when it adopted the SAT, but which the state’s voters have barred it from doing today: considering race in admissions. He writes that if public universities are going to consider SAT scores in a serious way, they should also consider race and ethnicity.

“The continuing dominance of standardized admissions tests in American higher education is one of the most powerful arguments for affirmative action. Much of the original impetus for race-conscious policies grew out of recognition of the severe adverse impact of SAT scores on admission of students of color. Since then, that impact has not only continued but worsened, if the California data are any indication,” writes Geiser.

“These findings underscore the continuing relevance of the original, remedial rationale for affirmative action. Rather than a remedy for historical discrimination, however, they show that race-conscious policies are essential to remedy unwarranted disparities in the present day. The adverse racial impact of SAT scores is far out of proportion with their limited capacity to predict how applicants will perform in college,” he concludes.

Geiser makes his argument as the U.S. Supreme Court is once again considering the constitutionality of considering race in admissions.

Asked if he thought his findings could influence the justices or colleges, he said via email: “I have no idea whether my results might influence the court, but if other states were to observe the same trends, I think it might make a difference. I’m hoping that other institutional researchers will pick this up. As for the message to colleges, I think the important point is the linkage of affirmative action with standardized testing, not the emphasis on one or the other.”

Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which opposes affirmative action, had a different take on the study.

“If a test is unreliable for certain races — and this has long been alleged and long been refuted for the SAT, by the way — then a school is perfectly justified in not using it, but it should try to find other measures that are reliable,” Clegg said via email. “What it should not do is admit students who are less well qualified under any measure in order to reach a particular racial result.”

5 Things Every Creative Student-Freelancer Needs to Know

October 28th, 2015

By Melissa Burns

Freelance is growing in popularity among students who earn their way through college. It is not a bad way to make money; it certainly beats washing dishes in a café. However, while freelancing gives you more possibilities than dishwashing, it also offers a lot more ways to screw up. Here we’ve gathered five important things every newbie freelancer should know before starting out.

1.     If You Are Constantly Looking for New Clients, You Are Doing Something Wrong

Finding clients when you are just starting out is incredibly difficult. However, if you’ve been freelancing for a while but still receive only occasional orders and have to waste 80 percent of your time on finding clients, it means that something is amiss. If your work is any good, you should rather quickly accumulate a number of return clients who will occasionally recommend you to their acquaintances – to the point when you don’t have to advertise your services at all. If people don’t come back, something went awry.

2.     You Should Take Care of Protecting Your Work

In an ideal world it would be enough to take a client’s word for granted and be sure he/she won’t swindle you. Unfortunately, we are not living in such a reality, which means that you should think about legal ways of protecting yourself, especially if you are a graphic designer or a programmer. Read the law dealing with the subject, however excruciatingly boring it may be, use a graphic design contract template to ensure the conditions of work are clear and set in stone, in other words – don’t neglect the legalese mumbo-jumbo, and it will do you a world of good.

3.     Freelance Is not Just One-Time Projects Anymore

Traditionally, freelance was always associated with people getting hired to perform some kind of clear-cut, short-term projects. Today this is increasingly not the case – solo entrepreneurs and even entire companies integrate freelancers into business models, hiring them long-term without making them a part of their staff. It is both flexible and cost-efficient – so, if you don’t want to be constantly on the lookout for new jobs, concentrate your efforts on finding somebody who will hire you long-term.

4.     Know Yourself and Your Market

Before putting a price tag on your services, take a look at what other freelancers are offering and how much they ask. This will give you an idea if the market is oversaturated with this kind of offer, and how much you should bid to be competitive.

5.     Read Project Descriptions

All too often freelancers just plunge into the fray offering to do the job, only to discover later that they didn’t read past the first two lines of its description and haven’t the foggiest idea how to do it. Seriously – it is a far more serious and widespread problem than you can imagine. So read descriptions carefully and only apply for them if you know for sure you can deliver the results.

The hardest thing about freelance is setting out – and hopefully these tips will give you a clue on how to do it.

