Many higher education leaders worry about their ability to deal with a number of issues in the years to come. However, several experts think the schools will do well if they are willing to try new methods of meeting students’ needs.
In October, the American Council on Education reported on a survey of nearly 500 leaders at four-year, non-profit colleges and universities. The study was a joint effort with the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Huron Consulting Group.
The school officials were asked about what they thought would be the biggest issues their institutions would face over the next three to five years. They also were asked how well they thought their college or university would be able to deal with these challenges.
The study identified the top six issues that the 500 leaders listed. The most common concern was increasing competition with other educational institutions. About 62 percent of those questioned noted that concern. The next most common issue was the decreasing size of the traditional student population, meaning students between 18 and 24 years old.
Thirty-nine percent of the leaders listed the growing numbers of non-traditional students, including adults with full-time jobs. Two other concerns were shrinking state and federal financial support, and decreasing public trust in higher education. Also, the officials said they were worried about political conditions around the world, and their effect on international students coming to the United States.
When it comes to changes in the student population, the college and university officials felt like they have some answers. In fact, 89 percent expressed confidence in their school’s ability to meet the needs of the growing number of students who are working adults.
Peter Stokes argues this is because colleges and universities have always been dealing with change. Stokes is the managing director for higher education with Huron.
“We haven’t had any real consistency in … student involvement in higher education, the degrees that are delivered, the industries that are being serviced. So there’s continual change,” he told VOA.
Stokes added that after World War II there was a sharp jump in the U.S. birth rate, leading to an increase in the number of young people going to college. Then, after the Great Recession in 2008, the birth rate dropped. Around that time, the number of working adults starting or returning to higher education began rising.
The traditional student population will likely recover eventually, Stokes says. Until then, schools will have to continue on the path many have already started down of using nontraditional methods to deliver higher education. This includes increasing internet-based and short-term programs to meet the needs of students who have less time and money to spend.
As for the five other issues identified in the study, plenty of concerns remain. No more than seven leaders felt very confident in their school’s ability to find solutions to any of the issues.
Louis Soares is the chief learning officer at the American Council on Education. He says that in recent years, Americans have come to think of higher education as more of a means of getting a well-paying job than as a public good.
This may not be surprising given the increased cost of higher education. But Soares says that this put many educational institutions in competition with one another to prove how their programs can affect better career results.
At the same time, U.S-based companies like Amazon and Google are creating their own educational programs to compete with traditional degree programs. And countries like France, Canada and Australia are becoming more appealing to international students who would have likely looked to U.S. schools in the past.
As a result, some colleges and universities across the country have been closing. The U.S. Department of Education reports that in 2018 the number of institutions nationwide dropped to its lowest level since 1998.
Soares suggests that schools have a better chance of surviving if they work together, as Georgia Tech has, sharing new program ideas and methods with 50 other institutions. But that is not always easy.
“U.S. higher education is innovative, but the innovation tends to be small-scale,” he said.
Lynn Pasquerella says what might be more important is working on the issues around public trust and governmental support of higher education. And she suggests the two issues are closely connected.
Pasquerella is president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She says U.S. higher education has done a poor job of showing that what goes on at an institution is very important. Many people have come to think of colleges and universities as places where students waste time learning unnecessary subjects or hearing one-sided beliefs.
But many students go on to become business and political leaders who shape policies in hopes of improving living conditions in their communities and nationwide. And major scientific and technological developments usually start out in a college or university laboratory.
“Demonstrating the ways in which … their success is inextricably linked to the physical, emotional, economic well-being of people in the communities in which they’re located and which they seek to serve … is a first and critical step in helping to restore public confidence in higher education,” noted Pasquerella.
She adds that as Americans develop a better opinion of the schools, state and federal governments will have little choice but to support them.
I’m Dorothy Gundy. And I’m Pete Musto.
