Friday, April 1, 2016

March 2016 News Digest

Here are some highlights in higher education news for March.

The Price of Admission

The Texas Tribune recently published a three part article series about affirmative action, college access, and graduation rates at UT. I recommend reading the articles themselves as they include several valuable student stories alongside relevant information for our campus.

The first article takes a look at the history of affirmative action at UT. The second discusses how students who go to high schools in Texas that are only a few miles apart have widely different experiences when it comes to going to college. The third article discusses recent efforts to increase graduation rates on campus, highlighting the ULN and TIP programs.

Protestors after a 1996 appeals court ruling
effectively banned affirmative action in Texas

How North Carolina's Ban on Anti-Bias Ordinances Could Affect Colleges

North Carolina’s Governor, Pat McCrory, passed a bill that prevents cities and counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect LBGT people. The bill has seen many critics and its legality is being challenged.

Although the bill does not impact private universities, public universities in North Carolina are now trying to figure out how to protect students without violating the bill. The bill forces people who identify as transgender to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender assigned to them at birth. This bill will harm recruitment of students who identify as or support the LGBT community and may jeopardize Title IV funding.

Students protest North Carolina's passing of House Bill 2

The Places on Campus Where Concealed-Carry Is Most Controversial

Georgia lawmakers are now proposing a campus carry law similar to Texas’. Although the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, he has hesitated on passing the bill.

Unlike The University of Texas at Austin, the Georgia bill would allow students to carry weapons into disciplinary hearings, campus daycares, and classes that precollege students are attending. These are some of the concerns the Governor has raised with passing the bill.

Why Studying Abroad Is Safer Than You May Think

Going abroad may be less dangerous than staying at home. A study finds that students in the United States are 2.18 times more likely to die than students abroad.

The question remains as to whether this and other data will be enough to combat the rising wave of fear about students going overseas and curb proposals for Congress to regulate study abroad programs.

Despite growing fear, advisors plan to use the data to talk to students and parents about going abroad.

NYU students studying abroad in Ghana

How Sal Khan Hopes to Remake Education

Khan Academy, which started as solely online videos, has grown into a nonprofit dedicated to remaking education by focusing on the philosophy of mastery education.

Khan believes the education system is flawed because it pushes students to move too quickly and hopes Khan Academy will help to remedy that.

Although he has already created a brick and mortar school for younger students, he imagines creating a university that focuses on teaching students through real world experiences.

A Piece of UT Austin History

The Almetris Duren Residence Hall is named after Almetris Marsh Duren (1910-2001) who was a beloved mentor and advisor for black students on campus during the turbulent early years of integration. 

She earned her bachelor's degree in 1950 from Huston-Tillotson University and taught home economics there for several years. When the first black undergraduate freshman arrived on UT's campus in 1956, she left her teaching position and became a housemother to the women among the group. The residence was soon renamed the Almetris Co-Op. She was promoted to student development specialist for minority affairs. In 1974, she founded the Innervisions of Gospel Choir, which was among one of the first predominantly Black, non-greek organizations at UT Austin. She also began Project Info, UT's first minority recruitment program.

In addition to her valuable work in mentoring and advising, she published a book about the history of the integration of black students at UT Austin in 1979 called "Overcoming: A History of Black Integration at The University of Texas at Austin." She retired in 1981, a deeply cherished advisor and mentor. 

Almetris Duren receiving the Margaret C. Berry
award for outstanding contributions to student life

Almetris Duren and the women of Almetris Co-Op

Drawing of the Almetris Co-Op

Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal

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