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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014
Source: U.S. Department of State

The fundamental struggle for dignity has been a driving force in human history worldwide, and what drives us toward it is a set of universal values and aspirations.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are ideals that cannot be contained by national boundaries or ocean shores.

That is why it is especially troubling that so many people in so many places face grotesque restrictions on their freedoms and rights from their own governments.

For far too many people, 2014 was defined by suffering and abuse perpetrated by terrorist groups exploiting religious discourse and divisions to advance their totalitarian ideology, or by governments, such as Syria, sometimes acting in the name of combatting terrorism.

CGS Report Highlights Completion Trends of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Doctoral Programs

June 29, 2015 Comments off

CGS Report Highlights Completion Trends of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Doctoral Programs
Source: Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) today released findings from the Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion (DIMAC), a 3-year study that examined patterns of degree completion and attrition among underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF #1138814), the project collected data from doctoral students at twenty-one universities in the United States, including universities affiliated with NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program.

The most recent project in a series of CGS research studies on doctoral completion trends, DIMAC has resulted in the most comprehensive account of STEM doctoral completion and attrition for underrepresented minorities (URM) in the U.S. In the context of the study, URM includes U.S. students and permanent residents who self-identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African-American, and Hispanic/Latino.

The DIMAC report provides completion rates, attrition rates, times-to-degree and times-to-attrition of URM STEM doctoral students using data spanning academic years 1992/93 to 2011/12. There is some data to suggest that from the earliest cohort to the most recent, there have been slight improvements in completion outcomes.

A key finding of the data on student completion rates is that completion outcomes vary by student characteristics, with some of the most notable differences emerging in the analysis of race/ethnicity and field of study. Over a ten-year period, 54% of students completed a doctorate. Looking at ten-year completion data by student characteristics,

  • doctoral students in the life sciences completed at 63%, while candidates in physical &mathematical sciences experienced a rate of 45%.
  • Hispanic/Latinos completed at a rate of 58%, while Black/African Americans completed at a rate of50%.
  • women completed at a rate of 56%, while the ten-year completion rate for men was 52%.
  • ten-year completion was 57% for students with a prior master’s degree, and 52% for those withouta master’s.

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys
Source: BMAfunders (Open Society Foundations and Foundation Center)

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys analyzes U.S. funding trends for Black men and boys and describes recent initiatives in the field of Black male achievement.

Following up on the analysis in Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, the 2015 research brief shows a distinct trend toward increased U.S. foundation funding for organizations and programs that are working to improve the life outcomes of Black males.

Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt

June 27, 2015 Comments off

Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt
Source: Brookings Institution

Nearly two years after ousting President Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s military continues to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood. Much like during Egypt’s 1952-54 political transition, the recent interactions between the powerful armed state bureaucracy and the influential religious organization have had a major impact on the country’s political trajectory. In both instances, the military and Muslim Brotherhood initially cooperated before ultimately clashing violently. How has each entity determined what approach to take toward the other? What does a continued imbalance in civil-military relations mean for Egypt’s future?

In a new Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, Omar Ashour examines the legacies and patterns of cooperation and conflict between the leaderships of Egypt’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Relying on extensive field research, he analyzes how each entity has made its critical decisions regarding the other by applying various decision-making models. Ashour considers the impact of cost-benefit analysis, organizational dynamics, factional disputes, and psychological factors to gain a deep understanding of the leaders’ motives.

Gender Gaps in Overestimation of Math Performance

June 26, 2015 Comments off

Gender Gaps in Overestimation of Math Performance
Source: Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

In the United States, men are more likely to pursue math-intense STEM courses and careers than women. This investigation explored whether positivity bias in the degree to which people overestimate their past performance contributes to this gender gap. To find out, two studies were conducted with undergraduate college students in the Southern United States. In Study 1, participants (n = 122) completed a math test and estimated the percent they had solved. They then were given feedback and completed a second math test and estimation. Men overestimated their performance more than women, judging they had done better on the test than they actually had. This gender difference was not present after feedback. Further, women, but not men, who reported a more positive previous experience with math were more likely to overestimate their performance. In Study 2, participants (n = 184) completed a math test and estimated the percent they had solved. They also reported their interest in pursuing math courses and careers. Again, men overestimated their performance more than women. This greater overestimation of performance in men accounted for their greater intent to pursue math fields compared to women. The findings suggest that gender gaps in STEM fields are not necessarily the result of women underestimating their abilities, but rather may be due to men overestimating their abilities.

Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States

June 26, 2015 Comments off

Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

As of 2013, approximately 1.02 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region resided in the United States, representing 2.5 percent of the nation’s 41.3 million immigrants. Migration from the MENA region to the United States, motivated mainly by political instability in the region and economic opportunities abroad, began in the 18th century and has occurred in three phases.

2015 Couples Retirement Study Fact Sheet

June 26, 2015 Comments off

2015 Couples Retirement Study Fact Sheet (PDF)
Source: Fidelity

What the Study Found: Key Findings

While the majority of couples (72%) say they communicate exceptionally or very well, more than four in 10 (43%) failed to correctly identify how much their partner makes—and of that, 10% got it wrong by $25,000 or more. There were other important disconnects between couples including:

  • 36% of couples disagreed on the amount of the household’s investible assets.
  • When asked how much they will need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, nearly half (48%) have “no idea”—and 47% are in disagreement about the amount needed.
  • When asked to estimate their Social Security payout in retirement, 60% of couples either don’t know or aren’t sure. Even more disturbing: almost half (49%) of Boomers fall into this category.
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