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The University of Wisconsin at Madison is the largest and best known of Wisconsin's 13 public universities, but over the past decade it has earned a reputation among some Wisconsinites for being expensive, liberal and hard to get into. The Wisconsin Alumni Association, equipped with a refurbished dairy van and gallons of ice cream, is trying to change that.

UW Madison “is a dream school for many people, but some folks don’t think it’s attainable,” said Tod Pritchard, director of media and communications for the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “But it’s incredibly attainable, and that’s a big myth that we’re trying to bust.”

The #GetTheScoop tour is traveling to local events throughout the state to challenge common accessibility and affordability assumptions about UW Madison. Volunteers from the alumni association staff the truck, occasionally joined by others from the university.

"What I end up doing is talking to people a lot," Pritchard said. "We generally have it set up where the truck is scooping out ice cream, and next to the truck we have a tent set up, and that’s where we do our myth busting. [We ask about] five facts, and you have to determine which are true and which are not true."

One of those myths is that in-state students have a harder time getting admitted to the university than out-of-state students. The UW Foundation polled 648 Wisconsin adults and found that 39 percent believe that less than half of the students who apply are accepted, and 22 percent believe that only a quarter are accepted. In reality, two-thirds of in-state applicants are admitted, which is higher than the university's general acceptance rate of 53.8 percent.

Affordability was also on the minds of aspiring Badgers and their families. Tuition and fees for the 2017-18 academic year was $10,534 -- higher than at any other Wisconsin university, but far less than out-of-state costs for other Big 10 schools, which charge anywhere from $25,000 to $52,000 per year. In an effort to make sure the university is affordable, UW Madison in February announced its Bucky’s Tuition Promise program, which guarantees free tuition to any admitted student whose family earns less than $56,000.

"Sometimes students don’t apply because they think they won’t get in, or they think they won’t be able to afford it," Pritchard said.

These concerns and misperceptions are not at all new. Katherine Cramer, a political science professor at Madison, wrote a paper in 2012 detailing the statewide disconnect between the university and the public. Two of her major findings centered around accessibility and affordability.

"People were concerned with admissions," Cramer wrote. "They worried that admissions policies favored out-of-state and international students at the expense of in-state students. Many groups told stories of an excellent student in their community who had recently been denied admission."

Cramer's interviewees were also concerned with the faculty.

"In short, the people I talked with often remarked that faculty are 'lazy,' 'liberal' and 'elitist,'" Cramer wrote, and added that some are concerned that faculty would "indoctrinate" students with their liberal views and that faculty are inattentive to the concerns of ordinary citizens.

Kurt Squire, a former UW Madison professor who now teaches at the University of California, Irvine, thinks that the political and economic climate of the state has allowed the town-gown divide to grow.

"There’s been a really strong effort by right-wing think tanks to create a division between universities and the public," Squire said. "The animosity is really clear -- there are members of the state Legislature that have it out for the university and they don’t really hide it.”

Squire hopes the divide will shrink as time passes and leadership changes in local government and at the university.

"It will probably change in five or 10 years as things shift and as new leadership comes in," Squire said. "The effects of the changing economy will be more clear to people in Wisconsin. There’s a naive belief that we could return to the economic conditions of 20 or 25 years ago without the underlying conditions that you need, like unions, for example."

His take falls in line with Cramer's findings from six years ago, but his evidence is mostly anecdotal, gathered from time spent chatting with people at county fairs, supper clubs and fish fries. Those types of local gatherings are exactly the target for #GetTheScoop.

"We’d like it to be at locations where people really have the time to chat with us about the university and bust some of these myths," Pritchard said. "Sometimes at those big events it’s so hustle and bustle, everyone’s rushing around and you don’t have time to talk with folks.”

The group has served 1,953 scoops of ice cream so far and plans to make 35 more stops before UW Madison’s homecoming in October. The dairy truck was refurbished for the Thank You 72 project, an effort to travel to all 72 counties of Wisconsin and thank them for sending their “best and brightest” to Madison.

“It was a mess, it was really a shell of a truck” when they found it in Canada, Pritchard said. “We thought it would be kind of cool to have not just a standard truck-looking thing. We wanted to have something that generated interest and was kind of a throwback to days gone by.”

But the real homage to UW Madison is the Babcock ice cream being scooped. Produced in the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, an integral part of the university's food science program, the ice cream has been a staple for many Madison students and state residents.

“It’s our chance to bring a little bit of Wisconsin Madison to all of these different places. It’s fun to see people’s eyes light up when they see Babcock ice cream,” Pritchard said. “I have alumni come up to me and say, ‘This reminds me so much of when I went to school there; this is my favorite memory, or this is what I used to do.’”

