I wish I could change a lot of things about higher education. At this time, if I could just change one thing, I would make quality higher education affordable and accessible to every person. It shouldn’t be an elitist system that is only accessible to people who can afford it. It would also be helpful if students didn’t have to go into crippling debt to obtain a quality education.
This goes for undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates have access to a plethora of large scholarships. These scholarships exist for graduate students, but there are not as many.
In addition, I wish that there wouldn’t be so many fees involved with obtaining an education. Application fees, standardized test fees (SAT and GRE), and that isn’t even accounting for the majority of students who have to move away from home to go to school – moving fees, room and board, or apartment costs. SO MUCH MONEY INVOLVED! And it puts a strain on working families. AND that doesn’t count for books, other supplies, and a laptop, which is a necessity for students now. Graduate students also have to pay fees every semester. Yikes!!
Higher education isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. I just wish that if someone wanted to attend college or graduate school, he or she would be able to and not have to stress and go into debt to obtain that education. There are so many humans with a ton of potential. They shouldn’t have to let that potential go to waste just because of money.
Maybe because we are, essentially, powerless at stopping hate? What do you do when someone who supports white supremacy is a graduate teaching assistant? I guess you could complain to university officials and protest in any way you know how. It still feels like this doesn’t lead to change.
The link at the beginning of this post explains it better than I could attempt to, but at Virginia Tech, there is a graduate student who has made comments online that are in clear support of white supremacy. Students have expressed concerns to university administrators about this, but it feels like nothing can get done. The student self-elected to not teach next semester, but he’s still here on campus. According to a recent news article, he plans to “be designing free speech classes for the English department next semester” (http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Virginia-Tech-GTA-accused-of-white-supremacist-social-media-posts-457296573.html).
Seems like a big mess of a situation, and it doesn’t reflect well on Virginia Tech to have someone representing the school and the English department like this. Someone could always make the free speech argument and claim that he is entitled to make these statements. I just don’t understand why you would make statements or do anything to deliberately belittle and hate another person.
On a different yet related note, the thing that troubles me most is how there are people that have these white supremacist thoughts and opinions, and how they have probably maintained these feelings for a while. These feelings are not new, but with a president that “speaks his mind” so often and so freely, it seems to have made it okay for people to speak out if they feel this way. It absolutely disgusts me.
It further frustrates me because I don’t know how to change the mind of someone who supports white supremacy. I like to think it’s possible, but I don’t really know if you can effectively reach out to someone who has such a radicalized view.
It is frustrating and I want everyone to love everyone because we are all humans and we are all deserving of love. To whoever reads this, know that I love you. Maybe one day the love will be enough to drive away the hate.
I graduated from high school in 2009. At that time, I knew of several options for obtaining college credit in high school, but my school only offered a few advanced placement (AP) classes (environmental science, government, United States history, english, biology, calculus) and a very limited selection of dual enrollment courses. At that time, the dual enrollment classes were a group of 2-3 courses that were only useful for people hoping to obtain a future degree in the medical field. This is an okay selection, but it was not that impressive compared to other, bigger high schools in my county.
I remember feeling pressured to take all of these “college preparation” courses when I was in high school. I wanted to be as “prepared” for college as I possibly could! When I look back on it, these classes were not that similar to anything I took in college, and I did not feel any more prepared for college than I would have if I had not taken them. I think college is a type of work and experience that is only understood when you actually experience it. No one, or any level of workload, can prepare you for having classes 2-3 times a week and then having a large amount of free time out of class to either get your work done promptly or procrastinate until the day before it is due.
In addition to not feeling prepared from these courses, I did not obtain any college credit for them. I went to a private, liberal arts college and I needed a 4 or 5 on any AP exam to get college credit. The highest score I got on any of the exams I took was a 3.
