Diverse Conversations

Diverse Conversations: The Difference Between Diversity and Equity

The nature of higher education is changing and the student population is changing at colleges and universities across the country. With luck, the promotion of equality in higher education will continue to engender equality in education – not only in terms of student access, actually, but in terms of employment. But how does diversity and equity work out in education – in the practice of teaching in higher education? Given the issues of equality and diversity within education, how, in today’s changing context, can we move on and teach these principles effectively?

To grapple with this issue, I spoke to Dr. Adriel A. Hilton, Director, College Student Personnel Program & Assistant Professor of College Student Personnel at Western Carolina University. Dr. Hilton served as past director for the Center for African American Research and Policy as well as Assistant Vice President for Inclusion Initiatives at Grand Valley State University. He also served as chief diversity officer and executive assistant to the President & Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Upper Iowa University.

Q: Concentrating on this issue of equality and diversity, first, let’s talk about how they are related. How do you see the relationship between equality and diversity in higher education?

A: I find it interesting that two words with contrasting meanings are used jointly as a way to improve higher education. Equality is synonymous with likeness, uniformity, fairness, and homology; while diversity, on the other hand, means unlikeness, variance, mixed, and heterogeneity. Yet, when the words are synced with higher education, they become mutually beneficial, having a powerful impact.

Much research has been done on the effects of diversity in higher education, concluding it has very positive effects on students. Exposure to diversity—whether it be cultural, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or those with disabilities—provides students the opportunity to learn about and from each other, resulting in cognitive growth and citizenship.

The equality factor in higher education is to assure all students legally start off on a level playing field. Equity policies have evolved over the years—from the first affirmative action laws in the 60s to the One Florida Initiative of the late 90s to the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2013. These laws were not intended to give preferential treatment, but are an effort to break down the barriers that discourage underrepresented populations from enrolling in college and suffering injustices in the workplace. These efforts are still widely debated, particularly quotas, but with colleges today focusing on promoting diversity, having some sort of equality policies in place on campus set expectations for students, faculty, and staff. They set standards of respect and call for all students to view each other as equals and for faculty and staff to treat each student, regardless of his or her differences, the same.

Q: Do you think higher education institutions are sufficiently aware of the difference and if not, why not?

A: I would like to think that anyone employed in higher education appreciates equality and diversity and acts accordingly, but I am not that naive—hence the need for equality regulations and policies. Personal experience has proved that people in higher education are human first, with learned prejudices that have been passed down through the generations and of which are hard to let go. It is only through knowledge of and exposure to people of different races, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and those with disabilities, that insight is gained about another person’s lived experiences. Without this knowledge, any degree of empathy, respect, or joy about any person who is unlike us is impossible to understand. When no conscious effort is made to learn about diversity and equality, progress is impeded.

Q: Explain why you feel it is imperative that courses in diversity and equality are included in college curricula.

A: The obvious answer is knowledge about diversity equips our graduates with the tools needed to effectively cope in today’s diverse workplace and global society. We now live in an age where technology has allowed us to easily connect with all types of people from around the world. Sensitivity toward a person’s culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability is an absolute must.

Community service is another motivation for colleges to offer diversity and equality courses. Who better to pass on the importance of a college education to underrepresented teens than someone who has been through the process? When college students serve as role models through partnership programs with local public schools, it can be very fulfilling and even lead to a lifelong passion for community service.

However, the main reason diversity and equality should be taught at the college level is that it helps to develop empathetic, socially conscious individuals. I think former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is a good example of a college-educated, empathetic, and socially conscious, wealthy white male.

According to the NCSL (National Council of State Legislatures) website, when Governor Bush issued the One Florida Initiative in 1999, his intent was to reform college preparation in Florida public schools (P-12) for all students, regardless of race or ethnicity, and to do away with race-based college admissions. He stated in a press release, “With my One Florida Initiative, we can increase opportunity and diversity in the state universities and state contracting without using policies that discriminate or pit one racial group against another.”

According to the Foundation for Excellence in Education (Bush is founder and board chairman of FEE) website “…during his two terms, Bush championed major reform of education in Florida, raised academic standards, required accountability in public schools …created the most ambitious school choice program in the nation …progress is measurable …more high school seniors are earning a diploma …fewer students are dropping out …third through 10th grade students are outscoring 60-70 percent of their peers in all other states in both reading and math.”

Bush recognized a problem, developed a solution, and put it into action. In my opinion, without a strong conviction toward diversity and equity, Bush would not have seen the potential in all students, no matter their class, race, gender, religion, or disability, nor would he have been empathetic or cared enough to want to help the under-served population so they too had a chance to be successful.

Q: What advice would you give to fellow academics and administrators looking to teach diversity and equality and promote it?

A: Be objective. Teach from diverse perspectives – the first-generation Black male, the low-income Hispanic teen, women, disabled Veterans. Tell people’s stories, past and present. Bring in experts to speak. But most importantly, have your students be a part of the discussion by honestly sharing their own experiences, asking hard questions, and having healthy debates so that they become personally vested in the learning process. Finally, initiate community service programs that partner with local schools to get students involved. It is through service that they will be able to see first-hand what a positive impact they can have on the lives of others. Remember, as instructors, our job is to plant the seed. It is the student’s responsibility to take that seed (knowledge) and, hopefully, choose to nurture it and make it grow.

We would like to thank Dr. Hilton for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with us.





Kindergartners get little time to play. Why does it matter?

Christopher Brown, University of Texas at Austin

Being a kindergartner today is very different from being a kindergartner 20 years ago. In fact it is more like first grade.

Researchers have demonstrated that five-year-olds are spending more time engaged in teacher-led academic learning activities than play-based learning opportunities that facilitate child-initiated investigations and foster social development among peers.

As a former kindergarten teacher, a father of three girls who’ve recently gone through kindergarten, and as researcher and teacher-educator in early childhood education, I have had kindergarten as a part of my adult life for almost 20 years.

As a parent, I have seen how student-led projects, sensory tables (that include sand or water) and dramatic play areas have been replaced with teacher-led instructional time, writing centers and sight words lists that children need to memorize. And as a researcher, I found, along with my colleague Yi Chin Lan, that early childhood teachers expect children to have academic knowledge, social skills and the ability to control themselves when they enter kindergarten.

