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.
Robert Morris U Launches a Textbook Reserve to Help Students
The university debuted a textbook reserve program in the fall of 2012 after a student-led survey revealed that 14 percent of students surveyed knew at least one student who dropped out of school because they could not afford to purchase textbooks. The university spent approximately $10,500 to purchase 170 textbooks for the most in-demand courses on campus and place them on reserve in the library for student use. More than 850 students have made use of the reserve program, saving an estimated $300 each semester.
Supreme Court Takes New Case on Affirmative Action
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a second case involving affirmative action in higher education. In October, the justices heard arguments in a case dealing with the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions program. This one, from Michigan, tests whether voters, by referendum, can bar affirmative action programs in higher education.
National Hispanic U Partnership to Expand Access to Higher Ed
(U.S.): The university and StraighterLine have announced an agreement that will enable students to transfer American Council on Education courses for credit at the university. The transfer agreement is part of the university’s mission to support greater access to higher education.
Colorado Approves In-State Tuition for Immigrant Students
The governor of Colorado is expected to sign into law a bill, passed by the state’s House of Representatives, that would allow students who entered the United States illegally to pay in-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges. Currently, these students must pay the higher rate for nonresidents.
College Presidents Urge Colleagues to Push for Immigration Reform
The presidents of Cornell University, Arizona State University, and Miami Dade College have sent a letter to more than 1,200 of their colleagues, urging them to join an effort to reform immigration laws that limit colleges’ ability to educate and to innovate. Particularly in the STEM fields, American colleges “train many of the brightest minds of the world,” they write, “only to have those students sent abroad to compete against us because our immigration laws do not provide a viable path for them to stay.” In their letter, the three leaders call attention to the plight of foreign-born students who “arrived in our country as children but are prevented from attending college because of their undocumented status.” By denying such young people access to higher education, they write, “we deny our country the talent we very much need.”
Emory U Releases Report to Help Build Inclusive Community
A Campus Life committee has released the “Campus Life Compact for Building an Inclusive Community at Emory," a student-driven report that outlines a framework and a strategic plan that is designed to guide campus dialogue around issues of social justice.. The report consists of a comprehensive list of recommendations that focus on the need to improve inclusion and address issues of diversity within the campus community.
Indiana Passes Bill to Promote Transfer of CC Credits
The Indiana Senate has passed a bill that will make it easier for students to transfer to four-year universities or colleges and keep all the credits they’ve earned through an associate’s degree. The bill requires that the state’s four-year schools accept an associate’s degree from another state school as two years worth of classes – as long as student majors will be in related fields.
Northwestern U Council Proposes Diversity Requirement
Following six months of collaboration between administrators, students and faculty members, the Diversity Council has formulated a proposal for a university-wide diversity requirement for undergraduate students. The Social Inequalities and Diversities requirement, recommended for implementation in fall 2015, would include an academic curricular component and a discussion-based activity completed outside the classroom.
Purdue U Institutes Two Year Tuition Freeze
In an effort to make education more affordable and accessible, the university has announced that it will institute a two-year freeze on tuition and most fees at the West Lafayette campus. “In this period of national economic stagnation, it’s time for us to hit the pause button on tuition increases. Our students and their families deserve a high-value education that they can afford,” said President Mitch Daniels.
French Universities Sign Gender Equality Charter
(France): French government ministers and organizations representing 300 higher education institutions signed the Charter for Equality of Women and Men. Gender parity in university governance, teaching and training on gender equality for students and university personnel, and promoting research into gender are among the ratified measures.
Indian Institutes of Management Push Gender Diversity on Campus
(India): The Indian Institutes of Management at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Calcutta have begun an initiative to increase gender diversity on campus. The number of women accepted into the admission process has increased from 15.9 percent to nearly 25 percent since 2012. Incentives for female candidates have also been created including awarding them points in the admission process.