Based on my experience with advanced placement courses, I feel as if these aren’t the best indicators of college level work. Someone else could give a completely different review, but this is just my opinion. Another thing that may not always be clear to students is the amount of money that must go into paying to take the AP exams. When I took these tests in 2008-2009, they were around $85 a test. Some schools will pay for students to take these exams but others do not. My school was not one that did that.
The article that I’ve shared from inside higher ed mentions a study performed by the college board to identify factors that create strong college credit in high school programs. They found these factors to be program quality and accountability, value for time and dollars invested, equity and access, and transparency around credit transfer.
Yet another blog post about this proposed tax plan. If you didn’t know, the government wants to tax the tuition of grad students, which we get a waiver for. Not that this was ever a joke, but its not funny anymore, you guys. Just a couple of weeks ago when this news came out, I remember reassuring myself that this could never happen. Even as I type this, I’m still trying to reassure myself that this still won’t happen. The truth is, this is way too close to being an actual thing and it makes me extremely nervous and anxious and all types of other feelings that I can’t put into words. As if graduate education and research wasn’t already a stressful enough life spot to be in?! Last week, the House voted to pass the bill. Then this week, it passed the Senate Budget Committee. AHHHHH. Two steps closer. As of now, we aren’t there yet, but are dangerously close.
This tax plan makes so many things evident to us. Those in control of the government are undermining the value of higher education. Imposing this tax plan would make it more difficult for us to pursue a graduate position.
To make things even worse, this tax plan will only contribute to the already never-ending, steady rising national debt. So why go forward with it?!
Consolidates AOTC and Lifetime Learning Credit and adds a fifth year with half the benefits. Repeal of Lifetime Learning Credit would mean no tax credit for part-time students.
No changes to AOTC
Discharge of student debt
Discharge of student debt from death or disability would be excluded from taxable income.
Student Loan Interest Deduction
Repeals tax deduction for interest paid on federal student loans. Under current law, borrowers can deduct up to $2,500.
Graduate student tuition
Eliminates Section 117(d)5 of tax code, which allows institutions to waive or reduce tuition costs for graduate students without tax implications.
College employee dependent benefits
Would no longer exclude tuition benefits for college employees’ spouses or children from taxable income.
Employer-provided education assistance
Would no longer exclude employer-provided education assistance from taxable income. Tax-exempt benefits are currently capped at $5,250 per year for undergraduate and graduate course work.
Applies a 1.4 percent excise tax to private college endowments valued at $250,000 per full-time student.
Same as the House plan
Increases standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals. Charitable groups say the change will reduce the incentive for charitable giving to entities like colleges.
Increases standard deduction to $24,400 for joint filers and $12,200 for individuals.
College athletic seating rights
Eliminates rule providing for charitable deduction of 80 percent of amount paid to purchase tickets to athletic events.
Same as House plan
Unrelated Business Income Tax
Tax-exempt organizations could exclude from unrelated business tax only income from research that is available to the public.
Name and logo royalties
Would tax royalties a college derives from licensing its name or logo.
Business income taxed separately
Requires that unrelated business income be counted separately for tax purposes, meaning colleges could no longer use losses in one business area to offset tax liability for gains in another.
Termination of private activity bonds
Effectively eliminates tax-exempt private activity bonds that lower the cost of building for colleges.
Termination of advanced refunding bonds
Interest on newly issued advance refunding bonds would become taxable.
Same as the House plan
State and Local Tax Deductions
Deductions for state and local property taxes would be capped at $10,000. Higher ed advocates say limiting the deductions will mean less support for taxes that support community colleges and public universities.
Link to the article= https://www.chronicle.com/article/Ring-by-Spring-How/241840?cid=wcontentgrid_6_3list_6
Some couples get married early, some couples wait a couple years, and some may choose to not ever get married. Some people enjoy being single while other individuals are still waiting for the right person to walk into their lives. I never knew this, but at Christian colleges and universities in the United States, a “ring by spring” is a trend. What?!
I like to consider myself a decently mature person and I’ve pretty much always felt this way. However, when I look back 5 or so years to when I was still in college, I don’t necessarily feel that way. I felt mature when I was there, but I’ve come such a long way since that period. I’ve done so much growing and learning as a person, and it’s the type of growth and realization that couldn’t possibly have happened to me at that point in life. I got married this past spring to my college boyfriend (we met in college and had been together 6 and a half years at the time of the wedding). When I look back on our relationship in college, I similarly realize that we have grown exponentially as a couple. Being forced to play the long-distance game due to graduate school and jobs was a really hard time as we endured it, but it allowed us to learn so much about ourselves and one another and strengthened our relationship as a result. Not to say that a couple can’t have an amazing life together right out of college, but going through trials helps you realize whether or not you actually want to be with the person or not.
Although this is my stance and these are statements about me as a person, this doesn’t mean that another person couldn’t be ready to get married and start a life at 21 or 22. I just definitely don’t think I could have handled it! Another thing, there’s no way I could have been financially secure at that age! I’m definitely not financially secure now, but I am way more established and have a *glimmer* of a savings account (I also have a husband now, and we both have an income, so this majorly helps! but I digress).
As the article states, the “ring by spring” trend puts unnecessary added pressure on college couples to get engaged and follow along. It can also make students who are single, not heterosexual, or just not at this point in life feel very left out.
In addition to this trend, some Christian colleges may facilitate this rush to get engaged. Many of these colleges have couples retreats or other similar events. It is still a couple’s choice whether or not to get engaged at such an early point in life, but situations like these, to some extent, fuel that decision.
I found this article extremely interesting! It informed me of a trend that I was not even aware of.
On November 12, the University of Tennessee football program fired coach Butch Jones. He hadn’t won a single SEC conference game all season and it was time to part ways. In the opinion of many, this firing took way too long. However, with this fire, the Tennessee community became excited again. There was a prospect of success again with the thought of bringing in a coach who could resurrect a winning team.
This past weekend, the time had arrived. It was time to announce the new coaching pick for the Tennessee Volunteers football team. As ESPN announced that the guy was Greg Schiano, Vol nation took to social media to air their frustrations. In addition, students and fans in Knoxville showed up at the stadium to protest the hire. Greg Schiano is only a mediocre coach at best when it comes to football. When it comes to not-football related things, there is a lot of grey area. Greg Schiano worked under the notorious Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty of molesting many young boys. According to a court testimony in 2016, Greg Schiano knew about the molestations. This seems like a very murky area and definitely an area that we may never know the whole truth about.
In response to the announcement that Greg Schiano would be the new coach, there was an uproar from the fans. Fans took to all social media outlets to voice concerns. Greg Schiano was trending on twitter Sunday afternoon/evening. This particular situation leads us to the realization that we are in a unique time. If this had happened ten or so years ago, fans would not have been able to have this drastic of an impact. Social media gives us a very unique opportunity to be able to reach out to pretty much anyone. It will be extremely interesting to see where social media takes us in the future. I can’t imagine being any more connected than we already are, but I feel confident in my assumption that our society will be even more connected in the years to come.
This situation has (hopefully) taught many people a valuable lesson: with enough concerned people, we can make a difference! And, a huge difference at that!
Who ever said that higher education had to be the same everywhere? No one, of course, but it seems like once things change in the world of higher education, someone somewhere causes a fuss. The world we live in is advancing at such a rapid pace that we must do everything possible to keep up. In addition, higher education is becoming exponentially more accessible to people all over. This is a good thing, but it also presents a challenge. How can we reach everyone? How can we reach the single, working parent in the same way that we reach the second-year traditional undergrad AND have the same impact? Disruptive, maybe even non-traditional, technology is the way to have the impact we are seeking. MOOCs are a great way to accomplish this goal!!
Massive open online courses are actively, positively disrupting the field of academia. Because of MOOCs, so much knowledge is being spread to individuals who would not have been able to access it previously. There are many examples of this. Individuals not formally enrolled in an academic program can learn information online. Individuals who ARE currently enrolled in any level of academic programs (undergraduate, graduate, associate, part-time) now have the ability to expand their knowledge range and are not only limited by their institutional offerings. Currently (and in the past), it is possible for students to enroll in courses through other institutions if necessary. However, MOOCs bring a whole new dimension to enrolling in courses outside of your own institution. There is no limit to the content that can be covered in MOOCs!! Some of the current popular topics include: coding and computer science, data science and data analytics, business and management, languages, biology and life sciences, and engineering.
From talking with peers, it seems like the most common courses to enroll in are statistics and data analysis topics. Statistics still feels like another world to me, so it is comforting to know that I can seek other options instead of just what is offered to me in my current department. In addition, R is a cool, fancy data analysis program that is free and open access. That all sounds great, but you have to learn how to use the program. And it doesn’t seem like that is that easy. However, there are all kinds of AWESOME, helpful, FREE courses out there that can assist you in learning to use this program!! Pretty cool.
To sum it up, I think that MOOCs and other forms of disruptive technology in higher education are awesome. We should all be in support of programs that help others learn as much as possible!
The journal Insectsis an international, peer-reviewed open access journal of entomology published quarterly by MDPI online, with a physical location in Basel, Switzerland. The managing editor is physically located in Beijing, China. Insects publishes review articles, research papers, and short communications of entomological research. Topics addressed include biology, physiology, and behavior of insects and closely related arthropods.
The scope of this journal includes, but is not limited to: basic and applied entomology; biology, physiology, and ecology of insects; insect classification and taxonomy; reproduction and development of insects; evolution of insects; insects and public health; insects and environment; insects and plants; and pest management. Basically, this journal covers the spectrum of entomology and seeks to address as many facets of entomology as possible. It is a journal that can be helpful to any and all entomologists.
In regards to open access, the journal gives the following statement: “Articles published in Insects will be Open-Access articles distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The copyright is retained by the author(s). MDPI will insert the following note at the end of the published text:
In addition, the website gives an ethics statement explaining that although there is a rigorous peer-review process and although the editors work their hardest to ensure that plagiarism does not occur, it still happens. This is not a flaw in open access. Open access journals are just as meticulous and scholarly as any other journal outlet.
As a scientist, I am a full supporter of the open access movement. Now that I know much more about the concept, I plan to pursue publishing in open access journals as often as I can. It really only makes sense, and if we want our research to reach and help as many people as possible, it really is the way to go.
Does anyone remember taking the CITI responsible conduct in research training as a graduate school requirement? I do, and I also remember every made-up scenario being pretty ridiculous. In addition, I remember thinking that I know these situations happen in the real world, I guess? I’ve personally never known anyone or heard a secondhand story of anyone who has done this. However, situations happen all the time where people conduct studies incorrectly or falsify data.
The main, probably most popular, story of misconduct in research that comes to mind is the story of how vaccinations cause autism. Which, by the way, vaccinations do NOT cause autism in children. In 1998, a gastroenterologist by the name of Andrew Wakefield published an article that sparked this controversy. Many things that are essential to a sound scientific study were handled incorrectly in this case: there was a small sample size (n=12); participants in the study were selected, not chosen at random; and there was no control group. The publisher later came out saying that the information was “utterly false” and the paper was retracted. This paper caused a ripple effect. Many parents decided to not vaccinate their children. Many scientific studies had to occur and many scientific papers had to be published to refute the claims of Wakefield. As a greater result, many parents STILL, IN 2017, choose to not vaccinate their children. Why?? Why do people still question the work of credible, reputable scientists after this huge myth has been shown to be false?? As a scientist, it is extremely frustrating. For more information on this situation, you can see here where the Wakefield publication was retracted, and you can see a response article to the situation here.