So, why does this matter?

All work, and almost no play

First, let’s look at what kindergarten looks like today.

As part of my ongoing research, I have been conducting interviews with a range of kindergarten stakeholders – children, teachers, parents – about what they think kindergarten is and what it should be. During the interviews, I share a 23-minute film that I made last spring about a typical day in a public school kindergarten classroom.

Learning for tests? MJGDSLibrary, CC BY-NC-ND

The classroom I filmed had 22 kindergartners and one teacher. They were together for almost the entire school day. During that time, they engaged in about 15 different academic activities, which included decoding word drills, practicing sight words, reading to themselves and then to a buddy, counting up to 100 by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s, practicing simple addition, counting money, completing science activities about living things and writing in journals on multiple occasions. Recess did not occur until last hour of the day, and that too for about 15 minutes.

For children between the ages of five and six, this is tremendous amount of work. Teachers too are under pressure to cover the material.

When I asked the teacher, who I interviewed for the short film, why she covered so much material in a few hours, she stated,

There’s pressure on me and the kids to perform at a higher level academically.

So even though the teacher admitted that the workload on kindergartners was an awful lot, she also said she was unable to do anything about changing it.

She was required to assess her students continuously, not only for her own instruction, but also for multiple assessments such as quarterly report cards, school-based reading assessments, district-based literacy and math assessments, as well as state-mandated literacy assessments.

In turn, when I asked the kindergartners what they were learning, their replies reflected two things: one, they were learning to follow rules; two, learning was for the sake of getting to the next grade and eventually to find a job. Almost all of them said to me that they wanted more time to play. One boy said:

I wish we had more recess.

These findings mirror the findings of researchers Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham and Anna Rorem that kindergarten now focuses on literacy and math instruction. They also echo the statements of other kindergarten teachers that kids are being prepared for high-stakes tests as early as kindergarten.

Here’s how play helps children

Research has consistently shown classrooms that offer children the opportunities to engage in play-based and child-centered learning activities help children grow academically, socially and emotionally. Furthermore, recess in particular helps children restore their attention for learning in the classroom.

Focus on rules can diminish children’s willingness to take academic risks and curiosity as well as impede their self-confidence and motivation as learners – all of which can negatively impact their performance in school and in later life.

Giving children a chance to play and engage in hands-on learning activities helps them internalize new information as well as compare and contrast what they’re learning with what they already know. It also provides them with the chance to interact with their peers in a more natural setting and to solve problems on their own. Lastly, it allows kindergartners to make sense of their emotional experiences in and out of school.

Children learn through play. woodleywonderworks, CC BY

So children asking for more time to play are not trying to get out of work. They know they have to work in school. Rather, they’re asking for a chance to recharge as well as be themselves.

As another kindergarten boy in my study told me,

We learn about stuff we need to learn, because if we don’t learn stuff, then we don’t know anything.

Learning by exploring

So what can we do to help kindergartners?

I am not advocating for the elimination of academics in kindergarten. All of the stakeholders I’ve talked with up to this point, even the children, know and recognize that kindergartners need to learn academic skills so that they can succeed in school.

However, it is the free exploration that is missing. As a kindergarten teacher I filmed noted,

Free and exploratory learning has been replaced with sit, focus, learn, get it done and maybe you can have time to play later.

Policymakers, schools systems and schools need to recognize that the standards and tests they mandate have altered the kindergarten classroom in significant ways. Families need to be more proactive as well. They can help their children’s teachers by being their advocates for a more balanced approach to instruction.

Kindergartners deserve learning experiences in school that nurtures their development as well as their desire to learn and interact with others. Doing so will assist them in seeing school as a place that will help them and their friends be better people.

The Conversation

Christopher Brown, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education, University of Texas at Austin

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Diverse Conversations: The Globalization of Higher Education

Visit the website of your favorite college or university, find the search box and type in the words “international programs,” “study abroad,” or something to this effect. What you will find out is that odds are, your favorite institution has a department that serves as the international arm of the university, developing partnerships with countries and organizations around the world. They are part of one of the biggest trends to hit today’s modern university. The trend that I speak of is commonly referred to as the “globalization of higher education.” For this week’s installment of “Diverse Conversations,” I interviewed Dr. George B. Forsythe, President of Westminster College, concerning the “globalization of higher education.” During his presidency, this private undergraduate liberal arts college has been transformed into a global leadership community nationally ranked for its diversity.

Q: What do scholars mean when they speak of the “globalization of higher education?”

A: There are several ways to look at globalization of higher education. (1) Academic Content—students need to know about and understand the world and American’s place in the global community. Colleges and universities respond by adding “global awareness” to their curricular outcome goals, including “global perspectives” across the curriculum, or adding specific programs in global studies, international studies, or transnational studies. (2) Educational Process—Colleges and universities provide a rich array of study abroad or study away experiences to students which are designed to immerse them in another culture. (3) Community Building—Colleges and universities recruit students from around the world in order to build the global community on campus where students live and learn together as global citizens. (4) Global Reach—Colleges and universities establish a physical and/or virtual presence in the international market. At Westminster, we are aggressively pursuing the first three, with major emphasis on creating a global community in America’s heartland, with 16% of our undergraduates coming from 75 different countries.

Q: What exactly is a global university?

A: I suspect when people use this term, they mean what I am suggesting in number 4 above. A global university is one that has a global presence, with physical campuses throughout the world and/or a virtual presence through distance learning. I also suspect it means the faculty and students are drawn from around the world.

Q: How can a U. S. college or university become a global institution while also staying true to its mission?

A: Westminster College was founded in Fulton, Missouri, to prepare citizens for useful service to the community through a high quality liberal arts education. We remain true to that mission, 162 years later, but our understanding of “the community” has expanded beyond the city, county, and state to the wider world. We have stayed true to our mission, but our sense of citizenship and community have become much broader, and for good reason.
The world is increasingly interconnected technologically and economically, and educated citizens today must understand the implications of these interconnections and must be able to respond effectively to this reality. Americans must be globally engaged if we are to preserve our democratic values and maintain the standards of living that continue to attract people of every nationality to our shores. Higher education, if it is truly “higher,” must help students develop a global understanding about current tensions and possible solutions. Staying true to our mission means we must help students look beyond the campus and see the world.

