|Good morning || July 8, 2020|
Leading the News
Colleges Faced With Decisions On Reopening Or Possible Loss Of Foreign Students
The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Hackman, Korn, Subscription Publication) reports new Trump Administration rules on international students are placing colleges in the difficult position of deciding to hold in-person classes despite COVID-19, or lose foreign enrollees who will not be permitted to enter or remain in the US if classes are online-only.
Reuters (7/7, Dwyer, Hesson, Rosenberg) reports US colleges were “scrambling on Tuesday to modify plans for the fall semester” to satisfy Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidance “that could force tens of thousands of foreign students to leave the country if their schools hold all classes online.” The announcement also “blindsided academic institutions” that were already “grappling with the logistical challenges of safely resuming classes.” Reuters points out the federal government previously “granted exceptions to the rules limiting online learning for foreign students when colleges and universities in March rushed to shutter campuses and move to online classes as the pandemic forced lockdowns.”
The New York Times (7/7, Jordan, Kanno-Youngs, Levin) says that while “the White House measure, announced on Monday, was seen as an effort to pressure universities into reopening their gates...the effect may be to dramatically reduce the number of international students enrolling in the fall.” Combined with delays in processing visas due to the pandemic, “immigrant advocates say the new rules, which must still be finalized this month, might discourage many overseas students from attending American universities.” One issue is that losing international students means giving up crucial revenue, as many pay full tuition.
Colleges Prepare For Sharp Drop In Chinese Students. The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Korn, Subscription Publication) reports US colleges are preparing for a steep drop in international students – particularly from China – due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, visa-processing delays, and Monday’s ICE announcement blocking foreign students from taking online-only courses while residing in the US. Notably, Chinese students account for nearly $15 billion of the $44.7 billion that foreign students spend in the US on tuition and other higher ed costs.
WPost: ICE Announcement Hurts US Universities. The Washington Post (7/7) says in an editorial, “The new rule means colleges that depend critically on tuition revenue from international students – many from China, India and South Korea – will be under pressure to offer in-person classes even in places where covid-19 is a major threat.” But the President “has made it a personal and political crusade to rid the nation, to the extent possible, of foreigners in the United States.” Trump’s “goal is to turn America’s back on the world. Sadly, it is Americans, and institutions like U.S. universities, that will pay the price.”
University Of California System Names First Black President
The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Korn, Subscription Publication) reports the University of California on Tuesday named Michael V. Drake as its next president, making the former head of Ohio State University the first Black leader of the system. The AP (7/7, Gecker, Watson) reports “the UC Board of Regents unanimously approved Drake’s appointment.” His appointment comes at a time when the system is “dealing with issues of accessibility for Blacks and other minorities, along with slashed budgets and upended campus life because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Los Angeles Times (7/7) reports, “In brief remarks after the vote, Drake thanked his supporters and said he looked forward to working with UC colleagues to meet such major challenges as the global pandemic, climate change and ‘the yawning wounds of social injustice.’” Drake “said he changed his plans to retire when he was presented with the chance to return to the university that transformed his life.”
College Life Will Look Different For Students Returning In The Fall
CBS News (7/7) reports, “Across the country, the nearly 20 million university students returning to school can expect a very different college experience this fall.” The Chronicle of Higher Education “looked at the campus reopening plans at more than 1,000 schools. Sixty percent plan to return to an in-person semester, 9% will continue all-remote learning and 24% will offer a mix, with the others still deciding.”
Harvard, Princeton Announce Fall Plans. Bloomberg (7/6) reports, “Harvard and Princeton universities plan to bring back a portion of their undergraduate populations for the upcoming semester, with regular Covid-19 testing and private sleeping areas.” Harvard University “said it will invite about 40% of students to campus, including the freshman class, and that students will be tested every three days during the semester and live in single rooms. At Princeton University, about half of undergraduates will arrive in August, including freshmen and juniors, while the other half can return the following semester.” Princeton has also “approved a 10% tuition discount for all students for the 2020-21 academic year, whether they’re on campus or taking classes online, the Ivy League school said in a statement Monday.”
Texas Universities Vary In Fall Plans. Chron (TX) (7/7) reports on the different plans universities in Texas have announced to welcome students in the fall. According to the article, “while all the universities will follow more strict guidelines for attendance in the fall, there are fewer details on what college will look like for students who rely on on-campus housing, and if distance learning is implemented, what it means for students with limited or no access to a computer of reliable WiFi.”
Coronavirus Changes College Drop-Off Plans For Families. The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Keates, Subscription Publication) reports the coronavirus means the college drop-off ritual will look different this year under new safety protocols. What was traditionally an emotional, all-day affair will be an organized, efficient, mostly students-only process .
Ivy League Considers Cancelling Football Season. The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Higgins, Subscription Publication) reports the Ivy League plans to announce on Wednesday the status of athletics for the upcoming academic year.
