Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 2015 News Digest

Check out the summaries below for an overview of what's going on in higher education this month.

Victory in Diversity is Hard to Define

Even after two administrators stepped down at The University of Missouri’s flagship campus, there is still more work to be done.

As the author states, “symbolic gains are not the same as systemic ones” and changing the entire atmosphere of a college campus is difficult.

The University of Oklahoma ended its partnership with a fraternity that was responsible for racist chants, and expelled two of its students. However, more substantive efforts to increase the black student body, black faculty members, and expand retention efforts have been slow.

Although overt discrimination has been eliminated, intimidation and hostility toward minority students still exist and students want to see this change.

Students at U. of Missouri

The Resilient Spirit of Syrian Students

Despite many refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, many Syrians still have resilient spirits.
Numerous Syrian students have been organizing ways to help each other get access to universities where they are now living.  They are trying to find solutions rather than dwelling on the issues they face.
Syrian students are also working to improve education in Syria outside of regime control. They are working with outside NGOs to set up online education programs in the country.
The Invisible Labor of Minority Professors
Minority professors all over the country are feeling the effects of cultural taxation, the pressure faculty members of color feel to be role models, mentors, and even surrogate parents to students of color.

According to studies, students of color who have faculty members as mentors tend to stick around. This is why faculty members of color feel so pressured to serve students and join committees even with already heavy workloads.

These extra hours are also not documented. Professors want to see this changed because this will increase the university’s willingness to hire more minority faculty members.

Rev. Joseph Brown, professor of Africana Studies at 
Southern Illinois U. at Carbondale

Campus Police Chief Is Fired After Saying Most Sex Assaults ‘Ain’t Rape’
The campus police chief at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia has been fired after saying most sexual assaults on campus are not rape.
He was quoted in the student newspaper as saying rape does not happen at his college because "...when the dust settles, it was all consensual." His full comments are located in the article.

The police chief was dismissed and the president of the university called his comments inexcusable.

The $10-Billion Sports Tab

Cash flowing into college sports is only going to a few elite sports programs. Instead, many colleges rely heavily on student fees to finance their athletic programs.

The rates of these student fees are quickly increasing, sparking outrage amongst students, faculty, and lawmakers.

Still, many universities are choosing to create or grow their athletic programs despite data that these programs may be too costly. Students at these universities are left with the tab because without wins on the field, outside donations are minimal.

A Piece of UT Austin History

Before the iconic UT tower, there was the Old Main Building. It was built in 1883 and deconstructed in 1935. The building’s removal was not something that everyone on campus was excited about. Below is a poem by Meredith Posey lamenting the loss of the Main Building.

The current building and UT Tower replaced the Old Main Building and was finished in 1937. The new building was informally named the Mirabeau B. Lamar library, but the memory of Old Main wouldn't go away that easily. Students began calling it the new Main Building and the name stuck.

On the Destruction of the Main Building
Lone Goth, stalwart, crowded, towering, still in mellow strength undaunted,
Giant of earlier days, strong in thew and sinew,
Age creeps on you, ivy-tendrilled,
Age your headsman's axe.
Dust of ages long ago clings about you now at last.
You have marched thus far with time, but-
Death awaits you!
Tall-spired buildings snatched from a fire-doomed fall,
Silent--no bells ring, wires are dumb, the steam is off, the rooms are cold,
not a window blinks with light.
You were not made for pavements, patches, and parterres.
Vastness and bluebonnet vista were yours.
The past you served, your vision ever forward.
You die and serve the future so; your death --
A birth and a memory!
Killers come to you with bars and hammers;
They pry, loosen, and throw.
Soon half will be gone, soon all.
Do you hear them changing their Greek and Latin lore?
Are you mourners only the ghosts of ages gone?
That steam shovel shrieking and grunting is digging your grave --
Proudly descend!  

Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal 

Friday, November 13, 2015

ACA November 2015 General Meeting

We met earlier than usual this month, but it was absolutely worth it! There was excellent food, great speakers, and some time to get to know more about our fellow advisors.

Many thanks to President Fenves for taking time to meet with and speak to our advising community. Thanks to Amanda Golden, our ACA Vice President, for doing such a wonderful job organizing this opportunity for us!

Additional thanks to the Office of the President for sponsoring our lovely breakfast!

Muffins, fruit, and tacos stretched out for miles

I'm always so excited when fruit salads have more than just cantaloupe

Dehydrated? Come to an ACA meeting!

There was even someone pouring the creamer, etc.! Apologies for the blurry picture. I took it quickly. I was a little embarrassed about photographing her, but she was very gracious about it.

OJ, Almond milk.. what else is in that magical silver bucket?!

It was very cool that President Fenves took some time to meet and talk with us. I was fortunate enough to get some pictures of what look like fun and engaging conversations.

After that, Amanda kicked off the meeting and handed it over to President Fenves.

President Fenves spoke and then opened it up to Q&A. When asked what is his favorite thing about being UT's President, he said the view from his office is pretty great!

Next up, we heard from Dr. Leanne Field about the Health Informatics and Health IT Program here at UT. It was great to learn about the opportunities this program offers students as well as all the collaboration with hospitals and legislators they are doing.

After that, Kayla Ford, our ACA President-Elect, lead us in a great game of Advisor Bingo! It was really fun to move around and learn new things about other advisors. Yvanna Corella had the most squares filled at the end. Congrats!

Surprise activity!!


Then, we wrapped up the meeting with kudos and announcements. 

Thanks to Christine Anderson for organizing the ACA Community Service event happening at Webb Middle School on November 21st from 11:30am to 2:00pm! Sign up here: Google Sign-Up

I hope everyone has a great end of the semester and we will see you next year!

Another great round of kudos! Thanks again to everyone who has participated.

ACA Advisory Council's Campus Carry subgroup.  Thank you for all of your hard work!  We are a big organization that will be deeply impacted when the new law goes into effect next Fall, and your efforts to collect our thoughts and concerns, and to then share with us with a summary of what our organization feels about campus carry has all been very much appreciated. 

To the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) "A-Team," which consists of Karen Weems, Mike Gutierrez and Lauren Jones. Karen, Mike and Lauren collectively advised nearly 1,000 first- and second-year TIP Scholars in just over a month, in advance of Spring registration last week. Even though they were up to their ears in advisees, they never lost their passion for helping students nor their cheerful senses of humor. Way to go TIP A-Team!

From Roanna Flowers:
Special thanks to Lovelys Powell - for your patience, your great attitude, and your willingness to help someone (me!) brand new to advising. Thank you for making this trial-by-fire a little less toasty... or at least handing me a bag of marshmallows. You are so appreciated.

Mandy Davidson, you are an amazing friend and such a fantastic colleague. I'm glad you're back!

From Cindy Bippert:
Kudos to all the advisors in the BBA Program Office for being the best team I've ever worked with!  I sincerely appreciate your commitment to the students in McCombs, as well as your dedication to the other advisors in our office.  I can't imagine a workplace that is more supportive, energetic, and fun.  Thank you for making my work life extremely enjoyable! :-)

From Jinane Sounny-Slitine:
Many thanks to Erin, Holly, and Jana for working so hard to make this registration cycle successful even though we were short staff and our major numbers grew significantly! I’m so glad to be a part of this team and to call each of them a friend. Best team ever! :-)

From Alexia:
Kudos to Shannon-A'lyce for leaving behind her very organized files. They are neat and organized in a way that makes my heart happy. Thank you so much.

From Andrea Gonzalez:
A HUGE thank you to the ACA Advisory Council for taking time to meet and compose a statement from ACA about the Campus Carry Law. Kayla, Janice, Sarah, and Jeff I appreciate the time you took during your hectic advising days to make it easy for us to contribute a response and for crafting a powerful and well thought statement.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 2015 News Digest

A lot is happening in higher education this October! Check out the summaries below for an overview of what's going on.

4 Problems That Can Sour Colleges’ Partnerships With Online-Education Enablers

With the increase in partnerships between colleges andfor-profit companies, known as "online-education enablers,” there has been an increase in tensions.

Common themes in unsuccessful partnerships between colleges and enablers:
  • inherent tensions between for-profit and non-profit entities
  • contracts between colleges and enablers tend to favor the enablers as colleges are often locked into long term commitments, and a lopsided share of overall revenue goes to enablers
  • questions arise over who controls what in course development
  • failure to meet enrollment expectations

Despite these concerns, the market for enablers is likely to expand, particularly for small colleges looking for fresh sources of revenue.
Women’s Groups Urge Colleges and Government to Rein In Yik Yak
Women’s and Civil Right’s groups urge colleges to protect students from bullying and harassment on online social media like Yik Yak.
They claim universities are arguing vague First Amendment concerns to justify not taking action.
However, some are in favor of not banning students from Yik Yak because they believe it allows students to get a “true sense of campus culture.”

Yik Yak, a social media site for sharing anonymous thoughts

The Pivotal Role of Campus Police

Many people regard campus police as “not real cops.”Although they may not be taken as seriously as other law enforcement agents, these officers are faced with many similar situations and responsibilities.

Campus police have also found themselves at the forefront of the debate regarding excessive force by cops against black students. This has led many to argue that universities should not be in the role of policing.

However, campus police see their role as important in not just protecting students and staff but also educating the younger generation.

Campus Carry at UT Austin

**Though I know many of us here at UT are already very aware of this issue, I thought it was interesting to see how it was being covered in the Chronicle of Higher Education.**

89 SB 11 or Campus Carry will allow concealed-handgun holders to bring their weapon into public university buildings.

The day this law goes into effect will be exactly 50 years after the UT Tower shooting. The coincidence of the date has both supporters and opponents in frenzy.

Opponents argue that the campus will be a dangerous place because distraught students may open fire. Supporters argue that having concealed-gun holders will make campus safer.

The state has given universities wiggle room to set their own “reasonable rules and regulations.” The board for this group is working on recommendations, but many still feel their voices are not being heard.

Demonstration by Gun Free UT

The Effect of FAFSA’s New Tax Rules on Colleges

Students will now be able to use tax data from two years prior when filling out their FAFSA application. This will make filling out the application easier for students and they will be able to start the application process much earlier.

Award packages are determined based on the expected family contribution of a student and their admission status. The question is whether universities will change the timing of their admission decisions.

The new rules may make it difficult for colleges to predict enrollment, and it will also require colleges to know or predict their cost of attendance sooner.

There may be some difficulty with the switch to prior-prior but officials are working on making the transition smoothly before the changes take effect. 

A Piece of UT Austin History

There is said to be a ghost who haunts UT Austin! Rumor has it that the Littlefield Home, built in 1893, is home to the ghost of Alice Littlefield. It is said that she roams the attic, peers out windows, and plays the piano on the first floor. Spooky!

Is that a faint ghostly shimmer I see?!

Alice Littlefield

The Littlefield Home in spooky lighting

Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal