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News Center Media Report for Nov. 22-27

The WFU News Center Media Report for Nov. 22-27 is now available online.

UN climate change summit could bring first progress in years

Government leaders from 194 nations, braving threats of further terrorist attacks, gather Monday in Paris for the 21st United Nations climate change summit. Their goal is to forge a framework that they hope will spare the planet from the kind of catastrophic warming by 2100 that many climate scientists see as inevitable.

News Center Media Report for Nov. 11-20

The WFU News Center Media Report for Nov. 11-20 is now available online.

‘Women are just better at this stuff’: is emotional labor feminism’s next frontier?

We remember children’s allergies, we design the shopping list, we know where the spare set of keys is. We multi-task. We know when we’re almost out of Q-tips, and plan on buying more. We are just better at remembering birthdays. We love catering to loved ones, and we make note of what they like to eat. We notice people’s health, and force friends and family to go see the doctor.

We listen to our partner’s woes, forgive them the absences, the forgetfulness, the one-track mindedness while we’re busy organizing a playdate for the kids. We applaud success when it comes: the grant that was received, the promotion. It was their doing, and ours in the background. Besides, if we work hard enough, we can succeed too: all we need to do is learn to lean in.

Robin Simon, a sociology professor at Wake Forest, turned the tables on herself and said that as a female professor, she was expected to be much more emotionally aware and available in and out of the classroom than her male colleagues. “Students expect more emotion in women,” she says, with female professors not just expected to be chirpy in the classroom (especially with the rise in student-evaluation-related employment), but also sometimes doubling up as therapists and faculty-politics peacekeepers.

White House to announce $118 million public, private effort to improve the lives of women and girls of color

The White House Council on Women and Girls hosted an all-day forum Friday to explore ways to improve the lives of women and girls of color, including a commitment of $118 million in assistance from public and private organizations.

The initiative comes after President Obama, during a speech several weeks ago, called for more attention to the “real and persistent challenges” faced by women and girls of color, including lower incomes, higher rates of serious illness and more exposure to violence.

Participants in Friday’s forum discussed a report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” that identifies several areas of focus, including education, criminal justice, health and economic conditions. In the area of education, the report calls for finding ways to reduce the disproportionately high rate of school suspension for girls of color, as well as encouraging more of them to study STEM fields.

Another $18 million has been pledged by the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research, which will study and collect data to help identify challenges faced by women and girls of color and solutions to those challenges. That effort will be led by the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, which co-hosted Friday’s forum.

News Center Media Report for Nov. 7-13

The WFU News Center Media Report for Nov. 7-13 is now available online.

The case for better faculty pay

Faculty salaries have stagnated at most colleges and universities in recent years, even as other portions of institutional budgets have ballooned. But a new study suggests that investing in instructional costs yields key returns on investment, including better undergraduate employment outcomes – especially for disadvantaged students.

For the study, Amanda Griffith, an associate professor of economics at Wake Forest, analyzed data from a National Center for Education Statistics longitudinal study of high school sophomores to see how different categories of institutional spending impact graduates and non-graduates’ salaries and employment outcomes.

“Given the recent focus on college spending, costs and students’ success postgraduation, we need to better understand the link between institutional spending and student outcomes,” the study says. “Not only do instructional expenditures help to compensate for more disadvantaged backgrounds during college but these expenditures continue to help these students in the labor market.”

How to handle your Facebook friends’ posts on politics

Professor of law and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Shannon Gilreath is quoted in this column: “Politics in this country, for people who are paying attention, has always involved passion and heat. But the fact that Facebook and Twitter and social media generally mean that these postings are ubiquitous doesn’t necessarily mean that the political tenor itself is new.”

The test-optional surge

For those who argue that the SAT and ACT should be dropped as criteria for college admission, this has been an affirming year. Forty-seven colleges and universities have announced test-optional policies, bringing the total to more than 850, according to FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

There has also been a shift in the type and selectivity of institutions taking up the banner: 46 percent of top-tier liberal arts colleges, and a good number of large research universities, no longer require the tests. Temple, Montclair State, Brandeis, Wesleyan and George Washington University as well as Bryn Mawr and Ithaca College are just a few that have opened up their admissions processes since 2013.

Wake Forest University went test-optional in 2009. “We struggled in the admissions committee for years,” said Martha Blevins Allman, dean of admissions. “What was the meaning of the difference between a 1250 and 1350 SAT score?” Their conclusion: The SAT measured family income, not ability.

Wake Forest points to Natalie Casimir, now a sophomore, as the kind of student test-optional attracts. Ms. Casimir, a Haitian-American whose parents did not graduate college, calls her 1580 (out of 2400) SAT score “an embarrassment” after graduating high school with a 4.0 G.P.A. She had to give up on her dream of attending Cornell. Nor did she get into Davidson College, which requires test scores. Wake Forest gave her a full ride without seeing her score. Her current G.P.A. is 3.2.

This story appeared in the Nov. 1 print edition.

News Center Media Report for Oct. 31-Nov. 6

The WFU News Center Media Report for Oct. 31-Nov. 6 is now available online.