Friday, September 25, 2015

September 2015 News Digest

To increase our access to higher education news, I've put together summaries of articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times from September. The links to the full articles are included in the summary.

In higher education this month:

Obama Takes Steps to Make FAFSA Easier
The Obama administration is taking steps to allow students to fill out the FAFSA application as early as October. Students will be allowed to use tax data from two years prior.

This change will allow students to know how much aid they will receive much earlier. It will also make filling out the form and the verification process more simple.

Michelle Obama speaks at a FAFSA workshop 

1 in 4 Women Experience Sex Assault on Campus
new study finds that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault on college campuses. This study is one of the largest studies of its kind, with responses from 150,000 students at 27 universities.

Almost three-fourths of students said they did not report the assault because they did not think the assault was serious enough to report, they felt ashamed, or they did not think they would be taken seriously.

This is the first large-scale study to include transgender students, who had higher rates of sexual assault than women. Men also experienced significant rates of sexual assault, though much lower than transgender students or women.

Missouri Bars Undocumented Students from Scholarships
A new state law in Missouri will bar undocumented students from receiving the A+ scholarship, which pays for two years of tuition at a community college. This law will cause undocumented students to pay the highest possible tuition rate.

Governor Nixon unsuccessfully vetoed the bill arguing that it would punish students who did nothing wrong.

Individual schools will now be the only hope to alleviate some of the rising costs incurred on undocumented students.
Jay Nixon, Gov. of Missouri, speaks at an education conference in July 2015

More than a Degree
Credentials and badges are becoming more necessary as employers are looking for ways to measure skills. Employers want to see what transferable skills students have as their degree alone is often not enough.

Many job postings are now asking for additional certificates beyond a degree.

Humanities Ph.D. Programs Declines
There has been a recent decline in humanities Ph.D. programs while enrollment for other graduate programs have increased. Many schools like UC Berkeley have begun reducing the number of graduate students in humanities. UC Berkeley says this allows them to compete with other programs because students are able to receive larger fellowships and feel better supported.

Not all agree with this rationale. Some, including the Dean of Virginia Tech, believe we should be accepting more graduate students. She believes doctoral students are necessary to teach undergraduates, conduct research, and pass on faculty knowledge.

A Piece of UT Austin History:
The mascot of UT Austin, Bevo, was not always a longhorn. Bevo's predecessor was a dog named Pig.  He had the run of the campus, attending classes with students, going to out of town football games, and sleeping on the steps of the UT Co-Op.

Pig died in 1923 when he was hit by a Model T on the corner of 24th and Guadalupe. The student body held a funeral procession for the beloved dog.

Funeral Procession for Pig
In Memoriam 
Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal

Monday, September 21, 2015

ACA September 2015 General Meeting

A great meeting to kick off the new academic year! The UTeach Urban Teachers Program was kind enough to sponsor this meeting held on September 16th, 2015 in the SAC Legislative Assembly Room. Full meeting minutes will be available on the ACA website.

Breakfast was so excellent that I was too busy eating to even take pictures of it. A mistake I won't make again! But there was a wonderful spread of Tacodeli tacos, fruit, and several jugs of coffee. Even decaf coffee!

After breakfast, our esteemed president, Sarah McKay, took to the stage, welcoming us all to the new academic year. I loved the quotes she mentioned. Remembering that "everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't" is an important way for me to think about approaching students and colleagues.

Unfortunately, I didn't snap to my duty of taking pictures as historian until several minutes into the meeting so there isn't a picture of Sarah. I hope that Bill Nye will stand in her place.

Bill Nye 
After Sarah welcomed us to the new year, we got to hear from our speakers. First, we heard from faculty members and students from UTeach Urban Teachers. Dr. Cinthia Salinas, Dr. Allison Skerrett, Dr. Randy Bomer,  and Dr. Anthony Brown spoke to us about the UTUT undergraduate and graduate programs.

Q&A with Dr. Salinas 
We also had several student speakers who were a joy to hear from. Their excitement for and engagement with the UTUT program was great to see!

Next up was Caitlin James with Admissions.

Admissions Information! 
All the way from John Hargis Hall!

John Hargis Hall
as far away as the moon!

Caitlin spoke about the admissions process that students go through and gave some updates on scholarships such as Texas Advance and Presidential Scholars.

She recommended that when prospective students have questions to direct them to their assigned admissions counselor.

Our President-Elect, Kayla Ford, came up next to give us some updates from advisory council.

She discussed how advisory council is both proactive and reactive in regards to making recommendations on advising trends as well as responding to ongoing items such as the campus carry legislation.

Finally, we ended with kudos and announcements. Several new folks were introduced. Welcome to ACA for all the new members!

In case you missed the kudos I announced, I've included them all below. Thanks for participating in kudos! 

From: Manny Gonzalez
“To Andrea Chytil Gonzalez for being a wonderfully, supportive resource and role model for first-year students, FIG mentors, and our daughter Layla.”

From: Sarah McKay
“Big huge enormous shout out to Jess Hust, who has been a rock star in helping me transition to the EVS program in the last week. She's taken so much time out of her busy days to help me get set up and start to understand my new work challenges. I would've crumbled without her wisdom, support, and patience with my incessant questions. Thanks, lady!!”

From: Rose
“Thanks, Tisha Monsey, for helping me and one of our shared students out at the 11th hour on the 12th class day. Much appreciated!”

From: Margo Cousins
“Kudos to Chase Dawkins!
In the past few years, his detailed proactive approach to registration advising has prevented most last-minute add/drop emergencies for biomedical engineering students at the beginning of the semester. His hard work is so appreciated by the students!
Well done Chase!”

See you next meeting on October 21st at the SAC Legislative Assembly Room!