Pete Musto reported this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Quiz - US College Leaders Worry About the Future
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Words in This Story
challenge(s) – n. a difficult task or problem
survey – n. an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something
institution(s) – n. an established organization
confidence – n. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
consistency – n. the quality or fact of staying the same at different times
degree(s) – n. an official document and title that is given to someone who has successfully completed a series of classes at a college or university
deliver(ed) – v. to provide or produce something
sharp – adj. sudden and quick
innovative – adj. having new ideas about how something can be done
tend(s) to – v. used to describe what often happens or what someone often does or is likely to do — followed by to + verb
small-scale – adj. involving few people or things
inextricably – adv. closely joined or related
restore – v. to put or bring something back into existence
English in a Minute: Significant Other
6 Minute English
Dating apps: How our brains react
EPISODE 180913 / 13 SEP 2018
This week's question:
In the UK, approximately how many marriages start with the couple meeting online? Is it:
a) One in three
b) One in four
c) One in five
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
(here) moving the images on a smartphone or tablet up, down, left or right, using our finger
immediate, at once.
not giving someone the love and attention they would like
feel better after a bad experience
dusting yourself off
being positive and optimistic after a rejection or a bad experience
to cope with
to manage /deal with (a difficult situation)
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Dan.
And hello, I'm Rob.
In today's programme we're going to be looking at what our brains are doing when we are using dating apps. Now, Rob, have you ever used a dating app?
No way, I would never use one.
Hmm, so Rob, can you explain, when talking about dating apps, what we mean by swipe left and swipe right?
Ah, yes. These are not new words but technology has given them new meaning. To swipe is the movement of your finger on a smartphone to change the screen you're looking at. So imagine turning the page in a book, well, on a phone, you swipe. In some dating apps, they show you pictures of people you might find attractive. If you do like them, you swipe right. If you don't like them, you swipe left.
We will dig deeper into this topic shortly, but first, a question. In the UK, approximately how many marriages start with the couple meeting online? Is it:
a) One in three
b) One in four
c) One in five
What do you think?
Well, all of those seem quite high to me, so I'm going to guess in the middle, one in four.
Well, we'll find out if you're right later in the programme. Now, Alice Gray is a science communicator and blogger. Recently she was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme and she was asked about what goes on in our brains when we use dating apps compared to when we meet people in real life. What difference does she say there is?
It's very easy to think that with these instantaneous swipe left, swipe right, that the process in our brain of how we pick out a suitable mate would be very different, when actually it's really similar to how we do it in person.
So she says that what goes on in our brains is actually very similar. Online we make decisions very quickly about who we like. These decisions are almost immediate - she used the adjective instantaneous for this. So we make these instantaneous decisions then choose to swipe left or swipe right. In real life, we do the same thing. We know almost immediately when we see someone if we find them attractive or not.
Although of course in digital dating, one you've swiped left you will never see that person again and you won't have the chance to meet. In the real world you could meet someone you don't find attractive instantaneously and then get to know them and find that you do quite like them.
Yes, that is true, but then possibly they won't like you. And then you have to deal with rejection. Rejection is when someone doesn't find you attractive and they don't want to spend time with you or get to know you.
So what's the difference in our brains between online rejection and real life rejection? Here's Alice Gray again.
We see that a lot of the patterns associated with rejection in real life and rejection on dating apps are similar, just the exposure to the rate of the amount of rejection you get on dating apps is a lot higher than the ones in real life. So in real life you'll have time to, sort of, compute the rejection, get over it a little bit, and dust yourself off and get on with it. Whereas the rate of rejection on dating apps is so high it's often hard to cope with one coming in after another.
So, she says that our brain's response to real life and online rejection is quite similar, but in the digital world you can be rejected many more times.
In real life you have a bit more time to recover from the rejection, to get over it, as she says. You can dust yourself off which is a way of saying you think positively to make yourself feel better - imagine falling over on the ground, when you get up, you might be covered in dust and dirt, you need to dust yourself off to make yourself ready again, before you carry on.
In the online world though, you don't have that time. Online dating apps can lead to many rejections and psychologically that can be difficult to manage. Another way of saying 'difficult to manage' is difficult to cope with.
Well, we don't want you to reject us, so time now to give you the answer to that quiz question before a recap of today's vocabulary. I asked: in the UK, approximately how many marriages start with the couple meeting online? Is it:
a) One in three
b) One in four
c) One in five
Hmmm, so I said b) one in four – 25%. Was I right?
