Education July 31, 2017: UC Irvine rescinds admission offers to 500 freshmen because of over enrollment

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

 

The University of California, Irvine revoked nearly 500 offers of admissions because of over enrollment, leaving students with very few options just two months before the start of the fall semester. Wikipedia Commons

Nearly 500 incoming freshmen accepted to the University of California Irvine are facing the worst nightmare of their academic careers less than two months before the start of the fall semester. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report on Friday, July 28, 2017, that the UC campus rescinded the admission of 499 incoming students. The university sent the letters last week and the admissions office gave minor or no real reason for the revocation of the admission offers. The university, however, had more students accepting offers of admissions this year than expected. Most including students and the news media believe over enrollment is the only reason UC Irvine is causing a nightmare for these students.

The majority of students were given reasons such as not filing their final transcripts by the due date or bad senior grades. The LA Times notes, “290 of them for transcript issues and the rest for poor senior-year grades, according to campus data.” Students, however, said according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the reasons were “insufficient or nonexistent.” One student claimed the admission office just said they had “violated a freshman admission requirement,” without elaborating or clarifying. Many of the students who were accused of not sending their transcripts in time even if they had have proof they did. The students now have two choices appeal or change their plans for the fall with community college being almost the only option at this point in the summer.

The university claims they can invoke offers of admissions for the following reasons, “not graduating with their high school diploma,” not maintaining in their senior year a “weighted 3.0 senior-year grade-point average, having “Ds or Fs in UC-approved courses” and not “meeting deadlines for submitting all official high school and college transcripts and test scores.” The number of rescission notices at other University of California campus was minute in comparison UCLA revoked seven admissions, UC San Diego revoked nine, and in the previous two years, UC Davis revoked an average of 150 admission offers where most were because of senior final grades.

Thomas Parham, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs issued a statement on Friday. Parham explained, “Acceptance into all University of California campuses is provisional, contingent on meeting the contractual terms and conditions that were clearly outlined in your original admissions offer.”

UC Irvine accepted 850 more students than they originally planned for the Class of 2021. In total, According to the LA Times, “7,100 of the 31,103 freshmen who were offered admission to UC-Irvine had accepted it by May.” The university originally hoped their incoming freshman class would consist of approximately 6,250 students. Tom Vasich, “a spokesman for the university,” told the New York Times on Friday, “This is not a typical year. More students than we expected accepted admission to the university.”

A petition was created to object to the revoked admissions notices. According to the LA Times by Thursday, “640 students, relatives, alumni and community members” signed. The petition read, “We are so sorry that UCI admin has decided to ruin students lives…. They NEED to be held accountable for their actions, and they need to know that we will not just sit back and allow them to take advantage of students.”

The cruel predicament UC Irvine put students admitted to their school was rather unprecedented. There have been many well-publicized horror stories of universities sending offers of admissions by mistake, but not rescinding genuine acceptances on mass. In recent years, each cycle there are stories of universities making computer error, accessing the wrong lists and sending out offers of admissions to thousands of students, before retracting and claiming they were all by accident. The New York Times lists recent mistaken admissions controversies at “Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2017, at Tulane University in 2016, and at Carnegie Mellon University in 2015.” In 2009, the UC San Diego sent 28,000 acceptances by error, the campus sent admission offers to all 46,000 applicants instead of just the 18,000 students they admitted.

All of these mistaken acceptances either happened in the early admission cycle or regular cycle, but before students accepted offers of admissions on May 1. Students still had the opportunity to apply or accept other university admission offers. This year, Harvard University caused an uproar after the university revoked admissions for 10 freshmen for inappropriate behavior in mid-April. According to CNN, the ten students posted “explicit memes via a Facebook chat group,” which was “an offshoot of the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group affiliated with the university.”

According to the student paper the Harvard Crimson, the group “mocked sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children.” Harvard Admissions Office let the students know, “As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.” The situation at UC Irvine was radically different since none of the admitted students had done anything, which would cause revoking admission.

The UC Irvine students are most left without options so late in the season; if they want to continue their education, they will have to consider community college and then transferring to a university, or try again this upcoming admission cycle. Even more tragic is the many of the students that UC Irvine rescinded admission fall under the category of minorities, from low-income families, or first of their families to attend college, one student was even a former marine. So far 64 of the 265 that filed appealed have been successful in getting their admissions reinstated.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Politics July 23, 2017: America deeply polarized as Trump presidency hits six-month mark

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POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President Donald Trump’s polls at the six-month mark shows discontent especially among Democrats. President Donald J. Trump | July 20, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

As President Donald Trump’s hits the six-month mark of his presidency, polarization in the nation is at an all-time high. ABC News and Washington Post released a new poll on Sunday, July 16, 2017, that looked at Trump’s approval rating and followed up with another poll released on Monday, July 17 examining his presidential behavior including his Twitter habits. A Gallup Poll released on July 21, also showed how Trump’s approval rating is below 40 percent mostly because he lacks almost any support from Democrats. According to the new ABC News poll, only 36 percent of Americans “approve of Trump’s job performance,” while the Gallup Poll has Trump approval rating for his second quarter as president at 38.8 percent. The results show that Trump is the most unpopular president at this point in his presidency than any other president in the last 70 years of polling mostly because the nation is the most polarized over Trump than ever in history.

Trump’s approval rate numbers are his lowest and six points lower than they were in April when he reached 100 days of his presidency. Trump has only a 36 percent approval rating in the new ABC News / Washington Post poll entitled “Six months in, the latest poll reveals a record low for Trump,” but a 58 percent disapproval rating. Americans however, approve of the president’s handling of the economy, 43 to 41 percent. According to the Gallup poll entitled “Trump Sets New Low for Second-Quarter Job Approval” Trump’s approval rating for the second quarter of his presidency from April 20 to July 19, is 38.8 percent. In his first quarter, Trump’s approval rating was 41.3 percent. Until President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May his daily tracking approval rating remained in the low 40s, but since then it has remained for the most part in the high 30s.

The only other modern president with such a low poll number at the six-month mark of their presidency was Gerald Ford with a higher, 39 percent in January 1975. Ford, however, was not elected, he became president after Republican Richard Nixon resigned from office, and he faced a backlash for pardoning the disgraced president over the Watergate scandal. Trump also makes a record for highest disapproval rate at the six-month mark, beating President Bill Clinton whose disapproval rating was 51 percent in July 1993.

Gallup does not include Ford in their list and claims Trump’s numbers at this time are closest to Clinton, who had a 44 percent approval rating. The rest of the post-World War II presidents saw over 50 percent approval ratings at the six-month mark, with the average at 62 percent. Looking at all presidential quarters Trump ranks 250th out of 287 quarters. The lower numbers were recorded in later parts of the embattled Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush presidencies.

The gap between Republicans and Democrats’ approval of the president is astounding. According to ABC News, 90 percent of Conservative Republicans and 82 percent of Republicans, in general, approve of the president’s job performance. Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove, with only 11 percent approving. Not many independents approve of the president either with only 32 percent feeling that way.

The Gallup poll shows an even more dramatic partisan divide, only 8 percent of Democrats approve of Trump, which is the lowest opposing party support in the modern history of presidential polling. Trump has support from 85 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Independents. As Gallup indicates that is a 77 percent difference from members of either party. Gallup notes, “The high degree of political polarization in Trump’s approval ratings is one major reason why his overall ratings are historically low. Presidential job approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent presidential administrations, but the degree of party separation in Trump’s ratings reaches new extremes.”

Trump has had historically low approval ratings because he has not any support from Democrats, partisan support is key to higher approval ratings. The last two presidents Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush had about 30 percent from the opposing parties. Obama had 28 percent of Republican approving his job in 2009, and Bush had 30 percent of Democrats in 2001, despite another contentious election, which was decided by the Supreme Court. Trump has a low approval rating from independents, lower than from previous presidents, where the average at 53 percent, only Carter had low support, with only 42 percent.

The partisan polarization has grown exponentially since Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, before and since the 1950s opposing parties used to give a high approval rating to new presidents, a minimum of over 40 percent. The situation changed with Clinton, who received just over 20 percent support from Republicans. Independents also abandoned Clinton with only 44 percent approving of him in 1993. Trump has a problem with Independents as well, with only 36 percent supporting him. Fortunately, for President Trump he has overwhelming support from his party, with 86 percent support whereas the average since 1953 has been 82 percent.

The ABC News poll also looked at Americans’ view of the issues that have plagued Trump ‘s presidency and cause his lagging numbers, the Russia election interference controversy, and the embattled Obama repeal and replace bill going through Congress. The public does not approve of the president’s son, “Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and campaign manager, Paul Manafort” having met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign to gain Intel on opponent Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. The revelation and the Trump Jr.’s emails detailing the meeting set-up confirm that the Trump campaign was talking to Russia and looking for their help.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans found the meeting inappropriate. Americans now overwhelmingly believe Russia interfered in the presidential election with 60 percent responding that way, but 40 percent do not think there was any interference. Republicans, however, do not believe Russia helped Trump’s campaign with only 9 percent feeling that way. Meanwhile, a slight majority 52 percent believe the president is interfering with the investigation, while 37 percent believe he is not interfering.

In general, a majority, 55 percent of Americans do not believe Trump is succeeding in his agenda and campaign promises, while only 38 percent say he is making “progress.” One of the president’s biggest campaign promises to repeal and replace the Obamacare health care law is also turning into the young presidency’s biggest failure. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill, the American Health Care Act on the second try, the Senate was not satisfied with it. This past month, the Senate failed with two incarnations of the Better Care Act, without either going to a floor debate and vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell than planned to put to a vote a years old House bill that only repeals the health care and replace in two years time., that idea has not garnered enough support for a vote. Trump, however, is demanding that the Senate not only repeal Obamacare but also replace it before the August recess or else the recess should be canceled. Now the Senate with a vote on the House bill and will add amendments.

According to the ABC News poll, Americans prefer keeping Obamacare to any alternative; Congressional Republicans are floating 50–24 percent. The House and Senate bills both cut Medicaid funding for the states. The cuts were the main reason Republican senators came out against the bill, and they were in good company. According to the ABC News poll, 63 to 27 percent of Americans believe, “it’s more important to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans than to cut taxes.”

Americans are not very confident about the president representing the country on the world’s stage either. Around 75 percent of Americans do not trust the president to “negotiate with other world leaders” especially Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While 48 percent of Americans think, the country’s world image and reputation are weaker under Trump with only 27 percent saying, “it has gotten stronger.”

The mirror image is about the same, the world does not like Trump very much. According to a recent Pew Research Survey published on June 26, and entitled “U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership” of the over 37 nations surveyed only 22 percent have confidence in President Trump, while 74 percent have no confidence. The numbers are a sharp contrast to those of Democratic President Barack Obama, where it was the reverse, 64 percent had confidence versus 23 percent saying no confidence at the end of his term in January. The favorable view of the US is also in decline, now it is only 49 percent with a 39 percent unfavorable view. When Obama left office, there was a 20-point difference, with a 69 percent favorable view and a 26 percent unfavorable view. Of the 37 countries polled, only Israel and Russia had a better opinion on Trump’s leadership versus Obama.

Democrats claim that the reason for disapproving President Trump’s job performance has less to do with what he does in office and more to do with his personality and character. Gallup and ABC News/ Washington Post conducted separate polls looking at the way Americans view the president personally. Gallup released their poll “Trump Disapproval Rooted in Character Concerns” on July 13, and according to findings, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s personality and character, with previous presidents’ disapproval was grounded in policies and job performance.

According to Gallup, only 12 percent base their disapproval on Trump’s performance as president, with 16 percent basing it on policies and issues, but an overwhelming amount of 65 percent say it is his personality and personal characteristics. For Obama at the six-month mark, it was the reverse with 65 percent disapproving of him because of his policies, while it was split with George W. Bush between policies at 31 percent and performance at 43 percent.

Apparently, Trump’s personality was a benefit on the campaign trail but a hindrance to the presidency. As Gallup analyzes, “Trump’s unique personal style, brashness, and disregard for conventional political norms and discourse — while clearly a negative for many during the campaign — helped him stand out from other Republican contenders and ultimately contributed to his victory in November.”

Gallup broke it down and found that under character and personality related, 29 percent disapprove of President Trump because he comes across as “Not presidential/Bad temperament/Arrogant/Obnoxious,” 10 percent say he is “Inexperienced/Doesn’t know what he is doing.” Every other reason was all under 10 percent including “Looking out for himself/Doesn’t consider people’s needs,” “Use of social media/Twitter” and “Untrustworthy” all at 6 percent.

Although 16 percent of Americans cite issues and policies as their reason for disapproving the president, no single issue ranked at over 4 percent including foreign policy and health care, which only garnered 3 percent. According to the poll, 12 percent disapprove of Trump because of broad performance, yet no single reason registered above 7 percent, with the most saying it is because they “Disagree with what he is doing/Doing a poor job.”

In contrast, the reasons Americans approve of the president are almost evenly distributed among the three categories, 38 percent for broad performance, 33 percent for issues and policies and 24 percent for personality and personal characteristics. Only under broad performance does Trump get double digits for specific reasons, the highest is at 12 percent for “Doing a good job/best he can under difficult circumstances,” 11 percent for “Keeping his promises” and 10 percent for “does what is best for America.” The remainder is in the single digits for every category and they represent broad and general reasons.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll entitled “Public to Trump: Lay off Twitter (POLL)” also looked at Trump’s personality finding similar negative responses as Gallup’s poll. As ABC News noted, “70 percent say he’s acted in an unpresidential manner since taking office, 68 percent don’t see him as a positive role model and 67 percent disapprove of his use of Twitter.” Additionally, 57 percent “also say that the more they hear about Trump the less they like him, vs. 29 percent who like him more.” While 56 percent find his unpresidential behavior has a negative impact and is “damaging to the presidency overall.” Here even 38 percent of Republicans claim Trump has not behaved presidential. Only 24 percent of respondents find Trump’s behavior presidential.

Although Trump calls Twitter, his way to deliver his message directly to the American public while bypassing the news media, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of him using the social media site. Looking further at the president’s Twitter post, 68 percent said the tweets were inappropriate, 65 percent find them insulting, while 52 percent went further claiming the president’s tweets are dangerous. In contrast, of those supporting Trump’s tweets, 41 percent found them “interesting,” 36 percent “effective” and 21 percent went as far as saying they were “refreshing.”

Democrats, in particular, do not like or personally approve of the president and they also want him impeached a hope and call that started even before he entered the office and has only gotten louder since he fired Comey. A Monmouth University poll published on July 17, finds that only 39 percent approve of the president, while 52 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump. The poll asked about impeachment especially with the anger surrounding Trump’s son meeting with Russian operatives.

The poll says 40 percent of Americans want the president impeached over the Russia campaign interference controversy. Democrats represent the majority calling for impeachment with 70 percent, followed by 32 percent of independents and only 12 percent of Republicans. In 1973 at the start of the Watergate scandal, only 24 percent of Americans wanted President Richard Nixon impeached. A majority of Americans also found the Russia meeting “not appropriate” with 59 percent saying that, consisting of “86 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents, and 28 percent of Republicans.”

To be fair, the ABC News and Washington Post poll does not have a truly fair and bipartisan pool, which they surveyed. According to their methodology the poll was skewed with responses from 35% Democrats, 35% independents and only 23% Republicans. Naturally, Democrats and Democratically leaning Independents oppose Trump; they have never given him a chance since he was elected. For an entirely, non-biased survey, those responding had to be even distributing and independents had to be truly independent not leaning towards either party.

Americans do not feel any better about the Democrats than the y do about Trump, according to the ABC News / Washington Post poll, a majority of 52 percent said the Democrats “just stands against Trump.” Of Americans that feel that way about the party, 27 percent are Democrats, 55 percent are independents” and 82 percent are Republicans. Americans do feel Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote would not have been better than Trump. A new Bloomberg poll released on July 18, gave Trump a 41 percent approval rating, but Clinton had only a 39 percent approval rating. After a campaign, the losing party nominee’s ratings usually improve, but not Clinton partially because Trump keeps attacking her. Still, 20 percent of Clinton voters now say they did not like her and have an unfavorable view of her but only 6 percent of Trump voters feel the same.

In general, Americans are discontent with the current political situation, whether it is Trump, the Democrats, or the resistance movement. We are facing a political malaise not seen since the 1970s when Democrat Jimmy Carter named a speech those fateful and politically fatal words in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s ouster from the presidency earlier in the decade. On July 15, 1979, Carter delivered his Malaise speech to the nation, “The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America….” His words could easily describe the problem the nation faces again today.

The United States now too is facing a crisis of confidence, but it is a crisis because of partisanship. Three different polls Gallup, Reuters, and even the Conservative Rasmussen Reports all indicate that Americans are overwhelmingly dissatisfied and believe the country is going on the wrong track, direction. According to the latest from Gallup from July 5–9, 2017, only 27 percent of Americans are satisfied with the country direction, while 71 percent are dissatisfied, up from 27 percent the month before. There have been lower numbers even in President Barack Obama’s time, in July 2016, October 2013, and from July 2011 to January 2012. The most recent Reuters poll published on July 20, has 58.8 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, with only 25.8 percent saying the country is moving in the right direction. The Rasmussen poll published on July 17, had similar results with 33 percent of respondents saying, “The country is heading in the right direction,” down from the mid- 40s when Trump first assumed office.

The partisanship is getting so extreme Democrats have no tolerance to speak even with Trump voters and supporters. A new Pew Research Center survey, entitled “Since Trump’s Election, Increased Attention to Politics — Especially Among Women” published on July 20, examined how Americans’ relationship to politics and friendships from opposing parties has affected them since Trump’s election. According to the poll, 47 percent of liberal Democrats find that if they had a friend that supported Trump it would put “a strain on their friendship.” Of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 35 percent say it causes a strain. The feeling is worst among White and College educated Democrats with 40 percent and 44 percent feeling that way.

Republicans are feeling in a good and forgiving mood with their party controlling the White House and only 13 percent say it would “strain on a friendship” if a Democratic friend voted for Hillary Clinton. Never mind a friendship, the partisan sentiment has become so toxic that “68 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say they find it “stressful and frustrating” to talk to people who have a different opinion of Trump. About half — 52 percent — of Republican and GOP-leaning voters say the same.”

Americans are deeply polarized and unsatisfied with the current state of politics, with Democrats bearing the biggest burden and negative attitudes. The problem is that do not realize that the toxic atmosphere is just as bad as they deem the president is or even worse because it causes tensions in normal interactions. The deep polarization and negativity are not necessary, the economy is doing well and growing, the country and Americans are prospering even with Trump as president.

As long as the United States exists, one party will occupy the White House, while the other sits out on the sidelines. However, the Constitution guarantees elections for president every four years and for Congress every two years, guarantees freedoms for its citizens and a checks balance on each of the three branches of government. No matter Trump’s personality and character, nothing can affect the Constitution. If Americans are dissatisfied, they have put their efforts and strengths toward the next election rather than remain negative. As the polls indicate, no matter Trump’s future in the White House, he will go down in his as the most polarizing president to date.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education July 17, 2017: Concordia University’s policies purposely delay graduation dates

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Concordia University is plagued with enrollment issues delaying students’ graduations and potentially ruining their prospects for graduate and professional school. Wikipedia Commons

We are now in the summer with this year’s convocation ceremonies celebrating university graduates just ended, while new incoming students anticipate the start of their higher education journey. However, how many students who start university end up at the finish line? The question is the reason why graduation rates are an important part of choosing a university, but some universities hide their problems. One such school is Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Concordia has long faced questions about their graduation rates, but now a reason has emerged, the University has been purposely pushing students to delay graduation.

An April 9, 2017, article by local Montreal radio station CJAD entitled “Over Enrollment Blamed for Class Crunch at Concordia” exposed that the university has over enrollment issues in key requirement courses. Instead of dealing with the longtime issue, undergraduate advisors are convincing students to delay graduation by taking a reduced course load, which ruins students’ graduate school prospects if they look to go outside of Concordia. The psychology department is not the only department experiencing these types of problems they happen elsewhere within the university. The issue is also not exclusively a problem plaguing undergraduate students, deterrence tactics also common at the graduate level.

The report by CJAD and authored by reporter Shuyee Lee delved into some of the reasons there are problems with Concordia graduation rates, over enrollment in courses and advisors telling students to take lighter course loads. In what has been going on “for years” unreported, students face problems enrolling in popular courses that are also part of the major or specialization requirements to graduate or even proceed with next level courses. The courses often offered once a year do not have enough spaces, filled up quickly, and have long waitlists, in the end, many students are shut out. Students have to take longer to graduate and fulfill their requirements. The even problem, the university’s cover-up, many academic advisors are trying to convince students to take lighter course loads, make the students believe it is better for their academic future to do so.

One of Concordia’s most popular majors, Psychology was highlighted in CJAD’s report. Student Paolo Drago, the representative for the Concordia’s Undergraduate Psychology Association spoke to CJAD about the problems within his department, he and fellow students face. Drago explained, “Some courses are only offered once a year, by a particular professor, so you can imagine people who want to take a specialization class that really caters to what they want to research or study, they might not be able to get into that class for a whole year because the class is full, it’s usually a class of 60 so they start lagging behind on the classes they want to take.”

Concordia might be able to keep students enrolled longer and garner additional fees, but it is to the academic detriment of its students. Delays in graduation, taking longer than the average time to complete a degree and taking lighter course loads are frowned at in graduate and professional applications. Students trying to be admitted into law, medicine, and graduate programs at other universities are having problems being admitted and the explanation, they were only listening to the advisor’s does not work. Drago told CJAD, “People are kind of blindsided when they start applying and they don’t get accepted, ‘Well, I did everything the academic advisor told me to do and it’s not paying dividends.’”

Instead of finding solutions, the university’s faculty and administration are denying that there are even any problems. Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota denied there are any over enrollment issues. Mota said, “There are a few programs where opening extra sections of a course is a challenge.” Still, the university plans to increase the minimum average for acceptance to their psychology program, and increase course sizes for the popular required courses. Nevertheless, what about the greater problems in other programs that was not part of CJAD’s report?

This is not the first time Concordia faced a controversy about graduation rates. In 2014, Concordia faced a controversy when the Montreal’s French language paper La Presse wrote an expose claiming a drastic fall in the university undergraduate graduation rate. Concordia quickly pressured La Presse to retract the story. In the original story published on January 3, 2014, entitled “ PLUS DE LA MOITIÉ DES ÉTUDIANTS DE CONCORDIA NE DÉCROCHENT PAS LEUR DIPLÔME “ reporter Hugo Pilon-Larose claimed that only 48 percent of students who started degrees in 2006 had completed them by 2012. The number was a fall from the 75 percent, who had started their degrees in 2001 and finished them by 2007. The troubling number was supposed because of the higher proportion of international students and part-time students.

The university was outraged, almost immediately La Presse was forced to retract their original article. Another article was published four days later on January 7, 2014, entitled, “Taux d’obtention de diplôme: Concordia maintient le cap” and written by Pilon-Larose. The New correction article now claimed that Concordia’s 2007 graduation rate was 75.5 percent and 2012, and it was 74.2 percent for students who commenced their studies six years before. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, vice-president, and vice-president of academic affairs at Concordia University boasted about the rate in the revision. Bacon said, “Our graduation rate is close to or even above the national average. We are very satisfied. But we can always do better, and we are working hard to increase it. But to do so, we face financial and academic challenges.”

In comparison, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) a comprehensive school like Concordia had a 68.7 rate in 2007 and 71.3 percent in 2012. McGill University and Université de Montréal (UdeM), the city’s medical and doctoral schools had higher rates. McGill had 84 percent in 2012 for students starting in 2006, lower than in 2007 when they had 86 percent graduation rate for students who commenced their studies 2001. Université de Montréal (UdeM) graduation during the same period dropped only slightly from 80.2 percent in 2007 to 79.4 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, Concordia countered with a correction to LaPresse’s story. The university claimed that LaPresse compared full-time rates from 1999 to part-time rates for 2012 leading to the discrepancies. Concordia indicated that the full-time rate is down only slightly from 74.5 percent to 74.2 percent whereas for all cycles is down 75% to 75.9%.

The truth is the graduation rate is much higher than La Presse’s number but not nearly as high as Concordia claims. University rankings claim the number is in fact, nearly 5 percent lower that Concordia boasts. Maclean’s Magazine profiled Concordia in 2016 for their annual university ranking where Concordia held the tenth position in the Comprehensive University category. According to Maclean’s Concordia has only a 70.5 percent graduation rate, but an 85.9 percent retention rate, showing students keep going and going at Concordia without completing their degrees.

Aside from clarifying the La Presse controversy, Concordia does not publish graduation rates only the number of graduates each year and the number of students enrolled each academic year.
In 2011–12, there were 35,848 undergraduates, 23,390 full-time and 12,458 part-time enrolled at the university. There were also 7,314 graduate students, 5,294 full-time and 2,020 part-time. Meanwhile, that year 4,889 undergraduate received the diplomas, and 1,593 graduating students graduated. In 2015–16, there were 35,616 undergraduate students; the divisions between full and part-time were not disclosed. Meanwhile, 5,213 undergraduates received a diploma and 1,901 graduate students. Although there are more students graduating in the previous academic year, no data was released to indicate when they started their studies and how long it took them to graduate.

Concordia does fare well in world university rankings, partly because they are a comprehensive university focusing or some professional and graduate degrees, but are not a full research, medical doctoral university. In Canada, according to Maclean’s Concordia is 10th in the comprehensive category. On the world stage, the university cannot compete with Canada’s bigger names.

According to the 2018 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released in June, Concordia is 431–400, having moved up 30 spots. In comparison, the University of Toronto is now Canada’s top university in the QS ranking replacing McGill coming at number 31. McGill is now second in Canada at number 32. Although McGill ranks first in Canadian rankings in international ones the University of Toronto usual takes that honor. Canada’s third University in the top 100, the University of British Columbia is now number 52. In Canada, Concordia was in 16th place of all Canadian schools.

Meanwhile, in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) 2017 World University Rankings, Concordia came at between 501–600 th position. The school did better in the 2017 Young University Rankings, were ranked in the 101–150 th position. The University of Toronto again topped the Canadian universities on the list. The University of Toronto took the Number 22 position. The University of British Columbia was tied for 36, while McGill University was number 42.

The revelation of Concordia’s deterrence methods came close to home. I had two degrees from the neighboring McGill University before entering Concordia University. I had a BA in History and Art History and a Masters in Library and Information Studies before starting a second Masters degree in Judaic Studies with a thesis, at Concordia’s Religion Department from the start I was pushed to relax my course load. I came with plans to move full speed ahead and finish the program in two years and then on for a doctorate, but at every turn, there were obstacles that slowed me down. The following is my own experiences and observances while I was a student at Concordia.

At McGill, I completed a Masters degree by course and finishing the 48-credit degree in two years by taking a full load of four courses each semester. In Concordia, I was cautioned to take only two courses a required seminar and independent course in my first semester. In my first semester, I tried to stay strict with deadlines but saw professors being lax about deadlines as if it was not unusual, and it was not. For final research papers in seminars and independent courses my professors routinely recommended continuances that lasted up to two months into the next semester. With weekly readings and some short writing assignments throughout the semester it becomes easy to need the extra time a complete a research paper for a course, and if you start down that path, you continually need the extra time.

The research papers I completed for each course were sometimes upward to 50 pages in final presentation form. With the sheer amount of research for the papers plus reading throughout the semester, it is easy to take advantage of light course loads and extensions because they are approved and even advised by the faculty and your program advisor. Students fall into the trap, made so easy by your department but it ends up being destructive to graduating on time and realizing your academic goals.

Another unreported problem in Concordia is the amount of time it takes graduate students to complete their degree. A warning sign was hearing how long some of the students in the Religion Department were taking for their degrees, an average four years for the masters and upward to ten years for the doctorate. Concordia gives longer maximums for completing a graduate degree than neighboring McGill. The longer maximum time for full-time students is a leading indicator is would take longer to complete the degrees. The masters’ degree I was enrolled in the Religion Department resembled more of a mini-doctorate program at that time, with not only a thesis but also two comprehensive exams, it was impossible to complete it in the usual two years a Master’s degree should take. The degree has now been curtailed with the comprehensive exams removed as a requirement.

Concordia’s graduate programs have students paying a set schedule of fees regardless of the number of credits a student takes each semester. Therefore, one can take two courses and still be a full-time student. After the degree is paid, and if a student has not completed their degree they pay continuance fees. In comparison to Concordia’s, fee schedule, at McGill even in graduate study students pay by the number of credits per semester. In the end, after the three years, I completely paid off my degree plus three semesters of continuance fees, but with only 18 credits completed on my transcript.

Another way to deter students was making them repeat courses they had previously received credit for at another university. I faced another added burden, unlike the majority of students in my program I came with a Masters degree already under my belt, something the department repeatedly tried to forget. Whereas in McGill if a student already completed a research methods course, they were exempted from the requirement, it was the opposite in Concordia. I had taken an entire degree on research methodology, librarians are expert researchers, the ones helping students conduct research and find sources in the academic libraries, but the department was insistent I take a repetitive course or would not graduate.

The research methods course consisted of visits to the libraries and archives to hear about how to research. During my MLIS programs, I worked in libraries. Prior to entering Concordia, I had just put on an exhibition of a collection I cataloged in Canadian Jewish history as part of work I did at McGill’s University Archives. The department ignored that I completed a degree in research at the nation’s preeminent university. In my experience, the entire cycle was one I could not escape except leave the program without graduating. Therefore, after three years, 18 credits, an unsubmitted completed thesis, and a 3.95 CGPA I left Concordia’s MA in Judaic Studies program.

Like CJAD’s report on the psychology department’s deterrence methods, my experience was more the fault of the Religion Department than the university’s policies although they did facilitate them since departments have more control over graduate students and programs. As I observed a majority of the graduate students accepted to the Masters and even the Doctorate program came from different disciplines. I came from a related one history and was focusing on American Jewish history, but did not have Judaic or Jewish studies major beforehand. Other students came from even more different degrees and disciplines. Sometimes the students were required to take extra courses to obtain a background other times not, like me.

A majority in the department were also mature students returning to school after years in other professions. A minority were students continuing through the different academic cycles, I was one of the youngest in the program despite having completed another Masters before. I frequently saw favoritism for the mature students. Favoritism, in general, ran rampant, and it had nothing to do with grades or GPAs, rather personality but also research interests. Unlike psychology, religion is not usually a popular discipline; especially Judaic studies where there were only a handful of graduate students. University politics plays a factor, allocation of funding from the university depends on departmental enrollment. Promises of fellowships and awards attracted students like me for the money but mostly the prestige and honor. Keeping students in the department longer makes a larger student population. All these factors and some external ones were a recipe for students to take longer completing their degrees.

The reveal in CJAD’s report just touches on advisors recommending reduced course loads. Unfortunately, the advice is even more detrimental to graduate programs. Concordia’s policies do everything possible to slow down graduate students making them spend double the time and money. Departments are pushing students to take longer to graduate to increase their number of students and make sure the university collects more fees and that they get larger budgets. Instead of finding solutions, the administration chooses to ignore or better yet shut down any report that might indicate a problem at the university. LaPresse quickly withdrew their story in 2014 and CJAD’s report in April never went further with a followed up or covered by any other news outlet.

As their graduate rates suggest, maybe a majority of Concordia University’s students eventually graduate, others are fed up with the high costs, lengthy times and slow career movement. Either way, students are the ones that lose out from the university and department politics and policies. Longer times to graduate at the undergraduate or graduate level give students wishing to continue their studies little options outside of Concordia, which seems an intentional part of the cycle. For those who discontinue their studies, they are left few choices to continue graduate school, except return to Concordia or years of explaining why they did not complete their degree. Now at least thanks to CJAD’s reporting students and ex-students do not feel alone, it a common unresolved occurrence at Concordia one that desperately needs remedying.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education June 15, 2017: Harvard again tops Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings for seventh-year

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The crown jewel of the Ivy League, Harvard University again is the world most prestigious university reputation wise. Photo: Harvard.edu 

When it comes to reputation, no university in the world can surpass Harvard, who is again the top university. On Thursday, June 14, 2017, The Times Higher Education released their seventh annual World Reputation Ranking with Harvard University remaining in the top spot for six years in a row. The top three are all American universities, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the second place, and Stanford University in third. British universities round out the top five with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford both tied for fourth place.

There was little movement in the top 10. There was one big change The University of Chicago moves up two into the top 10 and the ninth spot bumping out Ivy League Columbia University, which falls from ninth to 12th place. The only other change is the University of Oxford moves up to tie with fellow British school The University of Cambridge.

Otherwise, Harvard remains on top as Forbes points out, “Harvard can, as of this month, claim another distinction: the most reputable institution of higher learning on Earth-an honor it has enjoyed for the past six years.” For the six of the past seven years; MIT has been in second place. Eight of the top 10 were American universities, including Stanford University, Princeton University, Yale University, the University of California, Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology and new entry the University of Chicago.

The ranking is considered, “the definitive list of the world’s most prestigious universities.” Phil Baty, the rankings editor for THE, explains, “Reputation is the global currency of higher education. It may be subjective; it may not always be fair, but it matters deeply.” THE’s World Reputation Rankings “have become a major fixture in the higher education calendar — serving as a yearly global academic brand audit and attracting news headlines across the world.”

The ranking is international, with 19 countries represented in the top 100 universities. The United States has the most schools in the ranking but one less this year, with 42 institutions represented and Harvard the top ranking. American universities, however, are seeing a decline, with 20 schools falling in the ranking and only eight improving their positions. In the second place, the United Kingdom has the second most universities with 10, and the University of Cambridge and Oxford University tied at fourth, as the country’s the top school.

The THE is blaming Donald Trump being elected President of the United States and Brexit, for American and British schools losing prestige. THE rankings editor, Phil Baty pointed out about American institutions’ decline, “Claiming 42 places in the top 100 list (one fewer than last year), the US is the most-represented country in the table. But it will have to watch out for the rise of Asia as several of the continent’s higher education stars overtake well-established American powerhouses. Overall 20 of the U.S.’s 42 representatives have declined since last year and only eight have improved; the rest are stagnant.”

The other factor is the rise of Asian universities. The top Asian university is the University of Japan sitting at number 11, barely outside the top ten. There are also two other Asian schools in the top 20, China’s Tsinghua University and Peking University at the number 14 and 17 positions. Since 2011, Tsinghua moved up 21 spots, while Peking moved up 26 spots, both incredible leaps.

As THE indicates the University of Japan ranks higher than Ivy League Columbia University, and that Tsinghua University and Peking University are leading Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, two Ivy League universities and a prestigious British school. THE writer Ellie Bothwell comments in the press release, “China’s Tsinghua University and Peking University both leapfrogged the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University in the table this year while the University of Tokyo now has a stronger reputation than Columbia University. Meanwhile, Seoul National University is now considered more prestigious than the University of California, Davis.”

The three Asian universities fare better than any European institutions, where the top school ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is only 22. European universities are also “losing ground” to Asian schools. China has six schools in the top 100 and Japan also has six ranking as does Germany, the European country with the most universities in the top 100. Both China and Japan had each one more school ranking in the top 100 than last year, while in 2015’s ranking, Japan and China had only two universities each in the top 100.

Canada has three universities in the top 100, with the University of Toronto, the country’s top school falls one to number 24. Meanwhile, the University of British Columbia is in second place in the country drops three spots to number 40. McGill University, which usually ranks as the top university in Canadian rankings, is only third in THE’s World Reputation Ranking of all Canadian schools, and also lost ground moving down three spots to tie for number 42 with the University of California, San Francisco, and LMU Munich.

The rankings are entirely based on the opinion of the institutions, as THE explains, “The rankings are entirely subjective — they are based purely on an annual opinion survey.” The methodology for determining the rankings consists of sending the survey to “more than 10,000 top scholars from around the world. Each academic was asked to name up to 15 universities that they believe are the best for research and teaching in their discipline. Votes for institutions based on research prowess were given twice the weight of those for teaching.”

THE’s Reputation Ranking mirrors THE’s World University Rankings in that most of the top 10 are the same but in vastly different spots. The biggest difference is that Yale University is included within the Reputation Ranking’s top 10, but misses it as 12th place in the World Ranking. While ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which is number 9 in the world ranking is absent from the Reputation Ranking top 10 and does not even hit the top 20. The World Ranking is far more objective than the perception of reputation and relies on factors including “teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.”

Top 10 World Reputation Rankings

2017 reputation rank — 2016 reputation rank — Institution Country — 2016–17 WUR position

1, 1 Harvard University, United States, 6
2, 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States 5
3, 3 Stanford University, United States, 3
4, 4 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 4
4, 5 University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 1
6, 6 University of California, Berkeley, United States, 10
7, 7 Princeton University, United States, 7
8, 8 Yale University, United States, 12
9, 11 University of Chicago 10
10, 9 California Institute of Technology, United States, 2

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education July 11, 2017: Princeton University again best ROI topping MONEY’s Best Colleges for Your Money 2017

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Princeton University is again MONEY’s top school in their annual Best Colleges for your Money for 2017, proving the Ivy League school also has a good Return on Investment for their graduates. Wikipedia Commons

If high school seniors and their parents are looking for the best return on investment in choosing a college MONEY Magazine just named Princeton University the best value for the buck among Americans colleges. Princeton was also MONEY’s top school last year. Time’s MONEY Magazine released on Monday, July 10, 2017, their annual Best Colleges for your Money for 2017. MONEY’s rankings differ from the majority of university rankings that are published each year in that factor in costs and ROI as some of the most important factors leading to a far more diverse top ten than any other ranking, filled with the Ivy League, private and public colleges and universities dubbed by MONEY as the “Paycheck League.” MONEY, PayScale and Kiplinger’s release annual rankings focusing on value and ROI all have diverse universities in the top spots. These rankings aim to give students a different perspective on the financial and investment aspects than the majority of rankings that focus just on academics and reputation.

This year’s top ten saw a major shake-up from 2016 with the exception of the top spot belonging to Princeton. Many of the schools have dropped out completely from the top 10, while others moved up or down drastically. This year’s number two the City University of New York, Bernard M. Baruch College catapulted to the top ten replacing the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, who moves down to third place. In fourth place is the University of California at Berkeley, who moved up one after tying for fifth place last year. Last year’s fourth place school Rice University moves out of the top ten to 12th place.

This year two schools vie for fifth place the University of California at Los Angeles and Stanford University. UCLA is a new arrival to the top ten moving up 15 from number 20, while the country’s most selective college Stanford University moves up five from the tenth spot. Last year Brigham Young University, Provo tied for fifth with Berkley, this year it drops from the top ten drastically to number 105. The University of California at Irvine moves up to take seventh place from number 16 last year. Last year’s number seven Amherst College moves down over 20 spots to number 28.

In the eighth position is QS World University Ranking leader Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) moving into the top ten from 11th place in 2016. Last year’s eighth-place the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art tumbled this year not only out of the top ten but out of the top 100 to number 124. At number nine is the University of California at Davis the third University of California system school featured in the top ten. UC Davis moves up from number 17. Last year’s ninth place school, the University of Virginia — Main Campus moved down to number 11. Harvard University, one of the most coveted of the Ivy League world and national leader sees one of its lowest rankings on MONEY’s list falling from third to tenth place.

MONEY ranking is the most well known, PayScale and Kiplinger’s also release rankings focusing on value and ROI all have a different mix of colleges at the top of their list than other rankings. Ann Rossbach, president of the Independent Educational Consultants Association explained why this type of ranking is important. Rossbach told MONEY, “Families are really looking for, return on investment. They want to know the real numbers.” The top school on MONEY’s list are coined “the Paycheck League” by the magazine, “Nowadays, bragging rights are going to colleges in what we’ll dub the “Paycheck League”-schools that the real numbers show to provide a boost in the job market.”

For their methodology MONEY examined 711 colleges, up six from 2016. The magazine looks at 27 indicators that compromise three major areas that “measure educational quality, affordability, and alumni success.” The 711 colleges had to meet certain criteria, have a minimum of 500 students, data to analyze, not be in “financial distress,” have to have a median graduation rate or “valued added” rate. Under quality of education, there were minimum requirements, including a “six-year graduation rate, value-added graduation rate, peer quality, instructor quality” and minimum “financial troubles.”

Under affordability MONEY examined “Net price of a degree, debt, Student loan repayment and default risk, Value-added student loan repayment measures and Affordability for low-income students.” Under outcomes or alumni success looking at “graduates’ earnings, Earnings adjusted by majors, college scorecard 10-year earnings, estimated market value of alumni’s average job skills, value-added earnings, job meaning and socio-economic mobility index.” Socio-economic mobility index is a new indicator the magazine added this year. MONEY “used statistical techniques to turn all the data points into a single score and ranked the schools based on those scores.”

Other ROI rankings include PayScale who released their annual ROI Report: Best Value Colleges on May 3. PayScale had the United States Merchant Marine Academy as the top school followed by Harvey Mudd College in second and then MIT in third. In fourth place were SUNY Maritime College and Colorado School of Mines in coming in fifth place. As part of their methodology, PayScale examines the costs to attend the college and then the return how much a graduate will make in the 20 years after graduation.

Kiplinger’s released their Best College Values 2017 in December 2016 where Swarthmore College topped the list. Coming in second was Davidson College, third Princeton, fourth Duke University and rounding out the top five was Washington and Lee University. As Kiplinger’s points out their methodology revolves around their “definition of best value: a blend of academic quality and affordability.” Kiplinger’s defines their academic requirements as a “competitive admission rate, a high four-year graduation rate, and a low student-faculty ratio.” Affordability consists of “schools with a reasonable price tag, generous financial aid for students who qualify, and low student debt at graduation.” They also look at “future earnings data” determining the average salary for a graduate ten years after completing their degree.”

MONEY’s top ten Best Colleges for Your Money 2017

1. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (1)
Annual price without aid: $65,300
Annual price with aid: $19,300
Early career earnings: $67,600
2. City University of New York, Bernard M. Baruch College, New York, New York
Annual price without aid: $31,400
Annual price with aid: $9,800
Early career earnings: $51,600
3. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2)
Annual price without aid: $29,500
Annual price with aid: $17,000
Early career earnings: $61,200
4. University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California (5 tied)
Annual price without aid: $37,200
Annual price with aid: $17,900
Early career earnings: $62,100
5. University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Annual price without aid: $35,300
Annual price with aid: $14,900
Early career earnings: $53,300
5. Stanford University, Stanford, California (10)
Annual price without aid: $68,100
Annual price with aid: $20,800
Early career earnings: $70,300
7. University of California at Irvine, Irvine, California (16)
Annual price without aid: $33,900
Annual price with aid: $15,800
Early career earnings: $52,000
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (11)
Annual price without aid: $67,800
Annual price with aid: $23,400
Early career earnings: $77,000
9. University of California at Davis, Davis, California (17)
Annual price without aid: $36,300
Annual price with aid: $18,200
Early career earnings: $53,000
10. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (3)
Annual price without aid: $68,600
Annual price with aid: $17,000
Early career earnings: $65,000

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education July 9, 2017: Harvard and MIT the best universities for the highest earning majors

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EDUCATION

New guides to picking the best major at the best university

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The seventh annual QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 had Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) dominate the rankings as the leading universities for a combined 27 subjects including some of the highest earning majors. Wikipedia Commons

The college admission process seems to be preoccupied with university rankings catering to high school seniors choosing the best university they can be admitted to, but choosing a major is equally important if not more for success after graduation. While rankings look at the best universities, recent lists also look at the best majors and the leading universities to matriculate. Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) released in October 2016 their 2016–17 Recruiting Trends, which looks at the starting salaries for each major, helping students identify the best moneymakers. QS Quacquarelli Symonds released in March 2017 their World University Rankings by Subject 2017 listing the preeminent universities for particular majors. The seventh annual list had Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) dominate the rankings as the leading universities for a combined 27 majors.

The Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute annual recruiting trends lists the starting salaries of particular college degree majors from the associate level to the doctorate level emphasizing individual majors at the bachelor’s level. As Forbes explained, “Nearly 200 career service centers in the United States participated in the study and 4,350 employers provided information for the report, which includes data on full-time positions, internships, and co-op jobs.”

Forbes went further ranking these majors with the highest and lowest starting salaries. The vast majority of top earners are STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Medical degrees, particularly technology and engineering. Electrical engineering, software design, and chemical engineering are the top three degrees for highest starting salaries with graduates on average earning over $60,000 their first year on the job. Chemical Engineering was last year’s top earning degree.

Top ten highest starting salaries degrees:

1 Electrical Engineering: Average starting salary $62,428. Starting salary range $25,000 to #130,000
2 Software Design: Average starting salary $61,466. Starting salary range $25,000 to #134,000
3 Chemical Engineering: Average starting salary $61,125. Starting salary range $31,000 to #125,000
4 Computer Engineering: Average starting salary $61,092. Starting salary range $15,000 to #130,000
5 Mechanical Engineering: Average starting salary $59,610. Starting salary range $15,000 to #134,000
6 Computer Programming: Average starting salary $59,163. Starting salary range $15,000 to #130,000
7 Information Security Systems: Average starting salary $58,798. Starting salary range $19,000 to #123,000
8 Computer Science: Average starting salary $57,762. Starting salary range $15,000 to #130,000
9 Management Information Systems: Average starting salary $57,301. Starting salary range $15,000 to #122,000
10 Technical Engineering: Average starting salary $55,693. Starting salary range $15,000 to #132,000

While STEM majors dominate the highest earners, the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education have lowest earning starting salaries all earning less than $40,000 a year. Early Childhood Education has the lowest starting salary, followed by social work and then anthropology and sociology. Most of the humanities and social science majors listed as the bottom earners require graduate degrees for better positions and higher earnings.

Bottom ten lowest starting salaries degrees:
Pre-K & Kindergarten Education — $35,626
Social work — $37,115
Anthropology/Sociology — $37,672
Elementary education — $37,803
Special education — $38,002
Psychology — $38,079
English — $38,303
History — $38,361

In graduate and professional degrees, the same holds true STEM careers and graduate degrees reign supreme. Business including the coveted MBA and Law degrees are also high earners. Among the master’s degrees, the top three earners are computer science and engineering, as they are top earners at the undergraduate level. The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) comes in third, breaking up the undergraduate STEM monopoly. The top three all have starting salaries above $60,000 a year.

When it comes to doctorate and professional degrees STEM degrees and law dominate the top three, but this time a health science, pharmacy is the top earner. In second are computer science and engineering, while the law is third. The top three subject areas see starting salaries of $74,000 and above. The bottom end earners in the masters, doctoral and professional degrees are the social sciences and humanities subjects just as they were at the bachelor’s level. The only differences are the average starting salaries, at the masters level is just over 48,000, while at the doctoral level is over $58,000 a year, $20,000 more than just stopping at a degree at the bachelor’s level.

Master’s Degrees & MBAs

Computer science: $72,071 $15,000 — $145,000
Engineering: $69,729 $20,000 — $200,000
MBA: $62,700 $10,000 — $151,000
Physical & biological sciences: $59,204 $10,000 — $200,000
Accounting: $58,159 $10,000 — $144,000
LIR/HR: $58,125 $10,000 — $127,000
Health sciences: MS & MSW $53,283 $10,000 — $175,000
Social sciences: MA & MS $48,697 $10,000 — $150,000

PhD and Professional Degrees

Starting Salaries — PhD & Professional
Selected major Average Range
Pharmacy: $89,725 $20,000 — $146,000
Engineering & computer science: $77,811 $20,000 — $168,000
Law: $74,130 $20,000 — $200,000
Physical & biological sciences: $73,422 $20,000 — $141,000
Business: $67,578 $20,000 — $188,000
Social sciences & humanities: $58,897 $16,000 — $123,000

To complement the high-earning majors are the QS Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings by Subject 2017, which lets students know the best schools for their chosen major. QS World University Rankings’ annual list included the rankings for 46 subjects. Harvard was deemed the best university, landing on the top of the most subjects, and 15 majors. MIT came in a close second where they led the lists of 12 subjects. The results are a reversal to QS World University Rankings in 2017 and the latest for 2018, where MIT was the top ranking university for the last six years, whereas Harvard has remained in third place for the last two years. The University of Oxford is in third place topping the rankings of four subjects.

QS subject rankings not only lists the top majors, but also subject areas. MIT is the best school for high earning engineering and technology degrees followed by Stanford University in second and Cambridge in third. Harvard is the preeminent place for the Life Sciences & Medicine, Cambridge is second with Oxford third. MIT ranks as the leading school for the Natural Sciences, Cambridge is again second, while Harvard comes in at third. Harvard is again on the top as the leading university for the Social Sciences and Management. British schools again are the runner-ups with the London School of Economics (LSE) in second and Oxford third. For the Arts & Humanities, Oxford, the preeminent school for the classics is tops, followed by the University of Cambridge and Harvard in third.

The 46 subject rankings include “1127 universities from 74 countries” and are supposed to be “the most comprehensive global overview of higher education performance at discipline level.” This year QS added four additional subject rankings, “Anatomy & Physiology, Hospitality, Sports-related Subjects, and Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies.” There were only six subjects seeing new leaders this year notably as University World News indicates, “Mathematics, where MIT has taken over from the University of Cambridge, and history, where Harvard is the new leader.” Additionally, “development studies, the University of Sussex is now top, and archaeology, which is another of Oxford’s successes.”

The only school from continental Europe to top a subject list is ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for the Earth and marine sciences, who currently the only European school in the top ten at ten in the 2018 World University Rankings. In Australasia, the University of Sydney tops the Sports-related subjects. Canada does not have a university leading any of the subjects, but McGill University, the number 32 in the World University Ranking is third in Anatomy. However, the University of Toronto, QS’ top Canadian university at number 31 for the world ranking did the best in Canada ranking in “the top ten for six subjects.” Eastern European schools are also faring better in the rankings particularly those from Russia.

The rise of Asian schools in world rankings continues with their positions in the subject rankings. Only one Asian school, however, the University of Hong Kong tops a subject list with Dentistry. Singapore has the most top 20 placements of all Asian countries. With the rise of Asian schools, there is a decline of American and British schools in the rankings, although American schools still dominate the top spots.

Ben Sowter, head of research at the QS Intelligence Unit, who also compiled the ranking, commented on the shift. Sowter noted, “We observe nations in both Eastern Europe and Asia — most notably Russia and China — increasing their overall share. However, the upper echelons of the tables remain dominated by the US and UK, and this seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future.” Sowter, however, pointed out, “It seems certain that Asia’s leading institutions will continue to strongly displace the second tier of North American and European institutions.”

As with their World University Rankings QS relied on citations and surveys to compile their subject rankings, which is based on three major indicators “academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.” For the ranking QS used their data from Scopus, “the world’s largest database of research abstracts and citations.” To determine the leading universities in certain subjects 43 million academic research papers with 144 million citations were analyzed. Additionally, to determine the reputation component QS used 305,000 “survey responses” from academics and 194,000 from employers.

QS World Rankings by Subject 2017

Accounting & Finance — Harvard
Agriculture & Forestry — Wageningen University
Anatomy & Physiology — Oxford
Anthropology — Harvard
Archaeology — Oxford
Architecture — MIT
Art & Design- Royal College of Art
Biological Sciences — Harvard
Business & Management Studies — Harvard
Chemistry — MIT
Communication & Media Studies — University of Southern California
Computer Science & Information Systems — MIT
Dentistry — University of Hong Kong
Development Studies — University of Sussex
Earth & Marine Sciences- ETH Zurich
Economics & Econometrics — MIT
Education — UCL Institute of Education
Engineering — Chemical — MIT
Engineering — Civil & Structural — MIT
Engineering — Electrical — MIT
Engineering — Mechanical — MIT
Engineering — Mining & Mineral — Colorado School of Mines
English Language & Literature — Oxford
Environmental Sciences — University of California, Berkeley
Geography — Oxford
History — Harvard
Hospitality — University of Nevada
Law — Harvard
Linguistics — MIT
Materials Science — MIT
Mathematics — MIT
Medicine — Harvard
Modern Languages — Harvard
Nursing — University of Pennsylvania
Performing Arts — Juilliard School
Pharmacy & Pharmacology — Harvard
Philosophy — University of Pittsburgh
Physics & Astronomy — MIT
Politics & International Studies — Harvard
Psychology — Harvard
Social Policy & Administration — Harvard
Sociology — Harvard
Sports-related Subjects — Loughborough University; University of Sydney
Statistics & Operational Research — Harvard
Theology — Harvard
Veterinary Science — University of California, Davis

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education July 9, 2017: MIT remains the world’s best UK slides in 2018 QS World University Rankings

HEADLINE NEWS

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

For the sixth consecutive time, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is sitting on the top of the QS World University Rankings’ Top Universities, MIT.edu

The 2018 university ranking season is getting an early start as Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) pushed up the release of their annual world university rankings. For the sixth year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is sitting on the top of the QS World University Rankings’ annual Top Universities. QS World University Rankings released their 2018 edition on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, and for the first time in the ranking’s history the top four are all American schools, with MIT, Stanford, Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology sweeping the top spots.

Meanwhile, Brexit is affecting British universities with 51 institutions losing ground in the rankings by at least one spot. There are 76 British universities in this year’s ranking. As QS indicates, “This includes 11 of the 16 ranked Russell Group universities.” The top ranking British university comes in only in fifth place with Cambridge University, which fell by one spot from last year. Cambridge is followed by Oxford, which holds on to the sixth place, UCL, the University College of London also holds on to the seventh place. The last British school to rank in the top ten is the Imperial College of London, which falls one to land in ninth place.

The top 10 shows an almost even balance between American and British universities with one continental European institution Switzerland’s ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at tenth place falling two spots, but still breaking up what had been for years an exclusive club dominated by the Americans and British. “Academic reputation” is the most important determining factor for the lists, and it is reflected by the universities represented in the ranking.

This year there are five American (MIT (1), Stanford (2), Harvard (3), Caltech (4), the University of Chicago (9)). And four British universities (Cambridge (5), Oxford (6), University College of London (7), Imperial College of London (9)) in the top 10. The top Ivy League school on the list is Harvard at №3 remaining in the same place for two years in a row. For the second year, a British school does not occupy one of the top three spots and now four spots. Britain’s leading school, the University of Cambridge, moves down, one to fifth place.

Two of the four British universities in the top 10 moved down a spot from last year, showing a troubling trend for British universities throughout the ranking. Meanwhile, there are 11 American universities in the top 20, while there are five British universities in the top 20. In this year’s edition, there are four universities outside of the US and the UK in the top 20, two from Switzerland, and two from Singapore.

The QS World University Rankings consistently include more non-US and on-UK universities in the top 20 than any of the other international rankings. There are 81 countries represented in the ranking of 959 schools 25 more than last year’s edition. The United States has the most universities in the ranking top 200 with a quarter, 48 schools, Great Britain follows in second place with 30 of the top 200 universities.

Despite Britain’s strong showing, British schools are ranking lower than last year, mostly of concerns regarding Brexit, including attracting students and funding. According to Forbes, “38 of its 48 representatives in the top 400 have lost ground.” Last year there were three schools from London in the top 20, now there are only two. Additionally, British universities have been suffering from funding cuts.

The top university outside the UK is Switzerland’s ETH Zürich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology moves down two from number 8 to 10. ETH Zurich is considered “the top university in continental Europe” in many worlds and global rankings. The top Asian University is now NanyangTechnological University (NTU) in Singapore at number 11 moving up two from last year and bumping The National University of Singapore (NUS) from the top Asian university. NUS moved down, three to number 15. Australia’s Australian National University is the top ranking university from the Australasia region moving up two to reach the top 20 at number 20.

Universities in emerging economies countries continue to rise in the rankings. China has six universities in the top 100, up from four. India has three schools featured in the top 200. The Universidad de Buenos Aires is Latin America’s top school coming at number 75. Russia also tops the top 100 for the first time with Lomonosov Moscow State University at number 95.

Canada features three universities in the top 50; the same three universities are Canada’s top institutions in all international rankings. McGill University loses its top spot in Canada falling two to number 32. The University of Toronto is now Canada top university in the QS ranking after it moved up five from number 36 to 31. Although McGill ranks first in Canadian rankings in international ones the University of Toronto usual takes that honor. Canada’s third university in the top 100, the University of British Columbia tumbled in the ranking down seven from number 45 to 52.

Ben Sowter, head of research at the QS Intelligence Unit, who also compiled the ranking, explained why MIT dominates the ranking. Sowter remarked in the official press release, “MIT is the nucleus of an unrivaled innovation ecosystem. Companies created by its alumni enjoyed combined revenues of $2 trillion, making them the equivalent of the world’s 11th largest economy. However, their continued dominance at the top should not obscure a changing landscape elsewhere, with other US and UK institutions making way for the best of Russia, China, and India — among others.”

QS World University Rankings was originally a collaboration between the education and career company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with the Times Higher Education (THE) to create a world university ranking in 2003. For five years the listing was published on THE, with QS supplying the data. In 2010, Times Higher Education decided to break off the partnership and pair up with Thomson Reuters to produce their ranking list. The decision was mostly because of the heavy reliance of using peer reviews to determine the rankings. The QS World University Rankings first appeared in its present format in 2010.

The ranking methodology looks at six indicators in giving marks to each university. The six indicators include, “academic reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, employer reputation, international faculty ratio, and international student ratio.” Each university is accessed on four factors: “research, teaching, employability, and internationalization.”
The QS World University Ranking changed their methodology last year to focus more heavily on research. There is now more reliance on “citations per faculty, making that indicator weight 20 percent of the final score.” QS is using their data from Scopus, “the world’s largest database of research abstracts and citations.” The ranking’s reliance on citation numbers pushes the balance for universities with an active life and natural science programs because academics in those fields have “higher citation rates than in the arts, humanities or social sciences.

The list is highly regarded, but controversial, because they rely on academic peer reviews to rank the universities, others factors include faculty-student ratio, citations by faculty, recruiter review, and internationalism. A recent article from “The Online Citizen” called the “QS ranking downright shady and unethical.” The article questioned the results, the methodology and those chosen to respond to the surveys used to compile the data. The author claims the ranking has an anti-American bias in favor of European and Asian universities. The author found particular issue with Asian universities outranking Ivy League universities” Princeton, Cornell, Yale, and Columbia” and prestigious public and private schools like Johns Hopkins and UC Berkeley. The author questioned the disproportionate percentage of surveys coming from small countries while only 10 percent of respondents came from the US.

The World University Rankings list looks at over 950 schools. The ranking includes some sub-lists looking at more specific issues or geographic areas including; By FacultyAsiaLatin AmericaBRICS countries; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Best Student CitiesBy Subject, and also the top 50 universities under 50 years old.

QS World University Rankings Top Universities 2017/18 top 10:

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (1)
2 Stanford University, United States (2)
3 Harvard University, United States (3)
4 California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States (5)
5 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (4)
6 University of Oxford, United Kingdom (5)
7 UCL (University College London), United Kingdom (7)
8 Imperial College London, United Kingdom (9)
9 University of Chicago, United States (10)
10 ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland (8)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.