Q: What do students gain from being part of a global institution?

A: A college or university that is a global community opens students to new points of view, challenges their thinking about themselves and their world, and sets the stage for personal and professional growth. Exposure to people from different cultures helps students gain an appreciation for their own culture and equips them with the skills to succeed in a global economy. It also makes life more interesting and meaningful. It’s fun. I think Former Yale President, Kingman Brewster’s, comment about the value of a liberal education applies equally to the value of global learning communities: ”Perhaps the most fundamental value of a liberal education is that it makes life more interesting. It allows you to think things which do not occur to the less learned, it makes it less likely that you will be bored with life.”

At Westminster College, we have found that the global community we have assembled has enriched our learning environment in so many ways. International students and U.S. students work together in every area of campus life—academics, research, student government, Greek life, leadership and service, and athletics. Our students form friendships on campus that lead to many local and international service activities. In many ways, the community is the curriculum, as students from around the country and throughout the world live and learn together.

To illustrate our approach, in addition to traditional study abroad and international travel courses, which we offer in abundance, we also have created a program called Take-a-Friend-Home, which is designed to foster deep friendships between international and U.S. students and provide for significant cultural immersion. This program provides the funding for international and U.S. students to travel to each other’s homes during summer and winter breaks. Participation is limited, and students compete for this program by writing a curriculum that outlines what each will learn from the experience. Before they travel, they take a for-credit course that prepares them for cultural immersion; when they return, they write a reflection paper and share their experiences with the College community.

Q: What do you think other institutions can learn from what’s happening with the globalization of higher education?

A: In the 21st Century, “global education” is redundant—if it isn’t global, it isn’t an education. Both in terms of content and process, students will be better prepared for the challenges they will face after college if their education is global. College graduates must possess the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that will allow them to thrive in a global community.

Well, that concludes my interview with President George B. Forsythe. I would like to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.


Diverse Conversations: An Online Course to Recruit Online Learners

Massive Open Online Courses are often associated with topics that are normally taught within college classrooms and by college faculty. The untapped potential of MOOCs extends well beyond the basic academic reach though, and is showing promise to advance the success of university systems as a whole.

Austin-based digital marketing agency Tocquigny recently hosted a four-week MOOC that focused on recruiting students for online learning programs. Instead of targeting the students themselves, the MOOC guides administration and admission personnel through smart marketing tactics to attract their audiences to their online course offerings.

I talked with the company’s CEO, Yvonne Tocquigny, about the concept for this MOOC and the evolving role of online learning.

Q: These courses at Tocquigny are aimed at college administrators, as opposed to students, correct?

A: Yes, specifically the courses are aimed at admissions, enrollment and marketing staff responsible for acquiring new students within higher education institutions.

Q: How are colleges succeeding in online enrollment, and where can they improve?

A: Colleges are in fierce competition for the same students. Most colleges and universities are using the same strategies and tactics so there is very little discernible differentiation between the institutions. Colleges and universities can do a better job of creating distinctive brands that set them apart rather than “me too” brands that make them all look about the same. They can do a better job of segmenting their audiences and delivering tailored messages to resonate with specific groups of students. And, they can do a better job of using and optimizing digital marketing. Schools should have visibility into a quantifiable cost per acquired student metric, and they should have specific initiatives to consistently lower that cost through rigorous testing and by optimizing campaigns.

Q: Based on your research, what types of students are enrolling in online college programs the most?

A: Online learning is most popular with a group Tocquigny refer to as “career advancers.” These are people that are currently employed, but cannot advance because they lack the educational certification. Online education is also popular with mothers as they find more time to dedicate to their futures, as well as military personnel coming out of active duty.

Q: How important is a university’s digital branding when it comes to recruitment, particularly for online learning?

A: As students shop for their university of choice, they are likely to first investigate their options through online sources, often using their mobile device. The school must engage a student prospect effectively at this first touchpoint in order to move the student into the consideration phase and on to the submission of an application. Prospective students today will not only visit the school’s website, but will investigate the school through social media, videos and blogs. It’s imperative for schools to have an accessible, relevant differentiated brand online in order to engage prospects.

Q: How will online college learning evolve in the next 5 years and what are some factors leading to change?

A: We at Tocquigny believe online higher education options will continue to evolve to offer more variations that are both paid and free for an audience that is not able or willing to attend a brick and mortar school. We are pioneering our own MOOC because we see the power this form of education has in the marketplace. Integration with emerging online collaboration tools such as SubjectMatter will allow more direct contact with instructors to give the student a richer experience. We expect that new curricula around niche learning topics may spawn new certifications created to enhance specific skill sets required for jobs. This may lead to a proliferation of alternative learning paths that blur the edges between a traditional degree and other certifications.

Q: What university clients have you taken on already, and what campaigns have been launched?

A: Tocquigny has a seven year relationship with Regent University to handle its online student acquisition. We are also in the process of launching a social media campaign for Rice University aimed at recent graduates. I serve as an advisor for the School of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Read all of our posts about EdTech and Innovation by clicking here. 

Diverse Conversations: Building the largest diverse campus in the nation

The University of Central Florida may not immediately be associated with being the premier institution of higher education in its state, but that’s all part of its underdog appeal.

In the past two decades, the University of Central Florida has tripled its enrollment numbers to 63,000 students this fall, quietly becoming the largest undergraduate institution in the country.  UCF has one of the most diverse college campuses, too. With community college partnerships, UCF boasts a thriving first-generation college alumni and is also expected to reach Hispanic Serving Institution status (at least 25 percent of the student population of Hispanic heritage) in the next few years.

Overall, UCF has a racial/ethnic minority enrollment of around 45 percent. I spoke with UCF’s Chief Diversity Officer Karen Morrison about the great strides this rapidly growing public university is making in the state of Florida, and beyond.

Question: How does being in a metropolitan setting influence diversity?

Answer: At UCF we like to talk about being “of the community” not just “in the community.” Orlando is very diverse and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. That growing, changing community contributes to UCF’s diversity and effort to build an inclusive culture.

Q: How is UCF finding ways to make college affordable for minorities and other under-served populations?

A: We continue to hold our tuition and fees at very affordable rates and are listed in US News and World Report’s Top 50 most affordable in the nation. We have regional campuses that allow working students to pursue degrees in their own communities.

Q: How hard does the university work to bring in diverse populations?

A: UCF has grown to the largest undergraduate institution in the country by making college affordable, accessible and a rewarding experience. We have grown our student services for under-represented populations and developed pipeline programs in local schools to encourage minority students to pursue college and professional careers. We have a Veterans Resource Center, LGBTQ+ Center, Multicultural Academic Support program, and many other initiatives to help students achieve their collegiate goals.

Q: What minority mentorship programs are in place at UCF?

A: There are many – some are college based, some offered by the Student Development and Enrollment Services Division, and one offered by our office called Legacy. Here are a few of those programs and their descriptions:

  • First Generation Program – This program assist first generation students by providing guidance and resources to promote their self-esteem, confidence and academic achievement at the University.
  • Brother to Brother Program – B2B is intended to increase the retention and graduation rates of multicultural and first generation males at UCF. Workshops, rap-sessions and social events are planned in order to help this population become academically successful.
  • Multicultural Transfer Program – Multicultural Transfer Students with a healthy entry to university life, where they can take advantage of opportunities to network and learn strategies that will help alleviate the cultural stress of acclimating to a new environment.
  • Knight Alliance Network – Provides Foster Care alumni students with a healthy transition to become successful students here at UCF. This program will demystify the college experience, assist you with navigating through the university landscape, and help you prepare to succeed here at UCF and anywhere thereafter.
  • College Prep Day – College Prep Day is a day dedicated to helping Multicultural and/or First Generation students better understand the steps necessary for admission into a college or university.

Q: Talk about the importance of diverse faculty members at UCF.

A: Under our new Provost we have established programs to specifically recruit minority faculty and we have just instituted a cluster faculty program that encourages interdisciplinary teams and hires. Last year UCF hired some 200 faculty and we are working to hire another 200 this year. The Provost’s office offers hiring incentives by paying the first few years’ costs of a minority faculty hire.

I’d like to thank Ms. Morrison for her time and for giving more insight on the ways diversity is helping the lives of students and faculty at the University of Central Florida. I look forward to the many great things this university will continue to do in coming years.

Here’s how competition makes peer review more unfair

Stefano Balietti, Northeastern University

A scientist can spend several months, in many cases even years, strenuously investigating a single research question, with the ultimate goal of making a contribution – little or big – to the progress of human knowledge.

Succeeding in this hard task requires specialized, years-long training, intuition, creativity, in-depth knowledge of current and past theories and, most of all – lots of perseverance.

As a member of the scientific community, I can say that, sometimes, finding an interesting and novel result is just as hard as convincing your colleagues that your work actually is novel and interesting. That is, the work would deserve publication in a scientific journal.

But, prior to publication, any investigation must pass the screening of the “peer review.” This is a critical part of the process – only after peer review can a work be considered part of the scientific literature. And only peer-reviewed work will be counted during hiring and evaluation, as a valuable unit of work.

What are the implications of the current publication system – based on peer review – on the progress of science at a time when competition among scientists is rising?

The impact factor and metrics of success

Unlike in math, not every publication counts the same in science. In fact, at least initially, to the eye of an hiring committee the weight of a publication is primarily given by the “impact factor” of the journal in which it appears.

The impact factor is a metric of success that counts the average past “citations” of articles published by a journal in previous years. That is, how many times an article is referenced by other published articles in any other scientific journal. This index is a proxy for the prestige of a journal, and an indicator of the expected future citations of a prospective article in that journal.

For example, according to Google Scholar Metrics 2016, the journal with the highest impact factor is Nature. For a young scientist, publishing in journals like Nature can represent a career turning point, a shift from spending an indefinite number of extra years in a more or less precarious academic position to getting a university tenure.

Given its importance, publishing in top journals is extremely difficult, and rejection rates range from 80 percent to 98 percent. Such high rates imply that sound research can also fail to make it into top journals. Often, valuable studies rejected by top journals end up in lower-tier journals.

Big discoveries also got rejected

We do not have an estimate of how many potentially groundbreaking discoveries we have missed, but we do have records of a few exemplary wrong rejections.

For example, economist George A. Akerlof’s seminal paper, “The Market for Lemons,” which introduced the concept of “asymmetric information” (how decisions are influenced by one party having more information), was rejected several times before it could be published. Akerlov was later awarded the Nobel Prize for this and other later work.

Competition can increase innovation. Does it improve fairness in peer review? Scientists image via www.shutterstock.com

That’s not all. Only last year, it was shown that three of the top medical journals rejected 14 out 14 of the top-cited articles of all time in their discipline.

The question is, how could this happen?

Problems with peer review

It might seem surprising to those outside the academic world, but until now there has been little empirical investigation on the institution that approves and rejects all scientific claims.

Some scholars even complain that peer review itself has not been scientifically validated. The main reason behind the lack of empirical studies on peer review is the difficulty in accessing data. In fact, peer review data is considered very sensitive, and it is very seldom released for scrutiny, even in an anonymous form.

So, what is the problem with peer review?

In the first place, assessing the quality of a scientific work is a hard task, even for trained scientists, and especially for innovative studies. For this reason, reviewers can often be in disagreement about the merits of an article. In such cases, the editor of a high-profile journal usually takes a conservative decision and rejects it.

Furthermore, for a journal editor, finding competent reviewers can be a daunting task. In fact, reviewers are themselves scientists, which means that they tend to be extremely busy with other tasks like teaching, mentoring students and developing their own research. A review for a journal must be done on top of normal academic chores, often implying that a scientist can dedicate less time to it than it would deserve.

In some cases, journals encourage authors to suggest reviewers’ names. However, this feature, initially introduced to help the editors, has been unfortunately misused to create peer review rings, where the suggested reviewers were accomplices of the authors, or even the authors themselves with secret accounts.

There are many problems with the peer review process. Thomas Hawk, CC BY-NC

Furthermore, reviewers have no direct incentive to do a good review. They are not paid, and their names do not appear in the published article.

Competition in science

Finally, there is a another problem, which has become worse in the last 15-20 years, where academic competition for funding, positions, publication space and credits has increased along with the growth of the number of researchers.

Science is a winner-take-all enterprise, where whoever makes the decisive discovery first gets all the fame and credit, whereas all the remaining researchers are forgotten. The competition can be fierce and the stakes high.

In such a competitive environment, experiencing an erroneous rejection, or simply a delayed publication, might have huge costs to bear. That is why some Nobel Prize winners no longer hesitate to publish their results in low-impact journals.

Studying competition and peer review

My coauthors and I wanted to know the impact such competition could have on peer review. We decided to conduct a behavioral experiment.

We invited 144 participants to the laboratory and asked them to play the “Art Exhibition Game,” a simplified version of the scientific publication system, translated into an artistic context.

Instead of writing scientific articles, participants would draw images via a special computer interface. And instead of choosing a journal for publication, they would choose one of the available exhibitions for display.

The decision whether an image was good enough for a display would then be taken following the rule of “double-blind peer review,” meaning that reviewers were anonymous to the authors and vice versa. This is the same procedure adopted by the majority of academic journals.

Images that received high review scores were to be displayed in the exhibition of choice. They would also generate a monetary reward for the author.

This experiment allowed us to track for the first time the behavior of both reviewers and creators at the same time in a creative task. The study produced novel insights on the coevolution of the two roles and how they reacted to increases in the level of competition, which we manipulated experimentally.

How does peer review work on a creative task? (The image is for illustrative purpose and does not represent the actual experiment.) Catalyst Open Source, CC BY-SA

In one condition, all the images displayed generated a fixed monetary reward. In another condition – the “competitive condition” – the reward for a display would be divided among all the successful authors.

This situation was designed to resemble the surge in competition for tenure tracks, funding and attention that science has been experiencing in the last 15-20 years.

We wanted to investigate three fundamental aspects of competition: 1) Does competition promote or reduce innovation? 2) Does competition reduce or improve the fairness of the reviews? 3) Does competition improve or hamper the ability of reviewers to identify valuable contributions?

Here is what we found

Our results showed that competition acted as a double-edged sword on peer review. On the one side, it increased the diversity and the innovativeness of the images over time. But, on the other side, competition sharpened the conflict of interest between reviewers and creators.

Our experiment was set up in a such a way that in each round of the experiment a reviewer would review three images on a scale from 0 to 10 (self-review was not allowed). So, if the reviewer and the (reviewed) author chose the same exhibition, they would be in direct competition.

We found that a consistent number of reviewers, aware of this competition, purposely downgraded the review score of the competitor to gain a personal advantage. In turn, this behavior led to a lower level of agreement between reviewers.

Finally, we also asked a sample of 620 external evaluators recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk to rate the images independently.

We found out that competition did not improve the average level of creativity of the images. In fact, with competition many more works of good quality got rejected, whereas in the noncompetitive condition more works of lower quality got accepted.

This highlights the trade-off in the current publication system as well.

What we learned

The experiment confirmed there is a need to reform the current publication system.

One way to achieve this goal could be to allow scientists to be evaluated in the long term, which in turn would decrease the conflict of interest between authors and reviewers.

This policy could be implemented by granting long-term funding to scientists, reducing the urge to publish innovative works prematurely and giving them time to strengthen their results in front of peer review.

Another way could imply removing the requirement of “importance” of a scientific study, as some journals, like PLoS ONE, are already doing. This would give higher chances to more innovative studies to pass the screening of peer review.

Discussing openly the problems of peer review is the first step toward solving them. Having the courage to experiment with alternative solutions is the second.

The Conversation

Stefano Balietti, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Northeastern University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Diverse Conversations: Issues and Trends in International Higher Education Financing

Have you ever wondered how higher education is financed in other parts of the world? No matter what country you choose, you will find that the topic of financing higher education is a contentious one. Over the last decade, there has been a worldwide shift of the burden of higher education costs from governments and taxpayers to parents and students. This is much to the chagrin of parents of course. To find out more about current trends in international higher education financing, I sat down with Dr. John C. Weidman, Professor of Higher and International Development Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview.

Q: Historically, how has financing higher education internationally differed from the American model?

A: The main differences stem from variations in the role of national governments with respect to education. In most countries, there is a national ministry that has overall responsibility for education. In some cases, there is a separate ministry for higher education but it still tends to be a national entity. Countries also vary in level of funding provided to public higher education institutions. In most countries other than the USA,

In the federal system of the USA, education is the responsibility of the states so the influence of the national government is much more limited than in most countries. In the USA, responsibility for covering the cost of higher education has been shifting continuously to the individuals benefitting, namely students, through a variety of loan schemes. At the same time, states have been reducing their contribution. Consequently, there is considerable variation by state in the types and costs of available higher education. In the USA, the most highly regarded and hence most difficult for students to gain admission are private. It is just the opposite in most other countries in the world, with public universities having the highest status.

Countries differ in their approach to meeting increasing demand for higher education. Three main ways are expanding the numbers of government-funded institutions, enabling the expansion of the private sector without significant government investment, and various combinations of public and private expansion. One reflection of such differences is the proportion of students attending private as opposed to public (government funded) institutions. According to data collected by the Program for Research on Private Higher Education (PROPHE) at SUNY-Albany, this varies from less than 10% in several European countries (e.g., Austria, Germany, Czech and Slovak Republics, Ireland, Italy, Spain), Australia, and South Africa to more than two-thirds in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In the USA, about 26% of all undergraduates are enrolled in private higher education institutions. This is actually below the worldwide average of 31%. All of the countries with very high private enrollments regulate student fees much more than the USA.

The third alternative is to charge higher tuition to less qualified students attending government-funded institutions. In Kenya, for example, the scores on the national secondary school leaving exam required for students to receive government scholarships to attend universities have been slowly increasing. Students whose scores to not reach the grade threshold are still eligible for university admission, but they have to pay tuition at an unsubsidized rate for “Privately Sponsored Students Programs” (PSSP).

Q: Increasing the price of tuition is usually proposed as a way to guarantee quality in higher education. Does the seemingly annual escalation of tuition worldwide make sense?

A: This notion is very possibly driven by the mistaken belief that the very high tuition, elite, private universities in the USA (e.g., California and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford) that are placed in the top tier of most international rankings are the inevitable model for quality worldwide. Much lower tuition (i.e., highly government subsidized) institutions (e.g., University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan in the USA, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Tokyo University in Japan, Seoul National University in South Korea) are also highly ranked. Quality is a function of skills and academic productivity of faculty as well as institutional resources. Escalation of tuition is primarily a function of a) the increasing costs of maintaining institutional capacity (foremost among them faculty salaries and benefits along with infrastructure such as classrooms, libraries, laboratories, etc.), and b) a pattern of decreasing government funding. Unfortunately, ways of reducing costs in higher education are not necessarily related to maintaining quality.

