What Will Happen to International Students Under President Trump?

Trump is already scaring and discouraging students from abroad.

By Elizabeth Redden

Reviewed By: Garfield Bailey



In the article “What Will Happen to International Students Under President Trump,” dated November 10, 2016, author  Elizabeth Redden postulates that the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the U.S.A. has left some in higher education worried that international students could be deterred or restricted from studying in the U.S. It also raised concerns that students who came to the U.S. illegally as children and received temporary relief from deportations as well as work authorization under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program could be newly vulnerable. The writer believes that the stance taken by Mr. Trump have possible implications for international students on F-1 Visas and those enrolled in the DACA program. He laid out plans for ideological screening and what he called extreme vetting of visa applicants.

The article also points out that one of the core values of international education is about celebrating diversity and learning from differences. Rahul Choudaha, the co-founder of Inter Edge.org, an international student services company opined that Trump’s viewpoints are insular and not in line with the values of international education. Trump called for the elimination of the exchange visa program through which foreign youth in higher education work in the U.S. Universities have large international enrollment, and this according to Redden would be detrimental to higher educational institution as they will face difficulty recruiting international students. She is making the comparison of the confusion in the ‘Br-exit’ situation to what will happen in higher education under President Trump. The article also points out that international students would be  less interested to come to the U.S. to study under a Trump’s presidency. This is as a result of Trump’s racist, narcissist and sexist remarks passed during the campaigning of the US Presidency election.





International students were shocked by Donald Trump’s rise to power, but are the native Americans really surprised…. they are concerned about their volatile future in Trump’s America. Experts say higher education officials across the U.S. should consider the implications of a trump presidency, which could significantly affect their viability as they plan global recruitment strategies. According to Redden, these fears ring true at many universities with up to forty-five percent of their population being international students. Foreign students are valuable resources-both academically and financially for the universities. It is likely that the future recruitment policies will start looking inward and slow down international educational education exchanges and mobility.

Implications for Jamaica

Jamaican students and universities are not immune to president Trump’s proposal and will be impacted significantly in various ways. Many Jamaican students are awarded scholarships annually to pursue higher education in the U.S. With the roll back of the F-1 Visas, students studying in the U.S. would be sent home and others would not be given the opportunity to study in the country. If Trump makes good on his promise to cancel the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives thousands of young, undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation, students abroad could be barred from re-entering the country. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Jamaican students studying overseas

The UWI, VTDI and other local universities and colleges have formal and informal exchange agreements with universities the USA to allow its students to study  and work in their countries.  UWI Study Abroad Fellowship Scheme: intended to promote UWI study abroad by facilitating three types of student mobility: between the UWI and selected Caribbean and Latin American universities; and between UWI and those American and Commonwealth universities with which UWI has entered cooperative agreements.

Career advancement is one of the prime motivations for international students to study in the U.S. Trump’s anti-immigrant stance may create a more rigorous  visa and immigration policies that may make it even more difficult for international students (including Jamaicans) to go to the U.S. and find internship and job opportunities. The J-1 Visa provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. According to the Jamaica Observer, The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to go to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from three weeks to four months (March 24, 2010). It went further to share that approximately 4000 Jamaican students traveled to the U.S. to work on the summer program in 2009.

Local universities would be impacted in a significant way as a lot of  these students enrolled in local universities who travel to the U.S. annually on their temporary visas to perform summer jobs, do it to ensure that their tuition is paid for the new school year. With the removal of this opportunity to these students in higher education many of our local universities would see their enrollment reduced drastically and their financial intake from tuition fees also being negatively impacted.


Troy Fuller of  Mico was very passionate with his view on the current situation mentioned in the Jamaica Observer (Career and Education Section, Blog post, dated November 9, 2016). He quoted:

Of course it’s going to have an impact on Jamaica negatively, because of the speeches that he has been making re immigration. One of the many things that I heard him say is that he wants to stem immigration. Work and travel, H-2B, and all those programs that we know persons rely on to go overseas legally will be affected. So, for example, as a student who would normally rely on work and travel, say every summer, if he cuts out that program then I am affected. This summer when I went, the money that I made is what I am using now at school.

There are 13 categories of J-1 Visa that allows the private-sector to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the U.S and then return home. The educational and cultural exchanges are paramount to the cooperation between these universities for the wholesome development of their students. For example, the Trainee category is for professionals with a degree, professional certificate, or relevant work experience to receive training in U.S. business practices through a structured and guided work-based program. The J-1 Visa also provides opportunities for foreign nationals to gain invaluable experiences. With the hard stance taken by president Trump towards minor races in the U.S., there is going to be severe hardship awaiting people of minority races.

