More and more research suggests gender bias in the sciences. But do men and women similarly trust evidence demonstrating such bias? A new paper argues that men and women interpret this kind of evidence — however scientific — differently, and that that has implications for the field as a whole. Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, not everyone agrees with the findings.
The paper, in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on several experiments involving both laymen and -women and male and female faculty members. All participants were asked to evaluate scientific research showing a bias against women in science, technology, engineering and math. Men in both groups judged the research less favorably than did women, and male faculty members in STEM were especially likely to view it poorly. But men evaluated the same research more favorably than did women when findings of that research were altered to show no gender bias.
“Critically, across three experiments, we uncovered a gender difference in the way people from the general public and STEM faculty evaluate the quality of research that demonstrates women’s documented disadvantage in STEM fields: men think the research is of lower quality, whereas women think the research is of higher quality,” the authors said. “Why does this gender difference matter? For one, there are significant implications for the dissemination and impact of meritorious previous, current and future research on gender bias in STEM fields.”
Most importantly, they argue, “our research suggests that men will relatively disfavor — and women will relatively favor — research demonstrating this bias.” That means that scholars focusing on this area of research might have trouble advancing professionally, given that men still dominate the STEM fields, they say, and that lingering doubts about bias in STEM will unnecessarily prolong the process of making the sciences more inclusive.
Ian M. Handley, a professor of psychology at Montana State University, served as lead author of “Quality of evidence revealing subtle gender biases in science is in the eye of beholder.” The study involved two general U.S. population samples of a 205 and 303 people, respectively, and a Montana State faculty sample of 205. Using an online survey instrument, Handley and his collaborators presented a general U.S. sample and the faculty sample an abstract of a paper that reported gender bias in STEM contexts. They then asked participants to evaluate the strength of the abstract and findings.
In a third experiment involving a second U.S. general sample, the researchers asked participants to evaluate the abstract of a different article suggesting gender bias in STEM fields. Members of that group received either the real abstract or a version slightly altered to report no gender bias.
In the first two experiments, the difference between men’s and women’s evaluations was of a moderate size. But the difference was larger between male and female STEM professors. Interestingly, no significant difference was observed between male and female non-STEM faculty members. Put another way, male STEM professors evaluated the research more negatively than did the non-STEM male professors in the sample.
In the third experiment involving a second abstract, men were somewhat more likely than women to evaluate positively the altered abstracts showing no bias.
“Much of the research on the issue demonstrates a bias against women in STEM, and our research suggests that men, including faculty, are less receptive to that evidence than women,” Handley said.
Yet the bias can go both ways, he added. “Our research also demonstrates than women are less receptive than men to research that demonstrates no gender bias in STEM contexts.”
As academics, Handley said, it’s “useful to understand that we are prone to bias regarding some research findings, and our objectivity going forward will require this acknowledgment.”
Handley’s co-authors are Elizabeth Brown, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Florida; Corinne Moss-Racusin, an assistant professor of psychology at Skidmore College; and Jessi L. Smith, a fellow professor of psychology at Montana State.
“Eye of the beholder” is similar in theme to an earlier paper by Moss-Racusin suggesting men were much more likely to reject findings of sexism in STEM and to even make sexist comments in response to such research. That study was based on Internet comments on various kinds of websites regarding a third, widely cited study by Moss-Racusin suggesting that both male and female scientists were more likely to want to hire as a lab manager and award higher pay to a hypothetical student candidate named John than one named Jennifer, even though the rest of their applications were identical.
“Eye of the beholder” is arguably a more informative paper on gendered evaluations of gender bias research in academe than the one based on Internet comments, in that it involves double-blind experiments and university faculty specifically. Still, it has some critics. Among them are Wendy Williams, professor of human development at Cornell University, and Stephen Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology at Cornell, who together have authored several papers questioning the existence of gender bias in STEM. Most recently, earlier this year, they published a widely cited paper suggesting that women candidates are actually favored two to one over men for tenure-track positions in STEM.
Williams said that, due in part to her findings, men evaluating evidence of gender bias in STEM might have reason to be skeptical — meaning that their negative perceptions might not be a form of discrimination but rather an awareness of the literature.
Ceci agreed. But he also noted it’s possible that the Moss-Racusin lab manager hiring study — which served as one of the abstracts in “Eye of the beholder” — may have demonstrated true bias when it comes to the hiring of recent graduates. That’s because faculty members may rely on stereotypes when hiring candidates whose professional aptitude is relatively untested, he said. Ceci’s own research showing no or even reverse gender bias in hiring, on the other hand, focuses on “unambiguously qualified” Ph.D.s seeking tenure-track jobs.
Both Williams and Ceci strongly cautioned against applying Handley’s observed results, involving a 205-member faculty sample from just one university in one part of the country, to academe as a whole.
“Our study looked at 873 faculty from 371 universities and colleges in all 50 U.S. states,” Williams said. “Would these results have replicated in a broad national sample that included a few hundred colleges and universities” in different parts of the country, she asked?
Handley rejected the idea that a 205 faculty member sample was too small to observe a significant trend. Moreover, he said, the general population sample was larger, involved people from across the U.S. and showed similar results.
“Faculty are people too, and our experiments on the general population suggest the effects are likely generalizable,” he said.
Smith, the study’s senior author, said she believed the results would replicate at other universities, but that she hoped they wouldn’t replicate at Montana State today, which has worked hard to make the sciences more inclusive in the last few years, since the faculty survey was conducted. (The university recently received an award from the College and University Professionals Association for Human Resources for its efforts.) In any case, Smith asked, “What is worse – understating a bias that exists which results in keeping people from fully participating in STEM or overstating a bias that exists which results in real transformation and resources to correct a past injustice?”
She added, “There are so many calls for research on broadening participation in STEM and for research providing evidence-based solutions to bias, that it is important to understand how receptive people are to such findings. How can we solve a problem if we don’t know we have it?”
Handley said he was most interested why these results occur in any sample. One reason might be confirmation bias, he said, in which people are more likely to evaluate favorably information that corresponds to their own beliefs or experiences.
