Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Choose Student Affairs

One of the great benefits of working in student affairs and related university work is the joy of the work itself. Laura Burge, a residence educator at La Trobe University in Australia, makes a very appealing pitch for choosing student affairs for a career.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sam Clovis of Morningside

Donald Trump hired Sam Clovis of Morningside College in Iowa as a political strategist after he left Rick Perry's unsuccessful campaign. Inside Higher Education provides insight on the implications of a college professor joining a conservative politician's campaign staff, with responses to the article questioning why a conservative professor's role would be highlighted when many liberal professors are involved in campaigns but don't receive the same attention. A defender of the U.S. Constitution and advocate for religious freedom while a professor, he now supports Trump's proposed ban on Muslims, including current students who return to their home countries and then try to return to study. Clovis is quoted as saying, "nothing in the Constitution bars discrimination based on religion against those outside the United States." Wow! You mean religious freedom is important enough to be a Constitutional right for U.S. citizens but not others around the world? In addition to this interesting stand, Clovis indicated to Inside Higher Education that Trump is working on a revolutionary plan for higher education. I'll go ahead and be political - that Trump is even looking into higher education as part of his campaign strategy is terrifying.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Qatar's Education City continues to unfold

Two articles in the Washington Post of December 6, 2015, by the same author capture the accomplishments and challenges of one of the world's most ambitious higher education projects. The first of the articles includes several references to Her Highness Sheikha Moza who provided the vision and inspiration for what many thought would be impossible. The second article describes Education City as an educational oasis and quotes a number of the faculty and administrators who are presently involved in pushing/pulling the project forward to fruition.

Both articles are balanced, recognizing the difficulties that are present when advocating educational practices in different cultures where the core principles and values of learning may diverge. Having been involved in the formative years of Qatar Foundation's Education City efforts, it stirs a lot of pride that the project has achieved so much already. Many of those who were involved in the early days, particularly Dr. Abdulla Al-Thani, the Qatari national leader who worked tirelessly to fulfill Her Highness' dreams, are no longer at Qatar Foundation. Others who are now gone were part of the original Education Division that blazed trails in new facilities, programs, and perspectives of how higher education could look if based on best practices from Western institutions but adapted those practices in ways that were more effective in the local context.