Education December 14, 2016: Harvard College’s most selective early action admissions year for Class of 2021




By Bonnie K. Goodman

harvard_shield_wreathDecember is the first time of the academic year high school senior’s heart’s get broken as they discover of they are offered early action or decision admission to the university of their choice. No colleges are more selective in the process than the Ivy League. Harvard University released their Class of 2021 data on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, announcing they admitted just 938 students or 14.5 percent of their early applicant pool.

As has been the trend, Ivy League, and elite universities are becoming more selective, and their early action admission rates are falling even though some might be accepting more students after receiving, even more, applications. This year is no different if Harvard’s numbers are an indication the Ivy League and elite universities are on track for their most selective year as they choose the Class of 2021. So much so they last year’s most selective school Stanford University refused to even release their early admissions data for the Class of 2021.

On Tuesday, Harvard announced they admitted just 938students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021. Their admissions represented just 14.5 percent of the applicant pool down only 0.3 percent from last year. Harvard admitted a smaller percentage of students than last year to the Class of 2021 when they admitted 914 students out of 6,167 applicants representing 14.8 percent. In total, Harvard only accepted 5.2 percent of applicants in the regular admission cycle to the Class of 2020 out of 39,000 applicants.

William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, commented on the record number of early admissions’ applicants and the process. Fitzsimmons expressed, “Early admission appears to be the ‘new normal’ now, as more students are applying early to Harvard and peer institutions than ever before.” The Admissions Dean explained the perfect recipe for a Harvard acceptance, “At the same time, we have continued to stress to applicants, their families, and their guidance counselors that there is no advantage in applying early to Harvard. The reason students are admitted – early or during the regular action process – is that their academic, extracurricular, and personal strengths are extraordinary.”

Harvard’s Class of 2021 is even more diverse than last year. More women were accepted representing 48 percent up from last year’s 47.4 percent for the Class of 2020. More minorities were admitted as well, 12.6 percent of African-American applicants were admitted this year up last year’s 9.4 percent. Fitzsimmons commented, “It does appear, say relative to the time when we gave up early admission, that there is greater ethnic and greater economic diversity in early pools these days, and therefore, in the admitted pool.”

There were, however, a decrease in diversity among other minority groups. Only 8.8 percent of Hispanics were admitted this year while last year 9.5 percent were admitted. Only 1.1 percent of Native American and Native Hawaiian were admitted down from last year’s 1.8 percent. The largest minority group accepted last year; Asian-Americans also saw a decrease in admissions with only 24.1 percent accepted down from 24.2 percent admitted last year through early action.

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

College rankings guide 2016: Harvard again ARWU World Rankings’ best university



College rankings guide 2016: Harvard again ARWU World Rankings’ best university

December 6, 2015

College rankings guide 2016: Harvard still CWUR World Rankings’ top university



College rankings guide 2016: Harvard still CWUR World Rankings’ top university

December 6, 2015

College rankings 2016: Harvard again tops US News’ Best Global Universities

College rankings 2016: Harvard again tops US News’ Best Global Universities

December 5, 2015

University Musings February 6, 2015: Harvard bans professor, student sexual relationships, the silent ignored problem



Harvard bans professor, student sexual relationships, the silent ignored problem

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Harvard University is officially banning sexual and romantic relationships between professors and undergraduate students making the policy official on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. The university released a statement about their change in policy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences…READ MORE

University Musings December 27, 2014: Ivy League universities’ early admission rates roundup for the Class of 2019



Ivy League universities’ early admission rates roundup for the Class of 2019

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For some lucky high school seniors December means relief from the stress on the college applications, because these students may have been accepted to their university of choice’s early decision or early action program. Between December 11…READ MORE

University Musings November 15, 2014: College rankings guide 2014-15: Harvard tops US News’s Best Global Universities Rankings



College rankings guide: Harvard tops US News’s Best Global Universities Rankings

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The US News and World Report has decided to enter the international university rankings game, and released on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 their 2015 Best Global Universities Rankings. The “inaugural” ranking has Harvard University as the top…READ MORE

University Musings November 15, 2014: College rankings guide 2014-15: Harvard tops the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)



College rankings guide 2014-15: Harvard tops ARWU and CWUR World Rankings

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Two international world university rankings released their rankings early in July and August ahead of the major lists, and both named Harvard University the best university in the world. The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) released on July…READ MORE

University Musings May 28, 2014: Harvard changes admissions requirements SAT II subject tests now optional




Harvard changes admissions requirements SAT II subject tests now optional

It just became a little easier to be admitted to Harvard University, the university recently changed its admission policy, and they are now making the SAT II subject tests optional. The move puts the Ivy League university apart from…READ MORE


University Musings May 21, 2014: How selective will Ivy League universities admission rates go next year?




How selective will Ivy League universities admission rates go next year?

