As a follow-up to my piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, I was recently a guest on the Navigating Change podcast, where I talked more lessons for college and university leaders from the Sandusky scandal at Penn State University and the Nassar scandal at Michigan State University.
I spent much time the last couple of weeks following the sentencing hearing of former Michigan State University professor and doctor Larry Nassar. I was watching from the perspective of having been associated with now a second university embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal, having worked at Michigan State before coming to USF, and before that, at Penn State University when the Sandusky scandal broke there. This week I wrote an op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education about my experience at these two institutions, and what it tells us about the responsibility of university leaders.
In the heavily-politicized and racially-charged environment in which our nation finds itself today, I suppose it is not surprising that some observers would seize upon a program like the University of San Francisco’s Black Student Orientation and criticize it as promoting segregation, or providing a benefit from which other students are excluded.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article titled, “They each applied to more than 100 colleges. That may be the problem” (the article is behind the Chronicle’s paywall; here’s a link to it that will be available for a limited period of time). The article’s lede states:
Anisah Karim was by all measures a good student – she earned high grades, took part in her high school’s selective dual-enrollment program, launched her own culinary nonprofit, and participated in a slew of extracurriculars.
But when her college counselor told her to apply to 100 colleges so she could have a chance at becoming a “million-dollar scholar,” a coveted term her school uses to honor students who receive more than a million dollars in scholarship offers, Ms. Karim said she found herself getting pulled out of class and faced with disciplinary action during her senior year for not meeting application requirements.
This week, the Washington Post is running a series titled, “Do we need to remodel our university system?” The Post invited me to contribute an essay to the series in which I argue that one of the strengths of our system is the many forms of postsecondary educational institutions we have, and that it provides students with many options. I invite you to read my essay as well as the others in the series.
The Washington Post asked me to write a commentary in response to yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, in which the court upheld the university’s use of race-based affirmative action. This was a historic decision for the Supreme Court, and an important one for higher education institutions across the country. As someone who has done research over the last two decades on college access and success for underrepresented students, I was extremely pleased to see the court affirm the importance of allowing colleges and universities to use the tools they need to create a diverse class of students.
In 2014 the White House launched a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to help combat sexual assault at the nation’s colleges and universities. Titled “It’s On Us,” the campaign uses celebrities to help raise awareness about the problem – what some are calling an epidemic – of sexual assault and rape in higher education.
This issue has received much attention from policymakers as well as the media over the last few years. The U.S. Department of Education, through its enforcement of Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965, has stepped up its oversight of how colleges adjudicate reports of sexual harassment and assault. The recent case of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student athlete convicted of sexually assaulting a woman while she was unconscious – and who received only a 6-month prison sentence for the act – has brought the issue to the forefront of the news once again.
This week I gave a keynote address at the American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. The meeting in New Orleans had approximately 1,000 attendees, most of whom were marketing and communications professionals in colleges and universities, the remainder largely representatives of firms that sell marketing services and products to higher education institutions. The organizers were encouraging attendees to tweet throughout the conference, and one of the sponsors was offering a prize to tweeters (though it wasn’t clear whether the prize was going to the most prolific tweeter, the most salient, or perhaps the luckiest).
My talk was the luncheon keynote, and the lunch was a Thanksgiving meal – just what every after-lunch speaker wants, a large dose of tryptophan delivered to the audience. I joked to the person introducing me that they might as well have put a football game on the large screens flanking the stage, that way everyone could have just gone to sleep. But undaunted, I embarked on my talk titled, “Higher Education Under Attack: Why Doesn’t Anybody Like Us and How Should We Respond?” While I have given a number of keynotes in the past, and I’m sure throughout some of the recent ones people were tweeting, this is the first time that there was active encouragement of tweeting.