Author’s bio:

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

Situations That Could Cause Major Higher Ed Policy Changes

October 27th, 2015

Michael Kirst and Will Doyle

There are multiple possible events or changes that might move the problem of access to and success in higher education to the top of the policymaking agenda and result in non incremental change. These could include:

  • A state funding crisis leads to the denial of admission to large numbers of students, particularly students from middle and upper-income families that have traditionally gone to college. When this occurs, there is likely to be an outpouring of public anger.
  • A lack of funding from the state level may not lead to denial of admission but rather to widespread cancellation of classes at public universities and colleges, meaning that many students are unable to graduate. The average time to graduation at bachelor’s degree granting institutions could increase from six years to seven or eight leading to anger from a broad swathe of middle and upper income voters.
  • The generation gap in educational attainment widens. As the baby boomers retire, the lack of educational capital among the younger generation becomes alarmingly clear, and in many states rises to the level where it’s considered a crisis. Pressure comes from the business community to “do something” about the lack of qualified candidates for jobs.
  • The public could become aware of a drop in the quality of higher education at a time of rising tuition. K-12 reform efforts have been driven primarily by public concern about the quality of education. Several authors have documented what appears to be alarmingly low levels of student gains in higher education, yet this problem has garnered little attention from policymakers (Arum and Roksa, 2011; Pascarella et al, 2011)

The higher education community needs to come to greater clarity on the nature of the problem or problems that face us in terms of educational progress, completion and learning. What evidence is there that these problems can be solved with greater funding? With changes in curriculum? With changes in organizational structures? With changes in personnel? Although evidence is building, we know very little right now about both the nature of these problems and the kinds of interventions that would be most effective in increasing performance.

Colleges Do Improve Students Critical Thining

October 26th, 2015

Educators view critical thinking as an essential skill, yet it remains unclear how effectively it is being taught in college. This meta-analysis synthesizes research on gains in critical thinking skills and attitudinal dispositions over various time frames in college. The results suggest that both critical thinking skills and dispositions improve substantially over a normal college experience. Furthermore, analysis of curriculum-wide efforts to improve critical thinking indicates that they do not necessarily produce incremental longterm gains. We discuss implications for the future of critical thinking in education.

Source: Real Clear Education

6 Best Tips for Students in Journalism

October 22nd, 2015

By Rochelle Ceira

 Journalism is one of the more difficult or rather risky occupations in the contemporary world today. It’s not just about keeping the public informed about the events that occur in our everyday lives and making sure that it’s accurate, but that you also have to put your life on the line in some intense situations. That’s the kind of future that awaits students who want to major in news reporting or journalism.

 The more information you report and provide, the better your credibility will be. If you think you have the spirit to excel in such a highly esteemed environment, then here are some of the most important things you need to do:

1.    Develop a news story following the inverted pyramid method

 The inverted pyramid method is another way of saying that you must answer the six most important questions in order to construct a great news story. These questions are known as the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

Once you have procured the aforementioned elements, you can then structure them into a stunning story for your audience.

2.    Focus mainly on the truth

 The first priority of every journalist is to stick mainly to facts, or more precisely, the truth. This means that whatever sources you have used to gather all of your information from, has to be mostly legit and objective. While it is not possible to be 100 percent accurate on these sources, it’s the effort that really counts.

This is because everything that we see before our eyes is only a fraction of how reality plays out. That is why it is important to question eyewitnesses so that we can draw a relevant line that is mostly close to the truth.

3.    Don’t just focus on classes

 There are more ways to establish yourself as a potential journalist for the future. You can read dissertations on journalism or even offer masters dissertation help to someone so you can improved your knowledge, or you can start up a blog so that you can always write riveting articles about world affairs and share them among friends, relatives and more.

You can even host a podcast where anyone can listen to your reports in audio format and if need be, download and listen to it whenever it is convenient for them.

4.    Get started before you go pro

 The ideal thing to do for every student is to work out as many kinks on their end before they get cracking into the professional world. Apart from attending classes you can even opt for internship programs that specialize in the field of journalism.

You can view the samples of other renowned reporters out there in order to get an idea about where you can start. Just be sure not to ride on any one of their reports and pass it as your own because plagiarism is a serious federal offense.

5.    Work on a beat

 Naturally no reporter can work every news reporting category, so that is why it is imperative that you establish your own niche or in terms of journalism, a beat. There are tons of genres that make for reporting and some of the best known ones include sports, entertainment, health, politics and sports.

If you’re working on blogs, you must understand the overall mindset of your target audience and which categories pique their interest more.