Examples of Severe Economic Hardship:

The change in policy would result in severe economic hardship for local universities and college students caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. These circumstances may include: loss of financial aid, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support medical bills or other substantial and unexpected expenses.




The election of Donald Trump to the office of presidency has certainly left many of the stakeholders in higher education worried that international students could be severely affected. If the policy direction which has been proposed should come to fruition it would produce a ripple effect in higher education throughout the world.


J1 Work And Travel Overview. Retrieved from http://employmentjamaica.com/jobseekers/j1-program/j1-work-and-travel-program.html

Benefits of the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. Retrieved from https://www.globalminnesota.org/event/benefits-j-1-visa-exchange-visitor-program/

(The Jamaica Observer Career & Education). Trump scares me – Students react to billionaire’s election win (Retrieved Sunday, November 13,2016) http://jam.live.mediaspanonline.com/magazines/career/

Loss of International Students? https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/11/10/implications-trumps-presidential-victory-international-and-undocumented-students  

What Will Happen to International Students Under President Trump?Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/life/inside_higher_ed/2016/11/international_students_are_bracing_for_a_trump_presidency.html

What Will Happen to International Students Under President Trump?

Academic Integrity

Article Title: Is there a problem with academic integrity?

Author: Joanna Williams

Review by: Simone Sampson

Summary of the Article

This article is a compilation of research findings and thoughts from academia in different departments at Kent University in the United Kingdom. It is reporting that academic misconduct is more prevalent than originally suspected and these acts of misconduct varied in severity.

It is reported that some researchers falsify – misrepresent – their data, or even fabricate them entirely while some universities tacitly encourage such behaviour and the boundary between academic integrity and malpractice is becoming blurred”. The author also points out that due to an absence of shared understandings coupled with the risks or damage to individuals’ career and reputation, the matter of academic integrity and its extent, is a rather delicate issue to investigate.

The article spoke about the fabrication of research data and how the attitudes towards fabrication varied across disciplines. It was felt by research participants that they were somehow pushed to act in ways that were unethical due to the mounting pressures placed on them to produce significant amount of work in what seemed like too little time. Also coming out of the research is the view that “self-plagiarism” should not be seen as unethical as this is a result of the ‘structural over-production that forces students to produce variations of the same piece of work for more than one assignment.

The following table is a representation of the areas used to gather data for the research:

chart-blogNotes: Figures refer to the 215 fully completed responses to an online survey of UK academics conducted in March and April 2016, reported in”Academic Integrity: Exploring Tensions Between Perception and Practice in the Contemporary University” by Joanna Williams and Dave Roberts, published by the Society for Research into Higher Education on 30 June. “Fabrication” refers to inventing data. “Falsification” refers to misrepresenting data. “Ethics form misuse” refers to “completing forms in such a way as to ‘complete the process’, rather than fully disclosing all possible ethical issues”. “Reference misuse” refers to “using references to support predetermined arguments rather than illuminate debate”. “Authorship abuse” refers to having obtained authorship on a paper “despite having done little to deserve it”. “Salami slicing” refers to knowingly splitting results to maximise the number of publications. The “unmatched count” technique tends to elicit higher positive responses to sensitive questions than direct questioning because it allows respondents to indicate malpractice without specifically implicating themselves. For further details, see p.11 of the report. The error bars reflect 95 per cent confidence intervals



My own thoughts on the issue

Academic dishonesty or academic misconduct is seen as any type of cheating occurring in a formal academic exercise (Berkeley, 2016). It  therefore involves one being able to decipher between acceptable and non-acceptable methods of getting assignments completed, taking exams, or anything related to the completion of a course of study within the ambit of upholding one’s integrity as well as the integrity of the educational institution.

Problems with academic integrity have been a long standing issue and though it is a faculty or school administration issue, students should possess enough ethics and morality to abstain from such behaviours. According to Rebore (2014), “all human beings are innately free and have the right to self-determination…people can choose one course of action or an alternative course of action” (p. 6). As students we can either choose to cheat, plagiarize, or falsify pieces of information for an assignment and risk the chance of being debarred from the University and have our future reputation tarnished or we can choose to follow the stated principles and guideline whilst keeping our integrity intact.

Though the research was conducted in the United Kingdom its relevance is wide spread as it affects educational administration all over the world. It has become even more of a pressing issue with the options of studying online or via distant learning and the advent of technology that has created a “cut and paste” culture. It is said that the modality of online teaching and learning heightens the chances of academic dishonesty because persons are not under close supervision as with as face-to-face classroom environment. I beg to differ to some extent as even within the face-to-face context teachers/ lecturers are not able to supervise out of class activities when students are completing assignment hence they are not aware of who actually does the work.

As a student I can very well identify with persons trying to complete an assignment to meet a deadline and in so doing, unconsciously omit information that would otherwise be included and would clear the individual of plagiarizing. Though this is certainly no excuse, I believe that a revision needs to be done of the amounts of assessment done at the tertiary level. As university students enrolled in Masters Programmes it seems a bit archaic to be completing so many assignments rather than getting necessary practical, real life experiences that will be required upon completion of the programme and embarking into the world of work.

Some students are genuinely not aware of the regulations as they relate to plagiarism or other academic codes of conduct and though it is the responsibility of each student to find out what these are, some institutions need to do much more to educate students about the appropriate practices. McCabe and Trevin, 2002 (as cited in McCabe, Feghali & Abdallah, 2008) also speak of faculty and administrators better educating students towards academic integrity by developing policies and possibly implementing honor codes to reinforce their position on the issue. Whitley and Keith-Spiegel (2001) also indicate the need for institutions to create campus wide programs that promote academic integrity and develop effective policies.


In my own experiences of attending university to complete higher education programmes, I cannot say a lot of emphasis is placed on ethical behaviour on a wide scale. Yes there are some lecturers who will remind you to stick to the principles of the APA 6th edition but as it relates to school administration enforcing these principles there is a deficit   where this is concerned. Person will even tell you that they have gotten away with acts of academic dishonesty in way form or another.

The author has rehashed an issue that is very crucial to the debate on quality assurance and standards that accrediting bodies are expecting university administrators to address and find practical solutions to deal with, especially in the online environment that has become a flexible alternative for persons desiring to study at the tertiary level. As outline by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) association requires an institution that offers distance education or correspondence education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit.


While we can choose what is right or what is wrong from the perspective that we do have a choice, in the case of academic integrity we are guided by codes of conduct as outlined by the educational institution with which we associate ourselves. Academic integrity forces us as students to be aware of the consequences that exists if we decide to ……Especially at the university level where it is said that this is the place where some of us acquire our final set of skills before entering into the world of work, hence how we behave at this level can help to determine how we behave in our professional lives. This was stated by McCabe etal, 1996 and Sims, 1993 (as cited in Kidwell and Kent, 2008), who made the point that academic misconduct at the university level is associated with professional integrity failures in the workplace.

All educational institutions have their mission of educating for a better society and in so doing they need to reinforce and ensure that their graduates are of the highest standards especially when they produce works while doing their course of study. At the same time it is up to us as students and moral beings to stand up for something and ensure that whatever piece of work we produce can stand up to scrutiny and our integrity will not be questionable when we associate our names with published works.  We have to ensure that we do not make false claims, pretend to collaborate on group assignments, plagiarize, “cut corners”, or have others do our assignments for us and take the glory when we did not do the work.



Academic dishonesty (2016). Berkeley University Online. Retrieved from

Rebore, R. W. (2014). The Ethics of educational leadership (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.

United States department of Education. (2008). Higher education opportunity act – 2008.
Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html

Williams, J. (2016). Is there a problem with academic integrity? Retrieved from

Academic Integrity

It’s time to go back to basics to demonstrate the benefits of higher education

By: Claire Taylor

Reviewed by: Gayon Williams Bent




The article, ‘It’s time to go back to basics to demonstrate the benefits of higher education’ by Claire Taylor, dated November 16, 2016, Taylor wants ‘education is never wasted’ to become the mantra for a higher education sector that is struggling to communicate its value to the public.

Further arguments highlighted by Claire Taylor in the article are summarized below.

The summary

In the article Taylor suggested that there are many significant high-impact industry-university partnerships that exemplify valuable and meaningful public engagement. But really, how relevant does this level of engagement feel to members of the public who, rightly or wrongly, have in their own mind defined higher education as an expensive and self-indulgent “dalliance”, of no relevance to many (who don’t even deserve a higher education), and with little prospect of employment afterwards?

Taylor went further to suggest, that we have some work to do to realign public perception of higher education as worthwhile, valuable and impactful for anyone who chooses to access it. Taylor posits that, the “back to basics” campaign should start with a simple tag line: Education Is Never Wasted. By using this as a starting point, there is a chance to free up and realign public views about the benefits of a higher education.

The article pointed out that universities should highlight powerful stories from students. Campaign that focuses on how learning new things at the higher education level challenges you, engages you and provides the environment to develop critical skills alongside subject knowledge, skills in communication, analysis, resilience, commitment, working together, overcoming challenges.. The list goes on… skills that will be used time and again throughout life and never ever wasted. Taylor article ends by stating that we should go back to basics in helping individual ,citizens, localities and the nation to understand the value of a higher education.


My view (perspective)

I believe that earning a higher education degree is all about opening up opportunities in life. It prepares you both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. Higher education creates opportunities for better paying and higher skilled jobs. Additionally, studies have shown that higher education leads to over all stability and happiness. What are the benefits of having a higher education?

.1. Make more money.

Studies show that individuals, who graduate from colleges or universities, earn significantly more money throughout their lifetime. According to a nation report by State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, individuals with a degree earn more than a person with only a high school education

2. Benefits to Individuals and Family

Persons with a higher education degree not only earns more money but they also have access to better health care, retirement investments, travel and other perks such as owning own car and house . This offer stability and security for your family. Families’ of higher education graduates are generally off economically and socially.

  1. Better Career Opportunities.

Aside from training you in an expert field, college trains you to think analytically, understand complex subjects and communicate your own critical ideas about them. It also instills crucial skills like organization, self-discipline and the ability to complete tasks from start to finish. In other words, higher education helps mold you into a more professional individual. In today’s economy, employment options are shrinking for people who only have a high school diploma. A large majority of high school graduates work in the service industry, in low paying jobs that don’t offer many opportunities for advancement. College graduates, on the other hand, tend to have skills that qualify them for a broad range of employment in fields that offer more upward mobility.

  1. Job Security and Satisfaction

Having a higher education degree typically leads to better job security. Let’s face it; if you don’t have a degree, you’re probably not as valuable to your employer. If push should comes to shove, it will be much easier to replace you with someone else who is more qualified. It is also more likely that you will enjoy your job. All the factors listed above—higher income, employment benefits and advancement opportunities—lead to better job satisfaction. But a college degree also gives you more freedom to pursue a career that interests you, maybe even inspires you.

  1. Investment in Your Future

Attending college is a major commitment of time and money, but it is also a down payment on success. Earning your college degree will help you realize your goals in your career as well as life in general. It requires a lot of hard work, but that work prepares you for a challenging and rewarding career and a more fruitful life.

A new report from the College Board, ‘Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society’, highlights both the monetary benefits of higher education, and also lesser known benefits – including a healthier lifestyle and reduced risk of obesity.

As a rejoinder to the ongoing debate about whether higher education is suitable for everybody, the report includes substantial evidence of the benefits, plus a supplement called ‘How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues’. The latter explains the analysis and aims to show that “disappointing outcomes for some [students]” are not inconsistent with “the reality of significant benefits for most students”. Overall, the report argues that “on average and for most people postsecondary education has a high payoff.


In Sweden the average monthly salary was 31,400 SEK. The average for men was 33,600, while the average for women was 29,200, according to SCB (Statistics Sweden). This survey was conducted in 2014.

In the following table, you can find the average monthly salary for different educational levels. Source: SCB’s statistics for 2014.

Educational level Women Men
Pre-upper secondary school, shorter than 9 years 22,700 25,900
Pre-upper secondary school, 9 (10) years 24,600 28,300
Upper secondary education, not more than 2 years 26,300 30,500
Upper secondary education, 3 years 25,700 29,400
Higher education degree (bachelor’s), less than 3 years 29,900 35,800
Higher education degree (master’s), 3 years or more 34,100 42,900
Doctoral degree 46,800 52,900


Looking at the big picture, it’s easier to get a job if you have a higher education degree. Many careers that require a degree also pay a better salary. This can vary depending on the degree subject, but more doors will be open to you with a degree than without one. Greenstone and Looney (2011) of the Bookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, states: “On average, the benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year.”

The monetary benefits of higher education can be seen in the lifetime difference of 65% earning power when comparing graduate salaries and the earnings of those with just high school education.



Benefits of Earning a College Degree. Retrieved from www.educationcorner.com/benefit-of-earning-a-college-degree.html

Benefits of University Studies. Retrieved from studera.nu/…/highereducation…/highereducation…/what-is-the-benefit-of-university...

Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Societhttp://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/press/cost04/EducationPays2004.pdf

Taylor, C. (2016). It’s time to go back to the basics o demonstrate the benefits of higher education.’ Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/Its-time-to-go-back-to-the-basics-to-demonstrate-the-benefits-of-higher-education








Students need ‘soft skills’ courses as part of their degrees

Author: John Elmes

Reviewed by: Barbara Davis-Salmon


In the article, John Elmes reports on a speech given by Minxuan Zhang, director of the Research Center for International Comparative Education at Shanghai Normal, in which he stated that universities should teach students social and emotional skills on top of their academic studies to prepare them for the demands of the 21st century society. He went on to state that at his university they were doing that by incorporating courses consisting of social activities where they can learn social and emotional skills. They also give students practical opportunities to use what they have learned before they go into the real world. He added that students in China want to study at prestigious universities abroad; they want to learn from other countries. This causes them to be more aware of social skills.

The article also reported Andreas Schleicher, director of education at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, as suggesting that to change learning systems to integrate 21st-century skills would require revising the current utilitarian view of education.


What is the claim?

There is a general claim that the value of a college degree is declining. The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently released a survey which says that a gap exists between how prepared students feel for the working world in relation to views expressed by the employers. Employers are seeking graduates with soft skills, and claim that the universities are failing in teaching students these soft skills. Some of the soft skills are critical thinking and analytic reasoning, written and oral communication, complex problem solving, innovation and creativity, and applying knowledge and skills to real-world settings; and according to the survey only 25% of employers feel that university has equipped students with these skills. By contrast, over 60 per cent of students rate themselves as well prepared in these areas. It is apparent from these statistics then, that students believe they have soft skills, but employers are not seeing these soft skills in the graduates.

How do we measure the outcomes

Using Co-curricular transcripts will allow students to better reflect the skills they bring to the workforce, establishing expectations for their performance.  The idea is to have the academic grade for each course on the transcript, as is the norm, but additionally, include the listing of soft skill components, with a grade that has been assigned to the student for each component. When included on the transcript, it allows employers to move away from depending on what students say they are doing, to authenticating it because it is on an official document.

When a student attains skill-specific competency in a component, a badge, trophy or certificate or any other award can be given out. This could be done at a prize-giving or graduation. The point is that the employer again, has a means of authenticating the skills that the student has acquired.

Portfolios are an excellent medium which allow students to share tangible examples of how and when they believe they’ve distinguished themselves. The saying “a pictures says a thousand words” comes to mind. So, rather than an employee listening to a graduate explain the list of skills acquired, the graduate can now show the employer what has been acquired. Photographs, reflections, and samples of work done are some of the pieces that can be included in a portfolio.

How important are soft skills in the 21st century?


In my opinion, soft skills are definitely relevant for the 21st century. These skills include critical thinking, solving real world problems, and writing effectively and clearly. It needs universities to work together and find a common ground in terms of variables and criteria.

The Higher Education Achievement Report has been adopted by 27 institutions in the UK. As the UK example demonstrates, it is possible to find common ground and work together on behalf of our students. The UK Engagement survey results below show us how some of the student experiences contribute to the skills.

How much has overall student experience contributed in following areas?


In the US also, efforts are under way to develop data that will link the skills employers are looking for with the experiences students have identified for attaining those skills.

In general, students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based (STEM) subjects reported significantly higher gains in hard skills than in soft skills, while undergraduates following arts and humanities courses perceived significantly lower levels of hard skill development than their counterparts in other subject areas.

Should Universities and other Higher Education institutions be teaching soft skills?

For me, soft skills represent what comes out naturally from the student having been exposed to different experiences and settings. What the courses do is to trigger the responses of the softer skills. Does this trigger have to necessarily come from a course being taught? My thinking is “no”. I believe that softer skills are nurtured in the majority of cases. The experiences that teach them in my mind are from your home surroundings, as well as your institutions of learning, church; wherever your socialization ground is. One is therefore essentially mentored throughout life, and in that process, develops soft skills. Sure, the educational institutions can help to hone those skills, by continuing this mentoring process, and so, engaging students in community activities is one way. Lecturers setting good examples of coming to classes on time, giving deadlines and sticking to them, extending courtesies, going on trips to learn about other experiences and cultures; encouraging reflections on some of the activities and incorporating those as course components. In fact, soft skills should be encouraged from primary and secondary education.



There is undoubtedly an increasing need for soft skills in the job market. Institutions of Higher Learning cannot ignore this, as their product is what feeds the job market. Universities should continue to engage in mentoring their students through the well organised systems, daily interactions, and relevant social programmes and courses. The more forward thinking universities have taken the initiative and started to measure these soft skills. This will be important in determining whether the student has learned, and by how much. These soft skills when instilled will lead to a more rounded, and balanced workforce that knows how to make good business decisions, but who have also taken ethical issues into consideration in making these decisions. Engendering soft skills will lead to a better society.


Elmes, J. (2016) “Students need ‘soft skills’ courses as part of degrees” retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/students-need-soft-skills-courses-part-degrees

Havergal, C. (2015) “UK Engagement Survey: universities have limited impact on students’ ‘soft’ skill development” retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/uk-engagement-survey-universities-have-limited-impact-students-soft-skill-development

Students need ‘soft skills’ courses as part of their degrees


Sub-question: Should Universities offer compulsory courses on Moral Development?



We are living in an era where the world is considered to be smaller due to the fact that globalization and the rapid growth and development of technology has allowed people of different culture, race and ethnicity to cross imaginary boundaries and interact with others anywhere in the world. This has allowed the norms and morals of countries to interface with each other as they try to find a common ground on which to stand. With this, many conflicts arise from time to time and the question entreats one to asked, “Should universities offer compulsory courses on moral development”.


Santrock (2007) posits that moral development involves thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and actions about what is right and wrong. Moral development has an intrapersonal dimension (a person’s basic values and sense of self) and an interpersonal dimension (a focus on what people should do in their interactions with other people). Many believe this development to be a cognitive process.


In recent times there has been a loud cry that the morals and values of the society has deteriorated and that there is a need to take back our society. In like manner, there are those who advocate that it is a free society; persons are free to make decisions, and do whatever is comfortable to them. How do we measure what is acceptable from unacceptable behaviour? There are many questions that are being asked and it is left to see if those questions will be answered.


Speaking on the issue published in the Gleaner on Wednesday August 13, 2014, then president of Northern Caribbean University, Dr. Trevor Gardner pointed out that students who do not intend to adhere to the rules and regulations of the institution need not apply. He was speaking in light of the institution coming under scrutiny in recent times with a series of highlights in the media on its ethical and moral standards. Dr. Gardner according to the article said that the institution would continue to produce at the highest quality without interference from external forces. Earlier that year, a student was suspended because she went against certain morals and values as taught by the university. Are universities infringing on students’ rights should morals be taught as a compulsory course?


Is there a Relationship between Formal Education and Moral Reasoning?

 Rest et al. (1999) has used a series of longitudinal studies to investigate the relationship between moral development and formal education by examining the effects of age and education on the development of moral reasoning. These studies suggest that collegiate experiences do promote moral development; more specifically, during college, students tend to decrease their preference for conventional level reasoning and increase their preference for post conventional moral reasoning.


Pascarella and Terenzini (2005) came to a similar conclusion, that the observed increase in post conventional moral reasoning in college “appears to be substantially greater in magnitude than that due merely to maturation and cannot be attributed solely to initial differences in moral reasoning, intelligence, or social status between those who attend and those who do not attend college”. This collection of studies provides strong evidence that student participation in higher education is associated with gains in moral development during the college years.


With reference to those findings, arguments can be offered for the introduction of courses that teaches moral development. One such argument can be that at the end of a student’s tenure at a university he/she will not be graduating only with a degree that shows competence in a particular field of study. However, one will also be equipped with social skills that can help to guide in positive decision-making and help to protect the welfare of others as well.


Theoretical Overview: Moral Development


Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development posits six distinctive structures that serve as “general organizing principles or patterns of thought rather than specific moral beliefs or opinions” (Colby & Kohlberg, 1987).


Kohlberg (1976) summarized the stages as follows:

  1. The preconventional level (Stages 1 and 2), “rules and societal expectations are something external to the self”.
  2. The conventional level (Stages 3 and 4), “the self is identified with or has internalized the rules and expectations of others, especially those of authorities”.
  3. The post conventional level (Stages 5 and 6), in which a person has “differentiated his self from the rules and expectations of others and defines his values in terms of self-chosen principles”.




 This theory of moral development suggests that individuals move from a position of pure self-interest to a conception of fairness that serves society. Subsequently, courses and programs designed to promote moral reasoning encourage college students to reason about moral issues from broader societal perspectives that serve the public good.



 Higher levels of critical thinking appear to be related to post conventional moral reasoning. However, with the exception of the study designed by Mentkowski and Associates (2000), little information is provided about the nature and directionality of the relationship between critical thinking and moral reasoning.


King and Mayhew (2003) offer two hypotheses in attempt to clarify the relationship: each of these hypotheses positions the development of critical thinking as a precursor to the development of moral reasoning. The first hypothesis suggests that the development of cognitive complexity that underlies higher levels of critical thinking may enable students to see multiple social perspectives inherent in complex moral problems. The second posits that an increased capacity to engage complex critical thinking skills may enable students to more readily access post conventional moral reasoning schemas when making a moral decision, or to use multiple schemas to organize information surrounding moral issues.



One will discover within the call of higher education is the idea that colleges and universities have the responsibility of graduating students with the capacities and skills needed to be tolerant and responsible citizens in a diverse democracy. The question was put forward earlier, “should universities should offer compulsory courses on moral development”. I would give my full support of such initiative having looked at the findings of various studies.


Common to the idea is that development occurs in the context of exposing and challenging individuals to new ways of thinking about themselves and the society in which they live. Mechanisms for development include creating opportunities for individuals to experience cognitive disequilibrium, either through pedagogies that facilitate active learning or through creating opportunities for student to interact with diverse peers. The challenge therefore is put to educators interested in providing contexts that facilitate the development of moral reasoning to engage students in activities involving role taking, discussion, and dialogues with diverse peers.


The University of the West Indies has as its mission To advance education and create knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, innovation, public service, intellectual leadership and outreach in order to support the inclusive (social, economic, political, cultural, environmental) development of the Caribbean region and beyond. This means that as a school of higher education and to advance education they will: Provide opportunities to the population of the region and beyond for higher education that fosters creative activity and notions of shared community, enhanced social and interpersonal relations, and critical and creative thinking skills. It is commendable that the university has seen such as its mission as the Caribbean community seeks to come together through integration and higher education.




 King,P.M., & Mayhew, M.J. (2002). Moral judgment development in higher education: Insights from the defining issues test. Journal of Moral Education, 31(3), 247-270. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.rproxy.uwimona.edu.jm/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8db50a34-c78e-496c-a48f-87bdd77c94e7%40sessionmgr4009&vid=1&hid=4212 Doi:10.1080/0305724022000008106


Thomas, S.J., & Yangxue, D., (2014). The defining issues test of moral judgment development. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 19(3), 55-61. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.rproxy.uwimona.edu.jm/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=d66b283f-6796-4fdb-a367-71a8b050dae7%40sessionmgr4009&vid=1&hid=4212








The Article: Seven Essential Tips for the new academic School year

Seven essential tips for the new academic school year is an article compiled from an interview of seven senior lecturers seeking to mentor new PHD professors to the profession of teaching in Higher Education Institution.   The column underscored several principles under the headings, tame the lion, rock the work life balance, don’t just turn up be present, don’t follow the research herd, never trust a machine, don’t be a Yorkshire man and don’t be in the classroom for yourself; as clues for self management , academic prowess, competence and general classroom success.  Each heading will be briefly explained below followed by a general discourse of the article.

The first tip of Tame the lion was used within the context of new lecturer first impressions of a large lecture theatre hall filled with students waiting to be engaged by the professor.  Inadequacies, fears, feelings of being overwhelm may undermine a lecturer’s presentation or lesson.  Having confidence and maintaining control of the classroom is important to the communication of content and overall presentation of self.  The lecturer should just “tame the lion”, that is students or personal fears and teach skillfully.

Pedagogical skills can often be forgotten due to personal fears hence it is so much more important to rock the work life balance by infusing and interjecting fun, hobbies and entertainment.  Creativity in the classroom includes innovative thought process, sense of humor, life experiences and the engagement of multiple intelligence. As such leaders don’t just turn up but are actively engaged in the teaching and learning process. The pedagogy of teaching is intentional, engaging and purposeful.

Another facet of PHD academia is the ability or art of researching, writing and publishing.  The advice of don’t follow the research herd is given with the intention that the new lecturers literary voice should never be lost or compromised because of popular opinions or similar points of view. New Lecturers are encouraged to write passionately and often about their interest, area of specialization and skills.

Never trust a machine refers to lecturers being savvy and professionally adept with the use of technology and its paraphernalia on College and University Campuses specifically in lecture rooms.  Having a knowledge or experience with technological equipment reduces frustration, time wasting and other inefficiencies in operating them.

In communicating content of course with students it is advised that personal examples be used to a minimum, if any at all, as it is not always beneficial hence the advice don’t be a Yorkshire manIt is wise to discuss general ideas such as changes to schooling, higher education teaching and learning and pedagogy over the last twenty years.  By focusing on broad themes such as regulation, governance, quality assurance and neoliberalism; masters and PhD students can draw their inferences, judgments and conclusions.

Lastly the focus of teaching is never the lecturer but the students hence don’t be in the classroom for yourself.  Remembering this goal provides additional direction, impetus and motivation for class preparation, involvement and pedagogy on a whole.


Hill, T., Moriarthy, P.,Houston, N., Oswald, A., Glbey, J., Brabazan, T., & Salwak, D.       (2016,September 29).

Seven essential tips for surviving  the new academic year. Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.com


My Perspective of the Article

I thought the article was very insightful  and important being an academia and an educator.  The article provided me with some useful ideas and pertinent information that is crucial to becoming a University Lecturer or Professor.  As such the article will be reviewed and critiqued on the following points of pedagogy and multiple intelligence,  research skills and  features of adult learners for successful teaching and learning.

Teaching is not an easy profession and at times pedagogy is quickly forgotten.  The lecturer’s personality, preparation and  competence are often the deciding factor of the success of teaching.  A class that should be oriented towards students apt with the use of different teaching strategies to engage multi intelligence of learners can become lecturer oriented, consequently nothing more than an hour of useless chatter. The charisma, personality traits and leadership style can be so captivating and misleading  that students and chiefly lecturers can be misguided about the teaching and learning phenomenon.   As such, lecturers need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and thus make the effort to correct or make suitable changes.  The professionalism, attitude and aptitude of a lecturer can be connected to credentials and qualifications as well as pedagogical training and mentors.  The article seeks to warn new lecturers of some of the pitfalls of personality flaws, fears and idiosyncrasies that can damage the art of teaching. As a result it can be said that mentorship and peer leadership  is crucial to professional viability, relevance and success in academic life.

Professional Development in a written format such as  Seven essential  tips  for surviving the new academic school year to new college or university professionals from superiors  acts as a guide or reminder  of ways to be and remain successful in a competitive industry.  In higher education, University status , ranking and quality assurance   is not only dependent of factors such as  research, technological competence and global marketing ,  but on the quality expertise and knowledge of  teaching and learning.

The tip to be passionate  about writing, researching and journaling is of paramount importance.  One of the objectives of Higher Education is research. “Research universities  are at the pinnacle  of the academic system and directly involved in  the global knowledge network”  Altbach, Reisberg &Rumbley (2009, p. 14).  Lecturers in research universities needs to think outside of the box with the types of research they pursue, and  engage their colleagues  in discussion re the decision of an article for publication.

Thirdly, higher education institutions cater to adult learners.  Adult learners portray certain characteristics which should be taken account in planning and preparation of classes.  According to Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) opined:

Andragogy  is based  on a number of assumptions about the adult learner.  Knowles (1980) originally advanced the four assumptions:

Firstly, as a person matures his or her self-concept  moves from that of a dependent  personality toward one  of a self-directing  human being. Secondly,An adult accumulates a growing reservoir of experience which is a rich resource for learning. Thirdly, The readiness of an adult  to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role. Fourthly, There is a change in time perspective  as people mature  from future application to immediacy of application.  Thus an adult is more problem centered than subject centered in learning (as cited in  Merriam et al, 2007, p. 84).

The above quote gives four specific guides in planning teaching material for adult learners that of engaging student’s prior knowledge and experience, applying information to real life scenario  and making teaching format interested through stimulation of multiple intelligence and a wide range of teaching activities. The above also accounts to  adult learners being overly critical, pessimistic, and judgmental and overbearing because of their life experiences.  It is wise to maintain an attitude of respect and professionalism for a conducive classroom climate.  The setting of class rules, objectives  demystify fears and build confidence.  In today’s world persons equate time with money as well as knowledge, learners do not appreciate tardiness from their lecturer and as such classroom management is key factor in maintaining professionalism.

The article has jargons or expressions which  exemplifies the British culture. I think this could be avoided.  English is  a universal language that graduate students and lectures have to master to be proficient and efficient.

In concluding I dare to continue the discourse by adding that lecturers should be aware of verbal nuances, accent, vocabulary, gesticulation and facial expressions.  These can detract or supplement the quality of the overall presentation. Secondly, ask administration for other technological devices that aides the delivery of content area. Lastly we are all humans on a personal quest to self liberalization and actualization. Our fears, goals, dreams and aspirations are similar hence the practicing of warmth and making mistakes can appear natural with a little humor.  I invite you to laugh with me with your words in critiquing this article, and believe me I will engage you in further laughter.


Altbach, P.  G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. (2009). Trends in global higher education: tracking an

academic revolution (pp. 1-18).  France: United Nations Educational, Scientific  and Cultural Organization.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M.(2007). Learning in adulthood a comprehensive

guide (p. 84). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.






The Article: Seven Essential Tips for the new academic School year