Sorry, Rob, the answer is a), one in three. Does that surprise you?
Yes, it does, I didn't think it would be that high.
It's the sign of the times, Rob. Digital world – digital dating! Let's have a look at that vocabulary.
OK, well, we started with the verb to swipe. The movement of our finger on smartphone or tablet screen to indicate whether we like someone or not. Swipe right for like, swipe left if you don't like.
Our decisions on whether we find someone attractive or not are often instantaneous. This adjective means immediate, at once.
Rejection is when you let someone know that you are not interested in them, you don't want to be romantically involved with them.
If you are rejected you might need some time to feel better, and for this you can use the phrasal verb get over. It can take some time to get over a rejection.
Yeah, I know! Being positive and optimistic after a rejection can be described as dusting yourself off. But, having many rejections can be difficult to cope with, which means it can be difficult to manage, difficult to keep positive.
Well, we hope you don't swipe left on this programme and you will join us again next time Remember you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course our website bbclearningenglish.com.
And don't forget our new BBC Learning English app.
Oh good idea. See you soon. Bye.
Uncovering Colonial Williamsburg's LGBTQ history
By The Washington Post · Samantha Schmidt · NATIONA
Moog-Ayers, who identifies as queer, told them about her own research - about gathering places for gay men in 18th-century England, known as "molly houses," and about a Virginia colonist who dressed as a man and as a woman.
But stories about what today would be considered the LGBTQ community have never been a formal part of the programming at Colonial Williamsburg. For the past four years, Moog-Ayers has been encouraging the living-history museum to fill this void.
"I'm queer, and I wanted to see if that was something that existed, if I could see myself in the past," said Moog-Ayers, now an apprentice weaver at Colonial Williamsburg.
This year, Moog-Ayers and other front-line staff members signed a petition calling for a push to study queer history at the popular tourist attraction, with the aim of telling a more complete story about those who lived in early America.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation agreed and recently launched a committee to research the history of gender and sexually nonconforming people. The group plans to create a source book for interpreters and guides to use while interacting with the half a million people who visit the historical site every year.
"Human beings who operate outside of sexual and gender expectations have always existed within and contributed to our history," Beth Kelly, vice president of the Education, Research and Historical Interpretation Division at the foundation, wrote in an internal memo about the plans in April. "Sharing this history is vital if we are committed to telling a holistic narrative of our past."
The foundation's efforts are part of a growing effort across the country to include LGBTQ history in educational settings. At least five states, including Maryland earlier this year, have taken steps to require public schools to teach lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. About five years ago, the National Park Service also launched a project exploring and preserving the legacy of LGBTQ people.
"I think gradually we're seeing this woven into the fabric of American education," said Michael Bronski, a Harvard University professor and author of "A Queer History of the United States for Young People." An important part of that effort, he said, will be incorporating these stories in museums, exhibits, libraries and historical sites such as Colonial Williamsburg.
Still, Bronski said he was surprised to see such an initiative in a place as prominent as Colonial Williamsburg, particularly on a topic that is still considered controversial among many Americans.
Other historical sites have faced backlash recently for grappling with topics some visitors see as polarizing. At Monticello, Mount Vernon and other plantations, they have complained about staff efforts to speak more honestly about slavery.
The changes come amid declining attendance at Colonial Williamsburg, which is attracting less than half of the visitors it did in the 1980s, according to an annual report from 2017. In 2018, ticketed attendance was 550,171.
Bronski anticipated possible pushback not just from some conservative visitors, but also from certain historians who oppose labeling people from centuries ago through the lens of the modern-day LGBTQ community.
Colonial Williamsburg historian Kelly Arehart acknowledged the challenges that come with researching sexuality and gender identity during the period, using language that didn't exist at the time.
"There are all these gaps," she said. "It's like chasing shadows."
Researchers plan to comb through available court documents, particularly from trials for those prosecuted under sodomy laws. Other clues can be found in letters or in poetry and art.