6.    Take advantage of social media

 These days, potential journalists can work on their roots from simpler but impactful platforms including that of social media. Whatever status you post on your Facebook timeline or tweet on Twitter can be certified as journalism itself.

Things that are shared by you or your online contacts, which mainly revolve around the latest news updates and happenings from around the world, are a form of beat journalism.

Rochelle Ceira is a professional consultant with extensive experience in the education sector. When not working, she invests her time analyzing latest ed-tech trends and ways o trends can be implemented

Improving College Teaching and Learning

October 21st, 2015

By Tamara Hiler Email Author and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky Email Author

Are your child’s college professors any good at teaching? And if they were (or weren’t), how would you know?

The federal government makes a significant effort to ensure that K-12 students have quality classroom teachers. From No Child Left Behind, which emphasized highly qualified teaching for the first time, to Race to the Top grants that encouraged states to implement new teacher evaluation systems, and the Administration’s newly-formed teacher equity plans, the federal government finds significant value in investing in high quality instruction for all. We may still have a long ways to go on the K-12 front, but we have not even begun the journey when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized colleges and universities. In fact, the federal government spends less than one-tenth of one percent of its higher education budget on teacher quality in our nation’s colleges and universities.1 Ironically, the feds spend $160 billion each year subsidizing tuition alone—more than twice what we spend annually on K-12 programs—but demands little in terms of outcomes and quality.2

Colleges have the main responsibility to oversee the quality of instruction they are providing to students, but as the largest payer of tuition in America and with dropout rates at four-year colleges hovering around 40%, the federal government has a role to play to both encourage institutions of higher education (IHEs) to prioritize better teaching and to increase transparency around the amount of learning students are receiving.3 As the debate around reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) begins to heat up this fall, Congress has a unique opportunity to better align its emphasis on high-caliber teaching in K-12 with a similar level of commitment to that cause in post-secondary education. Here are ten ways the next HEA bill could help jump start these efforts.

1. Create a national board certification process for professors.

Just like the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was established in the late 1980s as a way to “strengthen standards in teaching” and provide K-12 teachers with the opportunity to earn a distinguished credential for their teaching expertise, the federal government could help fund the establishment of a similar program in higher education that would create an elite tier of highly recognized and effective professors.4 Colleges and universities could provide nationally board certified professors with additional benefits, such as expedited tenure or salary bonuses, as a way to incentivize professors to further develop their instructional skills. Hopefully, colleges would seize this opportunity to make teaching quality a top tenure consideration. Similar to national boards at the K-12 level, the standards and certification process could be both designed and led by professors, and once established, board certified professors could be the ones to evaluate new applicants, becoming the arbiters of who joins their ranks.

2. Teach Ph.D. students to teach.

The focus for doctoral candidates is research and publication. That should continue. But a new focus must also help them develop the skills to be successful teachers—a large component of many Ph.D. students’ job requirements both during their program and after graduation. Right now, we simply hope that a great researcher will be a great teacher. But beyond expertise in the field, there is no reason to believe this is so. Colleges and universities should create course-level work that explicitly provides Ph.D. students with important pedagogical training. A handful of institutions—such as the University of Southern California—have already begun to integrate this type of focus into their programs.5 This should be universal and the federal government could help scale such efforts by providing funding to institutions to specifically develop teacher training curricula and programs for the Ph.D. students who are already teaching in their classrooms and those they will send out to teach at other institutions post-graduation.

3. Require colleges to design and publish an instructional improvement plan for their schools.

If it’s measured, it matters and it will improve. While the Department of Education has taken action at the K-12 level to ensure that states provide equal access to effective educators through their teacher equity plans, no such initiatives exist that asks colleges and universities to do the same. The Department of Education should require all institutions that receive federal aid to create and publish a plan that assesses the student learning outcomes generated by their instructors and outlines how it will improve instruction going forward. This should include both classroom instruction and online learning. If college presidents know that learning outcomes are measured and that results matter, they will care about the quality of the instruction at their schools to a level far higher than today.

4. Make community colleges a lab for better teaching.

Most community colleges do not require professors to complete research or get published in order to earn tenure, so particular attention should be paid so that community college professors have strong pedagogical and instructional abilities—as teaching should be their sole focus. In particular, community colleges could serve as laboratories for innovation around teaching and learning. In addition, targeting the above ideas specifically at two-year schools would pair well with recent calls for free community college by ensuring that students who participate in taxpayer-subsidized programs are actually learning.

