BEHIND the NEWS
INTERNATIONAL HIGHER ED INSTITUTIONS ARE AS EAGER TO WELCOME American students as we are to welcome theirs. A new Institute of International Education report, "Meeting America's Global Education Challenge: Exploring Host Country Capacity for Increasing U.S. Study Abroad" (www.iie.org/studyabroadcapacity), shows American students are most in demand, followed by those from China, India, Canada, and Russia. That fact fits in nicely with our nation's goal of increasing to 1 million the number of undergraduate students studying abroad annually within 10 years.
The best place to accommodate these students is in long-term programs of at least a semester if not a full year, but American students have been more likely to go for programs of around eight weeks. "The trend toward short programs started in the past decade, as the numbers of U.S. students going abroad started increasing," says Allan Goodman, president of IIE, adding that students used to tend to study a language and spend their junior year overseas. "It became less and less possible to just rely on students who were fluent in the language." Today's students also have very busy schedules, making it harder to get away. Still, study abroad numbers have been bolstered by an increased awareness of globalization and interest in China and other emerging countries.
Goodman suggests switching to a freshman or sophomore year abroad model, which would accomplish the goals of getting more students overseas for longer. He points out that students attending competitive IHEs frequently bring a lot of Advanced Placement credits and their schedules aren't as busy as juniors' schedules tend to be. And if more faculty members have to chaperone the younger students, so much the better.
Goodman points to the efforts of <b>Goucher College</b> (Md.), which has made study abroad mandatory, as proof that an institution doesn't have to be wealthy to support that kind of experience. He also noted the recently ended program at <b>Worcester Polytechnic Institute</b> (Mass.) to provide students with free passports, adding that 70 percent of U.S. citizens don't have a passport. Taking it a step further, Goodman suggests IHEs ditch student ID cards and start using passports instead. "It might save money and it would make a statement," he says. "A passport is just as important an educational device as a computer." -Ann McClure
<b>Building Brand Momentum: Strategies for Achieving Critical Mass</b>
<em> By Robert A. Sevier</em>
Strategy Publishing (www.strategypublishing.com), 2008; 272 pp.; $39.95
Longtime <em>UB</em> readers are familiar with the concepts of integrated marketing and institutional branding, as espoused by marketing columnist Robert Sevier. A senior vice president at Stamats, he has written extensively on "the brand as promise," that is, delivering on the expectations and ideals you want to portray to the public. In this new book, Sevier takes that concept to the next level. <em>Building Brand Momentum</em> builds on his earlier work to show how colleges and universities can sustain the brand momentum they've built for the long term, to the point where it becomes the very embodiment of the institution. Loaded with examples of successful branding campaigns from colleges and universities around the country, the book also includes interviews with marketing gurus Don Schultz and Jack Trout. -Tim Goral
THE RECORDING AND MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRIES continued their ongoing battle against illegal file sharing with yet another flood of "takedown letters," sent to 18 colleges and universities earlier this year. But now some higher ed IT specialists are saying enough is enough. At an EDUCAUSE conference in May, campus IT specialists complained that technological mandates imposed by new legislation unfairly target higher ed. File sharing is a social phenomenon with deep roots, and colleges are unfairly portrayed as being the biggest offenders, they said. In addition, current legislation doesn't distinguish between legitimate and nonlegitimate P2P transmissions. That may be the biggest part of the problem. While many takedown complaints are valid, researchers have shown-and some defendants have successfully argued-that not all complaints are accurate.
A study conducted by faculty and graduate students at the <b>University of Washington</b> has shown that false complaints can be generated on just about any device that can be connected to the internet. That includes printers, wireless access points, or-if someone wants to create mischief-an innocent user's computer. In fact, the researchers were easily able to fool the detection software into thinking that a laser printer had downloaded a pirated copy of <em>Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull</em>.
"The fact that we can generate DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaints for arbitrary users regardless of whether or not copyright infringement actually occurred casts doubt on the current approach to copyright enforcement on P2P networks," write the study's authors. "As a result, internet users and ISPs should not interpret DMCA complaints as foolproof; false positives are a very real possibility. Going forward, we believe our work shows a compelling need for increased transparency in the P2P monitoring and enforcement process."
The study, "Challenges and Directions for Monitoring P2P File Sharing Networks-or-Why My Printer Received a DMCA Takedown Notice," is at http://dmca.cs.washington.edu. -T.G.
A <b>DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY</b> STUDENT who was assaulted in her dorm room by an intruder in 2005 is suing her school. Jameka Smith, now in her senior year, alleges that officials failed to provide a secure environment and to comply with the federal Jeanne Clery Act, which mandates timely reports of potential campus threats. The day before Smith was assaulted, her assailant attacked another student. Campus police were aware of that attack but did not inform the campus community or take safety precautions, according to Smith's lawyer, Ron Poliquin. Smith is seeking $1 million in damages, and a trial is scheduled to begin November 10.
Director of News Services Carlos Holmes says the university looks forward "to vigorously defending itself in this matter," adding that "at all times, the university police acted appropriately and with complete regard for the safety of our students."