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Humboldt State University will discontinue its football program after the 2018 season to help trim its deficit, the university announced on its website. Humboldt, one of 23 campuses in the California State University System, said on Wednesday that the move is part of an effort to cut spending by $9 million and balance its budget by the 2020-21 academic year.

President Lisa Rossbacher said that despite a “tremendous” private fund-raising effort that brought in $329,000, the university decided that football “cannot be sustained through student fees and community giving.” That effort sought to raise $500,000.

At the same time, she said, the university “cannot continue to subsidize budget deficits in athletics without threatening our academic programs.”

Rossbacher said football is the university's most expensive athletic program, costing about $1 million annually. Overall, its athletics department last year ran a $750,000 deficit, up from $250,000 three years ago. Also, the university said, to remain eligible for NCAA Division II competition, it must maintain 10 sports, but football “is not included on that list.”

The decision leaves just one California college with an NCAA Division II football program: Azusa Pacific University, a private evangelical university northeast of Los Angeles.

Cal State said just five of its campuses now support football programs -- and all of the campuses are considerably larger than Humboldt State. Four other campuses eliminated their football programs in the mid-1990s.

Humboldt State said it will honor scholarships for eligible football players through the 2018-19 academic year. Coaches and staff will also help players contact other programs, the university said. At the end of the season, players will get a “full release,” allowing them to play elsewhere.

Players are also being offered academic and financial advising, with access to tutoring and other support services for as long as they are Humboldt students.

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In 2016, Christopher B. Howard took a relatively uncommon career leap, leaving the presidency at an old-guard liberal arts college -- the all-male Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia -- to lead the career-oriented Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh.

He’s one of a noteworthy handful of presidents to have eschewed the well-worn career ladder in which the president of a liberal arts college climbs to the next rung of prestige by taking the presidency at a better-resourced liberal arts college or a research-focused university. Members of this new group of leaders often say they are seeking fresh challenges and attempting to serve new generations of students that tend to be more diverse, less wealthy and more focused on jobs than those attending college in the past.

They continue to pledge loyalty to their liberal arts backgrounds but add their own unique spin, aligning with their new homes at career-oriented institutions -- and, often, with their own personal histories. Howard, for example, is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard M.B.A. He uses his experience to caution against assuming every leadership technique that works at a liberal arts institution will translate elsewhere.

“I used to fly airplanes, and I flew helicopters,” he said. “You can do some things in a helicopter that, if you do in an airplane, can get you killed. It’s called ‘negative transfer’ in the flying world. You want to be careful.”

Cultures at colleges and universities can be difficult to navigate. Howard described them as “viscous and thick.” Yet the right president can find the right fit by making the move from a traditional liberal arts college to an institution focusing more on giving students direct pathways to jobs. Howard calls Robert Morris a “Goldilocks school” that’s big enough to matter yet small enough to care about its students. It’s an institution that respects the liberal arts but is still focused on professional education, he said.

Presidents like Howard don’t downplay differences between the liberal arts colleges they left and the complex, professionally oriented institutions where they landed. While the liberal arts colleges often have large endowments and a long history of raising money from alumni, these presidents’ new institutions tend to draw more of their revenue from enrollment. Liberal arts colleges are often in remote or small-town locations, and presidents leaving them frequently move to more urban areas. And where liberal arts college boards are frequently made up almost entirely of alumni, presidents say career-oriented institutions typically have more diversity in trustees’ backgrounds.

In many ways, the executive pipeline leading from liberal arts colleges to professionally oriented institutions reflects trends reshaping the college presidency and higher education. Pathways to the presidency have grown unsettled over time, and higher education is grappling with the best way to serve student groups who traditionally have not attended rural four-year colleges offering diplomas that don’t present a crystal-clear, immediate pathway to a job.

“I didn’t know that I was part of a trend,” said Laura Skandera Trombley, a former president of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who this month started as president of the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. “I had been recruited many times over for various liberal arts college presidential positions, but I wanted to do something that was a little bit larger and also different.”

Starting With Students

​Trombley is a noted Mark Twain scholar who was president of Pitzer for 13 years ending in 2015. She then became president at Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens before moving to the University of Bridgeport this year. When she decided on her next college presidency, she thought about the experiences shared by the current generation of students.

Today’s students have lived through the Great Recession and often have a sense of an unstable world, Trombley said. As a result, they feel a great deal of pressure to decide what they want to do in their careers. They’ve grown up with unprecedented levels of connectivity through technology yet still hunger for a human touch.

Trombley found herself attracted to Bridgeport because of deep connections between the university and the city. Bridgeport has many first-generation students who, along with their parents, want to know what return they will get on the money they invest in education, she said. The university supports students as they seek careers.

It is in the right spot, Trombley said. Bridgeport is located close enough to both Boston and New York City to provide access to internships in both locations, as well as in its home city.

At the same time, Bridgeport is still a great place for the liberal arts, Trombley said. Its undergraduate programs have a liberal arts core, plus it has graduate and professional programs.