5. Help colleges and universities tap into expertise at their schools of education.

With teacher preparation programs already established at over 600 institutions of higher education, colleges and universities have an abundance of leaders with instructional expertise located in their own backyards.6 Rather than ask colleges and universities to seek out external teacher training, the federal government could establish a demonstration project to tap into the resources that exist within their own schools of education—such as using ed school professors to train incoming professors of other subjects in a summer course or asking them to design pedagogical curriculum for the institution’s Ph.D. students who plan to teach at the college level.

6. Build in students’ rights protections against low-quality instruction.

Students pay tuition with the expectation that the classroom instruction they receive will meet a certain standard of quality. Yet under the current system, almost no recourse exists if such instruction falls short, allowing institutions to collect tuition fees regardless of whether or not they deliver on that promise. Instead, efforts should be made to give students who receive low-quality instruction the same consumer protection rights that exist with other high-stakes and high-cost purchases. This could happen through the creation of a students’ rights provision that would “trigger” a school to review professors who receive numerous complaints for poor instructional quality, or through the development of a new complaint system under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would allow students to initiate a process to recoup a proportion of their tuition money if basic instructional standards are not met.

7. Institute a TIF-like program to incentivize best practices.

Over the last ­­­­­decade, federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grants have helped K-12 school districts around the country invest in efforts to improve educator effectiveness through the redesign of teacher-focused systems like performance-based compensation and leadership tracks.7 A similar competitive grant program could be created at the higher education level to help colleges and universities implement innovative systems to train and develop excellent professors. For example, funds could be awarded to institutions looking to pilot innovative ways to improve the quality of instruction, such as the development of a summer teaching certification program for incoming professors, the establishment of a two-track tenure system that gives professors the opportunity to focus on research or instruction, or the creation of revamped course evaluations that better measure effective teaching and student learning. As we have seen in the K-12 context, these grants can provide out-sized returns by motivating applicants to prioritize great teaching and think creatively about how to incentivize it.

8. Create a new federal teaching grant for higher education.

Each year, the federal government awards over $30 billion in grants to help colleges and universities pay for the equipment, supplies, and salaries of professors to carry out research at the post-secondary level.8 Undoubtedly, these grants provide institutions with a powerful incentive to pursue new research projects—an important and necessary aspect of our higher education system. Yet, at the same time, the federal government invests only $79 million to incentivize quality teaching at these same schools, a funding discrepancy skewed in favor of research by a ratio of nearly 400 to 1.9 While the cost to produce research is indisputably higher than the costs of developing teaching skills, the federal government could do more to emphasize the importance of good instruction through the creation of a new federal teaching grant program designed specifically for the post-secondary level. Such an investment could allow professors to apply directly for additional funding—similar to the way many must apply directly to earn research grants—to allow them to experiment with better assessments, more meaningful course evaluations, and other methods of improving student learning.

9. Require institutions to disclose the number of adjunct professors they hire.

According to a report by the American Association of University Professors, more than three-quarters of all university faculty work as part-time, or adjunct professors.10 While the verdict is still out on whether adjunct faculty are categorically more or less effective at teaching than their tenured counterparts, part-time professors are often paid less and expected to teach a variety of courses across multiple institutions during their classroom stints, leaving colleges and universities with very little incentive to develop their pedagogical abilities due to their often limited and impermanent nature.11 Until further research can conclusively determine that adjunct and tenured faculty provide students with an equal level of instructional quality, lawmakers should make permanent a 2013 House bill provision that would have required the Department of Education to publish “the ratio of the number of course sections taught by part-time instructors to the number of course sections taught by full-time faculty” in order to demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to transparency and instructional quality in higher ed.12 Congress should also require this ratio be added to the new College Scorecard, as students and their families deserve to know this information before they make one of the biggest investments of their lives.

