South African Academe Promotes Equity Index
(South Africa): In an effort to spur progress toward an academe that reflects South Africa's ethnic mix, the University of KwaZulu-Natal has developed and introduced an "equity index" that tracks how closely student, staff, senate and governing council bodies reflect the country’s ethnic and gender make-up. Controversially, the data allow institutions to be ranked by how similar they are to the South African population as a whole.
Catawba College Hosts Diversity Conversations
The campus' Diversity Club hosted a week of activities focused on appreciating differences. Events included exhibitions, a "race kiosk," varied ethnic food offerings and a documentary.
Department of Education Solicits College Affordability Feedback
President Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Education to develop and publish a new college ratings system that would be available for students and families before the 2015-16 school year. The ratings system will help students compare the value offered by colleges and encourage colleges to improve. As part of an effort to gather public input about the development of the system, the Education Department has the last of four open forums on Nov. 21 at Louisiana State University. Transcripts of the forums are available. To submit input, email email@example.com.
Bucks County CC Holds Diversity Discussion
Spurred by the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case, the Interactive Conference on Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Understanding brought the campus community together in a moderated discussion around issues facing minorities and how to find harmony among diverse groups.
Excelencia in Education Observes Schools for Latino Successes
Excelencia in Education recently recognized Cañada College, University of Texas at Brownville, Pan American and Austin, Esparanza College of Eastern University, Rio Hondo College, Del Mar College, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and Grayson College for their efforts in helping Latino students to succeed academically.
Vancouver Island U Appoints First Elder-in-Residence
The first full-time elder, Geraldine Manson, will provide support and guidance to aboriginal and non-aboriginal students and share traditional practices and knowledge within the curriculum of the Faculty of Health and Human Services.
Northern Illinois U Hosts First Diversity Festival
After faculty members attended a diversity conference, the university's Latino Student Alliance group hosted the inaugural Unity Conference and Celebration that focused on celebrating the differences within its diverse student body.
Adrian College Announces New Loan Repayment Plan
The new plan to be rolled out in fall of 2014, AdrianPlus, is a loan repayment assistance initiative that offers to pay all or part of its students' loans if they are unable to secure a well paying job post graduation.
Rutgers U Approves Gender-Neutral Lyrics to Alma Mater
A decades-long debate ended this semester when the university song was changed from "My father sent me to old Rutgers/ And resolv'd that I should be a man” to "From far and near we came to Rutgers/ And resolved to learn all that we can." This change more accurately reflects the 65,000-student college where nearly half are female.
St. Mary's College of Maryland Institutes Gender-Neutral Housing
Inaugurated this fall, students of the college are given the freedom to choose their roommates independent of gender, sex, sexual identity or sexual orientation. "Open housing" was employed to respond to the needs of students who do not identify with traditional gender norms, and to provide options for all students who feel that they would have a more positive shared-living experience with a roommate of the opposite sex or gender.
Kansas State U Students Revive African-American Newspaper
(U.S.): Originally a paper by the Black Student Union in the 1970s, Uhuru, meaning "freedom" in Swahili, now has a new generation of interested students that have renewed it as a section of the student newspaper under the name Uhuru Kauli, Kauli meaning "opinion" or "speech.' This section will work with underrepresented student groups and multicultural organizations.
Princeton U Seeks to Diversify Students, Faculty, Administration
(U.S.): After a recent 19-member group found that the university’s graduate program population, faculty and top administration lacks diversity, the president and board of trustees recently signed recommendations from the diversity group including interdepartmental autonomy for creating diversity in their ranks, additional resources and accountability through monitoring.
Cuyamaca College Begins ‘The Diversity Dialogues’
Encouraging students to embrace diversity at a school with a large Iraqi refugee population, the semester long workshop series is designed to give students a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures, construct environments that foster cultural learning, and to apply principles of cultural competency to personal, professional or academic life.
Northern State U Unveils New International Sculpture Garden
Combining the university’s international education mission and its passion for the arts, the new space will display five sculptures by Vietnamese artist Tuan Nguyen, made possible by Picture Art Foundation, and other sculptures by regional and national artists.
Obama Explains the New College Affordability Legislation
On the recent bus tour in New York and Pennsylvania, the president says the new plan intends to rate colleges based on outcomes, initiate competition between schools to lower the graduation rate, and help more students participate in the pay as you earn loan repayment program. Schools he visited include University of Buffalo, Binghamton University and Lackawanna College.
Boston U Approves Gender Neutral Campus Housing
(U.S.): In an effort to empower students, the university’s president has recently approved a University Council recommendation to allow two or more students to share a bedroom, suite, or apartment without regard to gender.
Campus Pride Names Top LGBT Friendly Schools
(U.S.): The annual listing of the Top 25-LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities was compiled from data gathered from the Campus Pride Index, free of charge for any institution to participate. They are Case Western Reserve University; Connecticut College; Ithaca College; Carleton College; Macalester College; Oberlin College; Portland State University; Princeton University; Rutgers University; Southern Oregon University; Stanford University; The Ohio State University; University of California, Riverside; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Illinois, Chicago; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Michigan; University of Minnesota, Duluth; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania; University of Southern California; University of Washington; and Washington State University.
U South Pacific Uses IT Tools to Bolster Inclusion
(Fiji): The university’s new Disability Inclusiveness Policy allows for actively engaging Information Communication Technology as a pedagogical tool for students with special needs to bolster academic success.
President Obama Signs Student Affordability Legislation
As students prepare for the fall semester, Obama has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, a new law governing federal loan rates for students and parents. The rates will now move with the financial markets, which means lower rates for the coming school year. Rates lock in for the lifetime of the loan.
Female Adjunct Faculty Unionize for Better Pay
Part-time faculty workers are beginning to organize for better pay and working conditions, reports a recent article in The Nation. A Coalition on the Academic Workforce analysis has found that the pay for adjunct faculty averages $21,600 while tenure-track positions average $66,000 a year. As women make up 61 percent of the adjunct faculty workforce, according to a recent Coalition on the Academic Workforce survey, the movement is largely female-led.
U Colorado Boulder Takes Sustainability Certificate National
The university's sustainability training and non-credit certificate program is now entirely online and available to participants across the nation. Ranging from organizational change to zero waste, the curriculum is designed to help professionals meet the growing need for “green” skills and credentials in the public and private work sectors.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Names Diversity Vice Chancellor
Karen Dace, who most recently served as deputy chancellor in the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will become the university's next vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion effective September 3. In her role, Dace will oversee the Multicultural Success Center and Adaptive Educational Services, as well as facilitate the institutionalization of structures that advance equity and diversity on campus.
Oregon Lawmakers Roll Out 'Pay it Forward, Pay it Back' Plan
The Oregon state legislature has unanimously approved a plan to provide free tuition to those students attending a community college or public university. In return, students will pay back the state with a percentage of their incomes after graduation. The state's Higher Education Coordinating Commission will develop a pilot program and lawmakers will decide whether to implement the program in 2015.
San Diego State Holds Rainbow Flag-Raising Ceremony
To show its support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities on campus, the university recently held its fourth annual Rainbow Flag-Raising Ceremony. The university offers a minor in LGBT studies and has announced plans for a new LGBT studies major next spring.
Student Loan Rates Double
With no action by Congress to prevent the increase on July 1, the interest rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates has doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Congress may act later this month to reverse the increase.
U Mississippi Turns Racial Incident into Teachable Moment
After a Mitt Romney rally led by University of Mississippi students last November turned racial, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs Donald Cole recently turned the incident into a teaching moment. Cole, who himself experienced discrimination as a student at the university, addressed the emotions and concerns surrounding the rally head on with this fall's 120 incoming freshmen and their parents. "The idea again is that learned men show their differences by rhetoric, show their differences by persuasive arguments," the NPR story quotes Cole saying during his speech. "Learned men don't fight."
A Guide to the Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action
In Fisher v. University of Texas, the justices sent an affirmative action case concerning the university’s program to achieve racial diversity back to the lower courts for further consideration under a tougher standard of review. The New York Times breaks down the opinion of the court here.
SUNY Fredonia Names Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. William A. Boerner, Ed.D., former assistant director of Housing and Residence Education at Morehead State University, will collaborate with faculty, staff and students to build consensus on diversity-related efforts, and develop programs that promote recruitment, retention and equitable treatment of a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff.
U Washington Approves Diversity Graduation Requirement
The student-led effort will require all undergraduates to complete three credits of coursework that focus on the sociocultural, political and economic diversity of human experience at local, regional or global scales.
Strayer U Announces 'Graduation Fund,' Tuition Freeze
For every three classes a new student successfully completes, the university will place a tuition award in their Graduation Fund to cover the cost of one future class. The university has also announced a tuition freeze for currently enrolled students, and no tuition increases for 2014.
U California Santa Barbara Students Address Diversity, Safety
The Associated Students Office of the President recently held a town hall meeting to address diversity, representation and marginalization in the campus community. The "Raise Your Voice!" event provided an open forum for students to address university administration about university-wide policies regarding issues of sexual violence, and retention and recruitment aimed at promoting diversity.
Winona State U Student Initiates Campus Diversity Center
Spearheaded by graduating senior Jake Hite, the KEAP (Knowledge, Empowerment, Advocacy and Pluralism) Diversity Center for students, faculty and staff will help address issues surrounding diverse populations in the campus community.
3 Canadian Universities Partner for Global Education Initiative
(Canada): McGill University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto have partnered with the MasterCard Foundation to educate African students. Over the next 10 years, the foundation will provide the universities with $25 million each to pay for students’ tuition and living expenses, and create internship opportunities in Africa.
U Michigan Diversity Resolution Passes Assembly
The Senate Assembly voted to approve a resolution that would increase efforts to promote inclusivity. The goals of the four-part resolution include reassessment of the strategies used to increase diversity, adoption of active, intentional, creative and ongoing efforts to improve diversity, assurance that diversity efforts are woven into the university’s fabric, and publicly asserting the goal of improving diversity on all three university campuses.
Obama’s Proposed Budget Aims to Increase College Affordability
President Obama’s proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year includes several measures to increase student financial aid and college affordability. The budget calls for market-based student loan rates that would stay fixed for the loan's lifetime. The plan also includes a “Pay as You Go” measure, allowing students to pay no more than 10 percent of their discretionary income. Moreover, any outstanding debt after 20 years of payment would be forgiven.
Aspen Prize Honors Two Community Colleges
The Aspen Institute has awarded this year’s Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence to Santa Barbara City College and Walla Walla Community College. The Aspen Prize was designed to recognize community colleges with strong records of preparing students for jobs or transfer to four-year colleges, as well as attracting and graduating low-income and minority students.