Of course, there may be some campuses on which men and women largely agree on the pervasiveness of gender bias in STEM, Handley said. “I certainly acknowledge that there is more to this story, which means there is more research we can do to assess the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, and how to reduce it in the efforts of enhancing objectivity over all.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
By Josh Logue
Students at the University of California at Berkeley like Alexander Coward. A lot.
“He is not just one of the best math teachers, but one of the best teachers that Berkeley has ever had the fortune of having,” proclaims the Protest to Keep Coward at Cal Facebook page.
Coward, a full-time lecturer four years away from a more permanent “continuing status” (but very much off the tenure track), revealed recently in a public blog post on his website that the Berkeley mathematics department would not renew his contract to teach multiple sections of introductory calculus courses. Students immediately flocked to his support on social media. Some used the hashtag #IStandWithCoward, and nearly 3,000 signed up to attend the protest on Oct. 20 — the day the university will formally review the nonrenewal decision.
Coward, who earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oxford, used his blog post to detail years of combative interactions with faculty and administration in his department. He linked to pages of email chains and hundreds of student evaluations that collectively seem to paint the picture of a lecturer who is very good at his job, but not so good at doing it within the confines of departmental norms or expectations. Specifically, Coward opted to forgo standard measures of student progress such as graded homework and quizzes in favor of a more wholesome approach.
“We all know hard work is important, but there’s a question about how to motivate students to work hard,” he said in an interview. Tangible rewards like better grades for better work are one option, Coward said, but piles of research — some of which he references in an open letter he sent the department chair in December 2014 — point to a more effective system: intrinsic motivation. Encouraging the “motivation that’s bubbling up inside ourselves because we’re curious and like to learn and like to improve is much more powerful than saying, ‘I’m going to do this because it’s 0.7777 of my GPA.'”
In his classes, Coward says, he works to foster a feeling of autonomy, competency and personal affinity rather than rely on humdrum grades to spark motivation in students. In his class sessions, he asks repeatedly if everyone understands concepts. He repeats explanations several times, which he says is important for teaching math. And students say he always has time for them.
Actual course grades are based on final exams, which he does give, so his students do receive formal, traditional assessment at the end of the course.
That strategy spurred sweeping approval in the student evaluations he posted, many of which point to his enthusiasm, accessibility and outgoing demeanor in class. “He genuinely cares about his students,” one student wrote. “And his love for learning and teaching really shines through his work.”
Coward noted, and documentation he posted including an internal “Report on A. Coward” appears to confirm, that his students performed at or above average in subsequent mathematics courses — a key piece of evidence that his teaching works. But even though students love him and go on to succeed in other courses, the department still found his approach to be problematic.
Arthur Argus, former chair of the math department, wrote a 2013 email, Coward says, “I do think it [sic] that it is very important that you not deviate too far from the department norms.” The sentiment came up again in emails and memos in the following years.
“This raises the question,” Coward writes in his blog, “What does it mean to adhere to department norms if one has the highest student evaluation scores in the department, students performing statistically significantly better in subsequent courses and faculty observations universally reporting ‘extraordinary skills at lecturing, presentation and engaging students’?”
“In a nutshell: stop making us look bad. If you don’t, we’ll fire you,” says Coward.
“We cannot address individual personnel matters, as they are confidential,” university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said in a statement emailed to Inside Higher Ed. “However, many lecturers have appointments that may be for a single term or up to two years. They often fill in for regular faculty who are on leave, provide additional teaching to cover surges in enrollment and teach large undergraduate classes. Lecturers do not receive a commitment to ongoing employment until after they have taught for six years and have undergone a rigorous academic review of their teaching.”
Emails Coward received and subsequently posted include similar statements, but taken with the evaluations and other data Coward put online, they portray a man beloved by students.
A letter from a teaching evaluation coordinator about Coward’s student evaluations says, “Both of Dr. Coward’s Math 1A scores were markedly higher than those of any of the regular faculty who taught Math 1A during the six-year period ending in spring 2013.” He averaged 6.4 and 6.5 on a seven-point scale, and both sections attracted nearly four times as many students as another section of the same course taught by another faculty member. In fact, the letter goes on to say, “Dr. Coward’s scores are higher than any of the scores earned by regular faculty for at least the last 18 years.”
More than 500 actual student evaluations follow the letter. Most of them are entirely positive.
“Professor Coward is by far the best professor I have ever had at Cal so far,” writes one student. “He has an extremely positive attitude when it comes to math, which makes the course really enjoyable.” Asked about his or her instructor’s weaknesses, that student wrote, “no weaknesses; his teaching is perfection.”
Some students do mention the same critiques the department raised, though — that they wished he assigned more homework or kept a clearer schedule and record of progress.
Coward also alleges that administrators suppressed his glowing reviews and watered down statistical evidence that his students go on to perform better in other classes. In an open letter he sent to the department, Coward also revealed he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal depression, saying, “The entire faculty in the mathematics department should introspect on this fact. Bullying is something that affects adults as well as children, and where it occurs it should be addressed very seriously.”
He added, “I absolutely love teaching the students at Berkeley, but I cannot in good conscience follow the instructions you have given me. I am unwilling to go to work and feel ashamed of what I am doing any more.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
- Hassan Rashid Al-Derham, vice president for research at Qatar University, has been promoted to president there.
- Stuart R. Bell, executive vice president and provost at Louisiana State University, has been chosen as president of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
- Kurt D. Dykstra, mayor of Holland, Mich., has been appointed president of Trinity Christian College, in Illinois.
- Thomas C. Katsouleas, dean of engineering at Duke University, in North Carolina, has been named executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia.
- Stephen R. Morgan, executive vice president and treasurer at Westminster College, in Utah, has been promoted to president there.
- Al Panu, senior vice president for university affairs at the University of North Georgia, has been chosen as chancellor of the University of South Carolina at Beaufort.
- Nasser H. Paydar, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, has been selected as chancellor there.
- Douglas M. Scheidt, dean of the School of Education and Human Services at the State University of New York College at Brockport, has been appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Canton.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
“Free” has been the higher education buzzword of the year, as Democrats have proposed a range of plans to infuse billions of federal dollars into public institutions to lower tuition to zero or close to zero.
