CLIR Report on NITLE

Logo designed by Khaled Al-Saai http://www.kashyahildebrand.org/zurich/alsaai/

I finally read through this report on NITLE (the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), and I must say I agree with most of it’s findings.  It is a thorough survey of what was accomplished and what is needed. Thanks are due to Jason Brodeur, Morgan Daniels, Annie Johnson, Natsuko Nicholls, Sarah Pickle, and Elizabeth A. WaraksaI, as well as all who participated in the surveys they conducted, for this job well done.

I was very proud of my involvement in NITLE, which started our as a visionary organization, assisting member institutions to be forward looking and to think big about what they could accomplish. I was Program Director of NITLE’s Al-Musharaka Initiative, which is mentioned early in the report. I am immensely proud of my involvement with that project. Our focus really was on building community, facilitating collaboration, and fostering intellectual exchange, not just across institutions, but also across sectors within the academic community.  Much of what has been published about the initiative focusing on the Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource (the ACC site), one of our first projects, but it was really the collaborative projects that were the most interesting and produced the most exciting results.  Continue reading

Wellesley College Statue Story Shouldn’t Be So Big

The Wellesley College statue story is making news in New Zealand, and I just saw it on Al Jazeera, too!  It’s clearly blown way out of proportion, so much that I now regret doing my insignificant part to give it legs in my social media presences.

Let’s be clear, only 713 people have signed the petition to move the statue as of this writing.  Wellesley has approximately 2500 students.   The petition is open to the public so anyone can sign.   I can’t see the signatures, but I suspect that many of the signatories are not from the campus community at all.  Still, even if  we assume that everyone who signed is a Wellesley student, the vast majority of students have no problem with the statue being where it is.  That is consistent with what I am hearing.

I have spent my entire adult life in higher education environments of various sorts: public and private, large and small, technical and liberal arts, foreign and domestic.  Student protests are frequent and healthy.  They seldom get much traction in the media, even when they are much larger and even when they work for it.  What is it about this one that has caused such buzz?  Would this story have gotten so much attention if it had happened at a coed liberal arts college?  Or is it the fact that Wellesley is such an highly rated college, so there’s delight in knocking it down?   Or is it that people delight in seeing a students at a liberal arts college behaving so narrow-mindedly?  Whatever it is, the story has been carried way beyond whatever legs it should have had.

SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – September 22-28, 2012

I realize it is an idealistic view, but I believe passionately in the necessity of free intellectual inquiry.  It is the only way we arrive at truth. Only in the most extreme circumstances should it be compromised, for example to protect public safety. That is why I so strongly support the work of Scholars at Risk, and why I re-publish their weekly Academic Freedom Media Review every week. Even if all we do is call attention to abuses of academic freedom, we render a service. So read, re-post, or forward these messages. Visit the site of Scholars of Risk and find out more about the work.

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Archived media reviews are available here.

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Higher education mounts rescue efforts for Syrian students, scholars
Eileen Travers, University World News, 9/28

Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Busra Ersanli of Turkey
Scholars at Risk, 9/27

Women’s situation and human rights under militarisation of society: the case of Sri Lanka
Inge Erling Tesdal, University of Bergen, 9/27
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Academic Freedom Media Review – September 15-21, 2012

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Archived media reviews are available here.

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Iran: Ensure Equal Access to Higher Education
Human Rights Watch, 9/22

A professor in defense of tenure and academic freedom at SLU
Tim Lomperis, The University News of Saint Louis University, 9/20

Interview with Pınar Selek: ”The Old Mindset Is Still in Place in Turkey”
Ceyda Nurtsch, Qantara, 9/19

Writer Held Over Japan Comments
Luisetta Mudie, Radio Free Asia, 9/19

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For My Mother, Born August 7th 1935, Support the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace

Mom’s 70th Birthday with my niece and nephew


There is so much about my work at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace and my life in West Virginia that makes me think of my mother.  She would have hated the snakes and loved the birds!  She would have loved the country homes, but hated the widespread poverty.  I often find myself taking pictures of things in the Pearl Buck Birthplace, brightly colored birds, or unabashed wildlife staring at me defiantly from my yard and thinking, I can’t wait to show this to Mom!

She would have been very proud of my work here, though like my father is now, she would have been concerned about me getting by on the modest stipend of an Americorps Volunteer.  Still she would have approved.
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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – May 5-11, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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‘New York University’ Is Added to China’s List of Banned Internet Search Terms
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/11

Sea turtles homing in on China must swim against academic tide
Carolynne Wheeler, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Scholar lost in desert of despair guided by beacon of hope to oasis
Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Cabinet may consider accreditation bill today
Himanshi Dawan, Times of India, 5/10

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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review, March 24 – 30, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Civil society demands inquest into student’s death, more academic freedom
University World News, 3/30

Academics, journalists vow to work for freedom
Pravit Rojanaphruk, The Nation, Thailand, 3/29

Mixing politics and science doesn’t help students learn
R. Matthew Poteat, Newsleader, 3/29

Indian Police Round Up Tibetan Exiles Before Hu Visit
Voice of America, 3/28

Saudi Arabia: Stop Arbitrary Arrests, Travel Bans on Opposition
Human Rights Watch, 3/28

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Tell Congress Not To Double Interest on Student Loans

Prepare yourself: on July 1, as many as 8 million college students will see their interest rates on federally subsidized student loans double, from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that increase amounts to the average Stafford loan borrower’s paying $2,800 more over a standard 10-year repayment term for loans made after June 30.

It’s worse for those students who take out the most money. Those who borrow the maximum $23,000 in subsidized student loans will see their debt load upped by $5,000 over a 10-year repayment plan and $11,000 over a 20-year repayment plan.  – Kayla Webley, TIME Magazine.

Fortunately this doesn’t affect those of us already carrying such loans and in repayment, though I never stop waiting for that shoe to drop.  I still remember far too well the interest on my supplemental loans being raised to 8% when Republicans controlled Congress under the Reagan administration.  It’s part of the reason my burden is so high now.  Fortunately I no longer have that kind of loan, thanks to consolidation.

The issue with the rate is, of course, budgetary.  Well, budgetary and political, as the article goes on to explain.

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Academic Freedom Media Review – February 25 – March 2, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Virginia court rejects sceptic’s bid for climate science emails
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 3/2

Yale Professors Want Singapore Campus to Protect Human Rights
Oliver Staley, Bloomberg News, 3/2

Excellence – but those missing out don’t see it that way
Frances Mechan-Schmidt, Times Higher Education, 3/1

African leader wants end to ‘slave trade’ in education /
Phil Baty, Times Higher Education, 3/1

Student singled out for punishment over Willetts protest
Judith Welikala, The Cambridge Student, 3/1

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Academic Freedom Media Review, February 18-24, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Sociologists Back Scholars in Oral History Case /
Inside Higher Ed, 2/24

Bryn Mawr Will Host Artist Barred by Villanova
Inside Higher Ed, 2/24

Sudan’s University of Khartoum to re-open on 18 March
Sudan Tribune, 2/23

Urgent Action: Academic Detained in Sudan
Amnesty International, 2/23

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