VCs Weekly Higher Education Digest: January 28, 2019

Are university students being targeted by jihadist groups? By Gilbert Nakweya UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

As details emerge about those involved in this month’s terror attack on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi, questions are being raised about the susceptibility of students and university graduates to recruitment by militant networks, such as Somali-based jihadist group Al-Shabaab, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Universities urged to focus on Sustainable Development Goals By Anna McKie TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Universities have been urged to put sustainable development at the heart of their institutional strategies…. The debate, held at Qatar University, came as THE develops a ranking based on institutions’ performance in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals.

How universities can play a leading role in their cities By Mark Paterson and Jean-Paul Addie UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

South African higher education policy is generally failing to tackle the issue of how the country’s universities can play a leading role in the evolution of the cities in which most of them are based. Even students who have taken to the streets in protest at the miserable, overcrowded conditions in the campus neighborhoods in which they are forced to live have failed to challenge the elitist concept of universities as detached ivory towers which continues to dominate much higher education policy-making.

Improving the Enrollment Process through Machine Learning By Andrew King EDUCAUSE MAGAZINE

Machine Learning (ML) is taking many industries by storm—streamlining existing processes and revolutionizing what software can do. While there are a number of applications for ML in admissions and enrollment, being able to accurately forecast demand is a particularly important one. For higher education institutions, that means being able to predict with accuracy how many applications to accept to hit prime enrollment numbers.

For Provosts, More Pressure on Tough Issues By Scott Jaschik INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION

Nearly half (46 percent) of provosts of American colleges and universities report that at least one faculty member at their institution has faced allegations of sexual harassment in the last year…. Many provosts have found themselves on the front lines of campus debates over financial struggles of institutions and whether certain academic programs should be cut…. Other topics on which provosts are surveyed regularly by Inside Higher Education are the academic health of their institutions…

Who Wants to Be a College President? Probably not many qualified candidates By Adam Harris THE ATLANTIC

One survey noted that in the past decade, more current college presidents have been sidestepping the traditional pathways to leadership and, anecdotally, even some of those nontraditional candidates have turned down potentially tumultuous positions. But if leaders with higher-education experience won’t do the job, who will?

International student tuition and the funding crisis to come By Paul Schulmann UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

International students, who pay on average three times more than their domestic counterparts, provide crucial financial resources to higher education institutions and constitute the majority of graduate students in STEM courses... The problem with this approach is that it only works until it doesn’t. The strategy of increasing tuition fees and searching far and wide for more students to pay it, hits a point of diminishing returns.


In 1838, the Jesuit priests who managed Georgetown University rescued it from debt by selling the enslaved ancestors of people like Joseph M. Stewart…. All of America’s oldest seats of higher learning were complicit in slavery. Harvard University and the University of Virginia, among others, face growing pressure to make amends for that history.

MOOCs fail in their mission to disrupt higher education By Brendan O’Malley UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

The vast majority of learners on massive open online courses or MOOCs never return after their first year and low completion rates have not improved in more than six years. In addition, the growth of MOOC participation has been concentrated almost entirely in the world’s most affluent countries, according to a study reported in Science magazine…

The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class By Natasha Singer THE NEW YORK TIMES

On campuses across the country, from major state universities to small private colleges, the surge in student demand for computer science courses is far outstripping the supply of professors, as the tech industry snaps up talent. At some schools, the shortage is creating an undergraduate divide of computing haves and have-nots — potentially narrowing a path for some minority and female students to an industry that has struggled with diversity.

Crowdfunding offers promise for women and junior academics By Rachael Pells TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Female and junior academics, who can struggle to win funding through traditional, competitive funding schemes, might want to consider using crowdfunding platforms, on which they benefit most from public donations, a study suggests.

Plan S: how important is open access publishing? By Rachael Pells TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

The progress that open access has made since the movement began two decades ago is impressive. The number of open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals rose from 4,800 in 2009 to 9,500 in 2017, for instance, while about 30 per cent of all published academic work is currently available for free through open access platforms. But, despite the adoption of open access mandates by numerous research funders around the world in recent years, advocates remain frustrated by the pace of change…

Next-Level Compliance By Laurie Levine and Lorna Laney Fink BUSINESS OFFICER

Say the word compliance in a room full of employees and you typically get two distinct responses: rolling of the eyes or a look of fear. With monthly headlines highlighting campus scandals, it is no wonder that the mere mention of the word can invoke fear and frustration among campus administrators. From the nuances of financial aid compliance and consumer disclosure, to NCAA compliance… compliance in higher education covers almost every area of activity. As such, compliance is a crucial part of protecting an institution’s reputation and integrity.

US mulls ‘stress tests’ for private universities By Paul Basken TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Nationwide, private US colleges are now closing at a rate of 11 per year, with the pace expected to increase, according to Moody’s Investors Service…. Accrediting agencies assess the financial health of virtually all US colleges as part of the federal government’s system for student aid eligibility. But those reviews usually take place every seven years.

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