Q: Loan systems usually mirror changes in tuition. What are the major trends in student loans internationally?

A: The main trend internationally is to reduce the amount of direct government funding of loan schemes. This means developing better ways of collecting payments on government provided loans so there is a revolving fund that does not require huge annual investments. Another trend is moving responsibility for student loan schemes from the government to the banking sector, though often not without some type of subsidy.

Q: Are there countries that you think do an exceptional job of promoting quality higher education, with access?

A: In both South Korea and Japan, virtually all secondary school graduates attend higher education. Both countries have built strong private higher education sectors to absorb the huge demand for enrollment rather than expanding public higher education. In both countries, the private higher education sector is strongly regulated, with government limits on the amount of tuition that can be charged and strong monitoring systems to make certain that acceptable levels of quality are maintained.

Q: As you look at worldwide trends in financing higher education, do they create opportunities for U.S. higher education?

A: In my view, the most important trend driving higher education finance worldwide is the increasing demand for higher education, both from prospective students and from governments aspiring to stimulate national economic development by increasing the numbers of highly educated people entering their workforces. If governments are unable to meet excess demand for admission to higher education institutions through expansion of publicly funded institutions in their respective countries, students and their families may seek opportunities in other countries. In China, for example, there are only places for about 20% of the age cohort seeking higher education admission. As a consequence, many higher education institutions in the USA (as well as other countries) have begun actively recruiting Chinese students. For public higher education institutions in the USA that charge a higher tuition for non-resident students, this is a potentially significant source of revenue. It also provides opportunity for institutions faced with decreasing enrollments due to population shifts in the USA to increase enrollments. In addition, many countries are funding scholarship programs for graduate students to pursue degrees abroad, especially in fields in which their own universities have limited space and/or quality. Those institutions recognized in widely accepted international rankings (e.g., Times Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) as being in the highest quality tiers will continue to attract significant numbers of international applicants.

Well, that concludes my interview with Dr. Weidman. I would like to thank him for consenting to this interview and for his contributions to the field of higher education and humanity in general.



Diverse Conversations: The Benefits of an Online Education

Over the past decade, the number of online colleges and universities has grown exponentially. This has led to many debates over the efficacy and overall benefits of an online education. I recently sat down with Dr. John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, to discuss “The Benefits of an Online Education.” In his 25-year career in higher education, Dr. Ebersole’s personal experience as a post-traditional student has informed his approach to adult education. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview.

Q: What are some of the benefits of an online education?

A: For Excelsior’s older, post-traditional students, there are many benefits to studying online. Starting with cost, online students can remain fully employed while meeting their educational goals, eliminating opportunity costs. They also avoid the cost of commuting, parking (always a challenge with an on-campus program) and child care, for those with a family.

Other benefits include the ability to choose the “perfect program” from anywhere in the world, not just those next door. This freedom of choice is matched with the flexibility to study at times and places of the student’s choosing, when, presumably, the student is most ready to learn.

A full list of the many benefits might also include:
• Instruction that takes different learning styles into consideration and allows for as much repetition as needed to ensure comprehension.
• 24/7 support services, including tutoring, technical services, peer networking, and the ability to set appointments with a faculty member or academic advisor.
• Ability to take courses year around. No forced summer breaks.
• The opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge expected by major employers, such as virtual team participation, conducting online research and projects, and engaging in cross cultural communication via technology.

A WORD OF CAUTION: While online education is well suited to the needs of working adults with family, professional and community obligations, it is neither a panacea for all, nor a recommended sole source of instruction for younger, more traditional-aged students. It is thought that while these students can benefit from the highly visual and interactive design of today’s courses, these are best delivered in a “blended” format whereby the student can also receive personal attention from faculty and interact with other students. To be successful in life, it is felt that students need the socialization, citizenship and acculturation that comes with communal living and study.

Q: What role should online institutions like Excelsior University continue to play in providing quality higher education?

A: Excelsior has been a leader in the areas of credit aggregation, competency-based credentialing, and prior learning assessment for more than 40 years. Its challenge today is to remain at the “edge” as others embrace these now proven innovations. Areas of particular interest include 1) development of next generation learning assessment tools, 2) adding adaptive learning capabilities to both online courses and assessments, and, 3) facilitating the evaluation of the many sources of alternative instruction (MOOCs, publisher materials, OER, employer and association training) and finding ways to validate for academic credit those that are acceptable for degree completion purposes.

Q: In your opinion, why has Excelsior been so successful? What are you doing right that other online colleges can emulate?

A: One of the things that has impressed me about Excelsior is the high level of inquiries received from a relatively modest amount of marketing. Research and tracking have found that Excelsior benefits from a very high level of word of mouth referral. These positive referrals have come as a result of the College’s laser focus on the needs of the student, and its ability to balance the need for standards with the student’s need for flexibility.

While it takes time to reduce this to valid numbers, we feel that putting our students first is a good way to build reputation and brand, while also reducing cost.

Q: What is your favorite part about being the president of Excelsior University?

A: I especially enjoy telling the “Excelsior Story.” We are proud to be known for our innovations, our one of a kind competency-based associate degree in nursing (the largest in the world), and our ABET accredited technology programs. I also enjoy telling others about the many ways in which we help to save our students money. This IS the home of affordable excellence.

Q: What would you like prospective students of Excelsior to know about you and/or the university?

A: I would want prospective students to know that I have been in their shoes. My first degree came 20 years after high school and all of my subsequent degrees, including a doctorate, have been earned while working full time, raising a family (three daughters) and remaining engaged in my community.

As for Excelsior, I would want others to know that we are serious about keeping the quality of our services and instruction HIGH, while keeping our tuition and fees LOW. In 2011, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System of the U.S. Department of Education reported that Excelsior earned $1640 per student (for the entire fiscal year). This is one of the lowest costs to students to be found in American higher education.

Q: If you could summarize your university with one word what would it be and why?

A: In a word, Excelsior can be best described as “caring.” Given two, it would be “affordable quality.”

Q: Finally, what should we expect from Excelsior University in the next 5 years?

A: Over the next five years, Excelsior will embark on a number of new initiatives, some of which are just being launched. Our Washington Center has expanded to house elements of our new School of Public Service, a National Cybersecurity Institute, while expanding PR, alumni relations and advocacy work. In addition, we have started to build a more robust and proactive set of international programs. We are also reaching out to community colleges, HBCUs and tribal colleges with the expectation that degree completion through these academic partnerships will become a critical part of the College’s future.

In addition to new programs and initiatives, Excelsior envisions a near term future in which it will be making a significant investment in its core operations, as well. The focus of these investments will be to increase student success and to enhance academic rigor. In both areas, quality will be a primary consideration.

That concludes my interview with President John Ebersole. I would like to thank him for consenting to this interview and for his contributions to the field of higher education.

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Diverse Conversations: What it is Like Being the First Female College President

For most of American history, the college/university presidency could be described as an “all boys club,” however, over the last 3 decades this has changed. Over this time period, the number of female college/university presidents has steadily increased, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Recently, I sat down with Dr. Angela Franklin, the first female and African American president of Des Moines University, to talk about here experiences. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview.

Q: What are some of the challenges that you have had to face as the first female and African American president?

A: I would begin by citing the obvious challenges of any new leader, regardless of gender or race. Being a newcomer in any environment can have interesting challenges given longstanding cultural dynamics. The difficulty comes from trying to establish rapport, build consensus, create vision, and set strategic priorities, all while trying to assess and learn a new culture. I believe I was selected for the job based on a genuine appreciation for my past experiences and skills, yet, you really have no way of knowing how those experiences will translate or be received in a new environment until you get there. I had to fall back on some basic principles of leadership which fall into the category of servant leadership or even more basically…. following the Golden Rule. So, there is a curiosity of new leadership that sometimes gets in the way of being able to mobilize a new team toward a collective vision. The curiosity typically stems from stereotypical thinking which comes from each individuals past experiences. And, like most institutions, there had been experiences with previous Presidents that colored expectations and impressions of me.

So, I came to a place which had some preconceived notions of the role of the President which did not necessarily fit with my experiences. Being the First Woman President as well as the first African American, added elements which made for some interesting dynamics. Although subtle and on the surface in most instances these factors clearly had an impact underneath it all.

There is actually some research from an organization called Catalyst that suggests that female leaders are scrutinized in a different way than males and I believe there is clearly a double standard. Catalyst has found that often there is an impression of a female leader of being either “too soft or too tough” but never “just right”. There is also an impression of either being competent but not necessarily well liked, or being liked but not necessarily being considered competent. My hope is to change this dichotomy and encourage women to just “be” who they are with an understanding that no matter how much they may try, they may or may not be perceived as they really are. So, I find myself having to be cognizant of some of the stereotypical thinking, acknowledge the double standard, respect the opinions and perceptions others may have, while trying to stay true to who I really am.

Through it all, I believe I have gained the respect of my campus community, and continue to work to demonstrate that a Female President can be “just right”, “competent”, AND liked! That is my challenge!

Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment in your time at Des Moines University?

A: Whereas I am pleased that in my first year I was able to mobilize a campus wide effort to refresh the institutional mission statement, clarify core values, and establish a collective vision for the future with strategic goals identified, I believe the proudest accomplishment thus far comes from a concerted effort made to re-locate La Clinica de la Esperanza to the Des Moines University Campus. This clinic began as one of the Free Clinics of Iowa and was a joint venture between Des Moines University and Unity Point Health System. During my first year, I learned that this partnership was primarily in name only and although housed in one of our properties on the south side of town, Des Moines University had not necessarily been actively engaged. With the support of my Board of Trustees, we moved the Clinic from the old clinic building, renovated space on our campus and they now reside on our main campus. This gives us the opportunity now to realize a more engaged partnership with Unity Point and also expand opportunities for training of our students on campus. In addition, this partnership was the “springboard” to allow us to expand other DMU clinic services to better realize our mission of providing quality care to the surrounding community.

Q: What advice would you give to a woman who has recently been appointed to her first college/university presidency?

A: The first thing any new president should do is to build relationships with the internal and external communities. Being a good listener and being approachable are also two additional bits of advice. I worked to understand the culture (internal and external) and began the process of building rapport across multiple constituent groups. It sometimes felt as if I needed to be in three places at one time, but I worked hard to have a positive presence both within the campus community as well as outside and around the country. This meant agreeing to speak at various local, civic organizations, being keynote speaker at various conferences, and serving on local boards and councils. Being immersed in the community was important in marketing my institution but also raising the awareness of the CHANGE which was happening at DMU!

The relationship with my Board of Trustees as well as my Executive Leadership Team was also essential. Getting the right team was an essential first step! Not making any hasty changes was an important lesson to learn as well. Whereas you sometimes hear that it is important to bring in your own team, I think it is more important to go slowly, assess, give people an opportunity, then make changes only when warranted. The blending of the old and new has merit and the synergies of fresh ideas with the appreciation of the history makes for a great dynamic.

Q: How about a woman who aspires to become a college/university president one day?

A: I would encourage any woman who aspires to become a President to Dream Big. The sky is the limit. We have “cracked” the glass ceiling for women in higher education and the Presidency in particular but there still aren’t enough of us. There is strength in numbers. According to the American Council on Education, the numbers of women college presidents has actually grown slightly from 23 % in 2006 to 26% in 2011. However, the proportion of presidents who are racial or ethnic minorities during that same timeframe actually declined slightly from 14% to 13%. And when Minority serving institutions are excluded, only 9 percent of presidents belong to a racial ethnic minority group which represents no change from 2006.

So, there is still more work to be done in preparing the next generation of Leaders. The changing demographics in our population plus the focus on diversity and inclusivity in higher education warrants a concerted effort to develop a diverse group of future leaders.
There are several leadership development programs out there such as the American Council on Education Fellows program, which by design, help prepare new leaders with a focus on knowledge and skill development as well as mentorship. Not everyone can afford to participate in these programs or would necessarily be supported to pursue them. Therefore, I think the onus is on the current Women Presidents to reach back and help others along the way.

Q: What are you most excited about as you look forward to the coming year as Des Moines University’s president?

A: I am excited about the changing dynamic on campus which has evolved over the last two years in encouraging open, honest communication, and working collaboratively as one university.

I am most excited about the new partnerships we had developed at DMU which includes the DMU Clinical Collaborative, a group of leaders representing all hospital systems within the state and surrounding territory who have agreed to come together to support the clinical training of our students.

I also am excited about prospects to engage with fellow academic institutions to explore new collaborations for interprofessional education and new degree programs.

In addition, we are expanding our clinical services to impact our community with a focus on prevention and wellness.

Q: Anything else that you would like to share with us?

A: Des Moines University is a 115 year old institution with a rich tradition of excellence in the health sciences. I am honored to serve as we continue to raise the bar and provide an exceptional educational experience for the next generation of health professionals.

That concludes my interview with President Angela Franklin. I would like to thank her for consenting to this interview and for her contributions to the field of higher education.


Diverse Conversations: Supporting Underserved Populations in Higher Education

The field of higher education has changed completely in the past couple of decades. Unlike before, when only a few talented and intelligent students went on to get a college education, now it has become a necessity as the jobs available in the new economy require more than just a high school diploma. Because of this, American institutions of higher learning are experiencing an influx of students that may not have been part of the college scene as early as a decade ago. Recently, I sat down with Dr. Stella M. Flores, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Vanderbilt University, to discuss how institutions of higher learning can better support underserved populations.

ML: How are first-generation, low-income, and minority students faring in the modern academy in relation to the past? How can we get things to where they should be?

SF: The trends show that we have more access to higher education due to increased options via the community colleges and now online learning programs. So the modern academy does not look like an older traditional academy. However, when we account for other characteristics, the demographic trends are less favorable. We are not doing as well with some groups such as Hispanics, while we’ve seen some improvements with other groups.

First-generation, low-income and minority students fare better when they have adequate access to financial aid, support programs that properly introduce them to and sustain them through the academy, and proper high school preparation that equips them to handle the rigor of college work. The reality is that many of the high schools that launch these students have not provided this preparation placing the burden on the academy to make up for this lost ground.

ML: What can policy and decision makers do to help historically underserved students to succeed in college?

SF: First, policymakers and decision makers can come to the table as stakeholders in support of educating underserved students as a larger societal and economic mandate. Educational attainment is beyond an individual good yet we behave as if it is a zero-sum game in almost every instance. Second, succeeding in college is largely based on succeeding in high school. While it seems that aiming for the high school diploma is no longer a problem, the new battle, it seems to me, is an equity fight for the courses that lead to reasonable and serious college eligibility for all groups.

Some states have enacted policies to make the college curriculum a default curriculum. This is a great step but we have to know when policy is not enough. Stakeholders as a group can identify what levers will also have to be in place for the policy to work. Policy is an essential but insufficient step in helping students succeed in college. I would also argue it also not only the responsibility of education policymakers as health care, family, and employment decisions are especially competing options in low-income and underrepresented student lives.

At the college level, I would suggest the funding and expansion of interventions we know work for students based on their institutional culture. Institutions that enroll a moderate to high percentage of students in need of remediation will require different interventions than an institution with innovative retention programs for students with the preparation and motivation to major in a STEM field.

Third, reducing time to degree to the extent possible, will likely be a key element in all of these programming efforts. Fourth, many highly successful historically underrepresented students will point to at least one minority faculty who made a difference in their pathway to greater achievements. That is not to say that non-minority faculty members don’t play a role in this pathway to success. However, this is one element that seems to be consistent in the average underrepresented student success story. I know my life would have been different had I not seen the first Mexican-American female professor at my university.

ML: Historically underserved students are disproportionally burdened with student debt when compared to other groups. What can be done to close this gap and alleviate their burden?

SF: There is emerging research on financial literacy on how to plan for college, choose college based on options and loan debt, and the timing of the receipt of this information. One reality, however, is that many students faced with a “first” in completing college, specifically a selective college, take on more debt than they can handle in efforts to make family history. My advice would be to understand the tradeoffs in these decisions.

Second, there are many schools now that offer free tuition to high achieving, low-income students if parental contribution is under a certain amount. The lesson here is to tell the low-income eighth grader that if he or she is able to achieve at high levels, college may be reasonably affordable if not nearly free at a good school. This is of course dependent on the economy and institutional sustainability of programs. However, it seems we are providing incorrect information when we say a public school education will always be cheaper than a private school education.

One good formula to suggest to our younger students is to aim to be academically high achieving, get information on options across all institutions, don’t “undermatch” yourself, and plan to finish in time if at all possible. For those of us with loan debt, I can imagine a new pool of teachers, professors, health care professionals with simple loan forgiveness programs administered at the state or federal level. It seems to me this would be a relatively easy marketing campaign that could change the structure of the labor market in ways the labor market needs to stretch – stronger teachers in the professions, more nurses in our hospitals, etc.

ML: By 2050, Caucasians will no longer constitute a majority in the United States. What does this mean for higher education?

SF: This is an important demographic to keep in mind as we plan for a future. Will we respond with safeguarding stratification at institutions based on race, ethnicity, and income, or will we prepare leaders from all groups for all institutions? In essence, this means state economies will likely thrive or die based on how they educate their least educated group. This will have even more dire consequences for states whose least educated group is also its most populous group.

ML: What is your vision for higher education in the 21st century, and what are the key opportunities and challenges suggested by this vision?

SF: My vision for the 21st century is to more profoundly understand the potential of our individuals and institutions in the context of historical and remaining challenges. By that I mean moving past stereotypes, fears, and anxieties to a place where we have the opportunity to see all groups as equals because we have seen leadership, research, success, and vision from everyone in our circles. In my vision, we won’t second-guess each other’s talents and contributions based on what we look like.

My vision is also to speak up for each other’s educational well-being even if that person is different from ourselves. In sum, we create a vision in which all have an opportunity for a solid high school education that prepares you to succeed in college and a college education that prepares you for a job and dare I say the opportunity to attend a graduate or professional program. The challenge will be to do this in a world with exploding and evolving technology in which the “have-nots” will likely be the last in line to access the future.

Well, that concludes my interview with Dr. Flores. I would like to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with us.

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