But as politicians pitch debt-free and tuition-free college, some are also pushing another narrative: that they expect students to work in exchange for those new benefits.
President Obama included rhetoric about work in his proposal for free community college, saying he wanted to offer the benefit only to those students “willing to work for it.” But the president’s proposal focused more on academic work, calling for requiring students to maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to be eligible for free tuition at a community college.
Hillary Clinton has adopted nearly identical language in pitching her college affordability plan, though it represents a very different kind of work. “We need to make a quality education affordable and available to everyone willing to work for it,” she said in August.
Clinton is proposing that students work 10 hours a week in order to receive debt-free tuition at public colleges and universities. And she has been using that component to distinguish her plan from that of her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, with whom she will square off during the first Democratic debate on Tuesday evening.
Clinton last week implicitly knocked Sanders’s plan for providing benefits to wealthy students who don’t need them. And she was quick to add, “I worked when I went to college. I had a job. I went to law school, I had a job …. If you are willing to work 10 hours a week at your college, you should get extra help.”
Sanders has responded to such criticism by pointing out that his plan, which would make all students at public institutions eligible for free tuition regardless of whether they work during college, is a simpler way to tackle college affordability.
“We disagree on our college plans.” Sanders said of Clinton on MSNBC last week. “I think mine is more simple and straightforward, providing free tuition at public colleges and universities.”
Although Sanders’s tuition-free college plan does not have a direct work requirement, he has called for increasing funding for the federal work-study program. His proposal would also overhaul that program so that it benefits more low-income students, according to his office.
The emphasis on getting students to work in exchange for aid to attend college isn’t new.
“The idea that students should work their way to an education has always been popular” from the very beginning of federal student aid programs, said Christopher P. Loss, assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University.
“It’s a way to sort of stave off the accusation or criticism that it’s just one more big government handout for a potentially undeserving population of students who aren’t really that invested in their own education,” he said. “There’s a long history of trying to tie subsidies of these sorts to some sort of work requirement.”
But as politicians call on students to chip in for their education by working, some observers pointed out that the majority of students already are.
“There are political advantages to saying we’re not going to provide aid to students who aren’t putting in the effort for their education,” said Mark Huelsman, a policy analyst at Demos, a think tank that has been promoting debt-free college. “No one ever lost an election by criticizing the work ethic of today’s youth.”
Still, Huelsman said that Clinton’s inclusion of a 10-hour-a-week work requirement for students in her debt-free tuition plan may actually operate as a cap on work for most students rather than a new requirement. That’s because most students are already working far more hours, he said.
Huelsman also notes that “there are some policy advantages to encouraging a modest amount of work.”
Some research has found that students who work some amount during college — roughly between 10 and 15 hours a week — tend to have higher completion rates. Other research has found that students who participate in the federal work-study program are more likely to graduate and get jobs after college, though they also tend to take out loans to attend college.
“Work requirements are definitely good politics,” said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of education leadership, management and policy at Seton Hall University. “Are they good policy? It depends on the kind of work.”
In some cases, Kelchen said, requiring full-time students to work may clash with efforts to encourage them to load up on 15 credits a semester so they graduate on time.
Beyond the federal proposals, many states have adopted work requirements in their free community college initiatives or other state aid programs. For instance, Tennessee’s community college program, which served as a model for Obama’s proposal, requires students to complete some community service during high school in order to be accepted. Elsewhere, many state lottery scholarships require students to maintain minimum academic standards to receive that aid.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
As massive open online course providers specialize in disciplines and delivery modes, universities are looking for new opportunities to experiment. The trend appears to be benefiting edX.
Many colleges have “double-dipped” by joining both Coursera and edX, two major MOOC providers, since MOOCs went mainstream in 2012. For example, the California Institute of Technology, Rice University and the University of Toronto all partnered with Coursera in July 2012 and then joined edX in 2013. Similarly, Peking University in Beijing first partnered with edX in May 2013, then with Coursera three months later.
But among colleges and universities in the U.S., movement from one MOOC platform to the next is a one-way street. According to an Inside Higher Ed analysis, at least 10 of the institutions that first partnered with Coursera have since joined edX. Not a single edX institution has gone the other way.
After adding the University of Michigan to its list of charter members last week, edX has now recruited all of Coursera’s earliest partners, including the University of Pennsylvania, which joined in June, and Princeton University, in September. Even Stanford University, where Coursera co-founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng are faculty members, has since 2013 been a major contributor to Open edX, the MOOC provider’s open-source platform.
Joining a MOOC platform means doing more than filling out a sign-up sheet. Some universities have invested millions in order to become members, while individual MOOCs can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop.
Coursera declined to comment for this article.
Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, in an interview declined to speculate about why some of Coursera’s partners are joining his platform as well. “We are just delighted that many of these pioneers of online education and MOOCs are partnering with us,” he said.
There are many reasons behind the shift, the simplest being that Coursera added most of its U.S. university partners during aggressive recruitment periods in 2012 and 2013, while edX has steadily added handfuls of institutions since its May 2012 launch.
The MOOC platforms have also changed since then. Coursera has found a promising business model in Specializations, sequences of career-focused courses. EdX, in addition to its code serving as the foundation for other platforms, is experimenting with online learning as a part of face-to-face education. Both have extensive international initiatives underway.
In a statement, Harvard University Provost Alan M. Garber listed several more reasons why he believes universities are joining edX, including its open-source platform, nonprofit status and the data collected about learners (Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-founded edX).
“Every new partner presents an added opportunity for dialogue, collaboration and innovation in an area that we all care about deeply,” Garber wrote. “These values reflect our mission at Harvard, and, we believe, the missions of many other institutions: to create and disseminate knowledge and to educate talented students from around the world. In short, they resonate.”
In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, faculty members and administrators at some of the universities that have recently joined edX described a more pragmatic approach.
“Like other universities and the partner organizations like edX and Coursera themselves, we are experimenting with the rapidly changing online learning space,” Stanton E. F. Wortham, associate dean for academic affairs at the Penn Graduate School of Education, said in an email. “At this point it’s natural that we would partner with other providers.”
Penn has offered more than 50 MOOCs on Coursera and will continue to create new ones, Wortham said. On Coursera, the university can experiment with Specializations such as its Business Foundations sequence, while edX offers an opportunity to test different course formats, he said.
“The different platforms have different affordances, and so it makes sense to have relationships with both,” Wortham wrote. “They also reach different types of student populations, and we’d like to distribute our content as widely as possible.”
EdX regularly promotes its nonprofit status to set itself apart, but Ivo D. Dinov, associate professor and chair of the faculty information technology committee at Michigan, said he wasn’t “bothered” by the fact that Coursera is backed by venture capital.
“There are pros/cons to all platforms, as well as a bunch of commonalities,” Dinov said in an email. “This will be a very dynamic field in the next several years. Things will change, features will develop, mature and disappear. User feedback, IT advances, policies, practices and instructional challenges will drive innovations in all platforms.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
By Liz Reisberg
Sadly, international strategies are too often relegated to a single office and limited to the mobility of students, international research collaboration, more international publications, and all too, better positioning in the rankings. This just leaves out too many people.
Source: Inside Higher Ed Blogs
By Terry Heick
Shortly after being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013, Peter Higgs, of Higgs boson fame, said he doubted he would have gotten a job, not to mention tenure, in today’s academic system. The professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh said he simply wouldn’t have been “productive” enough, with academe’s premium on publication metrics. Conversely, said Higgs, working in today’s academic system probably wouldn’t have afforded him the opportunity to identify how subatomic material requires mass.
“It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964,” he told The Guardian.
The statement resonated with many academic scientists running the funding-collaboration-publication treadmill. But while the negative consequences of the “publish or perish” paradigm, such as innovation costs and decreased attention to teaching and mentoring, are widely acknowledged, there’s been scant data to back them up. So a new study suggesting that publication pressures on scientists lead to more traditional, more likely to be published papers, at the expense of scientific breakthroughs, stands out.
“Pursuing innovation is a gamble, without enough payoff, on average, to justify the risk,” the study says. “Nevertheless, science benefits when individuals overcome the dispositions that orient them toward established islands of knowledge … in the expanding ocean of possible topics.”
The study, called “Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies,” is in the current American Sociological Review. To begin, Jacob B. Foster, lead author and professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and his co-authors created a database of more than 6.4 million biomedical and chemistry publications from 1934 to 2008.
They used chemical annotations from the National Library of Medicine to build a computer-modeled network of knowledge, and looked for chemicals that were linked, showing up in the same paper. They then sorted the links into two broad categories: those that built on past knowledge and those that were truly innovative, adding connections to the network.
The researchers looked at how many of each type of link appeared in a given year, and made inferences about scientists’ disposition to pursue tradition over innovation. This link classification allowed Foster and his team to classify papers to determine, via various regression analyses, whether papers with more innovative strategies were more frequently cited.
Finally, they built a database linking winners of some 137 major scholarly awards to their publications, to compare the mixture of links used by scientists with major achievement to the publication pool more generally.
Essentially, Foster and his co-authors created a map of which individual publications built on existing discoveries or created new connections. Then they correlated each of the research strategies to two different kinds of recognition — citations and major awards.
Perhaps unsurprising, the work of prize-winning scientists involved significantly more innovation than the overall pool. And more than 60 percent of publications generally had no new connections, building on traditional research alone.
Foster and his co-authors, James Evans, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, and Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of medicine and human genetics at Chicago, argue that researchers who focus on answering established questions are more likely to see their work published. But while researchers who pursue riskier academic work may not be published as frequently, if published, their work receives more citations.
Foster said in an email interview that what makes his study “distinctive is the scale.”
“We were able to study this tension at scale because of several intersecting trends: increasing availability of computer-readable information about science and scientific publications, increasing computer power, and the development of network-driven techniques for representing and analyzing knowledge,” he said. “It is this last development that allowed us to operationalize tradition and innovation in a reasonable way for large-scale analysis.”
The authors recommend various ways that colleges and universities can promote more innovation, such as not linking job security to productivity, in terms of easy metrics. They say that such a strategy, once proved successful at Bell Labs, where scientists could work on project for a year without being evaluated.
Other ideas include awarding research grants to researchers, not specific research proposals, or trying funding to a proposal’s inherent innovation.
Some universities have begun supporting riskier research goals, in the form of grand challenges-oriented research, and the National Institutes of Health and various private organizations have experimented with ways to support innovative research. But publication pressures persist. Foster said he was nonetheless “optimistic” about change.
Academe should resist “the temptation to outsource judgment of quality to easily countable quantities,” he said. “Top universities emphasize that they are not interested in counting publications or citations — that colleagues ‘read the work’ when evaluating a case.”
Scholars approaching any milestone, from searching for a first job to going up for tenure, can feel “pulled toward something safe and decipherable,” Foster said. “At least they’ll have the publications, right? And that’s more what I hope we can keep in mind: the importance of creating and protecting space (or rather, time) to take real risks. That’s what tenure is supposed to do, which is one of the reasons that attacks on the tenure system are so worrisome. It’s a shortsighted and ultimately counterproductive trade-off.”
Of course, sometimes sticking with more traditional research has its value — as a recent, massive study suggesting that most psychology study results cannot be successfully replicated indicates.
The lead author of that study, Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, said he wasn’t familiar enough with Foster’s paper to critique its methodology, but said it sounded “intriguing.” In any case, he said, “innovation and accumulation are not mutually exclusive.”
“Innovation occurs when expectations are violated,” Nosek said. “Replication is actually a great way to spur innovation because, when replications are successful, they increase confidence and generalizability of existing claims, and when they are not successful, they spur innovation to try to understand why different results were observed.”
Foster said he agreed that building on existing knowledge was essential to science, but that he was interested in how much innovation should be mixed in — what he called a “division of labor.”
“Too much innovation, and science would be incoherent,” he said. “Too much tradition, and it would slow to a crawl.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Shootings at two universities Friday morning each left a freshman dead. The shootings came a week after a lone gunman killed nine people and injured seven more at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College in the third-most-deadly mass shooting ever to occur on a college campus.
The events Friday shook the campuses where they took place, Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University, but nervousness about security extended well beyond those campuses. A number of colleges around the country responded to threats last week, with some campuses shutting down for a day or more and others on heightened alert while reports of threats were investigated.