DSU officials recently signed a contract to implement a campus alert system. -Michele Herrmann
MIKE GARRISON INTENDED TO REMAIN PRESIDENT of <b>West Virginia University</b>, despite a report that had concluded the daughter of the state's governor was awarded a master's degree she didn't earn. After staff departures and calls for his resignation, Garrison has chosen to end his term on September 1 to cease the controversy. "After careful reflection, I have determined I am the one person who is uniquely situated to stop this dialogue with my decision," says Garrison in a statement. "It is by far the most difficult decision I have ever faced. But it is a clear decision with a clear outcome."
An investigative panel issued a report saying some of Garrison's top staff members showed "seriously flawed" judgment in retroactively granting Heather Bresch, the daughter of Gov. Joe Manchin, a 1998 executive master's of business administration degree. Bresch did not earn enough credits. The degree has been rescinded.
The report did not cite evidence that Garrison was involved in the decision to grant Bresch the degree. The two have been longtime friends and former business associates. Bresch is the chief operating officer for Mylan, a drug maker whose chairman, Milan "Mike" Puskar, is a major WVU benefactor.
WVU faculty, however, thought otherwise and issued two votes demanding Garrison resign, arguing that the scandal shook the university's academic credibility.
In its wake, Provost Gerald Lang and College of Business and Economics dean R. Stephen Sears stepped down from their administrative posts. The McGee Foundation, a major donor, dropped plans for a substantial gift to WVU. Three professors have accepted positions at other institutions.
The Board of Governors called Garrison's action "unselfish," in a press statement, in that his decision "should initiate a call to heal divisiveness and to move forward." -M.H.
AS AT OTHER SCHOOLS, FRESHMEN AT <b>ROANOKE COLLEGE</b> (VA.) HAVE the chance to formally mark their entrance into the college community during an induction ceremony where they "sign in" to a book. President Michael Maxey and his wife, Terri, revived a tradition this year that also allows graduating seniors to sign off-by burning their names into the wood on a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the president's home.
During the bookshelf burning party in the house, held days before graduation, most or all of the 150 students in attendance made their way down to the basement family room to sign. Students were first invited to burn their names or initials and class year into the bookcase (or into an entrance or closet door, if they preferred) back in 1976 when the house was occupied by President Norman D. Fintel. The tradition continued until his tenure ended in 1989. President Maxey describes the symbolism in this way: "It reminds us all that Roanoke makes a mark on our students, and our students make a mark on Roanoke." And if those marks ever take up all the available room on that bookcase, as they may within a few years, there's space in the room to add more, confirms Teresa Gereaux, director of public relations.
Here's how some other institutions help graduating seniors make their mark:
<b>St. Olaf College</b> (Minn.) gives students the opportunity to sign their names in chalk inside the tower of the school's Old Main building, which is 110-feet high.
<b>Trinity University</b> (Texas) also uses its tower in this way, with seniors who have made a gift in the amount of their class year ($20.08 for 2008) being allowed to write their names on a brick in the 166-foot Murchison Tower.
<b>Southwestern University</b> has a similar Texas tower tradition, with graduating seniors who have contributed to the senior class gift invited to climb a narrow spiral staircase to sign their names on the Cullen Building's tower room walls.
<b>Scripps College</b> (Calif.) has let graduating classes since 1931 sign their names around a logo or image on the aptly named Graffiti Wall on campus.
<b>University of California, San Diego,</b> asks almost-grads to sign a commemorative class plaque before it's installed permanently along Library Walk, the campus's main drag.
<b>Dominican University of California</b> seniors present a painted "shield" to freshmen. Until 1961 the designs were turned into stained glass art; today they become wood carvings.
<b>Whittier College</b> (Calif.) sells inscribed bricks (usually with name and year), which are placed in the Founders Walkway, to graduating seniors.
<b>Warren Wilson College</b> (N.C.) gives a hemlock sapling to each of its graduating seniors, who may plant them on campus (which has 600 acres of forests) if they wish.
<b>Saint Vincent College</b> (Pa.) seniors active in theater can sign the backstage wall in the Robert S. Carey Student Center, a custom started more than 50 years ago. -Melissa Ezarik
HERE'S PROOF THAT ADMISSIONS OFFICES ARE SELECTING students who are a good fit for their schools: Nearly eight in 10 young graduates surveyed said they would attend the same undergraduate institution again if they could go back and do it all over again. The national survey of 1,000 people aged 25 to 39 was conducted by the American Council on Education's Solutions for Our Future campaign.
Despite the range of experiences that contribute to a student's satisfaction with a school, in looking back, learning is the one that stands out the most. A fulfilling academic experience is the top reason given by the 78 percent of graduates who said they would make the same college choice.
Of those who would choose a different school, 84 percent still report having a favorable impression of their alma mater. Men and women gave slightly different reasons why they would have chosen another school. Campus culture and location, both environmental factors, were the top reasons women gave. Men were more concerned that the degree was not as helpful as they would have liked and that the academic experience was not fulfilling.
Another finding institutional leaders may want to keep in mind as they strive to contain costs-as well as solicit alumni dollars-is that 65 percent of graduates believe colleges and universities in general are not charging a fair price today. On the bright side, though, 71 percent felt their own institutions DID charge them a fair price. -M.E.