Parenting in higher education

I’ve just read this fascinating review of Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College Women’s Success, by Laura T. Hamilton. The book studied a selected group of MidWestern US College women, and explored different parenting styles, and mapped these on to different educational outcomes and achievements. I won’t sum this up here (read the review!) except to say parental input matters. Related to recent discussions around class at university (a great invisible here), and to the potential challenges first-in-family students face, I was struck by the way this seems to nicely empirically demonstrate the often invisible supports (and lack thereof) and the ways these really do impact on students, and participation and success.

Diversity in tenure decisions

I’ve just read a piece in Inside Higher Ed which highlights the new decision by California’s Pomona College to now include being “attentive to diversity in the student body” among the criteria for teaching quality, as assessed for tenure decisions. The initiative seems to be both staff- and student- led. Although such ‘rules from above’ are often critiqued (as the article outlines), I see time and time again, the way ‘inclusivity’ and concerns about diversity become the ‘nice to haves,’ always secondary to the really important criteria for excellence that are used to judge practice in the university sector. I