“What makes Bridgeport different is it has always been a university that has connected education with careers,” Trombley said. “This is part of our DNA.”

Marvin Krislov made many of the same points last year when he decided to move from Oberlin College in Ohio to Pace University in New York City and nearby Westchester County. At the time, he said higher education was changing and emphasized Pace as a place that has long helped first-generation students. He hit those same themes in a recent interview, saying Pace is trying to elevate students into good first jobs that offer plenty of potential growth.

A Self-Conscious Step

​Krislov acknowledged thinking that the Oberlin-to-Pace transition was not a typical move. He felt self-conscious about that fact when he was considering it.

“With Pace, it was not necessarily in my professional and social circle,” he said. “I think that it was a decision to do something when I met the students and really learned about the mission. It was a decision to do something that I thought made a difference in the lives of others and I was not going to focus, necessarily, on how certain people might view that choice.”

Krislov pointed out that he has “probably zigged and zagged” in his career more than many college presidents. Before leading Oberlin, he was vice president and general counsel at the University of Michigan, leading the university’s successful legal defense of affirmative action in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also spent time in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Labor, and in President Clinton’s administration in the Office of the Counsel to the President.

Howard, at Robert Morris, picked up on the same theme of taking an alternative career path even before jumping from liberal arts college to career-oriented institution. He emphasized his own “eclectic” background and the ways he has often walked the line between the liberal arts and other types of institutions.

Before becoming Hampden-Sydney president, Howard was vice president of the University of Oklahoma and directed its honors college leadership center. He also spent time at several large companies.

While at the Air Force Academy -- which is ranked as a top liberal arts institution -- Howard was always thinking about his profession as it related to his education, he said. Later, at Oklahoma, Howard enjoyed working in the honors college, which he called a proxy within a university for a liberal arts institution. So he made a deliberate decision to become president of a liberal arts college where he could find a small, intimate learning environment. While at Hampden-Sydney, he worked to stay true to liberal arts roots while examining alumni careers and coordinating with the career services office in order to help students think about their futures after college.

Because he didn’t rise through the ranks of academia, Howard would qualify as a nontraditional president under many definitions. That has probably made it easier for him to take a nontraditional career path after becoming a college president, he said.

“I have moved 13 times,” he said. “My wife and my kids, we’ve been in many different parts of civil society, and the ability to see yourself in a different place and space is not as far-fetched with my background.”

Of course, traditional presidents can also make unexpected career moves. College presidents in general are changing jobs more and staying at one institution for shorter periods of time than in the past, research has found. It may only be natural that they would try different types of institutions.

“After 13 years as a liberal arts college president, I was ready to do it,” Trombley said. “This is just a more complicated puzzle, and that, to me, is extremely attractive.”

Liberal arts institutions fall into a category of college in which leaders are less likely to have past experience as a college president or university chancellor, according to data in the latest edition of the American College President study form the American Council on Education, which was released in June 2017. Presidents at more complex institutions are more likely to have been presidents in their immediate prior positions.

Only 15.7 percent of presidents at private not-for-profit bachelor’s-level institutions had experience as a higher ed CEO, the study found. That was less than half as many presidents as had such experience at public bachelor’s-level institutions, which was 32.3 percent. It was also lower than the portion of presidents with higher ed CEO experience at both public and private master’s and doctorate-granting institutions, which ranged from about 21 percent to 28 percent.

The American College President study went on to note the pressures mounting on higher education: flattening enrollment, diversifying student bodies, funding volatility, technological change and political upheaval. Presidents must be able to guide institutions through innovation, it found: “Externally, degrees and jobs are quickly becoming the way in which consumers and investors evaluate the performance of colleges and universities, a perspective that is still anathema to many campus stakeholders,” the report said. “Balancing these conflicting views requires of presidents the ability to soothe tensions, guide culture and process change, and communicate value, all while making their campus more cost-effective.”

Addressing Challenges and Change

With all of the challenges higher education faces, some presidents think career-oriented institutions are in the right place at the right time.

“In this day and age, the way that the technology is changing and the needs of people going into careers are changing, you need to have a modicum of flexibility as an institution,” Howard said. “We at Robert Morris are pretty good at that. Some institutions are just a little bit more comfortable with more change.”

It’s also clear that elite liberal arts colleges come with their own unique challenges for presidents to tackle, however. Those challenges can take their toll over time.

Privately, some presidents will say it can be difficult to smooth tensions and implement change at liberal arts institutions that have long, storied histories. There is simply a different mind-set among faculty members and students on a remote campus versus those who live in large urban areas, they say. Liberal arts colleges whose boards are stacked with alumni also tend to be more focused on how things were in the past than how they could be in the future.

Take, for instance, difficulties encountered by Krislov and Trombley. Neither president rehashed these cases in recent interviews, but they are well documented nonetheless.