While experts on campus crime stressed that they did not see patterns in the shootings over the last two weeks, there is little doubt of growing concern. On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed into law a bill that will bar people — even those with concealed weapons permits — from bringing guns onto campuses.
Four students were shot at Northern Arizona University early Friday, and one of them died. The others remain hospitalized as of Sunday. The victims were shot outside a dormitory where many fraternity members live, and several were members of the same fraternity. Steven Jones, a freshman who was charged in the shootings (photo at right), was not a member of the fraternity. Onlookers reported that he was arguing with members of the fraternity and then retrieved a gun and started shooting. The origins of the argument are unclear, but it followed a party. The first calls to security about a shooting came at 1:20 a.m.
On Friday afternoon, Jones was formally charged on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.
The Northern Arizona student killed was Colin Brough (photo at right from his LinkedIn profile). Brough’s LinkedIn page says: “I am a freshman at Northern Arizona University, my first semester here I received over a 3.5 GPA. This semester I started working towards a business degree. My major as of now is business marketing, but I am looking into finance as well. I am associate member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.”
Hundreds gathered at Northern Arizona Friday night in a vigil for the victims of the shooting.
At Texas Southern, the shooting injured one in addition to killing a freshman, Brent Randall. The shooting was the third at Texas Southern this semester, and the second shooting had been just a day earlier.
Some students have taken to social media saying that there is insufficient security at Texas Southern.
John Rudley, president at Texas Southern, told KHOU News that there are too many guns on or around campus. “Too many guns are accessible to students and to people in general in our community,” Rudley said. “I mean, we have guns everywhere. I was interviewing students, they told me a gun only costs $100 to $300 and everybody can get one. So we’re dealing with it here. I don’t want to be in the position that we have to explain why our students are dying.”
Rudley also questioned the “campus carry” law that will start next year in Texas, allowing people to bring concealed weapons on campus. The law gives universities the right to set up rules that might bar guns from some locations, but Rudley said, “I think we should establish the entire university as a safety zone.”
Threats and Scares Elsewhere
While Northern Arizona and Texas Southern captured national headlines, other colleges and universities were dealing with various incidents in the last week.
- Governors State University, in Illinois, called off all classes Friday due to a bomb threat. Late Friday, the university gave an all clear.
- Northern Illinois University evacuated branch campuses Thursday in response to a bomb threat.
- Federal prosecutors announced the arrest of a Massachusetts man for making email bomb threats to Rhode Island College, North Carolina State University and other institutions.
- The University of Maine at Augusta evacuated a building Thursday due to a bomb threat.
- A student at New York’s Cazenovia College was arrested on charges that he allegedly threatened three female college students with a knife.
- Eastern Kentucky University called off classes midday Wednesday and for the rest of the week, based on a threat found in a bathroom (see photo from university police at right).
- Southern Oregon University called off all classes Wednesday after a note was discovered that referenced the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.
- Authorities on Friday arrested a man for making threats against American River College, in California.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives warned Philadelphia-area colleges of threats of violence made on social media to an unspecified college “near Philadelphia.” The threats were for last Monday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. Several colleges sent alerts to students and faculty members and — while maintaining regular operations — added extra security for the day. Here are the notices sent out by Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.
What Does It All Mean?
S. Daniel Carter of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a group that promotes campus safety, founded by family members of victims of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, said he was still trying to assess the situation.
He said that threats (as opposed to actual violent incidents) sometimes follow mass shootings, so he is not surprised by the number of threats in the past week. But he said the shootings on Friday should not be viewed as part of a specific pattern. He noted that the killer at Umpqua had sought to commit a mass shooting for a while, while the alleged killer at Northern Arizona seems not to have planned anything in advance.
The VTV Family Outreach Foundation offers a list of recommendations for colleges on preventing or dealing with campus violence. Carter said that the most important are having “a multidisciplinary threat assessment team” to try to identify potential problems before they happen and an “emergency management process that has been tested” for cases of violence that do take place.
William F. Taylor, chief of police at San Jacinto College and board president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, also stressed how the various recent incidents are different. He noted that arguments that become violent, such as what apparently set off the shooting at Northern Arizona, are “as old as cavemen.” He said that some of the neighborhoods near Texas Southern have high crime rates. So Taylor said it was problematic to assume that colleges can solve the problem of campus shootings.
“Much of this is more a society issue than a campus issue,” he said.
Taylor said colleges should step up training so that students, faculty members and other employees know what to do if faced with someone trying to commit a mass killing. He advocates using the Run, Hide, Fight training program.
New Campus Gun Ban in California
Carter said that his group takes no stands on gun control and Taylor said he did not believe gun control legislation would have an impact on campus violence. But in California on Saturday, Governor Brown signed into law a bill that will bar those with concealed weapons permits from bringing guns onto school or college campuses.
While he signed the legislation the day after Friday’s shootings, the legislation had been in the works for months. Supporters noted that California law appears to already ban guns on campuses, but that those registered to carry concealed weapons are exempt. The law now will limit exemptions to law enforcement officials, retired law enforcement officials or those granted permission by colleges and schools for law enforcement purposes.
The bill was backed by many college and university groups, including the California College & University Police Chiefs Association.
The legislation is opposed by the National Rifle Association, which said the bill would “lead to the unjust prosecution of otherwise law-abiding firearm owners.”
Campuses Offer Training
Several campuses have announced new campus training programs since the Oregon killings.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa announced last week that it will conduct two-hour training programs for any faculty, other employee or student group on “active shooter” situations.
The State University of New York at Cortland announced that it will conduct two such trainings as well as sponsor a lecture on “Guns and Safety on College Campuses After the Umpqua Shooting.”
The president at Cortland, Erik J. Bitterbaum, said in an announcement of the program that it was important to be prepared. “Colleges and universities are special places that promote openness and freedom of discourse,” he said. “We see strangers here every day, but there are things we can do. It will take constant vigilance and cooperation, but we can help protect our campus from this type of unlikely, but extremely tragic, attack.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Geoff Marcy, a professor of astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, publicly apologized last week after a university investigation concluded he had repeatedly violated the institution’s sexual harassment policies. The allegations against Marcy involve unwanted physical contact with students over a decade, such as groping, kissing and massages. One of the incidents involved actions by Marcy at a scholarly meeting.
