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2018

Diversity, Discourse, and Compromise as Core to Higher Education
June 27, 2018
Last summer, we implemented gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. The request for gender-neutral bathrooms had come from a student club that presented the administration with a letter of support, rather than a petition, with signatures from supporters across campus. They were intentional about not presenting a petition which, as they explained, would have set an adversarial tone. The leadership of the club also wanted to meet with me to explain why they wanted to add some gender-neutral options for the bathrooms on campus and expressed that the college was a haven for them.
2017 State and County Detailed Population Estimates: Growth in the Aging, Asian, and Hispanic Populations
June 22, 2018
Pennsylvanians are getting older and more diverse according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 State and County Detailed Population Estimates released today. The release features age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin data down to the county level and allows state and county agencies to better understand their changing populations.
Black and Brown Students are Denied Access to Advanced Placement Courses, the New Jim Crow in Education
June 5, 2018
Education provides a gateway for opportunity. Those who have access to a better education have better chances for success. While the U.S. education system may position itself as a meritocracy in which those who work hard in a fair system can succeed, in reality the deck is stacked against low-income students and students of color, who do not even have access to advanced courses that will prepare them for college.
Four honored for commitment to diversity in College of Agricultural Sciences
May 30, 2018
Four individuals have received the 2018 Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, an honor that recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the college. This year's recipients are Jenneth Layaou, director of campus enrollment and retention in the Office for Undergraduate Education; Tara Baugher, Penn State Extension tree-fruit educator; Paige Castellanos, assistant research professor in the Office of International Programs; and Cecil Shelton, doctoral student in agricultural and extension education.
Teaching Eval Shake-Up
May 24, 2018
Most institutions say they value teaching. But how they assess it tells a different story. University of Southern California has stopped using student evaluations of teaching in promotion decisions in favor of peer-review model. Oregon seeks to end quantitative evaluations of teaching for holistic model. Research is reviewed in a rigorous manner, by expert peers. Yet teaching is often reviewed only or mostly by pedagogical non-experts: students. There’s also mounting evidence of bias in student evaluations of teaching, or SETs -- against female and minority instructors in particular. And teacher ratings aren’t necessarily correlated with learning outcomes.
Student Wants to 'End Affirmative Action for Women'
May 24, 2018
The U.S. Education Department is investigating whether Yale University discriminates against men, stemming from an unusual complaint from a doctoral student completely unaffiliated with institution. The Office for Civil Rights’ investigation into whether the university violated the federal gender discrimination law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, began last month. Generally, the bulk of these complaints deal with institutions mishandling sexual assault cases or athletics issues, but not so with the complaint filed by Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California.
Shedding Light on Asian American and Asian Students’ Mental Health Needs
May 8, 2018
The “Let’s Talk!” conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) recently convened Pan-Asian college students, supporters and other educational leaders for a day-long forum addressing the success and well-being of Asian and Asian American college students across the country. Dr. Josephine Kim Now in its third year, the conference — created as a passion project by Dr. Josephine M. Kim, a faculty member at HGSE and licensed mental health counselor, and Marina Lee, executive director of Cogita Education Initiatives — has grown to address the direct mental health needs of Asian and Asian American students as they navigate their higher education journeys.
Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom: Taking ACTION
May 7, 2018
The term “microaggression” was coined in 1970 to name relatively slight, subtle, and often unintentional offenses that cause harm (Pierce, 1970). Since then, a substantial body of research on microaggressions has demonstrated their prevalence and harmful effects (Boysen, 2012; Solorzan, et. al., 2010; Suárez-Orozco, et. al., 2015; Sue, 2010). Whether an observer, the target, or the unintentional perpetrator of microaggressions, faculty often don’t know how to respond to them in the moment.
Black Lives Continually Demeaned, Devalued, Dehumanized
April 25, 2018
When the recent video of two Black men in Philadelphia being arrested at a Starbucks was exposed for the entire nation to witness, very few Black people were surprised. When another Black man and his friend were denied permission to use the LA Fitness gym that they both were paying members of, very few Black people were surprised. When Micheal Brown, a Black teenager with a very impressive academic record, earned acceptance and full scholarships to 20 schools (including four Ivy League schools) and was criticized by some FOX news affiliate anchors, many Black people were annoyed but very few were surprised.
Same Course, Different Ratings Study says students rate male instructors more highly than women even when they're teaching identical courses.
March 22, 2018
“Our analysis of comments in both formal student evaluations and informal online ratings indicates that students do evaluate their professors differently based on whether they are women or men,” the study says. “Students tend to comment on a woman’s appearance and personality far more often than a man’s. Women are referred to as ‘teacher’ [as opposed to professor] more often than men, which indicates that students generally may have less professional respect for their female professors.”
There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It's a Made-Up Label
March 14, 2018
The four letters of the genetic code —A, C, G, and T—are projected onto Ryan Lingarmillar, a Ugandan. DNA reveals what skin color obscures: We all have African ancestors. This story is part of The Race Issue, a special issue of National Geographic that explores how race defines, separates, and unites us. Tell us your story with #IDefineMe.
STEM Students Want Universities to Address Racial Issues
January 24, 2018
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was not Tiana Young's first choice for college, even though Young wants to dual major in aeronautical and mechanical engineering, and the private university is one the top schools in the country for science, technology, math and engineering. The school had one big drawback: Rensselaer's student body is more than two-thirds white and Asian, according to federal data. For Young, who is black and whose high school in Spring Valley, New York, was almost entirely African-American and Hispanic, "the lack of diversity was a very big concern," says the freshman.