Many colleges and universities lack adequate supports and policies for the estimated 20% of their students who are parents and who face the additional pandemic-related challenges, including financial strain, remote learning for themselves and their school-age children along with other concerns. "It feels like I have to make a choice between finishing my program and being a parent," doctoral student Erin Palmer said.
The nearly 20% of US college students who have a disability often grapple with technology -- especially during online learning caused by the pandemic -- making it incumbent upon faculty to design and teach classes with such students in mind. While many students will require customized tools and personalized support, Penny Rosenblum, director of research for the American Foundation for the Blind, offers some general recommendations for creating better audio and visual accessibility.
University-based retirement communities likely will experience strong growth in three to five years as baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, and while the universities of Florida, Alabama, Michigan and others don't own or run the facilities, they usually have a financial tie that can provide a small slice of budget help. The portion of retirement residents who are alumni, retired faculty and relatives bolster college communities as students of noncredit classes, fans of university sports and mentors.
College students worldwide are pushing back against increasing requirements to install proctoring software as institutions work to ensure fair assessments and reduce the risk of cheating during remote learning. At the City University of New York, students gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition that led to the removal of requirement that students use such software.
Newspaper reports identified Richard Blum -- a $15 million donor to the University of California at Berkeley and husband of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- as the author of a letter of recommendation for a waitlisted student that reportedly violated a University of California Board of Regents admissions policy and that was part of a state audit of admissions at some campuses of the university system. Blum apologized for being unaware of the policy, while others are called for fewer back doors to college admissions, especially at taxpayer-funded institutions.
A Duke University building first opened before the school opened its doors to Black people is being renamed for Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, one of the first five Black students to enroll in 1963. Part of a larger effort to "honor key contributors to the university who have been overlooked," the move marks the first time a Duke building has been named after a Black woman, the university said.
A letter sent to the US House of Representatives by the American Council of Education and other higher-ed groups asserts that the cost of the coronavirus pandemic to US colleges and universities will exceed the $120 billion originally estimated, writes Michael Nietzel, president emeritus of Missouri State University. The groups are requesting federal assistance to address the budget crisis, which Nietzel says "will be felt for years to come."
Coordinated online learning collaborations among universities present an opportunity for financial savings and for reaching a broader group of students, researchers Igor Chirikov and Rene Kizilcec write, noting that per-student costs for this method can be slashed by 20% for hybrid learning and 80% for fully online learning. They suggest groups of colleges create networks -- such as those in Texas, Russia and elsewhere -- that involve licensing fees for producing shared online courses.
White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas has threatened to sue nearly 100 fellow Stanford colleagues who jointly denounced Atlas' views on the virus and claimed "a moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations." The immunologists did not meet demands from Atlas' lawyer, saying they stand by their remarks.
Some colleges around the country are seeing some success in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, such as Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, where only one person has tested positive in the past two months. Strict rules for masks, social distancing, contact tracing and frequent testing are seen as contributing to their successes, while in some cases schools' remote locations are believed to be playing a role.
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