All posts by Ian Wilhelm


New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition

New York is set to offer free tuition to public colleges for state residents who earn less than $125,000 a year, reports the Associated Press. Under a deal between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and legislators, students from such families will be able to enroll at campuses of the State University of New York or the City University of New York without paying tuition.

While other states allow free tuition to community colleges as well as other reduced tuition programs, the New York effort is …


Judge Curtails Popular Work Program for Foreign Students

In a decision that may reduce the appeal of the United States as a destination for international students, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security must curtail a popular program that allows foreign students and graduates to work while in the United States.

The program, known as Optional Practical Training, allows students to work a total of 12 months during and after their studies and is usually highlighted by colleges as part of their work with international …


The Small-College Survival Guide: Sweet Briar Edition

As Sweet Briar College scrambles to reopen, at least for another academic year, its leaders are probably looking closely at what has worked for other small colleges to increase enrollment and reduce financial pressures. As a rural liberal-arts college that enrolls only female students, Sweet Briar faces a variety of challenges, but other institutions in tough circumstances have found lifelines to keep themselves open. (Read more about their successes in a special collection from The Chronicle.) …


Oxford Names Its First Female Vice Chancellor

After nearly 800 years, the University of Oxford has named its first female vice chancellor, reports The Telegraph. Louise Richardson, currently the principal of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, will succeed Andrew Hamilton as Oxford’s vice chancellor, a position equivalent to a university president in the United States. Mr. Hamilton announced in March that he would become the next president of New York University. Ms. Richardson, a noted scholar of terrorism and security studies, was previously executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, at Harvard University.

The University of Oxford has nominated its first female chancellor since records began in 1230 when Elyas de Daneis held the post. Professor Louise Richardson, current principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St Andrews, will succeed Professor Andrew Hamilton, who has held the role since 2009, at the beginning of next year.

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Scholars Protest Death Sentence for Egyptian Political Scientist

Dozens of American professors and scholars of Middle East studies have signed a letter that describes as “appalling” an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence a prominent academic to death in absentia.

Emad el-Din Shahin, a professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo, was accused of espionage and other crimes and was sentenced this month, along with 35 co-defendants, in a high-profile case that included the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, and other Islamist leaders.

Mr. Shahin…


Cooper Union Faculty Member Is Denied Entry to United Arab Emirates

Walid Raad, an artist and associate professor at the Cooper Union, says he was barred from entering the United Arab Emirates this week for “security” reasons, according to a letter he posted online on Friday.

It is the second time an academic has been banned from entering the country in recent months. In March, Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, which has a campus in Abu Dhabi, was prevented from traveling to the emirates over security concerns. The …


Former Guantánamo Detainee, Tutored in Prison by Professor, Is Freed on Bail

Omar A. Khadr, a Canadian who was held in the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base for 10 years, was granted bail on Thursday by a court in Edmonton, Alberta, while he appeals his convictions in the United States, the CBC reported.

Mr. Khadr, whose case has divided Canada, received tutoring from Arlette Zinck, an associate professor of English at King’s University, during his time at Guantánamo and after he was repatriated to Canada, in 2012. The professor’s controversial relationship with Mr. Khadr was…


Lawmaker Calls for Investigation of U.S.-China University Deals

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, has called for the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, to examine agreements American colleges and universities have signed with the Chinese government, asking if the institutions had made “quiet compromises” on academic freedom in the process.

During a hearing on the topic on Thursday before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, which Mr. Smith leads…


What Does a Global Test Really Say About U.S. Higher Education?

Does the United States have the best higher-education system in the world?

In an essay in The New York Times, Kevin Carey recently said the answer is no. Mr. Carey, the education-policy director at the New America Foundation and a columnist for The Chronicle, cited the mediocre performance of American adults, including college graduates, in an international measurement of mathematics and literacy skills.

But that measure, the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, known …


Endowed Chair at U. of Cambridge Is Linked to Ex-Prime Minister of China

The University of Cambridge is under scrutiny after The Telegraph reported that a foundation connected to Wen Jiabao, a former Chinese prime minister, had given the university £3.7-million, or about $6.2-million, to endow a professorship in Chinese-development studies.

The gift was made by the Chong Hua Foundation, which the British newspaper says is run by the politician’s only daughter, Wen Ruchun. The newspaper first raised questions about the foundation and its possible ties to Chinese offic…