Vermont Releases Mandatory Guidance, Health Protocols For Colleges To Reopen
The AP (7/7, Rathke) reports that on Tuesday, Vermont “announced...mandatory guidance and health protocols for colleges and universities to follow – including a health safety contract for staff and students to sign – as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.” The new “guidance, developed by a task force, includes initial quarantines for students arriving from certain areas of the country, testing of all students and staff at the start of the school year, and the use of face coverings while around others in public.” The AP adds, “The density of classrooms and dining halls also must be reduced.”
California State University Chancellor Says Classes May Remain Online For Entire Academic Year
EdSource (7/7) reports, “Nearly all of California State University’s classes may remain virtual, not only this fall but for the rest of the upcoming academic year.” CSU Chancellor Tim White, “during a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on the pandemic and the future of higher education, said the decision in May to primarily move to a virtual setting for the fall term and ‘quite frankly the academic year was driven by health and safety issues and student progress.’” White said, “A lot of people are using the past tense, ‘How did you manage the pandemic?’ This is not a two-month problem or a six-month problem. This is a 12-, 18-, 24-month, at a minimum problem.”
UMass Launches Leadership Academy For Students Of Color Interested In Tech Careers
The Springfield (MA) Republican (7/7) reports, “A new leadership academy for students of color and women who are interested in careers in technology and engineering is has begun through by the Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.”
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Webinar: Emerging Insights on Remote Student Support
July 22 at 2 PM, ET: This free webinar discusses strategies for supporting students remotely, sharing insights on virtual office hours, empathetic syllabi and in-class icebreakers, instructional techniques to support students in class, and additional ways you can interact to support student success. Register here.
Research and Development
NASA Recommends Additional Safety Changes To Boeing’s Starliner
The AP (7/7, Dunn) reports that NASA “has added more safety fixes for The Boeing Company’s space capsule before it can fly astronauts following a pair of close calls during last year’s test flight.” In “closing out the seven-month investigation, NASA officials said Tuesday they have now identified 80 corrective actions, mostly involving software and testing, that must be done before the Starliner capsule launches again.”
Florida Today (7/7, Joy) reports that NASA “said Tuesday a lack of oversight on its part played a key role in the failure of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to reach the International Space Station during a flight test in December.” The failure of the spacecraft to dock with the ISS led to an investigation, which resulted in NASA adding “another 20 recommendations for a total of 81 to Boeing’s list of issues to fix including improving testing and simulation and hardware modification.”
Three Mars Missions Scheduled To Launch In July
SPACE (7/7, Wall) reports that three Mars missions are scheduled to launch in July. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) plans to launch the Hope Mars Mission on July 14. On July 23, China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission “is scheduled to lift off atop a Long March 5 rocket.” Tianwen-1 “is an ambitious project that consists of an orbiter, a lander and a 530-lb. (240 kilograms) rover that’s the size of a small golf cart.” NASA’s Perseverance rover, “the centerpiece of NASA’s $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, is scheduled to lift off atop” a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on July 30. Perseverance “will use its seven onboard instruments to characterize the geology of” the Jezero crater “and search for signs of ancient Mars life in the rocks of the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) crater, which hosted a lake and a river delta billions of years ago.”
CNET News (7/7, Al-Heeti) reports that when the UAE’s Hope Mars Mission “reaches the red planet’s orbit in 2021, it’ll be the first probe to give a full picture of the Martian atmosphere, offering a holistic view of how Mars’ climate varies during the year.” The satellite “will study the connections between Mars’ lower and upper atmosphere and examine what causes the loss of hydrogen and oxygen into space. It’ll collect data for two years after achieving its orbit around Mars in February 2021.”
ESA, NASA Satellites To Align To Map Out Antarctic Sea-Ice Thickness
BBC News Online (UK) (7/7, Amos) reports that on Tuesday, ESA’s Cryosat-2 satellites was given authorization “to raise its orbit by just under one kilometre,” in order to line up with NASA’s Icesat-2 satellite. The change in orbit “will hugely increase the number of coincident observations” the Cryosat-2 can make with the Icesat-2. One “outcome from this new strategy will be the first ever reliable maps of Antarctic sea-ice thickness.” NASA Radar and Laser Altimetry Scientist Dr. Rachel Tilling said, “Having Icesat and Cryosat work together will be like having this self-contained measurement system where we don’t have to rely on outdated data-sets anymore.” Cryosat-2 “will fire its thrusters on 16 July to climb a few hundred metres higher into the sky. The manoeuvre, which will take a couple of weeks to complete, will not compromise the longevity of the mission as the spacecraft has ample fuel on board.”
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Goes Vertical Ahead Of Wednesday’s Launch
Spaceflight Now (7/7, Clark) reports that SpaceX “raised a Falcon 9 rocket vertical Tuesday on pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, positioning the launch vehicle for a flight Wednesday carrying 57 more Starlink Internet satellites and two commercial Earth-imaging microsatellites for BlackSky.” The launch, which was originally scheduled to take off June 26, is scheduled to launch at 11:59:11 a.m. EDT. There is a 60% “chance of acceptable weather for a midday launch Wednesday, according to the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.”
Pandemic Spurring More Collaboration And Faster Sharing Of Research
USA Today (7/7, Nutting) reports the pandemic is helping transform the way scientific research is published and shared among the research community. This shift is due to the need for the community to more rapidly disseminate and review research, a process made more important amid the current health crisis and need to respond quickly. Beyond academia, industry “research companies are also sharing more information and resources, normally taboo in a field rife with competition.”
Department Of Energy Awards Pitt Researchers $1.6 Million For Nuclear Energy Projects
Pittsburgh Business Times (7/7, Mericle) reports the US Department of Energy awarded $1.9 million in nuclear technology funding “to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering as part of its Nuclear Energy University Program.” Heng Ban, director of the Swanson School’s Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program, “said nuclear energy proves more reliable than other types of energy and is one of the main carbon-free energy sources.” Ban explained the funding is divided into three grants for faculty researchers and two for student awards.
Global Auto Market Split By Coronavirus
The Wall Street Journal (7/7, Boston, Subscription Publication) reports the global automobile market has been split by the coronavirus pandemic, with sales recovering in China, continuing to fall in the US, and at lows in Europe. Shares of Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors are each down about 30% since the start of 2020, and the three’s combined market value is just one-third that of Tesla.
Arianespace To Launch Ariane 5 Rocket July 28 With Record Payload
Spaceflight Now (7/7, Clark) reports that Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket is set for a July 28 launch from French Guiana. The rocket “will carry a record payload of three multi-ton satellites toward geostationary orbit, including a pair of U.S.-built commercial communications payloads and Northrop Grumman’s second robotic satellite servicing spacecraft.” The “end user for two of the satellites” is Intelsat, and the “owner of the other payload is B-SAT, a Japanese communications satellite operator.” For the launch, “two of the satellites will fit together inside the larger upper section of the Ariane 5 payload fairing, while the third spacecraft will ride below in the lower berth.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Higher Education Leaders Warn House Committee About Growing Financial Pressures
The Hill (7/7, Moreno) reports, “Higher education leaders told House lawmakers Tuesday that they are facing financial strains as states begin mulling cuts to their budgets amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.” At a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee, Timothy White, chancellor of the California State University system, told lawmakers CSU is preparing for “a grim new fiscal reality” in the fall, citing “soaring costs in mounting revenue losses associated with the pandemic.”
During the hearing, White “repeatedly mentioned the need for new federal aid for the sector as colleges craft their reopening strategies,” Education Dive (7/7) reports. Additionally, Shaun Harper, president of the American Educational Research Association, said he was “annoyed” that colleges were scrambling to ensure football could take place in the fall, “when instead they could be figuring out how students could learn effectively in a digital environment. The latter, he said, is an inexpensive endeavor compared with trying to resume normal operations.”
House Appropriations Committee’s Bill Allocates Less Money For NASA Than Trump’s Budget Request
Space News (7/7, Foust, Subscription Publication) reports that on Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee released a bill that rejects the Trump Administration’s “proposed major budget increase for NASA, instead offering the agency a flat budget for 2021 that takes particular aim at the agency’s efforts to develop lunar landers.” The Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which is scheduled to be marked up by the CJS Subcommittee on Wednesday, “would provide NASA with $22.629 billion in fiscal year 2021.” That “is the same amount the agency received in the final fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill, but significantly less than the $25.246 billion the administration requested in its budget proposal in February.”
House Committee Bill Could Allow NASA To Use Private Launch Services For Jupiter Missions. CNET News (7/7, Mack) reports that the committee’s bill could allow a private company “to provide the ride that’ll send an orbiter to the Jovian system by 2025 and a lander to Europa by 2027.” The bill reads, “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall use the Space Launch System, if available, as the 10 launch vehicles for the Jupiter Europa missions.” The words “‘if available’ are new,” and signal that NASA could use the services of a private company instead of the SLS, which “is proving to be way more expensive than what SpaceX could offer, and it’s not even clear it’ll be ready to go by 2025 at this point.” The bill “also provides over $400 million for NASA to build the Europa orbiter.”
Also in the News
Report Offers Recommendations In Improving Diversity In STEM Faculty
Diverse Issues in Higher Education (7/7) reports increasing diversity among STEM faculty remains a challenge, according to a National Science Foundation-funded report from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Dr. Travis York, assistant vice president of APLU and co-author of the study, “told Diverse that increased inclusion of underrepresented groups is necessary, not only for the sake of diversity but for the future of STEM professions.” York said, “We need greater data transparency so that we can really understand where our systems are not serving these wonderful scholars and so that our systems can better work to increase the production of STEM scholars and the movement of STEM-qualified folks into the workforce.”
Tuesday's Lead Stories
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