10. Institute a National Professor of the Year award.

Similar to national board certification, the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program has played an integral role in increasing the prestige of the teaching profession at the K-12 level. Having a comparable program available for professors would help shine a light on the importance of instructional excellence in higher education, and raise the stature of professors who are making incredible strides with their students year after year. Such national figures could serve to provide instructional leadership with the same gravitas often reserved for those who concentrate on research, helping to bring teaching and learning back to the forefront of the national conversation surrounding the quality of higher

MOOCs: Hopes And Hype Not Met Yet

October 20th, 2015

Stanford Report, October 15, 2015

MOOCs haven’t lived up to the hopes and the hype, Stanford participants say

Massive online classes for virtually everyone were supposed to change the world of education, but it hasn’t worked out that way yet, say three Stanford professors who have been involved since the beginning.

BY DAN STOBER

mtkang/ShutterstockKeyboard with Online learning hasn’t lived up to its original billing, Stanford experts say, but it has produced unexpected insights into how people learn.

Three years after a groundswell of online learning swept through higher education, Stanford researchers who were at the forefront of the movement have concluded that online learning has not been the cure-all that many educators had hoped for. Nonetheless, the techniques developed for online learning may lead to great advances in how students learn, both online and in conventional classrooms.

The vision was of unlimited online courses, available to virtually anyone with an Internet connection, that would dramatically reshape the standard classroom while also changing the life paths of students in developing countries, at little or no cost.

But it hasn’t worked out that way, say Stanford professors John Mitchell, Candace Thille and Mitchell Stevens, who have been deeply involved in the effort.

Completion rates remain low. Even offering high-level online classes from major universities doesn’t necessarily work; without a solid academic background, the classes may be too difficult for many students to follow.

As a result, most MOOC (massive open online course) students have been college-educated men from industrialized countries.

The researchers say it is frustrating that MOOCs can provide educators the technical ability to watch as online learners fail. “We see people struggling and there really isn’t any mechanism to help them,” said Mitchell, Stanford’s vice provost for teaching and learning.

Helping people around the world learn is not a simple thing, he said, and getting there “is going to be much harder than simply putting these courses online.”

Thille, an assistant professor of education, agreed. “MOOCs weren’t the solution,” she said.  Nonetheless, she added, MOOCs have prompted a widespread interest into research about how people learn.

This valuable new side effect of MOOCs has provided researchers an ocean of data about how students learn or fail to learn, and that data can be useful in the classroom as well as online.

While protecting the privacy of participants, researchers can monitor the activities of students online, seeing what approaches work, where students stumble, what grabs students’ attention and what style of videos work best in various situations.

However, the insights into student learning that can be gleaned from MOOC data have been limited by the type of interaction that is observable. Most of the student activities in MOOCs are either too passive (watching a lecture) or too simple (multiple choice questions) to be useful to the science of learning, Thille said.

But as MOOCs mature, she said, they will present the complex tasks that are instrumental in collecting fine-grained data on the learner’s intermediate learning process.

The data can be used to reveal the thought processes of the student. Along those lines, Thille is interested in adapting a successful intervention technique for students, one developed in collaboration with Stanford psychology Professor Carol Dweck’s research group, PERTS (Project for Education Research That Scales).

The idea is to embed interventions into online learning environments. The interventions would re-engage disengaged students and encourage them to adopt a growth mindset toward learning. The student becomes a participant in a carefully designed psychological intervention, encouraged to persevere, reassured that he or she belongs in the class and can do well. Similar interventions with students in other situations have had remarkable success.

The action in the MOOC world now, the researchers said, is learning about learning. “I think that’s what the technology is really valuable for,” Thille said.

Despite their limited success, “I’m not disappointed at all with MOOCs,” said Stevens, associate professor of education. “We’re still in the horse-and-buggy stage. The boundaries are blurring between online and face-to-face.”

Some schools, for example, allow students to complete part of their studies online and part on campus.

There are questions about MOOCs that need to be answered, Stevens said, such as “who owns the data?” For now it’s an open question.

Stevens suggested that the economics of MOOCs might make them attractive to California’s financially struggling college system.

Despite the disappointments of MOOCs, Stevens remains optimistic: “We’re looking at a future of lifelong education online. Much of that will come at little or no cost to learners. How can that be a bad thing?”

10 Ways to be a More Creative Student this Year

October 19th, 2015

By Jane Hurst

Being a student doesn’t have to be boring, even if sitting in a classroom or lecture hall may seem boring. There are all kinds of ways that you can use your creativity to make being a student a lot more fun, and improve the quality of the work you hand in. The key to being a successful student is creativity, and here are 10 ways that you can boost your own and be a more creative student this year.