As the current group of high school seniors is securely admitted to university as the class of 2018, next year seniors look forward to be admitted as the class 2019, more worried than ever about their chances to be admitted…


University Musings December 23, 2013: Grade inflation again a major issue at Harvard University and in the Ivy League




Grade inflation again a major issue at Harvard University and in the Ivy League

By Bonnie K. Goodman

At the end of each semester grades are all that university students are thinking of when they finish their papers and take final exams, but for students at some of the top Ivy League universities have a little less to…READ MORE

History Buzz February 27, 2012: Maya Jasanoff: Harvard historian is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize


History Buzz


Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

Source: Cambridge Chronicle, 2-27-12

Harvard University Prof. Maya Jasanoff is one of three finalists for the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize. Administrators of the prize at Washington College announces that Jasanoff earned the honor with “Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World,” published by Knopf.

The prize, which is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, recognizes the past year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. Three distinguished historians served as jurors for the 2012 prize — Richard Beeman, the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2010 winner of the George Washington Book Prize; Thomas Fleming, distinguished historian and author; and Marla R. Miller of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In praising Jasanoff’s “Liberty’s Exiles,” the jury applauded the book’s “impressive archival research, its sweeping conceptualization, perspectives and aims, its enviable prose style and the penetrating insights it yields into its characters’ lives.”…READ MORE

Political Buzz December 6, 2011: Lady Gaga Discusses Anti-Bullying Campaign with Obama Administration Officials at the White House




Lady Gaga discusses anti-bullying at White House: Lady Gaga visited the White House on Tuesday to discuss bullying prevention. The pop singer met with Obama administration staffers on the issue and afterward, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett praised the star as “a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools.”
“Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one — she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different,” Jarrett wrote in a blog post on the White House website. “I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.”… – AP, 12-6-11

  • Lady Gaga takes anti-bullying campaign to White House: Eccentric pop diva Lady Gaga took her anti-bullying campaign to the White House where she was lauded as a source of strength for many young people who are scared at school.
    Her visit follows a White House bullying conference earlier this year, called to mitigate the plight of nearly a third of US schoolchildren, or 13 million students, who are bullied each year, according to official figures…. – AFP, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga Goes to the White House for Anti-Bullying Campaign: Lady Gaga has kept her promise to one of her little Monsters who committed suicide after being tormented by years of bullying. … – E! Online, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga paid a surprisingly low-key visit to the White House Tuesday on the matter of her favorite cause: bullying prevention. The president (whom she met at a San Jose fundraiser in September) was out of town, though, so she met with Valerie Jarrett. Sightings were elusive, but ABC spotted her in long white dress and heels and subdued makeup…. – WaPo, 12-6-11
  • Lady Gaga Meets with White House Staff About Bullying: White House officials confirm that pop icon Lady Gaga has a meeting scheduled in the West Wing Tuesday afternoon with senior presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett and Jarrett’s staff on the topic of bullying.
    Gaga has made speaking out against bullying — especially when it’s over sexual orientation — one of her primary causes…. – ABC News Radio, 12-6-11
  • White House Goes Gaga: Staffers Meet With Pop Star Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga is bringing her activist power to the White House today to discuss bullying prevention with administration officials. The White House confirms that the pop star has a meeting scheduled in the West Wing this afternoon with presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and members of the staff of the Office of Public Engagement.
    Lady Gaga will not meet with President Barack Obama, who is in Kansas delivering a speech on the economy and the middle class. The two have met before, however. Gaga met the president earlier this year at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign…. – ABC News, 12-6-11


Meeting with Lady Gaga on Inclusion and Equality for Our Young People

Lady Gaga is a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools.  Today, I had the opportunity to welcome her to the White House, where we discussed ways we could work together to make sure that no child comes under attack, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor.

One of Lady Gaga’s newest projects is joining together with the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which will explore ways to help change the culture, the policies, and the curriculum surrounding the safety of our children in school.

Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one – she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different. I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.

I am proud to be part of an Administration that has taken steps to address bullying. In 2010, the Department of Education made it clear to schools that allowing bullying against LGBT students can violate anti-discrimination statutes.  In 2011, the Department reaffirmed students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances and other similar groups.  Earlier this year, President Obama and the First Lady held a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. And today the Administration released a new analysis of state bullying laws and policies, summarizing the efforts currently in place to prevent bullying in and out of schools.  The report shows that while states have made recent progress in enacting policies and legislation to address bullying, more must be done.

Over the last three years, we have seen that when we work together on behalf of human rights, we can accomplish truly amazing things, yet too many young people still remain at risk.

As we continue protecting our children, we look forward to working with Lady Gaga, the Born This Way Foundation, and with every American who is willing to help make our society more kind, inclusive, and equal.

Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President.

Oscar Handlin: Historian was considered the father of immigration study


History Buzz


Source: WaPo, 9-23-11

Oscar Handlin, a Harvard professor whose classic writings on American immigration made him a leading intellectual force behind legislation that eliminated the immigration quota system in the United States, died Sept. 20 at his home in Cambridge, Mass., after a heart attack. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by his son, David Handlin.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Dr. Handlin was considered the father of modern immigration studies. In his panoramic books, he chronicled the stories of Europeans, Jews, Puerto Ricans and African Americans and other populations that shaped the United States. His sweeping work “The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People” won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in history.

“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America,” he wrote in perhaps the most noted passage of that book. “Then, I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”

Dr. Handlin’s credentials as a historian, the Harvard imprimatur and his frequent writings — in publications including the Atlantic Monthly and Commentary — made him an influential public intellectual in his time. Historians cite him as a crucial behind-the-scenes player in the landmark 1965 legislation that abolished the country-based quota systems that had regulated immigration since the 1920s.

He was “absolutely central to it,” said Hasia Diner, a professor of immigration history at New York University.

Dr. Handlin found the quota systems, which favored Northern and Western European immigrants, racially discriminatory.

He considered it “something that not only discriminated against prospective immigrants,” said Columbia University professor Mae Ngai, but also “a kind of stigma against those ethnic groups in the United States.”

In his writings, Dr. Handlin never treated American immigration in dry, statistical terms. Critics described “The Uprooted,” his most noted work, as a riveting and moving account of the entire immigration experience.

“The Uprooted concerns the personal human side of the flood of immigration,” wrote a New York Herald Tribune reviewer. “Mr. Handlin wrote of the European settlements from which the immigrants came, then followed through the hardships of their crossing, in steerage, and life that followed in the United States.”

Oscar Handlin was born Sept. 29, 1915, in Brooklyn in a household where education was highly valued. When Dr. Handlin’s son was born, his father, a Russian immigrant, suggested the name “Plato.” Dr. Handlin and his wife decided against it.

Dr. Handlin grew up working as a delivery boy in his family’s grocery store and often rested a book on top of his pushcart, reading as his made his way through the streets of Brooklyn.

He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and then studied at Harvard, where he earned a master’s degree in 1935 and a doctorate in history in 1940.

Among his mentors was Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., who suggested the topic of his dissertation: 18th- and early 19th-century immigrants to Boston. The work was subsequently published under the title “Boston’s Immigrants.”

Dr. Handlin was himself the target of discrimination while at Harvard. His classmate John Hope Franklin, who became a revered scholar of African American history, wrote in a memoir that Dr. Handlin was turned away as an officer in the Henry Adams Club because he was Jewish.

Dr. Handlin began teaching at Harvard while pursuing his graduate degrees and would remain with the university for more than four decades.

His first wife, Mary Flug Handlin, with whom he often collaborated, died in 1976.

Survivors include his second wife, of 34 years, Lilian Bombach Handlin of Cambridge, also a co-author; three children from his first marriage, David Handlin of Lexington, Mass., Joanna Handlin Smith of Cambridge and Ruth Manley of Guilford, Conn.; one brother; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.


Harvard training college teachers on black history


History Buzz

Source: AP, WSJ, 7-17-11

Every semester, Cheryl Carpenter tries to think of new ways to introduce Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” to her college students.

An English instructor at Alabama A&M, a historically black college in Normal, Ala., Carpenter said students sometimes are confused about the setting and context of the 1937 novel about an independent black woman’s quest for identity.

But after listening to Temple University history professor Bettye Collier-Thomas talk at a Harvard University program how she dove into dusty attics and forgotten archival material to research her book on black women leaders, Carpenter said she immediately came up with ideas to recreate visual scenes through her lectures.

Carpenter and around two dozen college teachers from around the country are participating this month in a Harvard program aimed at training professors to integrate more black history into their classrooms and research projects.

The “National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College Teachers” at the university’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute brought the group to Cambridge for an intensive three-week program, including archival research, debates on history and lectures by some of the nation’s leading scholars in black studies.

“This is amazing,” Carpenter said. “I’m not a historian. I teach English so I don’t go to the archives much. But the topics we’ve talked about cover so much and now I have so many ideas.”

Among those giving lectures were Pulitzer Prize winners Eric Foner and Steven Hahn.

“Very rare will these participants have access to so many scholars like this at one time,” said University of South Carolina history professor Patricia Sullivan, a co-director of the program. “And they see very quickly that the Civil Rights movement didn’t start in the 1950s. There’s a whole history that is overlooked and it’s not just about black history. It’s American history.”

The program was founded in the mid-1990s by Sullivan, Du Bois institute director Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and University of California-Berkeley history professor Waldo Martin. They wanted a way to introduce college teachers from different disciplines to new scholarship on black civil rights, from Emancipation to the 1960s. Teachers are urged to use the scholarship to develop new curriculum and programs for their classrooms….READ MORE

Robert W. Gordon: Harvard, Yale professors join Stanford Law


History Buzz

Source: San Jose Business Journal, 6-9-11

Stanford Law School said that commercial legal historian Robert W. Gordon has been named professor of law and will begin teaching this fall.

Stanford Law School said Thursday that commercial law scholar George G. Triantis and legal historian Robert W. Gordon have been named professors of law and will begin teaching this fall.

The appointments of Triantis and Gordon come on the heels of the appointment of James Cavallaro as professor of law and director of the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of the Mills Legal Clinic.

“These are capstone appointments in what has been a steady program of enlarging the law school faculty while preserving its longstanding tradition of excellence,” said Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer. “Both Bob and George are intellectual leaders in their fields. As important, both are fabulous teachers, colleagues, and mentors of students.”….READ MORE

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