Trombley was recognized for attracting students to Pitzer and for her fund-raising prowess. Yet the faculty at Pitzer voted no confidence in her as she was about to step down amid tensions over shared governance and whether the dean of the faculty’s contract should be renewed. Krislov went through controversies at Oberlin when he said no to demands from black students, when a professor’s anti-Semitic remarks on social media captured attention and when Oberlin made buyout offers with a nondisparagement clause.

“In some ways, the more elite the independent college, the more complex and individually not sustainable the leadership appointments are, because the stakeholders are just really tough,” said Kenneth Kring, co-managing director of the global education practice at the consulting and search firm Korn Ferry.

Many presidents may still continue to love leading liberal arts colleges, of course. And those who decide to try moving to a career-oriented institution would be wise to remember that challenges won’t disappear with the change. They might just be different.

“There are concerns around who is the student and can I be successful providing both inputs that are familiar to me but also achieving some of the output standards,” Kring said. Presidents often see the opportunity to make a difference in areas like student persistence, job placement and even college rankings, he said.

Kring cautioned that it’s difficult to draw widespread conclusions because each individual president will have his or her own reasons for making a career move -- and every campus will have its own leadership needs.

Take, for instance, the case of Rebecca Chopp, who became chancellor at the University of Denver in 2014. She’d been president at the wealthier Swarthmore College and spent her career at established institutions on the East Coast. But she found herself attracted to Denver.

“I have always been downright infatuated with Denver and Colorado,” she said. “There is physical beauty and a culture of openness and ‘We can do it, let’s build together’ that is very refreshing.”

The university also has a long history of having half of its students in the undergraduate liberal arts and half in professional schools, adding a sense that both the practical and liberal arts sides are valuable. It went through financial troubles in the mid-1980s, then experienced a renaissance, Chopp said. Consequently, its board, faculty, staff and even the surrounding city are equipped to deal with changes rocking higher education.

Still, the private university lacks the endowment size and fund-raising tradition of a Swarthmore College. That means a different approach to budgeting and an opportunity to build up a fund-raising infrastructure.

Moving on from a liberal arts college to a larger institution required an increased willingness to delegate and work with teams, Chopp said. Scale and complexity bring challenges requiring a different set of leadership tools.

“What I loved about the liberal arts colleges is I would know the name of almost every senior who walked across the stage,” Chopp said. “I knew the names of the kids and sometimes the grandkids of many of the faculty or deans.”

Knowing everyone’s name simply isn’t possible at the University of Denver, which counted 5,765 undergraduates and 5,669 graduate students enrolled in the fall of 2017.

Chopp recommends any president changing jobs focus on learning the culture of the new institution.

“It has underscored for me how vastly different institutions are in their infrastructures, their missions,” Chopp said. “When I talk to people who are changing jobs -- provosts becoming presidents or something like that -- I always say the most profound thing you have to know is every culture is different and you have to really, really, really learn the culture.”

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Washington Senator Patty Murray and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, both Democrats, asked the IRS and Treasury Department in a letter this week to clarify that student loan relief issued to former Corinthian Colleges students should not be taxed.

The Department of Education has issued loan forgiveness to thousands of borrowers who attended the now defunct for-profit college chain. An additional settlement between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Aequitas Capital Management cleared the private student loan debt of former Corinthian students.

But data from CFPB showed 47,000 Corinthian borrowers in tax year 2017 received 1099-C forms, which are required to report canceled debt as taxable income.

"Students should not be stuck with a tax bill when predatory for-profit colleges and corporations provide false or misleading information that leaves their borrowers with high levels of debt, poor job prospects, useless degrees and credentials, and in many cases, no degree at all," Murray and Wyden wrote. "And, Treasury and IRS should seek to avoid imposing substantial and unnecessary costs on taxpayers through case-by-case adjudication."

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China could overtake the United States on a key measure of research quality by the mid-2020s, with potentially major implications for worldwide academic collaboration, a new analysis suggests.

The analysis of trends in the Scopus database of scholarly research indicates that China’s rapidly improving performance on overall citation impact might see it match the U.S. in as little as seven or eight years.

Across almost a dozen subject areas, including computer science and engineering, China already produces more papers indexed in Scopus than the U.S. and is set to bypass its rival world power on overall research output by 2022 if today’s growth rate continues.

M’hamed el Aisati, vice president for funding, content and analytics at Elsevier, which owns Scopus, examined the recent trend in field-weighted citation impact, which accounts for differences in citation rates between disciplines and years, to estimate when China might catch the U.S.

China’s FWCI (field-weighted citation impact) has risen from 0.78 in 2012 to a position just below the world average of 1 in 2017; in the same period, the U.S. has drifted down from 1.47 to 1.34. If these trends continue, the countries’ FWCIs could cross over by 2025, el Aisati said.