  1. Hang Out with Creative People – The more creativity you are around, the more it is bound to rub off onto you. Start hanging around with creative types, such as writers, artists, and musicians. You can get a lot of inspiration by doing this, and it won’t be long before your own creativity is sparked.
  2. Just Do It – You will never get anything done, creative or not, if you don’t start somewhere. Just dive in and start working on something. If you want to write a book, start writing that first chapter. It may be really bad, but you can always tweak it and make improvements later on.
  3. Get Out There – You need to be exposed to new things, particularly art such as books, paintings, music, etc. The more you are exposed to creative things that are completely new to you, the easier it is going to be for you to come up with ideas that are new and creative.
  4. Get Involved – There are plenty of organizations, including many right on campus that can use your creative input. For instance, you can get involved with a group that is organizing an event. You can be the creator of custom-designed patches for everyone who is involved to wear, and that will make a statement about what your group is doing. Learn more at PatchSuperstore.
  5. Get Your Own Morning Ritual – Let’s face it, not many of us really like mornings. But, you can turn your mornings into a time where you can sit and reflect, and come up with new ideas. Enjoy your coffee while watching the morning news, and then go for a walk. The more you repeat these actions on a daily basis, the sooner your mind will be open to doing things when you are in that zone.
  6. Try New Things – Start doing things you have never done before. If you normally watch television in the evening, go for a walk instead. If you like to read, read something that is completely out of the norm for you. Doing new things will get your creative juices flowing.
  7. Ignore the World – Sometimes, you just need to step back from the craziness in the world and retreat into yourself. Take a nap, meditate, go for a walk alone, etc. Just take some time for you so you can clear your mind.
  8. Carry a Camera – Never be without your camera, because you never know when you may see something really interesting. You may notice something different on something that you see every day. Look for new perspectives on things you look at every day.
  9. Question Everything – Don’t just accept things at face value, even from your professors. Question assumptions instead. This is going to help you learn to use your own voice, and have the confidence you need to be more creative and take some risks.
  10. Exercise – Everyone needs exercise, and we should all be getting at least one half hour every day. Not only will it help you physically, it will also help to clear your mind and let you be a lot more creative.

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.

The Evolution of Faculty Roles in Governance of Higher Education

October 16th, 2015

reviewed by Rozana Carducci —

coverTitle: Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education
Author(s): William G. Bowen & Eugene M. Tobin
Publisher: Princeton University Press, Princeton
ISBN: 0691166420, Pages: 400,2015

The practice of shared governance is contested terrain in American higher education. Despite consensus that shared governance is a collaborative approach to decision-making characterized by the distribution of authority across various institutional actors (e.g., faculty, senior administrators, trustees), models and norms of effective shared governance remain elusive. Indeed higher education critics within and beyond the academy often identify the practice of shared decision-making as a major barrier to innovation and fiscal efficiency, two organizational qualities deemed essential for survival in today’s rapidly changing global knowledge economy.

In Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education, authors William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin offer their insider perspective on the promise and pitfalls of shared governance. They draw upon both historical analysis and their own extensive university leadership experience to explain why antiquated, yet omnipresent, governance structures and processes are ill-equipped to resolve contemporary higher education challenges. At the heart of Bowen and Tobin’s shared governance treatise is the assertion that since faculty are pivotal in advancing and/or thwarting institutional change efforts, higher education actors seeking to improve governance processes and institutional outcomes need to first understand the historical evolution of faculty roles in governance. Bowen and Tobin argue that this historical knowledge is key to successfully navigating and perhaps shifting the political, economic, social, and cultural factors that influence the exercise of authority in American higher education.

The structure of Locus of Authority is comprised of an informative preface, five chapters, and a lengthy appendix consisting of four institutional case studies. The narrative is engaging and fairly easy to digest thanks to Bowen and Tobin’s decision to use footnotes to cite sources and provide extended discussions of material readers may find interesting but that are not crucial to the main story. Readers looking to dive deeper into the historical sources and governance anecdotes will appreciate the accessibility and depth of the footnotes. Bowen and Tobin’s familiarity and focus on the governance roles of arts and science faculties in selective institutions are evident throughout the book. Individuals interested in learning about the history and practice of governance in more diverse institutions will need to consult other sources.