“While I do not agree with each complaint that was made, it is clear that my behavior was unwelcomed [sic] by some women,” Marcy wrote in a letter posted to his university web page. “It is difficult to express how painful it is for me to realize that I was a source of distress for any of my women colleagues, however unintentional.”
The investigation, concluded earlier this year, came to light after BuzzFeed obtained a copy. Berkeley said that it gave Marcy “clear expectations concerning his future interactions with students,” and that he risked suspension or dismissal if he didn’t follow them.
Astronomy, like other science fields, has been dogged by complaints of gender discrimination. But the American Astronomical Society also has taken a strong stance against harassment, developing a lengthy antiharassment policy. It includes procedures for reporting, investigation and possible disciplinary action by the association.
Fellow scientists expressed their outrage — if not surprise — at the news on social media and elsewhere.
“Geoff’s inappropriate actions toward and around women in astronomy is one of the biggest open secrets at any exoplanets or AAS meeting,” John Asher Johnson, a professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a former student of Marcy’s, wrote in a personal blog post, adding that he was sorry he didn’t speak out sooner against what he called his former professor’s “long con.” Johnson and others have said that Marcy’s behavior was enabled by his standing as the world’s most prominent figure in exoplanetary science, the study of planets beyond the solar system. He’s sometimes mentioned as a possible Nobel laureate, for example. The New York Times last year called him a “finder of new worlds.”
“‘Underground’ networks of women pass information about Geoff to junior scientists in an attempt to keep them safe,” Johnson wrote. “Sometimes it works. Other times it hasn’t, and cognizant members of the community receive additional emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from new victims.”
Some have criticized Berkeley for not reacting more strongly to the complaints.
Joan Schmelz, a professor of astronomy at the University of Memphis and a former chair of the AAS’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, told BuzzFeed, “I’ve seen sexual harassers get slaps on the wrist before. This isn’t even a slap on the wrist.”
The discipline is taking action of its own. David Charbonneau, another professor of astronomy at Harvard, reportedly asked Marcy not to attend the upcoming meeting of the Extreme Solar Systems III conference at the end of November, and to step down from the organizing committee. Marcy reportedly agreed.
Marcy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Berkeley said in a statement, “We consider this to be a very serious matter and the university has taken strong action.”
Some have called for Marcy to voluntarily step down from work involving students. Kevin Gorman, a recent Berkeley graduate and the university’s first Wikipedian-in-residence, for example, wrote in an open letter that he understood doing so might cripple Marcy’s lab. But “I don’t care,” Gorman wrote. “I’m unconvinced that you belong on our campus at all, but you sure as hell don’t belong in any role that involves student contact. Redemption is possible, but redemption takes time, not a blame-shifting apology letter and instant forgiveness.”
Johnson said that even if Marcy is “expunged” from astronomy’s ranks, the discipline still must defeat its broader sexual harassment problem.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Or there’s a new sanction or inquiry into past behavior, such as the U.S. Department of Defense’s suspension of the University of Phoenix’s participation in the federal tuition assistance program last week. For many who work within the for-profit sector, or advocate for consumers who attend for-profit colleges, these investigations, inquiries and sanctions are connected to an interagency task force created to oversee the institutions.
Last year, after receiving support from Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Tom Harkin of Iowa (who has since retired) and several state attorneys general, the Department of Education announced the creation of an interagency task force that would formalize a partnership between federal agencies to oversee for-profit colleges. The senators, along with Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, had already proposed legislation for a new federal oversight committee of for-profit colleges.
The task force, led by Under Secretary Ted Mitchell of the Education Department, was created to build on the existing work already taking place by the department, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Departments of Justice, Treasury and Veterans Affairs. State attorneys generals have also been invited to collaborate with the task force.
“It’s serving the purpose of creating a space where they can talk about cross-cutting issues, technical and legal challenges and information sharing and coordination of issues,” said Maura Dundon, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.
Dundon admits that it’s hard to tell exactly what the task force has been doing, but at the least she’s aware they’ve been exchanging information on the institutions.
“There is a risk that a task force like this can be window dressing and just kind of look like they’re doing something, but I don’t get that sense at all. There are regulators at each of these agencies that care about this issue and they can sit down and multiply their efforts,” Dundon said.
“A lot of the issues we identified were related to other issues outside of the Education Department, like the share of money flowing from the GI Bill to for-profit colleges and how the regulatory 90/10 rule is set up as an incentive for them to go after [GI] money,” Baylor said.
The 90/10 rule prevents for-profits from receiving more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal resources.
“Veterans Administration doesn’t really have an apparatus set up to look at those colleges and figure out if they’re operating properly. When we had those conversations with [the Department of Defense] and VA to set that up, they said they relied on the Education Department. All of these things went to the need for a more concerted effort, governmentwide, to make sure students were treated fairly,” she said.
The FTC has certainly stepped up the work it does in examining how for-profit companies market and advertise their products and so we’re seeing them conduct more in-depth investigations, as well as a lot of work coming out of the CFPB, she said. Most recently Career ED announced in a corporate filing that the FTC was looking into the company’s marketing and advertising practices.
A year ago, when the task force was first announced, many for-profit higher education advocates feared that the agencies were simply getting together to launch regular attacks on the sector. That feeling, for the most part, hasn’t gone away.
“At the end of the day they’re going to have to justify the existence of the task force and that’s through indictments and subpoenas,” said Noah Black, vice president of public affairs for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.
Black said he can’t attribute any of the investigations directly to the task force, but there has certainly been a concerted and ideological effort against the sector.
“If you’re going to convene seven or eight different agencies and tell them to find things, they’re going to find things and issue subpoenas,” he said. “It’s questionable if this is the right and proper use of time and resources.”
The circumstances that took down Corinthian Colleges were different and also more subtle, Dundon said, adding that the Education Department took a huge step in restricting that college’s funds, which led to its toppling. It’s uncertain whether the department would repeat those steps with any of the schools under investigation.