El Aisati added that numerous factors could “accelerate or delay the crossing point” between the countries, including the performance of other emerging nations such as India and the future mobility of researchers. In his view, it was more likely that such factors would push back the date when China caught up.

He said that it was also important to note that some research might still be underrepresented in Scopus -- despite its being the largest abstract and indexing database worldwide -- such as social sciences and arts and humanities studies typically published in local languages.

Questions have also been raised in the past about whether citation rates adequately reflect China’s rate of improvement on quality given fears that the country is plagued by academic fraud, such as abuse of the peer-review process or misuse of visiting professorships.

However, suggestions of a rapid improvement in research quality are backed up by other data.

A report published in January by the U.S. National Science Board, which advises Congress and the White House on science policy, included a graph based on Scopus data showing that the share of China’s science and engineering research making the top 1 percent of cited articles had more than doubled from 2000 to 2014.

Also, the most recent release of the Nature Index, which analyzes research published in 82 high-quality natural science journals, revealed that China’s share of authorship had jumped by 13 percent in just one year as Western nations fell back.

El Aisati said that it was entirely possible that countries in Europe and elsewhere could end up using China as the benchmark for quality in some fields. This could lead to Chinese researchers increasingly becoming the first choice for cross-border collaboration between academics in some nations.

“The U.S. will remain a comparator for many countries, but it will become a challenge to sustain its leading position as it has it today,” el Aisati said.

Marijk van der Wende, distinguished professor of higher education at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said that the National Science Board report was “full of comments on China” and how it was “really becoming a serious scientific power in the world,” demonstrating that the U.S. was acutely aware that its position was being seriously challenged.

She added that countries such as the U.S. and Britain that were turning inward politically should also be aware that many Asian nations -- and the European Union -- were increasing collaboration with China, stimulated by its Belt and Road initiative to improve connectivity across Asia and Europe.

Van der Wende, who is leading a major international project on China’s impact for global higher education, said that while research collaboration in the West was being potentially damaged by events such as Brexit, “multilateral cooperation is increasing in Asia and central Asia, with China also now reaching out to the E.U. in the light of President Trump’s trade policies. It is important for the U.S. and the U.K. to take note that there are other dynamics going on.”

Yet she also emphasized that China’s rise in research was focused on a narrow set of scientific fields geared toward economic growth and geostrategic positioning.

“That raises a lot of other questions,” van der Wende said, such as whether China was taking a “narrow route” to the top. “The conditions under which the arts and humanities operate in China are very different from those under science and technology.”

Meanwhile, Wei Zhang, a lecturer in education at the University of Leicester who has been analyzing Chinese research quality, pointed out that although the country’s “rise to academic prominence” would “break the U.S. hegemony in research excellence,” this was not an explicit goal of the Chinese government.

“It is an implicit [or] covert goal. Rising to [become] a research nation is a major driving force behind China’s successful transformation from a labor-intensive to a technology-intensive” economy, she said.

In her view, improving research quality was a “secondary consideration” for the government and was driven by factors other than international competition.

“Although positioned as the world’s second biggest economy, China is also facing health and environmental challenges as well as other problems, such as low-end industries, inefficient economic structures and geographically imbalanced development,” Zhang said.

“It’s critical that the country stay at the forefront of science, technology and innovation to surmount the challenges and mitigate those risks.”

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A new private two-year college will open its doors on the west side of Chicago this fall with the goal of preparing Latino students with limited English and no high school diploma for middle-income positions.

Founded by the Instituto del Progreso Latino, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to helping Latino immigrants further their education, Instituto College will welcome its first class of about 24 students into a pilot nursing program. The college builds on the organization’s already existing “bridge” programs, such as Carreras en Salud (Careers in Health), which provides students with the necessary education to fill health-care positions including certified nursing assistant or registered nurse.

“We recognize that we do a really good job creating pathways in the nursing arena, but our students haven’t risen on the career ladder to R.P.N. [registered practical nurse],” said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino. To do so, students will need to prepare for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, which requires an associate degree in nursing.

Eventually, Instituto College hopes to train students in five additional subject areas: health-care leadership, production and operations, manufacturing management, networking technology, and organizational leadership.

Instituto College will not be part of the City Colleges of Chicago, which has seven campuses in the city, some of which offer similar programs (at low tuition rates) to those that will be available at Instituto.

When asked whether the creation of the new college will strain the relationship between City Colleges and Instituto del Progreso Latino, everyone was quick to say that the arrangement will be beneficial for all.

"At City Colleges, we embrace the important role community organizations play in connecting talent to economic opportunity," Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed. Before he was appointed chancellor in 2017, Salgado held Ayala-Bermejo's current role of CEO and president of Instituto del Progreso Latino and was involved in early brainstorming about the new college.

Initial operating costs will be covered with a $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. The money will also pay faculty salaries and tuition for the first class of students, which will likely cost about $12,000 per year, or $285 per credit.

“We’re going to make the $500,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase last as long as it can, but also leverage other corporations to do the same,” Ayala-Bermejo said.

The grant is part of JPMorgan Chase’s three-year plan to invest $40 million into the south and west sides of Chicago. The company has partnered with Instituto del Progreso Latino for years and is confident in its ability to graduate students from Instituto College.

“When an institution comes to you with the bold idea of starting a college, you want to know that they can pull it off,” said Whitney Smith, head of Midwest philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “We’ve had a long partnership with the organization for nearly a decade … They have a strong track record for outcomes.”

The grant will carry the college to its next looming hurdle: accreditation. The college has already been approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to offer degrees, but to become accredited, Instituto College will need to show success.

“They need to show impact with this first graduating class,” said Deborah Santiago, chief operating officer and vice president for policy at Excelencia in Education. “They need to show at the end of the two years that their students are graduating, that they’re getting a degree. They also need to show that faculty are knowledgeable.”

Accreditation will allow students to be eligible for federal financial aid and Pell Grants, which are both crucial to the low-income immigrant population that Instituto serves. However, undocumented students may shy away from filing federal financial aid paperwork in fear of tipping off immigration services.

“We understand that some students may be wary of applying for Pell Grants or may not be eligible,” Ayala-Bermejo said. “To meet those students’ needs, Instituto will seek funds or scholarships that would give undocumented students the financial support they need to enroll.”

Currently, Illinois law states that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients can obtain professional licensure, including R.N., but a new bill offers an amendment to that law that would allow all undocumented immigrants the chance to obtain licensure regardless of citizenship status. The bill passed the Illinois House and Senate and was sent to the governor for approval in late June.​

According to Santiago, traditional community colleges have had difficulty reaching Latino populations because they lack the necessary resources to support those students. City Colleges in particular has had difficulty graduating Latino students; Latinos had a 22 percent graduation rate in 2015. The system has also been accused of fudging graduation numbers, which led to a vote of no confidence for former chancellor Cheryl Hyman and Salgado's eventual hire. Hyman and City Colleges have disputed this, insisting that each student was only counted once in federal graduation numbers.

"City Colleges has limited resources to provide the extra support for [Latino students] to be successful," Santiago said. "You could still enroll with the ability to benefit, but your likelihood of persisting and completing if you don’t have academic and social support is low."

She also noted that institutions that struggle with Latino enrollment do so in part because they haven't established a connection with Latino communities.

"These are not easy communities to reach out to, because they historically have not been engaged in the higher education process," Santiago said. "An institution starting from scratch has to figure out how to tap in to the adult population.”

Davis Jenkins, a senior research scholar at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, points to Instituto's additional academic and financial services as the key to their success.

"I’ve worked with Instituto long enough to believe that they will have high graduation rates because they provide strong wraparound support; they're good at contextualizing content for their population and have strong relationships with employers," Jenkins said. "Of course it’s going to be a challenge for them to get accreditation, to offer Pell Grants. If they can’t do that, I don’t think this will come to fruition."

Santiago agrees.

“They’re combining language acquisition with technical skills,” Santiago said. “We know that can work really well. Too many think, ‘we’ll handle the language first and then the content knowledge.’”

For colleges looking to enroll and graduate more Latino students, she encourages institutions to know their audience.

“Know who you serve,” she said. “You can’t think that you can translate your website and see a boom in Latinos who enroll. That’s not going to do it.”

Community Colleges
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The University of Wisconsin at Madison is the largest and best known of Wisconsin's 13 public universities, but over the past decade it has earned a reputation among some Wisconsinites for being expensive, liberal and hard to get into. The Wisconsin Alumni Association, equipped with a refurbished dairy van and gallons of ice cream, is trying to change that.

UW Madison “is a dream school for many people, but some folks don’t think it’s attainable,” said Tod Pritchard, director of media and communications for the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “But it’s incredibly attainable, and that’s a big myth that we’re trying to bust.”

The #GetTheScoop tour is traveling to local events throughout the state to challenge common accessibility and affordability assumptions about UW Madison. Volunteers from the alumni association staff the truck, occasionally joined by others from the university.

"What I end up doing is talking to people a lot," Pritchard said. "We generally have it set up where the truck is scooping out ice cream, and next to the truck we have a tent set up, and that’s where we do our myth busting. [We ask about] five facts, and you have to determine which are true and which are not true."

One of those myths is that in-state students have a harder time getting admitted to the university than out-of-state students. The UW Foundation polled 648 Wisconsin adults and found that 39 percent believe that less than half of the students who apply are accepted, and 22 percent believe that only a quarter are accepted. In reality, two-thirds of in-state applicants are admitted, which is higher than the university's general acceptance rate of 53.8 percent.