I explored another case summary this week in research misconduct, and it was about Alec Mirchandani from Florida Atlantic University. Alec is a former post-baccalaureate research volunteer in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences. (Side note- why would a volunteer falsify data?! But I digress. Sigh) He knowingly and intentionally did these four things: 1) fabricated recorded results for three of five study mice on fourteen out of sixteen study days to make it appear as if he conducted the experiment; 2) falsified animal transfer logs on twelve out of sixteen study days to make it appear as if he conducted the experiment; 3) fabricated recording times on fourteen out of sixteen study days to make it appear as if he conducted the experiment; and 4) reported results of the fabricated and falsified data to his principal investigator in a way that the experiments were not accurately represented. Alec was reprimanded and entered into a voluntary settlement agreement with the ORI (office of research integrity).
Why is it that people do this? I understand that there is a lot of pressure within the academic community to perform and produce results, but is it worth all of this? In this case, it sounds like if the guy would have just recorded the data when it needed to be recorded, he wouldn’t be in the situation he is in now. I am an understanding person and also know that sometimes, things come up and you can’t always record your data when it should be recorded. In that case, you should ask a labmate to fill in for you, or just be honest with your PI and let them know that you weren’t able to record the observation. No matter what, honesty is always the best policy. And in this case, it definitely would have been better to have a few missing data points than a completely fabricated scientific study.
Anyways, these scientific studies aren’t the first two to ever be fabricated or falsified, and they definitely won’t be the last. All we can do as scientists is to do our best and publish good, honest work.
“Increase in Excellence,” the historic motto of Emory & Henry College, expresses our intention to be a learning community that moves toward fulfilling every student’s potential. Bishop John EMORY, along with the founders of Methodism, symbolizes our belief in the union of faith and learning, while Governor Patrick HENRY symbolizes our commitment to freedom and civic virtue.”
We affirm the Christian faith as our spiritual and moral heritage and encourage all our members to grow in faith as they grow in knowledge. We believe in the worth of each person’s religious and cultural heritage, inasmuch as that heritage leads to service to others in our region and the larger world.
We affirm the liberal arts as our intellectual foundation and believe that excellence results when everyone actively participates in the educational process. We challenge all persons to confront historical and contemporary ideas and issues and to develop the ability to think critically about all areas of human experience.
These traditions provide the context for our pursuit of excellence, as we engage a diverse group of well-qualified men and women in educational experiences that lead to lives of service, productive careers, and global citizenship.
This is a well-written mission statement that incorporates the most important values of Emory & Henry College. It jumps right into the college motto “increase in excellence” as well as the namesakes of the college, John Emory and Patrick Henry. The college has a religious affiliation and this is upheld through uniting faith and learning. Emory & Henry is also committed to promoting freedom and civic virtue.
It was nice to see that even though the college has a religious affiliation with the United Methodist Church, the mission statement explicitly states “we believe in the worth of each person’s religious and cultural heritage.” So even though this college is Methodist affiliated, it does not mean that you must be a practicing Methodist to attend. It is open and accepting to people of all cultures and all religions.
The mission statement seems to be all encompassing – of all members of the college campus and community, all cultures and heritages, and all disciplines and religious affiliations. The college lives out this mission statement by preparing students to be worldly, accepting, and productive members of society upon entering the workforce.
Having attended this college for my undergraduate education, I know that members of the campus and surrounding community make a great effort to incorporate these values into daily living.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville Mission Statement:
The primary mission of UT is to move forward the frontiers of human knowledge and enrich and elevate the citizens of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. As the preeminent research-based, land-grant university in the state, UT embodies the spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions.
I enjoyed that this mission statement begins with a primary mission of enriching and elevating citizens of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. In order to effectively impact citizens of our nation and our world, we must first start at a local level and build up from there.
One thing in particular that I do not like about this statement is the last line: “… attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions.” This is too general and appears as if the University is simply grouping itself with other institutions instead of trying to stand out as a leader. A key goal of UT Knoxville is to be listed as a top 25 research institution in the United States. The university must allow itself to stand out as a leader in order to get to this point.