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Amid Professors’ ‘Doom-and-Gloom Talk,’ Humanities Ph.D. Applications Drop | The Chronicle of Higher Education

"While overall applications to doctoral programs were up nearly 1 percent from 2015 to 2016, applications to arts and humanities programs declined by 7.1 percent" according to Vimal Patel, writes about graduate education and other topics for The Chronicle. 

Photo: Pexels
Graduate programs in the humanities have faced withering criticism for churning out a surplus of doctorates despite a tight academic job market. 

Data released on Thursday by the Council of Graduate Schools suggest that the criticism could be starting to sink in. While overall applications to doctoral programs were up nearly 1 percent from 2015 to 2016, applications to arts and humanities programs declined by 7.1 percent.

The council warns against making too much of any one year’s data, because they are the result of a voluntary survey, not a census of all graduate programs. Even so, the five-year period before this year’s survey also showed an average annual drop of 3 percent in applications to arts and humanities doctoral programs.

Precisely what is causing the decline — the council calls it a "trend" — is unclear. But The Chronicle wondered if the messages undergraduates are receiving from their professors might be a factor. So we contacted a few faculty members who advise undergraduates to see if they have changed the messages they deliver about graduate school.

"It certainly wouldn’t be responsible to urge anyone but one’s absolute star students who are already committed to doing it," said Elizabeth Cullingford, chair of the English department at the University of Texas at Austin, of the grad-school option. "I tell my students, ‘If you think you’re going to get a job like mine, you’ve got another think coming.’"

Ms. Cullingford wasn’t always such a tenure-track killjoy. When she started at Texas, in 1982, she didn’t pay much attention to the academic job market. Her messaging to students changed in the 1990s, when she became the graduate-student adviser and saw the tenure-track hopes of many qualified students fail to materialize. The message grew bleaker after the 2008 economic collapse. "The crash made things much worse," she said, "but they were already pretty bad." 

Ms. Cullingford said she and her colleagues tell prospective graduate students to go into a doctoral program only if they are dead-set on doing so. "If you can’t imagine living without graduate school, then yes, apply," she said. "If you have any doubt at all, take some time off and think about it. Join Teach for America. Take a job, any job. Travel. Whatever. But don’t go to graduate school right away."

‘Go in With Their Eyes Open’  
Another factor contributing to the downward trend could be that hypercompetitive graduate programs are scaring away potential applicants, said Stephen Aron, chair of the history department at the University of California at Los Angeles. The department admits a fraction of the share of applicants it did 30 years ago. "People may be deciding they’re not viable," he said.

Like Ms. Cullingford, Mr. Aron explains the realities of the academic job market to prospective graduate students "so they can go in with their eyes open." He also explains the importance of the senior thesis as a testing ground — a way for students to gauge their ability and desire for a professorial life. "You can’t know whether this is something you want to do until you have done a significant research project," Mr. Aron said.

Susannah Ottaway, a history professor at Carleton College, said she, too, has a spiel for prospective graduate students — one a recent graduate remembers as "our doom-and-gloom talk."
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The Professor Is InPhoto: Karen Kelsky
The Professor Is in: You Have a Ph.D. From Where? by Karen Kelsky, founder and president of The Professor Is In , which offers advice and consulting services on the academic job search and on all aspects of the academic and postacademic career.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Auckland uni PhD researcher calling for help from gamblers to study link to social anxiety | New Zealand Herald

"A PhD student is looking for gamblers to assess the link between using pokies and social anxiety" continues New Zealand Herald.

People who use electronic gambling machines may be able to help with a study that links gambling to social anxiety.
Photo / Andrew Warner, NZ Herald
Since 2012, Kiwi gamblers have increasingly lost money on gaming machines despite there being 1500 fewer machines nationwide in 2016.

Kiwi gamblers lost more than $843 million in pokies in 2015.

Photo: Retina RimalRetina Rimal is studying the association between social anxiety, using electronic gaming machines and decision-making. She said the machines provide a safe environment for socially anxious individuals. They are also the leading cause for gamblers to seek help in New Zealand.

"While many people enjoy gaming machines without any problems, some gamblers develop addictive behaviours involving EGMs.

"The thinking behind this study is that the isolation of playing games without having to engage in any social interactions in the hustle and bustle of casinos, clubs and societies may attract people with social anxiety."

Rimal, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland School of Psychological Medicine, said her study could help scientists and policy-makers to develop more effective treatments.

An online survey will begin the study and later be followed by qualitative and neuroimaging studies in the future.

If you play electronic gaming machines, click here to help with the study.

Participants will enter a draw to win one of ten $50 petrol vouchers.

Source: New Zealand Herald

Cambridge Celebrates Sir David Cox | Cambridge University Press

Photo: David CoxCheck this out about Sir David Cox below.

Statistical visionary Sir David Cox is the first recipient of the International Prize in Statistics and joint holder of the 2017 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences, alongside fellow pioneer Bradley Efron.

 
Sir David Cox authored several books with Cambridge University Press and their diversity illustrates the range of application of modern statistical ideas.

Celebrate his great work this October with 20% off! Enter code COX17 at checkout when you purchase any of these books, valid until October 31, 2017. 
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Additional resources  
International Prize in Statistics Awarded to Sir David Cox for Survival Analysis Model Applied in Medicine, Science, and Engineering

Source: Cambridge University Press

UAH student’s cybersecurity internship combines philosophy and computer science | UAH News

"If you think a unique double major like computer science and philosophy would make it challenging for a student to get real-world experience in the field before graduation, Mark Reuter is here to prove otherwise" continues UAH News

Senior computer science and philosophy double major Mark Reuter spent this past summer as a cybersecurity intern with ODU’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program.
Photo: The University of Alabama in Huntsville
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) senior spent this past summer as a paid intern focused on cybersecurity research in a multidisciplinary environment after being selected to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Old Dominion University (ODU). 