Affordability was also on the minds of aspiring Badgers and their families. Tuition and fees for the 2017-18 academic year was $10,534 -- higher than at any other Wisconsin university, but far less than out-of-state costs for other Big 10 schools, which charge anywhere from $25,000 to $52,000 per year. In an effort to make sure the university is affordable, UW Madison in February announced its Bucky’s Tuition Promise program, which guarantees free tuition to any admitted student whose family earns less than $56,000.

"Sometimes students don’t apply because they think they won’t get in, or they think they won’t be able to afford it," Pritchard said.

These concerns and misperceptions are not at all new. Katherine Cramer, a political science professor at Madison, wrote a paper in 2012 detailing the statewide disconnect between the university and the public. Two of her major findings centered around accessibility and affordability.

"People were concerned with admissions," Cramer wrote. "They worried that admissions policies favored out-of-state and international students at the expense of in-state students. Many groups told stories of an excellent student in their community who had recently been denied admission."

Cramer's interviewees were also concerned with the faculty.

"In short, the people I talked with often remarked that faculty are 'lazy,' 'liberal' and 'elitist,'" Cramer wrote, and added that some are concerned that faculty would "indoctrinate" students with their liberal views and that faculty are inattentive to the concerns of ordinary citizens.

Kurt Squire, a former UW Madison professor who now teaches at the University of California, Irvine, thinks that the political and economic climate of the state has allowed the town-gown divide to grow.

"There’s been a really strong effort by right-wing think tanks to create a division between universities and the public," Squire said. "The animosity is really clear -- there are members of the state Legislature that have it out for the university and they don’t really hide it.”

Squire hopes the divide will shrink as time passes and leadership changes in local government and at the university.

"It will probably change in five or 10 years as things shift and as new leadership comes in," Squire said. "The effects of the changing economy will be more clear to people in Wisconsin. There’s a naive belief that we could return to the economic conditions of 20 or 25 years ago without the underlying conditions that you need, like unions, for example."

His take falls in line with Cramer's findings from six years ago, but his evidence is mostly anecdotal, gathered from time spent chatting with people at county fairs, supper clubs and fish fries. Those types of local gatherings are exactly the target for #GetTheScoop.

"We’d like it to be at locations where people really have the time to chat with us about the university and bust some of these myths," Pritchard said. "Sometimes at those big events it’s so hustle and bustle, everyone’s rushing around and you don’t have time to talk with folks.”

The group has served 1,953 scoops of ice cream so far and plans to make 35 more stops before UW Madison’s homecoming in October. The dairy truck was refurbished for the Thank You 72 project, an effort to travel to all 72 counties of Wisconsin and thank them for sending their “best and brightest” to Madison.

“It was a mess, it was really a shell of a truck” when they found it in Canada, Pritchard said. “We thought it would be kind of cool to have not just a standard truck-looking thing. We wanted to have something that generated interest and was kind of a throwback to days gone by.”

But the real homage to UW Madison is the Babcock ice cream being scooped. Produced in the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, an integral part of the university's food science program, the ice cream has been a staple for many Madison students and state residents.

“It’s our chance to bring a little bit of Wisconsin Madison to all of these different places. It’s fun to see people’s eyes light up when they see Babcock ice cream,” Pritchard said. “I have alumni come up to me and say, ‘This reminds me so much of when I went to school there; this is my favorite memory, or this is what I used to do.’”

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Wisconsin Alumni Association crew members with the #GetTheScoop ice cream truck
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Gerald Benjamin, distinguished professor of political science at the State University of New York at New Paltz, apologized Wednesday for comments he made about about a local Congressional race in an interview with The New York Times. In the interview, Benjamin suggested that Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado’s past as a rapper would hurt him in terms of votes. “Is a guy who makes a rap album the kind of guy who lives here in rural New York and reflects our lifestyle and values?,” Benjamin was quoted as saying. “People like us, people in rural New York, we are not people who respond to this part of American culture.”

Delgado, who is black, told The Times that ongoing criticism of his music was an attempt to “otherize” him, and many readers condemned Benjamin’s comments as racist. Donald P. Christian, New Paltz’s president, and Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, the university’s chief diversity officer, criticized Benjamin’s comments in an all-campus email after the article appeared online Tuesday, saying, “We are disappointed that such language would come from a campus leader and ambassador of the college and reaffirm that the quotes do not reflect our institutional values of inclusivity and respect.” The expectation of “any member of this community is that they be mindful of the impact of their speech on others and understand that the consequences of that speech may have unintended and long-lasting negative effects,” they said. 

Benjamin said in a separate statement that he has a “deep attachment to the school and the diverse community we have built here” and that he was “very sorry for any unintended distress caused by my remarks.” Acknowledging that his comments had been interpreted as racist, Benjamin added, “I had no racist intent but understand the impact of those remarks, and regret having made them.”