After speculation by Hall's neighbors and a forced physical examination, a Virginia court was unable to determine Hall's sex. The court found that Hall "is a man and a woman," and as a punishment, it ordered Hall to wear both men's and women's clothing.
"Thomasine was not allowed to choose gender for themselves," said Kara French, an associate history professor at Salisbury University who is working as an outside consultant for Colonial Williamsburg's researchers. "This idea that someone might be changing their gender or shifting their gender was not to be tolerated."
Historians also point to Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian officer who was enlisted to train the Continental Army. At the time, rumors spread that he was fired from the Prussian military for being gay. He nevertheless rose to the rank of major general, commanding an American division at the battle of Yorktown, according to "LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History," published in 2016 by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
His sexuality "does seem to have been an open secret," French said. "His expertise and his status allowed him certain privileges that the ordinary might not have had."
Other examples cited by historians are not quite as clear-cut. For example, Alexander Hamilton wrote letters to Lt. Col. John Laurens that would seem intimate and almost romantic by today's standards.
"Cold in my professions, warm in [my] friendships, I wish, my Dear Laurens, it m[n] be in my power, by action rather than words, [to] convince you that I love you," Hamilton wrote in April 1779. "I shall only tell you that 'till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you."
It was not uncommon for men in the 18th and 19th centuries to experience "romantic friendships," French said. Men and women lived very segregated lives at the time, she said, and many "primary attachments were going to be with people of the same sex."
"They were brothers in arms, they were part of this close-knit group," French said. "We're not always sure about how deep these romantic friendships went."
French also mentioned Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man and joined the Patriot forces during the American Revolution. She was the only woman to earn a full military pension for participation in the Revolutionary War. She later co-wrote a memoir that boasted of "flirtations" from other women mistaking her for a man, French said.
It will never be possible to determine whether people like Sampson and Hamilton would identify with modern-day ideas of what it means to be queer. But that's not necessarily the point of such research, Bronski said.
"It's not about finding gay people in history," Bronski said, "so much as it's actually expanding our notions of human relationships and the complexity of human behavior."
Thanathorn suspects 'political motivation' in media ownership case
By THE NATION
Thanathorn explained the case with his answers to four key questions:
1. Is V Luck Media a media?
A: V Luck Media is not a media, as the company had shut operations since November 26, 2018, well before the March general election. The company had no income, except unpaid dues, which was not for the company’s product or service.
The only income V Luck Media earned in 2019 was from selling properties to close the business. In conclusion, V Luck Media did not qualify as a media company as it was no longer in operation, had no employee, product, or service.
2 Was Thanathorn a V Luck Media shareholder on February 6, 2019?
A: A claim has been made that Thanathorn was a shareholder based on a paper V Luck Media had sent to the Ministry of Commerce about the latest list of shareholders, which was not valid in this case. In fact, to check the effectiveness in changing shareholders, or completing the transaction, people must refer to the Civil and Commercial Code, sections 1129 and 1141 on January 6, 2019.
“I have already transferred shares back to Somporn [Juangroongruangkit]. There was a transfer instrument, and payment before two witnesses and a Rotarian lawyer,” Thanathorn added. “Besides, I have completely changed the information in the company’s shareholder registration, according to the Civil and Commercial Code, sections 1129 and 1141.”
3 Is being a media shareholder wrong under the current Constitution?
A: The Constitution’s intention in barring politicians or authorised public persons from holding shares in a media company was because the media could be partial towards its owners and unfairly target rivals. “Those three magazines have neither contacted me nor blamed my political competitors,” Thanathorn argued.
He reiterated that the magazine company had closed down from November 26, 2018, before the general election was announced through a Royal Decree on January 23, 2019.
4 Has the judicial process been correct or fair towards Thanathorn?
The Election Commission, which is the petitioner, has nominated a set of committees to inspect this case. Preecha Namaeungrak was named president of this inspection. The committee called two witnesses who had signed the contract, together with the Rotarian lawyer, to give statements on May 22, 2019.
“During the investigation process, the petition was sent while the facts had not been inspected completely, raising my suspicion that this case is politically motivated,” Thanathorn said.
November 17, 2019