He first learned of the opportunity from UAH philosophy professor Dr. Deborah Heikes, who sent an email to the department’s students about the Virginia university’s interdisciplinary program. In return for free on-campus housing and a stipend of $6,200, those selected would spend 10 weeks conducting full-time research with a mentor in a related field. "I thought, ok, I can do this," says Reuter, who sought assistance on his application from both Dr. Andrew Cling and Dr. Nicholaos Jones. "I submitted it in February, and a week later, they let me know I got the job." 

Three months after that, he was ensconced on the ODU campus and tasked with reviewing the existing literature on the ethics of cybersecurity under the supervision of Dr. D. E. Wittkower, an associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at ODU. "I knew right away when someone walked in with a Hawaiian shirt and crocs that he was my mentor," says Reuter with a laugh. "He had published and presented a lot, but he is a really relaxed person, which is more the environment of philosophy."

The workload, however, was anything but relaxed. "I came in as a research assistant to look at the history related to computer ethics, so my focus was on how ethical issues that deal with cybersecurity in academic, government, and corporate settings are argued," says Reuter. "But actual research is different from just going online and looking at something! It’s more thorough. I had to go through 40 or 50 articles on the topic, and then reduce that down to 9 or 10, which was more reading than I think I’ve ever done for a class."
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Source: UAH News 

Nine new faculty join the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences | MIT News

"The school welcomes a superb group of scholars" inform School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

New SHASS faculty members include: (top row, l-r) Martin Beraja, Dave Donaldson, and Amah Edoh; (middle row, l-r) E. J. Green, Simon Jäger, and Eric Klopfer; (bottom row, l-r) Justin Reich, Miriam Schoenfield, and Lisa Parks.
Photos courtesy of the faculty members.
Dean Melissa Nobles and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences recently announced the newest members of the SHASS faculty. They have diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their areas of research, which include counterfactual economic models, philosophy of mind, educational gaming, and global media. They are:

Martin Beraja is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 2016. Upon graduating, he spent one year as a postdoc at the Louis A. Simpson Center for the Study of Macroeconomics and the Department of Economics at Princeton University. Beraja is a macroeconomist who studies economic fluctuations and growth. In his dissertation, he developed a method for evaluating counterfactual policy changes in a way that is robust across models whenever researchers are uncertain about features of these models that are difficult to distinguish in the data. In other work, he has focused on bringing theory and micro-data together in order to discipline quantitative exercises that shed light on how the aggregate economy responds to shocks. He is currently studying how forms of technical change that complement certain types of skills shape the dynamics of inequality and productivity growth in economies where workers with such skills are scarce.

Dave Donaldson is a professor of economics. He obtained an undergraduate degree in physics from Oxford University and a PhD from the London School of Economics. He is a co-editor at the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and a program director at the International Growth Centre. Donaldson’s teaching and research specializes in the fields of international trade, development economics, and economic history. He and collaborators have investigated topics such as the welfare and other effects of market integration, the impact of improvements in transportation infrastructure, how trade might mediate the effects of climate change, and how trade affects food security and famine. This research was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2013 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 2017.

Amah Edoh joins the MIT faculty as assistant professor of African Studies in the Global Studies and Languages section (GSL), having completed a postdoc in the section in 2016-2017. She received the PhD in 2016 from MIT’s Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS). Edoh’s research focuses on how “Africa” is produced as a category of thought through material practices across African and non-African locations. Her current book manuscript is a multi-sited ethnography following the transnational trajectory of Dutch Wax cloth, a textile designed in Holland for West African markets since the 19th century. The manuscript examines how ideas about Africa and its place in the world are negotiated through visual and material forms and practices along the cloth’s path from design studio to dressed bodies.

E. J. Green earned a PhD in philosophy along with a cognitive science certificate from Rutgers University in 2016, and was a Bersoff Fellow at New York University from 2016 to 2017. Green’s research addresses topics at the intersection of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, with a particular focus on perception. His papers have examined the perceptual experience of shape properties, the nature of perceptual reference, and the structure and function of perceptual object representations. His research interests also include foundational issues within the philosophy of cognitive science, such as the format of mental representations and the border between perception and cognition.
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Source: MIT News

John Durant plans a new era for the MIT Museum | MIT News

"A new purpose-built museum will be an experimental place for wider conversations" reports Kathryn O'Neill, Senior Writer at MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

“The new museum will be an experimental place," says John Durant, director of the MIT Museum and a faculty member of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. "We are committed to the idea that the MIT Museum can operate along the same principles as the Institute as a whole. We want to try new ideas, test them, and report our findings.”
Photo: Jon SachsIn the 12 years since John Durant took the helm at the MIT Museum, he has opened up the ground floor to gain street-level visibility, launched the Cambridge Science Festival, and grown attendance from around 50,000 to nearly 150,000 visitors a year.

Now, as he makes plans for a new, purpose-built museum in MIT's burgeoning gateway location in Kendall Square, Durant says he is looking forward to offering the public deeper insights into the research under way at MIT.

"This is the big opportunity for the MIT Museum to be something like what MIT and the public deserve," says Durant, who is both the Mark R. Epstein Director of the MIT Museum and a member of the faculty in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). “In our new location, we can anchor and mediate MIT's relationship with the wider community.”

Engaging with the public is more critical than ever today, Durant says, because the value of science and of evidence-based reasoning has been called into question by some segments of society. “We have suddenly plunged into a situation — briefly, I hope — where it's fashionable in some groups to believe that facts can be as you'd like them to be,” he says.

Yet, understanding science is necessary to make informed decisions on issues both private and public — from individual health care to national defense, says Durant, who received his PhD in the history and philosophy of science. “There are a multitude of ways in which science is relevant to our daily lives whether people know it or not,” he says. “Much of public policy has scientific aspects and dimensions.”

The human world at the core of MIT's mission
Durant's faculty home is in the SHASS-based Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), whose humanities and social science researchers explore science, technology, and medicine to understand the human challenges at the core of MIT's mission. STS is one of several programs that make SHASS the hub of the Institute’s major initiatives focused on furthering public engagement with science and technology. The school also trains some of the world's finest science journalists via the Graduate Program in Science Writing as well as the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship (KSJ) program. Undark Magazine, KSJ's digital offering published by KSJ Director Deborah Blum, explores ideas and endeavors at the intersection of science with political, cultural, and economic realities.

“Creative expression and the critical examination of ideas in their social and historical contexts are essential to the work of any museum, and particularly to the work of the MIT Museum," says Durant. "This is why we are always looking for ways to incorporate the work of MIT faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. A great example is our forthcoming special exhibition, 'The Enemy."

This exhibition, opening in October, emerges from collaboration between photojournalist Ben Khelifa and Fox Harrell, an MIT faculty member with a joint appointment in Comparative Media Studies and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. "'The Enemy' uses virtual reality technology to stretch visitors' senses as well as their emotional and moral imaginations," Durants says, "and we hope that it will foster more understanding in one of the places where it is most needed — in situations of human conflict.”
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Source: MIT News

Quantum mysteries dissolve if possibilities are realities Spacetime events and objects aren’t all that exists, new interpretation suggests | Science News

Photo: Tom Siegfried"Spacetime events and objects aren’t all that exists, new interpretation suggests" argues Tom Siegfried, Editor at Large and author of the Context blog

Physicist Werner Heisenberg (right) believed that quantum mechanics implied an aspect of reality similar to the concept of “potential” advocated by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (left). A new paper suggests that the mysteries of quantum mechanics might be resolved by incorporating such “potential” elements of reality in a complete picture of nature.  
When you think about it, it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s more than one way to explain quantum mechanics. Quantum math is notorious for incorporating multiple possibilities for the outcomes of measurements. So you shouldn’t expect physicists to stick to only one explanation for what that math means. And in fact, sometimes it seems like researchers have proposed more “interpretations” of this math than Katy Perry has followers on Twitter.

So it would seem that the world needs more quantum interpretations like it needs more Category 5 hurricanes. But until some single interpretation comes along that makes everybody happy (and that’s about as likely as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl), yet more interpretations will emerge. One of the latest appeared recently (September 13) online at arXiv.org, the site where physicists send their papers to ripen before actual publication. You might say papers on the arXiv are like “potential publications,” which someday might become “actual” if a journal prints them.

And that, in a nutshell, is pretty much the same as the logic underlying the new interpretation of quantum physics. In the new paper, three scientists argue that including “potential” things on the list of “real” things can avoid the counterintuitive conundrums that quantum physics poses. It is perhaps less of a full-blown interpretation than a new philosophical framework for contemplating those quantum mysteries. At its root, the new idea holds that the common conception of “reality” is too limited. By expanding the definition of reality, the quantum’s mysteries disappear. In particular, “real” should not be restricted to “actual” objects or events in spacetime. Reality ought also be assigned to certain possibilities, or “potential” realities, that have not yet become “actual.” These potential realities do not exist in spacetime, but nevertheless are “ontological” — that is, real components of existence.

“This new ontological picture requires that we expand our concept of ‘what is real’ to include an extraspatiotemporal domain of quantum possibility,” write Ruth Kastner, Stuart Kauffman and Michael Epperson.

Considering potential things to be real is not exactly a new idea, as it was a central aspect of the philosophy of Aristotle, 24 centuries ago. An acorn has the potential to become a tree; a tree has the potential to become a wooden table. Even applying this idea to quantum physics isn’t new. Werner Heisenberg, the quantum pioneer famous for his uncertainty principle, considered his quantum math to describe potential outcomes of measurements of which one would become the actual result. The quantum concept of a “probability wave,” describing the likelihood of different possible outcomes of a measurement, was a quantitative version of Aristotle’s potential, Heisenberg wrote in his well-known 1958 book Physics and Philosophy. “It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality.”

In their paper, titled “Taking Heisenberg’s Potentia Seriously,” Kastner and colleagues elaborate on this idea, drawing a parallel to the philosophy of René Descartes. Descartes, in the 17th century, proposed a strict division between material and mental “substance.” Material stuff (res extensa, or extended things) existed entirely independently of mental reality (res cogitans, things that think) except in the brain’s pineal gland. There res cogitans could influence the body. Modern science has, of course, rejected res cogitans: The material world is all that reality requires. Mental activity is the outcome of material processes, such as electrical impulses and biochemical interactions.

Kastner and colleagues also reject Descartes’ res cogitans. But they think reality should not be restricted to res extensa; rather it should be complemented by “res potentia” — in particular, quantum res potentia, not just any old list of possibilities. Quantum potentia can be quantitatively defined; a quantum measurement will, with certainty, always produce one of the possibilities it describes. In the large-scale world, all sorts of possibilities can be imagined (Browns win Super Bowl, Indians win 22 straight games) which may or may not ever come to pass.
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Additional resources    
arXiv.org > quant-ph > arXiv:1709.03595

Source: Science News (Blog)

'When did you last sit down for an hour, in work, to think about how or what you teach?' | TES News - New teachers - Classroom practice

Photo: Thomas RogersUnlike their counterparts in Japan, who spend 200 hours less in front of a class every year, the UK's teachers have little time to reflect and improve upon on their practice, writes Thomas Rogers, teacher who runs rogershistory.com, also view his back catalogue.

Photo: TES News
When was the last time you sat down for an hour, in work, and thought about the way you were teaching and why you were teaching that way?

When was the last time, in work, you sat down and read a subject-related book for an hour, just to expand your subject knowledge?

When was the last time you watched someone else teach? Not for some policy prerequisite, but just for the sake of watching and learning?

These are activities are intrinsic to the work of the teacher. Yet, at the moment, they rarely happen in the UK. The problem is time. The reason is workload. The causes have been documented well enough.

Education in itself is intellectual, requiring higher order thinking, both of the recipient and the provider. It was revealed last week that Secondary school teachers in England teach for, on average, 200 more hours over a school year than their equivalents in Japan. These are hours that would be spent thinking, pondering, and wondering.

Interest in professional development within the profession has never been higher among British teachers. You only have to look at the number of teachers on Twitter who share what they are reading at the moment to know that the desire to reflect on and improve one’s practice has never been higher. However, the time to actually do so has never been more restricted.

There has been a misconception that always doing something leads to greater productivity. This may well be the case in big business. But education is different. Education is not simply making as many products as possible and selling as many of them as possible. The “product” of learning requires great “pre-thought” and plenty of reflection too.

The idea that classroom teaching is teaching needs challenging. Teaching is merely the cherry on the cake of (hopefully) a cycle of reflection and planning and a gradual building of subject knowledge and pedagogical options over time.

In other countries, such as Japan and Finland, this process is built into day-to-day school timetabling. And the Pisa rankings for countries that do make time for reflection seem to reflect a view that teachers are not replaceable commodities but long-term investments. Find a good teacher, develop the teacher over five to 10 years and give them the time in between to fill in their own gaps.
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Source: TES News

Bringing Us Closer to a Global Understanding | The Heights - Opinions

"The individuals who conduct important world-changing work today, for the most part, have developed  a multidimensional and all-inclusive worldview" notes Michael Razis, The Heights Journalist.

Photo: Meg Dolan / Heights Editor
Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante Alighieri are names that every Boston College student has heard mentioned in their classes by the end of their four years, at the latest. Alfarabi, Avicenna, al-Kindi, and al-Razi are names that have far less cache on the Heights.

BC, as an elite, Jesuit university, has incredibly strong philosophy and theology departments and ensures that these disciplines play a significant role in the liberal arts education of every student, regardless of undergraduate academic track. Students commonly take Philosophy of the Person I & II and one of the various Christo-centric or comparative religion courses to fulfill their philosophy and theology requirements, respectively. There is also the option to enroll in the Pulse program, where the classroom component fuses philosophy and theology and the volunteer component fulfills the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others.”

My experiences with the philosophy and theology departments have been largely positive. As a freshman, I delved into the theology department when I enrolled in The Religious Quest I & II, taught by Ruth Langer. This course compares Catholicism and Judaism and identifies the points at which the religions intersect and diverge.

During the fall and spring semesters of my sophomore year, I took Philosophy of the Person I  II. In these courses, students had immense flexibility to write and discuss any philosophical issue or concept, so long as our discourse was related to the theories purported by the Western philosophers about whom we were learning. The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences’ Honors Program provides a curriculum of heightened academic and intellectual rigor in the program’s course entitled Western Cultural Tradition during freshman 

While the course offerings in BC’s philosophy and theology departments are indisputably intriguing, challenging, and taught by highly qualified members of the University’s faculty, they are also predominantly Western-centric. I was completely unaware of this subtle failure to acknowledge Eastern thought until I took professor David DiPasquale’s Islamic Political Philosophy course within the political science department.

DiPasquale’s course entailed reading myriad Eastern, Muslim sages in tandem with documents from political scientists and Middle-Eastern extremist groups. The course additionally involved an extensive, albeit necessary, examination and understanding of Islam’s religious doctrine.

In addition to the disparity in quantity between Western-centric and Eastern-centric courses—favoring the former—there is an accessibility problem that hinders students’ exposure to Eastern thought as well. The amount of sections offered for Philosophy of the Person I & II vastly outnumber the amount of courses relating to Eastern politics, philosophy, or religion. I was narrowly able to squeeze into DiPasquale’s class because someone dropped the course and I was the fastest to react to the EagleScribe notification.

The same trend can be found within the theology department’s course offerings. The majority of courses that fulfill the theology portion of students’ core requirements—most students’ rationale behind enrolling in theology courses—are overwhelmingly related to Christianity, Catholicism, and Christianity’s interactions with other religions/belief systems.

This, in part, is to be expected at BC, a Jesuit university. The extent to which this occurs, however, reveals a disappointing reality for such a well-ranked university.

This omnipresence of the proverbial West in contrast with the minimum spotlight shined on Eastern intellectual discourse is at best unfortunate, and at worst academically negligent. To offer only a small number of courses that provide perspectives that most American students probably haven’t encountered prior to college demonstrates a shortfall in the University’s pursuit to produce students that are globally-minded. 
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Source: The Heights

Yes, your kid will do something with that philosophy degree after all | Washington Post - Grade Point - Perspective

Photo: Jeffrey J. Selingo"When American universities were founded in the Colonial days, they didn’t have majors" summarizes Jeffrey J. Selingo, regular contributor to Grade Point. He is the author of There Is Life After College, a book about how today’s graduates launch into their careers, and the best-selling College (Un)Bound. 

Photo: Pexels
They were designed for a small slice of the population, namely statesmen, lawyers and clergy who studied a subject a day, from morning into the early evening. The prevailing teaching method was recitation and debate. 

Higher education was never intended in those days to be a route into the job market. But that is exactly what it has become, especially over the last four decades as more college-going students choose majors designed to prepare them for a job, such as health care, communications and the most popular undergraduate major, business. The proportion of undergraduates in the liberal arts has fallen by almost 50 percent since 1970. Even on elite campuses, some of the most popular majors are the newest ones that are riding the wave of job market trends. At Yale University, one of the hottest majors this year is statistics/data science

The flight away from the liberal arts has left English, history and philosophy departments, among others in the humanities, searching for a purpose. Small colleges that offer nothing but such majors are fighting for survival as they try to justify their existence and large price tag. The well-worn arguments in favor of the liberal arts —that they teach you how to problem solve, communicate effectively and train you for jobs not yet imagined — has largely failed to win over students and their parents these days.

Even Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has advocated for the humanities, telling technology leaders at a conference earlier this year that “free thinking” liberal arts majors will be needed as automation replaces computer programmers and engineers. “What looks like a great job graduating from college today may be not be a great job graduating from college five or 10 years from now,” Cuban said. 

The job market is certainly in a state of flux. Entire careers are expanding and contracting at an alarming rate. Law, accounting, even medicine are no longer the steady career paths they once were. So there is no such thing as a “safe major,” said George Anders, a business journalist and author of a new book, “You Can Do Anything,” about the usefulness of the liberal arts.

As Anders points out in the book, about 10 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy since 2012, but only 6 percent were in areas related to software, computers and information technology. “That means there are a lot more jobs out there for graduates in non-tech fields than we are led to believe,” Anders told me.

The book is a quick read for students and their anxious parents who fear choosing a humanities major means they’ll end up working as a Starbucks barista after graduation. He has plenty of examples, useful data and lengthy stories of recent graduates who have found success with liberal arts degrees. But rather than just lay out the same tired arguments for the liberal arts, Anders outlines in detail fast-growing fields in which skills from the liberal arts are required, such as project management, market research and fund-raising. 

“Those jobs require people who can think on their feet, improvise, work through ambiguity, write clearly, speak persuasively and connect with other people,” Anders said. “A liberal arts education tends to be a great place to get prepared for a career in what I call the empathy sector or the rapport economy.”
Read more... 

Source: Washington Post (Blog)

The state of women in computer science: An investigative report | TechRepublic

Top colleges boast about reaching gender parity in 'intro to computer science' courses, says Alison DeNisco, Staff Writer for TechRepublic.

Photo: iStockphoto/shironosov
But very few of those women go on to graduate with a CS degree. Here's why. 

In the classrooms at Georgia Tech, among the laptops and notebooks and lines of code, senior computer science major Marguerite Murrell likes to play a game she's dubbed "Count the Girls."

"If I can keep it under two hands, then I win," Murrell said. "There are certainly some girls, probably more than some other computer science programs in the nation. But it's a lot of guys."

Women earn only 18% of computer science bachelor's degrees in the United States. And leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook have stated that if the US tech industry doesn't solve its gender imbalance issues then America will lose its lead in tech.

But in recent years, a number of top colleges have made efforts to draw women into the field with revamped introductory courses that make the technology less intimidating for those that enter college without prior programming experience—largely, women—among other efforts. Many of these schools boast about gender parity in these basic courses and incoming freshman classes. But for upper-level students, men continue to dominate technical courses in robotics, machine learning, and security, and "Count the Girls" still yields poor results in those classes.

A confluence of factors prevent women from pursuing and persisting in computer science majors, according to Wendy DuBow, director of evaluation and senior research scientist at the National Center for Women & Information Technology. A lack of exposure to computer science and engineering concepts in middle school and high school, well-meaning teachers or parents steering girls away from tech-focused classes, and a general lack of awareness of potential careers in the tech field all contribute.

Recent high-profile sexual harassment cases at tech firms such as Uber also do not make the field appear as an attractive place for women to build a career, DuBow said, no matter how lucrative.

Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and Georgia Institute of Technology have all made a concerted effort to attract female students to computer science programs.

"Academic institutions that commit to parity really do start to see results when they use research-based practices, like scaffolding their intro courses or making sure their faculty use inclusive pedagogy in the classroom," DuBow said. However, challenges with isolation, stereotyping, and confidence still remain.

What follows is a look beyond the glossy college catalogues into what female computer science majors actually experience on campus, and why changing introductory courses isn't enough to build the pipeline of women needed to fill tech jobs.

Hear Alison DeNisco explain how she reported this story about women in computer science programs.
Progress made, work ahead 
Many colleges recognize that the way their computer science programs were structured discouraged women from entering, said Elizabeth Ames, senior vice president of marketing alliances and programs for the Anita Borg Institute. For example, entry-level courses often assumed that students had a background in programming already. And, women in tech had little community on campus.

The oft-named success story of changing this approach is found at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA, where the percentage of female computer science majors grew from less than 15% in 2006 to 55% in 2016, largely thanks to the initiatives put in place by its president Maria Klawe.

Carnegie Mellon University has seen similar results: Women made up more than 48% of incoming freshman in the computer science major in 2016-17—a far cry from 8% in the 1990s, and even 34% in 2013. Many of the changes were spurred by Lenore Blum, a professor of computer science who joined the faculty in 1999.

Her guiding philosophy? "The minority in any community does not have the same access to the critical academic and professional opportunities and advantages that the majority has, and these are critical for success," Blum said. For example, male computer science majors have easy access to role models who look like them, in both their professors and people in the workforce, and are more likely to have roommates or people living in their dorm who are also studying computer science and can help with homework.

"If you're a woman, and one out of a very small number, you don't have those built-in connections, and your teachers don't look like you," Blum said. "You have nobody to ask naturally at night to work on homework with you. It would probably be pretty awkward to call up a guy and say, 'Hey, I'm having problems with my homework and it's midnight. Want to come over?' Not so easy to do."...

The intro course and the confidence gap 
 Research shows that when a male and a female student enter a computer science course at the same level, the male thinks he's more skilled than he is, and the female thinks she's less skilled than she is, said Barb Ericson, director of computing outreach for the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. A 2016 study from Harvard's Women in Computer Science Advocacy Council found that women with up to eight years of programming experience report the same level of confidence as men with zero to one year of programming experience.

"A lot of women tend to leave the major even though they have better grades than the guys who stay, because they're not confident in their abilities," Ericson said.

The confidence factor also impacts who takes computer science introductory courses, and who opts out. At Harvard, the intro course CS50 is designed for both majors and non-majors, and had 38% women during the 2016-2017 school year.

"It's taken on its own persona in the college," said Priscilla Guo, a senior technology, policy, and society concentrator at Harvard. "It's very sensationalized, and is one of those must-take courses. Every single lecture is almost like one of those showcases at a tech conference, in that there is a lot of interaction and engagement with the audience. It's like a show."

The course's goal is to make programming more relatable, and students are offered a lot of support, including several teaching assistants and 24-hour office hours. However, once you get to the second intro course, the number of women drops, Guo said. And in 2017, 29% of Harvard's computer science bachelor's degrees were awarded to women.

The problem? "So many more men than women come to college with programming experience, and skip CS50," said Michelle Danoff, who graduated from Harvard in 2017 with a degree in computer science, and now works as an associate product manager at Google. "If you look at how students progress through the department, there's a decrease [of women] in the higher-level courses in large part because there's just so many men going directly to them."
Read more... 

Source: TechRepublic

Women in Business Q&A: Carey Karlan, Last Detail | HuffPost - Huffington Post's Contributor platform

Photo: Laura Emily Dunn"Award-winning interior designer Carey Karlan is the principal of design firm Last Detail, located in Darien, CT. Carey creates timeless interiors extending from Fairfield and Westchester counties to Manhattan, San Francisco, Florida, the Cape and Nantucket" according to Laura Dunn, experienced communications and digital professional.
 
Photo: Carey Karlan
Carey’s design philosophy embraces the concept of flexibility. Her work has been featured in athome Magazine, New England Home Connecticut, Cottages and Gardens and the Stamford and Greenwich Magazine. Carey is a two-time winner and finalist of the A-list awards, athome’s premiere home design competition as well as a finalist for CTC&G’s Innovation in Design award and speaks frequently on the subject of Interior Design.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?Although I was a pampered only child in all material aspects, my father held me to high performance standards in everything I voluntarily undertook such as tennis lessons or being class president in Junior High. When that “Presidency” was not going well and I was making excuses for not getting much accomplished he allowed me no slack and insisted I take full responsibility. It felt shockingly cold at the time but the lesson stayed with me.
A little adversity can be a good thing. After a difficult divorce and with 5 young children in tow I struggled financially. I did what I had to do: took in sewing, started a new career and just generally survived. I was tougher than I thought and took a lot of pride in making it all work. There is very little satisfaction in victimhood, it feels much better to succeed and be happy! 

How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?Before I started my second career in design I was a VP at Katz Communications managing a group that sold television time. There were few women in the field at the time at that level and the climb was not easy. Women endured levels of sexism that would be inconceivable today! But honestly that never really bothered me and at the end of the day I think performance wins out—particularly in a sales environment.
Vital lessons learned concerned developing good client relationships through constant, effective communication, managing up in internal office affairs, being bold in “putting yourself out there” for promotions, orders and whatever else you want. Presentation skills are vital in any industry and a sales background certainly hones those skills...

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?I may not win any friends here but I honestly don’t believe discrimination is a big issue in most fields if you do a superb job and put the time in. An inescapable issue is that women often need to take time off to have children (I had five including triplets). Interior design can actually be a good field for women as it offers flexibility and some control over work flow...but you have to be in it to win it.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?I have had generous mentors in both of my careers. The best mentoring relationships are spontaneous and voluntary in my opinion. 
Read more...

Recommended Reading
 
Photo: Sherrie Simmons
Women in Business Q&A: Sherrie Simmons, Chief Operating Officer, Ultra Mobile by Laura Emily Dunn, Contributor.

Source: HuffPost

5 Ways to Help Employees Keep Up with Digital Transformation | Harvard Business Review

"Ideas from the consumer products industry" according to Deb Henretta, senior advisor to General Assembly and Anand Chopra-McGowan, leads General Assembly’s global Consumer Product & Retail practice.
 Photo: Harvard Business Review
The consumer packaged goods (CPG) landscape is in the midst of a significant shake-up. Coca-Cola recently reshuffled its leadership team to focus on growth, innovation, and digital. Unilever has acquired Dollar Shave Club, a young startup, for $1 billion in a move to introduce a new model of subscription sales. L’Oréal has made a strategic investment in Founders Factory, a digital startup accelerator. And at Greycroft, a venture capital firm, investor Teddy Citrin has laid out a veritable map for the further disruption of every consumer products category.

From our view and experience, what underpins the success of these new ideas and approaches is the abilities, skills, and mindset of the company’s workforce. In our work with leading consumer products companies around the world, we’ve identified clear practices and investments that bring a greater chance of success in organizing a workforce around the expectations and needs of the connected consumer. Here are five:

Commit from the Top
The rallying cry for new ways of working in the digital age must start at the top. At L’Oréal, CEO Jean-Paul Agon signaled the company’s digital transformation when he recruited Lubomira Rochet to be the chief digital officer and a member of the executive team.

One of Rochet’s first tasks was to create a leadership development program that equipped executives with the knowledge, mindset, and ways of working the company would need to grow in the digital age. The top 1,000 executives at L’Oréal have participated in a range of learning experiences, enabling them to build digital road maps for their regions and businesses and to model the behaviors that their team members must embrace to execute on these plans, such as a willingness to experiment, an openness to external partnerships, and more autonomous team structures. “A clear, easy-to-memorize digital group strategy is now vocally championed by leadership across the company,” Rochet says.

Another way to signal commitment from the top is if CPG leaders actually engage with the tools their consumers use. Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital & Social Media at Nestle, advocates for CPG leaders to personally embrace the use of emerging digital platforms and channels in order to make this new paradigm real to employees, agency partners, and suppliers.

“I’m constantly using and testing new platforms — live video, posts on Facebook, Instagram stories, and more. Experiencing this for myself gives me that extra edge to ask the tough questions and challenge some of the sales pitches from agencies and tech companies trying to sell me that big campaign,” Blackshaw says. “Personal experience makes me a more effective marketer.”

Give Employees Direct Access to Consumers 
Fast-growing consumer products companies such as Warby Parker, Glossier, and Dollar Shave Club are upending the traditional retail model, which depends on a manufacturer selling to a retailer that then sells to the end consumer. Plug-and-play e-commerce technology, search engine optimization, and other distribution solutions are making it ever easier for products to directly reach consumers. 

This shift gives CPGs an opportunity to gain rich insight into the tastes and habits that drive their sales. Gaining this insight, however, requires a simultaneous shift in organizational structure to bring internal teams much closer to consumers. New and emerging tools such as social media listening, user research, and journey mapping can be powerful enablers to guide CPGs digital transformation.
One such example is Connected Home, a unit set up by British utility company Centrica to build “smart home” appliances. The team was structured to operate like a startup, with a particular focus on user research, feedback, and a commitment to lean operations. This approach helped Connected Home’s Hive “smart thermostat” device become a market leader in just a few years. Kassir Hussain, former director of Connected Home, told us: “In a space that can often be confusing and frustrating to consumers, our focus on regular user interviews, meetings, tests, and demos allowed us to build a product that was simple, easy to use, and addressed real consumer needs.” In a competitive energy market, the Connected Home unit has now become a major differentiator and profit driver for the parent company, Centrica.

Help Employees Embrace Agility 
Agility is key to success when undertaking digital transformations. Today’s technologies and consumer needs change faster than traditional business road maps can deliver, and employees need to be ready and empowered to move at this pace. The best way to drive this shift is to establish a set of tangible day-to-day activities and behaviors that enable employees to act quickly.

One such activity was introduced by Deb Henretta while leading P&G Asia. She pushed her teams to move to 24/7 monitoring of all digital assets — owned sites, customer sites, and social media channels. She introduced a set of live dashboards and frequent reports that helped the team keep a constant pulse on consumer behavior and activity. This was a pace far faster than the quarterly and annual reviews they were used to when all products were sold in a physical environment. But the team learned to keep a close eye on everything from page load times to consumer reviews to social media sentiment.
Read more...

Source: Harvard Business Review

It’s the end of the university as we know it | Quartz - Science of Learning

This is the last in The Vanishing University, a four-part series exploring the tech-driven future of higher education in America. Here are parts one, two, and three.
"“Not enough people are innovating enough in higher education,” gripes Larry Summers, the economist who served for five years as president of Harvard. “General Electric looks nothing like it looked in 1975. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford look a lot like they looked in 1975" insist Amy X. Wang, reporter at Quartz and Allison Schrager, economist, writer, and pension geek. 

Your eduCloud storage is almost full.
Photo: Harry Tennant for Quartz
They’re about the same size to within a factor of two; they’re about the same number of buildings; they operate on about the same calendar; they have many of the same people or some number of the same people in significant positions.”

But is Summers right?

Think of the college library. A musky, magnificent space—rooms topped out by cathedral ceilings, golden light angling in with otherworldly might, illuminating rows of students camping out amongst shelves or hunching over at wooden tables riddled with decades of frustrated pencil marks and the thuds of limb-tearing textbooks.

That is what it was. No longer. Over the last several decades, the university library has become less vital, its books getting dusty with disuse, its edge-worn card system replaced by digital catalogs and powerful scanning machines that could put entire tomes online in minutes. Some schools, like the University of Chicago, heavily downsized their library collections. Others, like the University of Texas at San Antonio, rethought the idea of a library, opening study spaces without physical books at all. Instead of going to libraries for resources and information, most students these days congregate there mainly to toss ideas back and forth, write essays together, work on group projects.

A massive transition is underway in the global economy right now that will soon obliterate the need for such a space, entirely. Future workers need—ironically enough—education that is both available at a mass scale and intensely specialized. Universities are facing a seemingly impossible crisis over how to offer accessible teaching, to several times the number of people as in years past, that is individualized, yet affordable.

Shocking as it might seem, there is one catch-all answer that could be the remedy to many of these concerns: Cut the campus loose. Axe the physical constraints. The library? Classrooms? Professors? Take it all away. The future of the university is up in the air...

The authors end their article with following, "There will always be some professors on campus. Perhaps just fewer of them. Educating undergraduates and graduate students is only one service universities offer, after all: They also produce research and scholarship, and AI can’t yet publish in top journals or conduct groundbreaking lab research. That’ll put a large premium on soft skills, of course, because in-person learning will be a more valuable, scarce commodity. As University of Illinois economics professor David Albouy points out, “AI might be better—it is better—at lots of things, but I have a comparative advantage when it comes to teaching because I am good at the mushy human stuff.”"

These days, college education is almost a necessity for employment. Universities and students alike have to come to terms with the fact that those who can pay the most will also receive the most scarce and valuable skills. In college education, as is the case with many other goods and services in the modern economy, technology has radically broadened the world’s access—at the price of heightened inequality.
Read more... 

Source: Quartz

New Nottingham music initiative to help adults with learning difficulties | West Bridgford Wire

"For the first time, the Nottinghamshire-based charity Music for Everyone – is to hold a series of singing sessions for adults with learning difficulties" continues WBWire.


“Music for Everyone” has teamed up with two other local charities – Southwell-based Reach UK and Sherwood’s Open Wings. They already have long experience of helping adults with learning difficulties and their carers.

The first “Open Voices” event is being held this Friday (Sept 29) at St Martin’s Church, Trevose Gardens, Sherwood, Nottingham, from 1000am – 12noon.
 
“The idea is to provide specially designed singing sessions for adults with learning difficulties,” said Angela Kay, Music for Everyone’s Artistic Director.
 
“Singing in a group can have a real positive impact for well-being, and we are delighted to be pioneering this approach.

“The music chosen will be varied with everything from pop songs to some of the classics. Our ambition is to create a whole network of Open Voices groups throughout Nottinghamshire”, added Angela.
Read more...

Source: West Bridgford Wire 

Music professor reaps rewards after enrolling in CTLL academies | News at UNG

Photo: J.K. Devine"After Esther Morgan-Ellis enrolled in the Faculty Academy on High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPs) and the Faculty Academy on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at UNG, she and her students have reaped the rewards" notes J.K. Devine, Communications Specialist.

University of North Georgia (UNG) assistant music professor Esther Morgan-Ellis, left, enrolled in the Faculty Academy on High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPs) and later the Faculty Academy on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Mary Carney, director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership (CTLL), co-founded and directs the SoTL with Laura Ng.
University of North Georgia (UNG) assistant music professor Esther Morgan-Ellis wanted to pair composers with students in her music history class. She also sought to improve her students' writing skills.

"I was looking for a superior alternative to the research paper," she said.

When Morgan-Ellis enrolled in the Faculty Academy on High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPs) at UNG in spring 2014, she found a solution. She devised a new project melding her two ideas — connecting students directly to contemporary composers and requiring them to present a paper at its conclusion — because it was a requirement for her own class. She then developed a survey — a skill she learned in the Faculty Academy on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) — to measure the project's success.
 
Three years later, the single assignment has reaped rewards. Morgan-Ellis has a new project for her music history class. A few students have presented their papers at national conferences for undergraduate research in 2016 and 2017. And Morgan-Ellis' article about her project and its results will appear in the Journal of Music History and Pedagogy in March 2018.

Mary Carney, director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership (CTLL) at UNG, said that kind of success is the purpose of her department and its professional development programs. Carney and Laura Ng co-founded and direct the SoTL Academy as part of CTLL’s mission to foster UNG’s community of scholars as they pursue research-based design and implementation of significant educational experiences.

UNG's HIP Faculty Academy provides tools and peer mentoring so faculty can refine skills essential to their own and their students’ success in the classroom by:

Designing (or redesigning) a service-learning or undergraduate research assignment that uses selected quality dimensions.

Applying educational taxonomies to be intentional about student learning outcomes...

For more information about HIPs, SoTL and Write Now, visit the CTLL website.
Read more...

Source: News at UNG  

Academic success could involve music to your ears | The Philadelphia Tribune

Chanel Hill, Tribune Staff Writer says, "Here’s an idea many families may be wise to note: Research shows letting your kids learn music can help them do better in other subjects and enhances skills they’ll need in other areas."

For families looking to buy a piano, experts advise: Get the best one you can afford; it will sound better and last longer. — NAPS
Photo: Chanel Hill, Tribune Staff Writer
Lend an ear to expert advice

“The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” explains Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

What’s more, a study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in Psychological Science, found an increase in the IQs of 6-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons.

Another study, led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, found children who had just 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice had improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks.

According to many music teachers, the piano can be a great first instrument. There are several reasons. First, pianos are simple to play; children can begin their music studies as soon as their fingers can reach all the keys. In addition, a piano can help students learn to read music because it’s easy to see the relationships between pitches in both melodies and chords and the way they look written out on the staff.

Regular piano playing sharpens fine motor skills and improves hand-eye coordination in the young. Plus, studying piano has been shown to improve memory and build good habits such as focus and perseverance, diligence and creativity.

Keys to piano success

If you’re considering investing in music education for your child and purchasing a piano, there are three things you should learn first.
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Source: The Philadelphia Tribune

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