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Responding to criticism of its earlier plan to begin the Advanced Placement World History exam around the year 1450, the College Board on Wednesday announced that it would begin the test with questions starting at about 1200.

The board also committed to offering a second AP world history course focused on the ancient world, in another apparent compromise to those who said that a single world history course focused on the modern era risked being too Eurocentric.

Currently, the single AP World History exam covers about 10,000 years. While some teachers like the scope of the exam, others say that it is simply too sweeping and that real learning suffers as a result. Taking the concerns of that latter group into account, the board, which administers the AP program, said earlier this year that it would limit the exam to questions about content from 1450 onward.

But criticism followed, with educators charging that eliminating the study of ancient civilizations meant erasing the test’s -- and therefore the AP World History course’s -- non-European content. Not only would that be a loss for education, they said, but also for nonwhite students who saw themselves reflected in the study of diverse peoples.

“The current AP World History course and exam attempt to cover 10,000 years of human history -- from the Paleolithic Era to the present,” the board said in its Wednesday announcement, summing up the problem. In contrast, it said, “colleges manage the unique breadth of world history by spreading the content across multiple courses. Because AP World History does not do so, a majority of AP World History teachers have told us that they were teaching too little about too much. Students’ essay scores on the end-of-year AP exam have reflected that overwhelming challenge.”

Since the announcement about the 1450 timeline, which was meant “to alleviate that problem, we’ve received thoughtful, principled feedback from AP teachers, students and college faculty,” the board said. “This feedback underscores that we share the same priorities: engaging students in the rich histories of civilizations across the globe and ensuring that such important content is given the time it deserves.”

What's Included?

The new 1200 starting point means “teachers and students can begin the course with a study of the civilizations in Africa, the Americas and Asia that are foundational to the modern era,” the board added.

Essential content for the 1200-1450 period includes global trade networks; state building in the Americas and Africa; how religion shaped Africa, Asia and Europe; and the intellectual, scientific and technological innovations and transfers across states and empires, according to the board.

Regarding the proposed second exam and course, AP World History: Ancient, the board said it must first “confirm the willingness of colleges to award credit for an additional AP world history exam and the interest among high schools to offer two full, separate AP world history courses.”

The American Historical Association weighed in on the debate in June, arguing that a 1450 start date would likely reduce the precolonial content to which high school students were exposed and increase the course's Western-centric perspective. The association urged the board to consult leading practitioners in the field before making any final decision. Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at Cornell University and president of the association, said Wednesday that it was her personal opinion that "the key point is to have sufficient time before 1450 for teachers to address world historical developments prior to European exploration and expansion." And a start date of 1200 "should accomplish that goal," she said. "I appreciate the responsiveness to critics shown by this change."

The 1200-forward timeline was one idea floated by the board's AP World History test-development committee, which includes college and university faculty members. Rachel Jean Baptiste, associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis, and co-chair of that committee, said the 1200 decision “allows students to gain global perspectives and knowledge that come with studying the rich and interconnected histories of African, Asian, Central American and European civilizations so they can engage more deeply in these topics once they get to college.”

Referring to the development committee, she said, “I’m glad to see that [the board] has taken our guidance to heart.” The added commitment to developing a second course is a “signal to both students and educators that studying a fuller breadth of world history facilitates a more nuanced understanding of the world in which we live.”

Faculty
Teaching and Learning
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The University of California is on the brink of eliminating an 11-year-old $60 tuition surcharge in what would be the system’s first year-over-year decrease in almost 20 years.

UC’s Board of Regents is expected to vote today on a budget plan that would eliminate the fee, dropping base tuition and fees to $12,570 per year. The move would be a break from recent trends of rising student costs at the system. It last cut tuition in the 1999-2000 academic year, by 5 percent, and systemwide fees have more than tripled since then, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The $60 fee to be eliminated was first put in place in the fall of 2007 in order to fund almost $100 million in costs the system faced because of class-action lawsuits over raising graduate student fees midsemester. UC expects to have recovered nearly all costs by this fall.

UC had considered a 2.5 percent tuition increase earlier this year. But it was able to secure from the state a $98 million increase in funding, plus $249 million in one-time funding. The extra money is to help pay for enrolling more students from California plus expenses like maintenance, employee raises and retirement plan contributions.

The tuition rollback is “icing on the cake” after state funding was increased and the proposed tuition hike was scrapped, said Varsha Sarveshwar, a UC Berkeley student and member of the UC Student Association, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The UC system’s president, Janet Napolitano, said the system is now prepared to shift away from managing crises like repeated funding shortfalls. Leaders will start talks on crafting a four-year plan to address issues like tight space on campuses, graduating students on time and enrolling more students.

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