The Introduction provides a coherent overview of the book’s organizational framework and clearly articulates the authors’ focal argument—century-old shared governance norms are ill-equipped to tackle the complex problems confronting contemporary higher education. In support of this argument, Chapter One presents a historical overview of faculty governance from the establishment of the Harvard Corporation in 1650 through the World War II era. Chapter Three extends the historical analysis to the present day, supplementing the authors’ general historical overview with extended excerpts from four institutional case studies. It closes with a discussion of faculty governance tensions occurring within institutions seeking to engage in or expand online learning endeavors. Drawing upon analysis of successful and unsuccessful online education efforts, Bowen and Tobin seek to illustrate: (a) the need to respect institutional culture when launching major reform efforts, (b) faculty distaste for considerations of cost savings in educational decision making, and (c) the importance of a strong central administration in negotiating decisions concerning online education institutional strategy, instructional content, and intellectual property rights.

Together the historical overview chapters effectively distill and integrate important moments in the evolution of higher education governance, relying extensively on the analysis of highly regarded higher education historians such as John R. Thelin, Laurence R. Veysey, Frederick Rudolph, Jurgen Herbst, and Roger L. Geiger. The organization and content of Chapters Two and Three mirror the chronological historical frameworks adopted in most higher education history texts and illuminate key faculty governance issues (e.g., academic freedom). Occasionally the historical narrative loses focus or gives limited attention to key historical moments—for example, the governance implications embedded in the Affirmative Action and Title IX efforts of the 1960s and 1970s. While Bowen and Tobin’s historical analysis is not highly original, they effectively synthesize historical scholarship on the evolution of faculty decision-making authority into one volume, a project of value to higher education governance scholars and institutional actors (e.g., trustees, academic senate members, etc.) interested in understanding the history behind contemporary governance practices. Case study vignettes interwoven throughout Chapters Two and Three add depth to the sweeping historical narrative and underscore the importance of local context in shaping governance processes and structures.

Starting A Career Before Graduation

October 15th, 2015

By Melissa Burns

Experience: how students can cross this threshold.

Sooner or later every college student faces the necessity of finding a job. Some years ago it was almost an impossible task. And we don’t speak about some part time jobs as a waiter or a baby-sitter. We are talking about a serious job in a successful company with the prospect of development and career growth. Many employers simply refuse to hire someone without any experience on a serious position. Moreover, many students and graduates face enormous financial difficulties and loan debts after finishing college, and they simply don’t have time to stay home and wait for a dream job appear by itself.

In order not to be trapped in this circle “I have no experience, this is why I don’t have a job – and I don’t have a job, because of lack of experience”, getting professional experience is worth considering during the process of college studying.

So, how is it possible to differ from other job seekers and to ensure that the desired employer will choose you for the position?

One of the main problems associated with the promotion upwards the career ladder is the huge competition present. But as you study at college, it means you have already made the first step. You have chosen the niche in which you see your future development. With this you can easily explore the competition market. Things you need to do is optimize your plans and skills:

  • Read the other candidates resume, look at their experience, compare with your own.
  • It is useful to look through the positions you would like to obtain in the future, but you can’t qualify now due to the lack of experience, knowledge, diploma, age or what else. Mark the requirements specified for this vacancy. Put them as goals for yourself, and start preparing.

How to become credible for employers if you are still a college student?

Your own authority can be earned only by means of what you do. First of all write a resume, but better check what quality resume templates are available on the internet. This is the first impression that employer receives and evaluates. Your name is your brand. Make your name recognizable.

If you have a talent, use it and bring it to the maximum. You must have something that you can do better than anybody else.

There are lots of resources on the internet that can help you find a remote work in a field of your interest. Participate in different projects. This way you gain not only experience, you also create your portfolio.

Practical experience: where and when?

Never forget about the internship. An internship in a well-known company is the largest plus to your resume in your further job seeking. Employers appreciate such experience. Also remember that successful trainee that received high score from the company management can be offered a permanent job. Moreover, internship is a great opportunity to make useful contacts in the required segment of the market.

As people say, the first comes not the one who runs the faster, but the one who ran out earlier. The conclusion is if you want to achieve big results, start gaining experience before you get your diploma.

Author’s bio:

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented