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