Is your college investing in your grades?

first_imgThe amount that colleges spend on their libraries is key to their academic performance, a Cherwell investigation has found.Cherwell’s analysis shows the statistical correlation between access to reading material and Norrington Table performance. New data on 15 undergraduate college libraries, obtained by Cherwell through Freedom of Information requests, sheds light on the role of college wealth in the undergraduate student experience. The libraries of colleges that ranked higher on the league table tended to be larger and have more books.The data also shows that library size is largely determined by the size of a college’s assets, which varies from £329 million for New College to just £24.8 million for Harris Manchester. This range was reflected in college library budgets for new material, which ranged from an annual average of £20,000 for Merton to just £4,700 for Mansfield.Three out of the top five highest budgeted libraries (Merton, New College and Magdalen), ranked in the top 10 of all wealthiest Oxford colleges, while three of the five lowest budgeted libraries (St.Hugh’s, Harris Manchester and Mansfield) belonged to colleges in the bottom 10 in terms of endowment size. These revelations come amidst other rising questions about the relationship between college wealth and student experiences. A Cherwell investigation last term demonstrated how wealthier colleges are able to expand their endowments much more rapidly and the impacts upon academic and admissions standards.In 2002, an Oxford SU report demon- strated that students “are far from guar- anteed a common educational experience, with detriment not only to their academic performance but also to their general welfare and financial condition.”Vice-President of Access and Academic Affairs Lucas Bertholdi-Saad told Cherwell: “We believe in an Oxford education where colleges are at the heart of the education and support each student receives, but where the college or hall to which a student belongs makes no difference to the quality of their education, including the quality of education resources. “We also ask students to offer their feedback all year round and play an active part in shaping their learning experience.”College libraries are a crucial resource to students, especially those studying humanities. While all course materials are available in the University-wide Bodleian libraries, these books are often occupied by other students on the same course. Central Bodleian libraries also tend to have more restrictive opening hours than college libraries.Most college libraries have liberal policies on purchasing new material on request from students, but this process can be cumbersome. Students with access to more well-resourced libraries can therefore gain an advantage in the speed and breadth of their essays.A spokesperson for the History Society told Cherwell: “The correlation found by Cherwell’s investigation is upsetting, but not surprising. The flexible opening times and accessibility of college libraries mean that to many students of text-heavy subjects like history a well stocked college library is crucial to producing high quality work. This is despite the less wealthy Oxford colleges spending a far higher proportion of their assets on their library budget for new material, with New College’s library taking in just 0.4% of its endowment annually compared 3.3% for Harris Manchester.Four of the top five colleges in library budgets (Merton, Magdalen, New and Balliol) rank among the top five in Norrington table score averages from 2006-2017. Likewise, four of the five colleges with smallest library budgets (Exeter, St. Hugh’s, Mansfield and Harris Manchester), ranked in the bottom ten of Norrington table scores. “While for extended projects like theses the Bodleian Library is very useful, college libraries are often more convenient to use for weekly tutorial essays due to the former’s restrictive opening hours and rules about some materials remaining on site.“As such, the quality of a college library is particularly important when, during the process of writing an essay late at night or shortly before a deadline, one discovers an urgent need for further, specific materials. While ideally a student should plan their time with this in mind, realistically, students with access to a well stocked college library fare better in these types of common situations.”The fifteen colleges included in Cherwell’s investigation were Balliol, Brasenose, Corpus Christi, Exeter, Harris Manchester, Magdalen, Mansfield, Merton, New, St Anne’s, St. Catherine’s, St. Hilda’s, St. Hugh’s, University and Worcester. Other colleges had to be excluded due to issues with standardization of the data.last_img read more

Ontario to reopen schools for in-class learning

first_imgTORONTO (AP) — Canada’s most populous province of Ontario will reopen all schools for in-class learning this month despite the presence of new coronavirus variants and a high number of infections in Toronto and its suburbs. The majority of schools will reopen Monday while those in Toronto and its suburbs will resume in-person learning on Feb 16. There are no plans to vaccinate teachers. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said returning kids to school safely is crucial for their development and mental health.last_img read more

New Saint Mary’s club looks to foster economic education

first_imgStudents and professors joined together to create the Economics Club, a new organization aiming to extend economic education beyond the classroom.Junior Mari Garza, founder and president of Economics Club, said both students and faculty have encouraged participation in the club.“Right before this academic year, one of the [economics] professors reached out to me because he saw that there was in interest in [the subject],” she said.Prior to the club’s formation, students were looking for ways to expand their economic education outside the classroom, Garza said.“When I first had my [economics] class, [my professor] was looking for someone to do study sessions and review sessions for exams,” she said. “There were two or three sections of a macro[economics] course, and from that I would host these sessions and have 30 or 40 girls show up.”Garza said the club held numerous review sessions to accommodate the many students looking to expand their knowledge and perform better in their classes.“I [wasn’t] an official tutor,” Garza said. “I [was] just there to help people who were struggling.“As she helped students, Garza said she realized the professor who had encouraged her to host the review sessions had been correct in sensing students’ interest in having regular access to the knowledge of their peers.“We’re providing not necessarily tutoring, but a resource for students,” Garza said.Freshman Julia Wilson said in an email she joined the organization not only because of her professor’s encouragement and an interest in the club’s focus.“My involvement has helped me academically because, by tutoring other students, I am able to better understand the material,” Wilson said.The club’s first event featured a question and answer session and a documentary screening.The Economics Club hopes to expand its membership to students of subjects other than business and economics, Garza said. The club plans to host several events open to all students throughout April, one of which will be a review session for students preparing for the end of the semester. The others, Garza said, will include a movie and game night oriented towards the social element of the club.After noting the growth in attendance from its review sessions, the Economics Club decided to keep the timing of its weekly Monday meetings flexible, Garza said, which allows attendees to ask for help or clarification on concepts discussed in classes.“We’re trying to figure out ways to get more people involved,” Garza said.Alongside being an additional academic resource for students, Wilson said the organization has given participants the opportunity to meet other people with similar interests.“My involvement [in the club] has led me to meet new people,” she said.Tags: business, economics, Economics Club, tutoringlast_img read more