Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 10, 2020

Black students are more likely to be in unpaid internships and participated in more unpaid internships than their white peers, according to new research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

NACE analyzed data from its 2019 Student Survey Report from 470 member colleges and universities, and specifically looked at the internship experiences of 3,952 seniors who graduated in spring of 2019. Though Black students made up 6.6 percent of the graduating students, they held only 6 percent of paid internships and 7.3 percent of unpaid internships, a press release about the analysis said. Hispanic and Latino students in the Class of 2019 were more likely than any other racial group to have had no internship by graduation, the release said.

The analysis also identified “statistically significant” gender-based disproportionality; women were less likely than their male counterparts to have had a paid internship, the release said. First-generation students were also less likely to be paid as an intern compared to students whose parents went to college, the release said. Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of NACE, said in the release that such disproportionality trends could continue into full-time hiring practices by employers.

“Looking at how they source and select interns is critical for those that are committed to diversifying their workforces,” VanDerziel said. “NACE data show that, overall, Black students use the career center more than other races/ethnicities, not only in total number of visits, but also proportionally. These results suggest that career centers can be an important campus resource for employers to use to reduce inequities that exist in their internship programs.”

September 10, 2020

Collegiate esports programs are becoming more separated by gender as they expand, according to a new study from researchers at the North Carolina State University program in communication, rhetoric and digital media.

The qualitative study found that while club esports programs are more supportive of gender diversity, varsity esports teams that compete with other colleges are “dominated by men,” a press release about the study article said. It is well-known in gaming that professional esports leagues are “overwhelmingly male-dominated” as well, the article said. The findings are based on 21 interviews with leaders of college esports programs and were published in the journal Critical Studies in Media Communication.

“These gender disparities are being fueled by the drive to professionalize collegiate esports through intensive investment; what one participant described as a collegiate esports ‘gold rush,’” the article said. “Getting top-ranked players wins out over the more risky project of actively cultivating (more diverse) talent.”

September 10, 2020

Carthage College, a private liberal arts institution in Wisconsin affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, has retired the names of its athletic teams, the Red Men and the Lady Reds, and the college mascot, Torchie, a Sept. 9 press release said.

The Carthage athletic program had incorporated “Native American imagery” in team uniforms, including a feather that was part of the college’s athletic logo until 2005, but the names “Red Men” and “Lady Reds” were originally created to reflect the college’s color scheme, the release said. A task force assigned to review the names and mascot had concerns about racial and gender equity and decided they were “not unifying symbols for our community,” the release said.

September 10, 2020

A nonprofit advocacy organization for students who are also parents has released a tool kit with recommendations for how colleges can best support those students.

Generation Hope held a focus group in July with the teen student parents it serves in the Washington, D.C., area. The Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation provided funding to create the tool kit.

Student parents are more vulnerable to stopping out of their programs. About half of undergraduate student parents left college without a degree within six years, compared to 32 percent of students without children, according to the tool kit. About half of student parents are students of color, and about half are more likely than their childless peers to have low incomes. Yet student parents tend to have higher GPAs than their peers.

To support student parents and retain them, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Generation Hope makes 10 recommendations, including:

  • Create or increase emergency aid for students, and remove barriers to access that aid.
  • Provide asynchronous learning options, as students' children may now be at home due to the pandemic. In the same vein, encourage faculty and staff to be more flexible during this time.
  • Include a student parent on any task force created for reopening.
  • Have faculty create family-friendly syllabi that acknowledge that some students are also parenting, and include student parents in any welcome emails.
  • Enhance support services, like advising and counseling, and build community through virtual events.
  • Offer virtual supports for the children of students, as well as parenting advice and activity supplies.
  • Create more support for these students by overcommunicating and being explicit with expectations.
September 10, 2020

Today on the Academic Minute, John Donnellan, associate professor in the management department at New Jersey City University, looks into how higher education can evolve after COVID-19. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 9, 2020

The ability to successfully manage change is more important than ever for the higher education leaders who must navigate the upheavals affecting their campuses and communities.

A new Inside Higher Ed special report published today, "College Leadership in an Era of Unpredictability," explores what makes this moment different from those in the past, what makes it similar and how leaders must adapt if they are to find success for the institutions they lead, the people they employ and the students they serve. The report is designed to act as a primer for both the generation of existing leaders who hope to meet today’s challenges and the new generation of rising leaders.

"College Leadership in an Era of Unpredictability" includes an extensive discussion of the skills leaders at all levels -- from faculty members in informal positions of power to presidents and board members -- can develop to prepare themselves and their institutions for an unsettled future.