“These students were being ripped off with the help of the federal government and they can’t discharge in bankruptcies,” Dundon said. “It’s distressing. With the foreclosure crisis, you could always walk away from that home. You could foreclose and not be liable. You can never walk away from a student loan.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
The organizers of Campus (Dildo) Carry want you to know they realize some will find their effort silly, but they say they are serious.
Under a new Texas law that takes effect next year for four-year public colleges and in 2017 for community colleges, people will be able to carry guns on campuses. The law was backed by pro-gun groups and conservative politicians, but opposed by many higher education administrators and faculty members. While critics of the law won the right for colleges to create rules that may regulate or limit guns in some parts of campuses, their arguments against guns on campus generally fell on deaf ears.
Could a dildo campaign change minds?
Organizers note that the rules of the University of Texas at Austin appear to bar anyone from carrying on campus any “visual image” that would be associated with obscenity. So the idea is to strap “gigantic swinging dildos to our backpacks in protest of campus carry,” according to a description on the group’s Facebook page.
“The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it does have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class,” adds the explanation. (This is based on a university regulation barring conduct that would violate state law on obscenity.)
Jessica Jin, who graduated from UT last year, said via email that idea came from her outrage over Friday’s shootings at two universities. “I was sitting in traffic yesterday listening to a discussion on public radio about the morning’s school shootings. I felt a lot of frustration at those who were still trying to explain away, or make excuses for, this repeated pattern of violence and said to myself, ‘Man, these people are such dildos.’ I couldn’t believe that people could still sit there and defend their own personal gun ownership while watching families mourn the loss of their children.”
She said she then did some research and discovered that “it is indeed against UT policy to wave dildos around campus,” and that, after that, “I just couldn’t help myself.”
Since word of her campaign spread over the weekend, she has received many outraged email messages from people who support campus carry. But she’s also setting off discussion. Many people are making jokes, of course. Comments on Twitter (where the hashtag for the campaign is #cocksnotglocks) have noted the phallic nature of guns and suggested that the idea of women using sex and sexual images to attack violence goes back to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.
Hundreds have signed up to carry dildos in the protest.
Although the protest is a long ways off, Jin said she believed that the attention is already making a difference and said she hoped it could make people think about ways to keep guns off campus.
The humor is part of why the campaign is working, she said.
“Why dildos, of all things?” Jin said. “Firstly, it is just plain funny. A campus bobbing with dildos is the stuff of every prankster’s dreams. It’s also self-aware. We’re all a bunch of dildos for allowing this debate to go on for so long. Another thing: it spotlights the masturbatory nature of the power which people derive from gun ownership, and the self-aggrandizing ‘I’m one of the good ones, I’ll protect you’ arguments we’re so often expected to simply trust.
“Additionally, the dildo has proven itself to be interesting fodder for commentary on what our society does and does not consider ‘obscene.’ The narratives surrounding sexuality (or just dildos, in this case) and guns are more intertwined than one would expect …. They each have the power to masculate or emasculate at a moment’s notice …. Dildos and guns are in it together for the long haul. What’s the ideal outcome? I need this proliferation of dildos to offer people a visual representation of what it would be like if we all carried guns. It should look ridiculous to you. That is the point.”
The website Concealed Carry has denounced the new campaign. “All jokes aside, self-defense isn’t a laughing matter,” says a new blog post. “I know of a few people who probably wish they were able to defend themselves recently. A dildo likely wouldn’t have helped. Remember: bad guys with guns are the ones to worry about, not the law-abiding who choose to carry a firearm.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
By Paul Darvasi
By Paul Bruno
A California appeals court has ruled, 2-to-1, that public colleges and universities do not have a general legal obligation to protect adult students from violent acts by other students.
The ruling throws out a lawsuit against the University of California by a former student at the University of California at Los Angeles who was stabbed had her throat slashed by a fellow student in a chemistry lab. The suit charged that UCLA didn’t do enough to protect students, even as it learned of the serious mental health issues face by the student who committed the stabbing.
The ruling is based on California and not federal law. But it comes at a time of increased public debate over the responsibilities of colleges to protect students.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
In an age when research teams can run into hundreds or even thousands of people, the idea of an academic double act may seem rather quaint.
But the benefits of finding a long-term research collaborator should not be ignored, according to a study that says those with a scholarly “life partner” enjoy more acclaimed careers.
In an analysis of almost 500 scientific careers, Alexander Michael Petersen, assistant professor at Italy’s IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, found that biologists and physicists with an established research collaborator had their work cited 17 percent more often per publication than those who did not.
The paper, titled “Quantifying the impact of weak, strong and super ties in scientific careers,” published in the journal PNAS Plus, found that most research collaborations in the two disciplines were short-lived, with 60 to 80 percent lasting less than a year.
Of those whose liaisons lasted longer than two years, roughly two-thirds had gone their separate ways within five years, yet 1 percent of repeat collaborators were still working together after 20 years.
Those who buck the high breakup rate to establish “super ties,” exhibiting a relatively high sustained co-authorship with one other academic, enjoyed a “significant positive impact on productivity and citations,” says the report, in which 473 researcher profiles spanned 15,000 career years, 94,000 publications and 166,000 collaborations since 1963.
As research partners improve each other’s performance, institutions should consider recruiting dynamic duos as a pair, rather than focusing on an individual researcher, Petersen suggests.
“These partnerships are valuable and research tends to be of high quality,” he told Times Higher Education. “Most scientists can probably name an outstanding pair within their local research domain, who work with a number of people but remain most definitely a unit,” he added.
But university hiring panels should beware of double acts whose members consistently cite each other’s work largely to improve their metrics — a strategy he described as “freeloading.”
Institutions should also ensure that there is a “healthy balance” in academic partnerships, with parity in first authorship and other duties, such as mentorship and grant writing.
“Neither one should be pulling all the weight,” he said. “That healthy balance in the coupling is also important in the case of a breakup, so that one of the two is not left behind.”
Early-career researchers should also think carefully about how their skill sets and personalities gel with those of potential collaborators, given the importance of finding one’s academic “life partner,” he added.
But those who did so successfully could reap the rewards, attracting talented “apostles” interested in participating in a scholarly relationship defined by trust, commitment and productivity, Petersen said.
“When people are investing in each other, they invest in something bigger than themselves, which often leads to high-quality science,” he said.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
California State University at Sacramento finished a monthlong investigation into a student complaint that a professor denied Native Americans were victims of genocide and tried to kick her out of class, finding that neither the student nor the professor had violated university policy, President Robert Nelsen said this week in an email to students and faculty members.
Nelsen essentially closed the case but encouraged continued discussion about the issues it raised. He also proposed a new genocide studies minor.
“I understand the importance of academic freedom, but I also know that no one at the university wants any of our students to feel that they have not been heard,” he said. “Thoughtful dialogue and sometimes-heated debate are at the heart of any university, but so is compassion. The discussions surrounding this incident provide us with the opportunity to improve what happens in our classrooms and in the lives of our Native American students — indeed, in the lives of all our students …. In that spirit, we must seize this opportunity to encourage respectful discussion of controversial topics in the classroom, even if these discussions may interrupt a planned lecture.”
Nelsen said he’d read various accounts of the incident that took place earlier this semester involving Maury Wiseman, a professor of history, and Chiitaanibah Johnson, an undergraduate who challenged Wiseman’s interpretation of the term “genocide” in relation to Native Americans. Johnson, who is Native American, accused Wiseman of saying that Native Americans were not victims of genocide because genocide implies intention, and most were killed by Europeans’ diseases, not settler or U.S. aggression. Johnson said that when she challenged Wiseman in class, the discussion escalated and he threatened to kick her out of class.
The university has consistently said that Johnson was not kicked out of class, however.
Wiseman, who’s been silent pending the investigation, said via email that Nelsen “did the best he could in a difficult situation.” Wiseman also shared a quotation from the lecture in question, taken from a recording of his class. The lecture pertained to pre-Columbian America and the earliest contact between Native Americans and Europeans in the 1500s.
“Not only were there a diversity of cultures, but there were a large number of people on this continent when Europeans arrived,” Wiseman said. “I don’t like to use the term ‘genocide’ because ‘genocide’ is something that is done on purpose, but needless to say European diseases primarily, European diseases primarily [sic], will wipe out Native American populations in the two continents and hence one of the reasons why later in history many Europeans will imagine that these continents were empty. But we know that as many as 25 million people might have lived in what we call Central America today. Another seven to 10 million people lived in what we call North America today.”
Johnson told The Sacramento Bee that she was disappointed in Nelsen’s response, since it didn’t address how she said Wiseman treated her when she raised difficult questions, or how genocide in relation to Native Americans will be addressed going forward. She said Nelsen’s proposal for a new genocide studies minor — anchored by a genocide studies course in the ethnic studies department — should belong to the history department instead.
“It’s really frustrating when they keep pushing us off on ethnic studies to marginalize us from the mainstream,” she told the paper.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
By Jake New
In the days after his brother committed suicide, Evan Rose sat with his family around their living room table discussing how to move forward from the loss.
Described as a high-achieving student, Stephen Rose graduated from Harvard University in 2006 before earning his master’s degree in psychology at the City College of the City University of New York. In 2014, he jumped to his death from the top of Harvard’s William James Hall. He was 29.
“We’re sitting together as a family in that living room and we’re all thinking, ‘We don’t want any other families to experience the grief we are experiencing,’” Evan Rose said. “This was something that affected us very deeply. We decided we wanted to increase the conversation around this issue, and add expert thought leadership to a space where it’s really lacking.”
So, with Rose as its president, the family created the Steve Fund, a project they describe as the country’s first organization devoted to “improving the support for the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.”
While Stephen Rose graduated before his death, the family decided to focus on college students, as research shows college-aged people and “emerging adults” are especially at risk for depression and suicide. Students of color face a higher prevalence of depression, according to several studies, and they’re less likely to seek counseling or psychological services than are white students.
College counseling directors are aware of the problem, with more than half of respondents to the Association for University and College Counseling Directors’ annual survey saying black and Latino students are “underserved.”
There’s little research, Rose said, on how to actually better serve those students.
After more than a year of study and preparation, the organization is now rolling out a series of projects and partnerships designed to help students of color who are experiencing mental health issues. The goal, the Rose family said, is to “build knowledge” by hosting conventions, webinars and symposiums, and by facilitating “large-scale” research on mental health issues among students of color.
The Steve Fund is partnering with the Jed Foundation, an organization that works with colleges to prevent campus suicides, to create a joint program called the Steve Fund and Jed Foundation Partnership for Mental Health of Students of Color. The two organizations will work together to create educational campaigns designed to “develop mental health literacy among students of color,” Rose said, as well as to develop a list of recommendations for colleges to use when trying to support the mental well-being of those students.
Victor Schwartz, medical director at the Jed Foundation, said the two organizations will spend the next six months or so developing the recommendations.
“We’re going to be looking at what kinds of interventions at schools have been successful,” Schwarz said. “We’re trying to gather what’s out there. What have schools done so far that’s working? Where are there gaps in programming? What should schools be doing?”
Schwartz said there’s a pronounced “lack of comfort” for many minority students when it comes to seeking help for mental health issues. Part of the partnership will be focused on finding ways of encouraging more students of color to engage with college psychological services.
“There is hesitancy to getting help,” Schwartz said. “This comes from a number of directions. There’s a sense of being on the outside and not feeling a part of a campus. There’s also a lack of comfort in admitting that you’re having a hard time when you might be a first-generation student, which many students of color are. You’re looked at back home as the ‘successful one,’ so it can be difficult. There’s the concern that by admitting that you’re struggling, your family will be disappointed.”
Later this fall, the Steve Fund will also launch a text messaging service that will provide crisis counseling to students of color through a partnership with a nonprofit called Crisis Text Line, a network of trained volunteers who counsel emotionally distressed people through text message conversations.
The organization is working with Crisis Text Line to recruit and train a group of college-aged people of color who will be connected to students using a specific keyword. The texting hotline will be open for use 24 hours every day.
In November, the Steve Fund will co-sponsor a conference at Stanford University, to be called “Young, Gifted and @ Risk.”
“We’re looking for ways that colleges can be supportive of these communities,” Rose said. “Because that support is currently not really there.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed