Major Academic Cutbacks Proposed At University Of Vermont

Administrators at the University of Vermont (UVM) have proposed cutting more than two dozen academic programs as part of a major restructuring of its College of Arts and Sciences. Citing a 17% reduction in enrollment in liberal arts classes between 2010 and 2016, officials said the cuts were necessary to address a budget deficit of $8.6 million for fiscal year 2021.

A dozen of the College’s 56 majors were slated for termination in Wednesday’s announcement, along with 11 of its 63 minors and four of 10 master’s degree programs. The criterion for being put on the chopping block was low enrollment in the programs or a small number of graduates (defined as an average of fewer than five graduates per year over the past three years).

According to the plan, as reported in the VT Digger, the university would eliminate its departments of geology, religion and classics. Among the majors that would be discontinued are regional studies, romance languages and cultures, Latin, Greek, German, Russian and Italian. 

In another cost-cutting move, the departments of Art and Art History, Music, and Theatre and Dance would be consolidated into a single School of the Arts. In addition, the departments of Asian Languages and Literatures, German and Russian, and Romance Languages and Cultures would be collapsed into a School of Languages.

Master’s programs in classics, geology and historic preservation also are among those that would be terminated.

The university indicated that the programs slated for discontinuation would be phased out over time so that students enrolled in them – reported to be 122 in number – would be able to finish their degrees.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bill Falls said that existing structural defects were being “amplified” by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, UVM anticipated budget deficits of $27.9 million over the next three years. The cuts proposed Wednesday are aimed at reducing expenditures by $5 million by fiscal year 2023, Falls said. In addition to the program cuts, it’s anticipated that UVM will put incentives on the table to encourage faculty in the College to retire.

As reported in the Burlington Free Press, UVM Provost and Senior Vie President Patricia Prelock said the “decisions were the result of careful thought and consultation over the last several years, and were informed by data and guided by a strategy to focus on the future success of the College of Arts and Sciences.They also reflect UVM’s commitment to providing our students with an array of properly resourced programs that can maintain strong enrollments and foster the vitality necessary to achieve a high-quality academic experience.”

Faculty and students did not sound convinced by that rationale. Reactions to Wednesday’s announcement ranged from shock to dismay. Julie Roberts, the faculty union president and a linguistics professor at UVM was quoted in Seven Days, a

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Stanford University Report Ranks Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Mohammed Cherkaoui Among the World’s Top 2% of Scientists

In the discipline of “materials” science, Dr. Cherkaoui ranked in the top 3,000 of the world’s more than 177,000 researchers in the field. He is best known for his pioneering work in micromechanics and nuclear engineering, and he has authored more than 200 publications including the first-ever micromechanics textbook. His international accolades include the France Medal from the National Center for Scientific Research, the Obama Award under the Material Genome Initiative, and the Lorraine Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. He has also achieved a tenured professorship at Georgia Institute of Technology and a Boeing Endowed Chair and professorship at Mississippi State University.

“I am humbled by this recognition, and I owe a debt of gratitude to all of my co-authors and the vast network of Ph.D. students and contributors who have supported my work throughout my career,” said Dr. Cherkaoui. “I am proud to bring LIU to the forefront of global research as we strive to become a world-leading, pioneering university of the future.”

Dr. Cherkaoui was a pioneering influence of the International University of Rabat in Morocco, the International Joint Units (UMI) research institution between the French government and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the France National Center for Scientific Research. He is a member of the European Commission material science division, and he is the associate editor of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology.

“Dr. Cherkaoui’s visionary leadership and collaborative approach to interdisciplinary research across LIU has led to some of our most forward-thinking initiatives such as our Digital Health Institute and competitive artificial intelligence program,” said LIU President Dr. Kimberly R. Cline. “I am proud to see him recognized as one of the world’s greatest scientists; an honor he truly deserves.” 

About Long Island University
Long Island University, founded in 1926, continues to redefine higher education, providing high quality academic instruction by world-class faculty. Recognized by Forbes for its emphasis on experiential learning and by the Brookings Institution for its “value added” to student outcomes, LIU offers close to 265 accredited programs, with a network of 267,000 alumni that includes industry leaders and entrepreneurs all across the globe. Visit liu.edu for more information. 

SOURCE Long Island University

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World’s first graduate-level AI university appoints world-renowned academic Eric Xing as President

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees, said: “We are excited to welcome Professor Dr. Xing as the president of MBZUAI. He is one of the world’s foremost academics in the field of AI, and an exceptional business leader who understands the practical application of artificial intelligence. We are confident that Professor Dr. Xing will bring immense expertise to MBZUAI and our ambitions in this industry.”

Ranked as one of the top computer science professors worldwide, Professor Dr. Xing joins MBZUAI from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, where he most recently served as Associate Department Head of Research at the Machine Learning Department, part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Additionally, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Machine Learning and Health, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Professor Dr. Xing has also spent time as Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University, and as Visiting Research Professor at Facebook Inc.

A highly recognised and award-winning member of the AI community, the new MBZUAI President has authored or contributed to more than 370 research papers and reports. His research has been cited more than 35,000 times by leading academics and academic journals.

Professor Dr. Xing is also the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist of Petuum, Inc, which has raised over $120 million funding since 2016 and was selected as a 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Dr. Xing said: “AI is one of the most transformational technologies of our time, with the potential to have an immeasurable positive impact on economies, industries, and society. As President of MBZUAI, my vision is to build and enable a generation of leaders who have the necessary understanding, expertise, and skills to unlock the full potential of AI through academic research and industry applications. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to lead such a ground-breaking establishment, and do so in the UAE, a country that has made AI a strategic national priority.” 

Since launching in October 2019, MBZUAI has achieved several important milestones, including the completion of its state-of-the-art campus in Masdar City and the successful completion of its first admissions cycle. The university recently extended admission offers to 101 students for the first academic year commencing in January 2021. Students accepted into the first cohort were selected from an elite group of 2,223 applicants of 97 different nationalities. Admitted students come from 31 countries.

SOURCE Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI)

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Marshall University police officer earns top academic honors at academy | Features/Entertainment

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University Police Department Patrolman Taylor J. Eastes, who joined the department in May, has earned the valedictorian award for the highest academic achievement in his graduating class at the West Virginia State Police Academy.

There were 38 individuals in Eastes’ class who completed the training in November.

“We are incredibly proud of Patrolman Eastes,” said James E. Terry, director of public safety at Marshall. “The academy is always a grueling process, but layer the demands of COVID-19 on the training and the course became even more challenging. He is a great asset to our department, not to mention a very successful student.”

In addition to his position with MUPD, Eastes is a student at Marshall studying cyber forensics and security.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer and am very happy that Marshall has provided me with this opportunity,” Eastes said. “To complete the academy, I had to take the fall semester off, but I’ll be back in class at Marshall in the spring.”

Marshall’s police department has an authorized capacity of 32 officers. Eastes was hired under President Jerome Gilbert’s initiative to expand Marshall’s police force, as the university’s footprint has grown to include a more robust health sciences campus, a planned baseball field and new home for the Lewis College of Business on 4th Avenue.

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Gold lauds UNO for enrollment growth, academic expansion in State of the University speech | Education

Gold has been chancellor of both the NU Medical Center and UNO for about three years. He was given the UNO role by then-NU President Hank Bounds on an interim basis and then a permanent basis when a national search for a new chancellor failed to find a leader.

Gold will continue to run the med center, which he has overseen for about seven years. Carter last week also named Gold executive vice president and provost of the NU system, which includes institutions in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney.

Our best staff images of September 2020

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College students make a last-ditch effort to make Election Day an academic holiday

“As it stands, there’s nothing really stopping us from making this holiday a reality,” he said. “For a university president to say that this doesn’t work doesn’t hold as much water now as it used to.”

Organizers at Northeastern University, Boston College, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Boston, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Harvard’s various schools fixated on the initiative this month, following the lead of several colleges across the country, such as George Washington University and the University of Utah, that now recognize Election Day as a holiday or “non-instructional day” — largely thanks to student advocacy this year.

Members also point to states, including Illinois, New York, and West Virginia, that deemed the day a public holiday.

The Boston-based collective, which is unnamed and unofficial, was created in the first weeks of October and has about eight members.

In that short time, they have contacted on-campus organizations that are spearheading registration drives. They’ve pumped out legislative proposals at student senate meetings and on Zoom calls with the Boston Intercollegiate Government. They’ve garnered endorsements from boards, big and small, with power in their universities.

By banding together, group members have gained clout and confidence, said Boston College junior Dennis Wieboldt.

“We’re trying to leverage the connection we all have between our schools and show a united front,” said Wieboldt, chairman of the Boston Collegiate Government. “Start with schools, and build from there.”

Students at multiple institutions now involved in the Election Day initiative have tried to sway administrators to adopt the idea in years past — and failed.

More than 40 million people have already voted in this year’s election, including nearly 1.2 million in Massachusetts. But many faculty and staff members may still be planning to cast their ballots on Nov. 3, and nothing should stop them, said advocate and Northeastern junior Jackson Hurley.

“It’s one day,” he said. “We know it may be a minor inconvenience to [declare the holiday] on short notice, but the overwhelming benefit it will provide for the community as a whole — especially faculty and staff — overweighs the cost.”

Universities like MIT and Harvard set aside a few hours of paid time off for employees during Election Day. Others, like Northeastern and BU, encourage professors to be flexible to students’ scheduling needs and make necessary accommodations.

Still, most of Boston’s prominent institutions stand by the notion that an entire day off is unessential, especially since the majority of college-connected voters do not cast ballots in person.

“Given the large number of students who are voting by mail and voting absentee in other states, we do not think a single day off is warranted,” a Northeastern spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to the Globe.

But student organizers say an academic holiday would encourage their peers to engage in different parts of the voting process, such as volunteering at the polls and replacing older workers more directly threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, helping with same-day

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CAE Chief Academic Officer Doris Zahner Co-Authors Chapter in New Book on Assessment

The edited volume, published by APA Books, focuses on assessment at the individual, institutional and international levels

NEW YORK, Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Doris Zahner, chief academic officer at the Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a leading provider of performance-based, authentic assessments measuring essential college and career readiness skills, has published a chapter in a newly released edited volume on assessment, by APA Books, Assessing Undergraduate Learning in Psychology: Strategies for Measuring and Improving Student Performance. APA Books is the publishing arm of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The book, co-edited by Susan Nolan, Christopher Hakala, and R. Eric Landrum, explores assessments that instructors and administrators can use to design student-centered undergraduate psychology courses and curricula. The contributors also address the realities of assessment, offering ideas on how to maximize their utility in the face of limitations. Ultimately, the book can support programs as they prepare students to be successful global citizens.

Zahner’s chapter focuses on the case for the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+), an assessment of college and career readiness skills in higher education in an international context. Co-authors include Dirk Van Damme, head of the Centre for Education Research and Innovation, Organisation at the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as additional CAE researchers.

“It is important for CAE to be part of the dialogue about improving students’ learning outcomes,” said Zahner. “We know that what we measure on CLA+ – critical thinking, problem-solving and written communication – are the real-world skills essential for success in college and career, especially in the global context.”

“The OECD is strongly committed to advancing the agenda of assessing learning outcomes in higher education,” said Van Damme. “We definitely see an increase globally in understanding and improving students’ proficiency in the kind of competences that matter for the 21st century workplace and society.”

This is the third publication and fourth chapter Zahner has contributed in the higher education field. An assessment expert who oversees CAE’s research and measurement science, she is also the coauthor of chapters in Assessment of learning outcomes in higher education: Cross-national comparisons and perspectives (New York, NY: Springer) and the Handbook of research on computational tools for real-world skill development (Hershey, PA: IGI Global). 

“This book is a must-have for every undergraduate psychology faculty member and administrator worldwide,” said former APA President Nadine Kaslow. Helen Bakker of Utrecht University in the Netherlands said the book “may inspire and facilitate an academic community in which student learning is optimized, and assessment may even be a fun part of it!”

Zahner holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and a master’s degree in applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an adjunct associate professor of public service of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service teaching qualitative analysis, and an adjunct associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches courses in statistics to students in the social sciences.  

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