It is available for purchase here; you may also download a free preview of the report. We also invite you to sign up for a webcast on the themes of the report on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m. Eastern.

September 9, 2020

The next U.S. education secretary should use the long-neglected authority they have under the nation’s main higher education law to promote greater racial equity, argue top leaders of the advocacy group Student Defense.

In a paper, the group’s president, Aaron Ament, and vice president and chief counsel, Daniel Zibel, write the Higher Education Act gives the secretary the power to determine which institutions can participate in the federal direct student loan program.

That means, for example, that the Education Department can require institutions that want to accept direct loans to sign agreements to enroll students receiving Pell Grants at a commensurate rate as those not receiving the aid, write Ament and Zibel. The department could also require agreements that Pell Grant-recipient students graduate at the same rate as those not receiving the grants, or that they graduate at a minimum rate to make sure colleges are helping them succeed.

The department could also use its authority to hold academic programs at colleges accountable, and it could require that colleges be financially responsible if students are unable to repay their college loans, the paper said. However, the department has never used its authority for those purposes, the paper said.

“Because the Department has wide authority over the content of those agreements,” the paper said, “the Department can use those agreements as a gatekeeper to mandate ‘quality assurance’ programs, promote social equity, and create structures for institutions to have financial ‘skin in the game’ with respect to student loan repayment.”

September 9, 2020

The board of the University of the South released a statement Tuesday about the university's history.

"At its best, the university has lived up to the humane values it has long professed and acted upon, including devotion to the primacy of reason and, in keeping with our Episcopal identity, to the work of reconciliation and social justice. At its worst, the university has been associated with the most repugnant aspects of our national and regional history. We are not flinching from that hard truth, for the truth, as we were assured long ago, can make us free -- free from the prejudices and the passions of the past," said the Sewanee board. "Therefore, the University of the South categorically rejects its past veneration of the Confederacy and of the 'Lost Cause' and wholeheartedly commits itself to an urgent process of institutional reckoning in order to make Sewanee a model of diversity, of inclusion, of intellectual rigor, and of loving spirit in an America that rejects prejudice and embraces possibility."

September 9, 2020

Loras College, a Catholic institution in Dubuque, Iowa, removed a statue of Bishop Mathias Loras from campus on Sept. 8 after discovering that Loras, the college’s founder, enslaved a woman from 1836 to 1852.

In a message on Tuesday to students, faculty members and staff, James Collins, the college’s president, said new information about Loras’s slave ownership is “disturbing” and “deeply upsetting.” Collins said a recent analysis by a researcher and confirmed by a history faculty member examined Loras’s personal documents and that the information “challenges past depictions of him.”

“Slavery is an evil in any age, and its legacy of dehumanizing injustice persists,” Collins said in his message. “Bishop Loras’ abhorrent conduct is antithetical to the mission, vision, values, and Catholic identity of this institution … As much as the ideals of our founders and the early Catholic Church in the United States were inspiring, we must realize that they were often lived in direct contradiction to the values we hold today, and which we have long held to be absolute.”

In addition to the statue removal, the college will create a scholarship fund named for the woman Loras enslaved, Marie Louise, and a scholarship in honor of the college’s first Black graduate, Father Norman Dukette, starting during the 2021-22 academic year, Collins wrote. The college will keep Loras’s name; “the educational experience beloved by our alumni, students, and faculty is not defined by the man,” Collins wrote.

September 9, 2020

A majority of students experience intimate partner violence, or IPV, according to a new survey report released by researchers at the Michigan State University School of Social Work. Of 3,070 female and male undergraduate students surveyed, 62 percent said they have been physically, psychologically or sexually abused by a partner.

Women were more likely to report being abused by a partner, a press release about the survey report said. The most common type of IPV among all students surveyed was psychological abuse, followed by physical violence, the report said.

The report also identified differences between how female and male college students get help for IPV -- women tend to seek counseling services, domestic abuse agencies and police, whereas men look to family, friends and male peers. Homosexual students were less likely than their heterosexual peers to seek help for IPV, the report said. Hyunkag Cho, a professor in the MSU School of Social Work who co-authored the report, said in a press release that the survey identifies where colleges should focus support efforts.

“This study reveals gender differences in, and barriers to, help-seeking after intimate partner violence, and suggests that campus efforts need to pay attention to sexual minorities as well as the informal help sources most male survivors seek for support,” Cho said. “These remedies are crucial for empowering both genders to reach out for help, but it might be even more important for male survivors.”

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