Behind the News

From overseas to the American community college

Growing an international presence on two-year-college campuses

Lone Star College has the fourth highest number of international students among U.S. two-year institutions, but the Houston-area school does not recruit abroad aggressively. Like many community colleges, it relies on local immigrant communities to spread the word with friends and family in foreign countries.

Growing trend: Corporations providing college tuition as employee benefit

Number of larger corporations offering these programs expected to grow

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and health insurance company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have now followed suit, and Starbucks has expanded its program.

While each corporation is partnering with a specific higher ed institution, the plans and stipulations vary:

Live videocasts hold promise for college marketers

Colleges and universities testing live-video-streaming app called Periscope

In March, Twitter unveiled its newest acquisition, a live video streaming app called Periscope. Following closely on the heels of a rival app called Meerkat, Periscope made waves by enabling anyone with a mobile device (iOS or Android) to broadcast from virtually anywhere. The apps allow viewers to interact with broadcasters through a chat feature.

Arizona State and edX offer full freshman year of MOOCs

Students can take classes for free but must pay fees to earn credits

Online learning, specifically MOOCs, has inspired many doomsday forecasts regarding the fate of traditional higher education—which, of course, has yet to collapse.

But the predicted death of MOOCs—due to erratic completion rates, lack of formal student support and concerns about the financial returns for institutions—hasn’t come true either.

Push for coed frats meets resistance

Gender equity or a move to shutter traditional fraternities?

A push for coed fraternities has spawned a lawsuit at Wesleyan University, while a directive from the administration at Trinity College, also in Connecticut, has so far failed to further integrate Greek organizations.

Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, sued Wesleyan in February after the fraternity’s members were informed they would not be able to live in their house in the 2015-16 school year. The fraternity is seeking an injunction against that decision.

Containing the costs of commencement speakers

Getting a prominent, yet free, speaker is more time-consuming than simply hiring one, but it can be the only option

Commencement speakers have become another point of financial scrutiny in higher ed, with an annual flurry of students crying foul on both the person selected and fees incurred. Some colleges avoid charges by tapping their own faculty for the task (as University of Chicago has done since 1970). Others pursue prominent speakers willing to donate their services.

WOW News: Attending class as a robot

And a 30-plus class at Texas A&M University at Galveston were all gifted with Fs

Attending class as a robot

Cluster hiring connects faculty across disciplines

Higher ed institutions are expanding interdisciplinary research activity by hiring groups of faculty from multiple disciplines at the same time. The idea, pioneered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1990s and sprouting up elsewhere since then, is to formalize the expectation of working collaboratively across the university. It may involve a variety of collaborative support activities or a less structured expectation (as part of their job descriptions) that the new hires work together.

Hunger strikers oppose layoffs of Tufts janitors

At least four students stopped eating, only drinking water, while others fasted during the day to oppose the layoffs

A small group of Tufts University students mounted a six-day hunger strike in May, but their target wasn’t fossil fuel divestment or nuclear disarmament. The Tufts Labor Coalition had pitched tents in front of the suburban Boston school’s administration building to protest the planned layoff of campus custodial workers.

While such staff cuts might not seem to be a typical student cause, the janitors’ plight illuminates issues of race and income equality, says David Ferrandiz, a Tufts sophomore and an organizer of the hunger strike.

Gaming: Serious business at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

University offers students a game development track in computer science

Bolstering student interest in STEM subjects is a priority for many schools, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is finding success on an unusual path.

The university offers students interested in the gaming industry a game development track in computer science, as well as an animation and interactive media concentration in visual arts. While a similar program at another

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