2014年11月28日 星期五

Harvard approves joint CS50 venture

Harvard approves joint CS50 venture

Course to arrive at Yale in Fall 2015
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Updated: Nov. 26, 7:00 p.m.
CS50 is coming to Yale.
Harvard approved the joint venture — in which students at Yale will watch live or archived lectures of the popular Harvard computer science course — The Harvard Crimson reported Tuesday evening.
While students will watch Harvard computer science professor David Malan’s lectures from afar, they will participate in sections and office hours in New Haven, Harvard computer science professor Harry Lewis said.
Harvard’s approval was the last step in the process of approving the joint venture, after Yale faculty voted overwhelmingly to bring the course to New Haven earlier this month. Following Harvard’s approval, Computer Science Department Chair Joan Feigenbaum said, Yale will introduce the course for the first time in Fall 2015.
Computer science and mechanical engineering professor Brian Scassellati, who will teach the course at Yale, will work to build a course akin to the popular Harvard course, Lewis said, recruiting undergraduate learning assistants to staff the Yale version of CS50. Feigenbaum said earlier this month that the training for these assistants will begin in Spring 2015.
The course will also be overseen by current Harvard senior Jason Hirschhorn, a long-time CS50 TF who will work full-time at Yale after his graduation, according to Lewis.
Reactions to the decision were mixed.
Computer science major Aileen Huang ’17 said that bringing CS50 to Yale is a lazy way of getting around the department’s problems—such as being understaffed and not offering enough electives. Her sentiment, she said, is shared by most of the other computer science majors she knows.
“CS50 is merely a band-aid solution,” Huang said.
However, professors interviewed at both schools were pleased to hear the news.
Computer Science professor and director of undergraduate studies Jim Aspnes said he looks forward to seeing CS50 at Yale. Now that the course has been approved by Yale faculty and by Harvard, the details of implementing it will be handled by the course’s instructors, he said.
Lewis said that he is thrilled, adding that CS50 is a great course, and can only be good for both schools.
He also explained that Yale CS50 students will be invited to attend CS50 events — like CS50 Puzzle Day in September  and CS50 Hackathon in December – in Cambridge. At the end of the semester, there will be a CS50 Fair on both campuses, he added.
Aspnes said that while it is hard to predict how introducing CS50 will affect the rest of Yale’s CS department, he hopes it will expand the accessibility of computer science to more Yale students.

2014年11月25日 星期二


Asia is "the most exciting region on earth in higher-education terms". Where are the top universities? http://econ.st/15fmQKT ‪#‎econarchive‬(2013)

2014年11月21日 星期五

澳門大學: 思考一下美國為什麼不須設立 Las Vegas 大學/ 澳門大學/Some of the News Fit to Print

Some of the News Fit to Print
Arguments around changes to teacher compensation have been heating up all across the country. In Tennessee, for example, education officials just put a new plan in place that eliminates annual step raises given solely for experience and advanced degrees, asking districts to also consider factors such as test scores and whether a teacher works in a high-needs school. The state's teachers' union has come out firmly against it, saying it could lower teaching requirements and overall teacher pay. A roundtable of teachers takes on this question for Education Week.

The graduation gap between minority and white college students is slowly narrowing, and the campuses having the most success aren't necessarily the wealthiest or most selective, according to a new report by the Education Trust. "Colleges that decide student success is the No. 1 priority have been able to move the needle even with decreasing levels of state support," the report's author, Joseph Yeado, a higher-education research and policy analyst for the Education Trust, said in an interview on Wednesday. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
After six months of high-profile experimentation, San Jose State University plans to “pause” its work with Udacity, a company that promises to deliver low-cost, high-quality online education to the masses. The decision will likely be seen as a setback for a unique partnership announced in January by California Gov. Jerry Brown in a 45-minute news conference with university officials and Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
A new survey suggests that even if new college graduates are employed, many aren’t particularly happy. College graduates whose highest educational attainment is a bachelor’s degree say they are less engaged at work than people who completed some or no college. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
With federal student loan debt mounting across the country, lawmakers across the political aisle are in agreement that Washington must help emphasize that jobs training can be just as valuable to young Americans as a college degree. Speaking at Politico’s Jobs of the Future event Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the out-of-control level of student loan debt in the United States is in part due to the widespread suggestion that a young person is a “second-class citizen” if he or she doesn’t attain a four-year college degree.
University of Kansas journalism professor Doug Ward writes in Inside Higher Ed: Many universities seem taken aback by the assertions that they offer an education that is less than stellar. With a steady stream of students knocking at the door, they haven’t had to. They also lack the ability to make rapid, radical changes. In that regard, they are like most large organizations, whether in business or in government. The structures they have put in place are complex and inter-reliant, yet need constant remaking to remain relevant.
WASHINGTON — Senators negotiating a bipartisan deal to keep student loan rates low reached a deal on Wednesday night that could end the partisan feud on Capitol Hill that has threatened to permanently double interest rates. The article is in The New York Times.

Some of the News Fit to Print
A wave of immigration, the aging of non-Hispanic white women beyond child-bearing years and a new baby boom are diminishing the proportion of children who are white. Already, half of U.S. children younger than 1 are Hispanic, black, Asian, Native American or of mixed races. "A lot of people think demographics alone will bring about change and it won't," said Gail Christopher, who heads the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's America Healing project on racial equity. "If attitudes and behaviors don't change, demographics will just mean we'll have a majority population that is low-income, improperly educated, disproportionately incarcerated with greater health disparities." The AP article is in Education Week.
After some 400 completed clinical trials in various cancers, it’s not clear why (the cancer drug) Avastin works (or doesn’t work) in any single patient. “Despite looking at hundreds of potential predictive biomarkers, we do not currently have a way to predict who is most likely to respond to Avastin and who is not,” says a spokesperson for Genentech, a division of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, which makes the drug. That we could be this uncertain about any medicine with $6 billion in annual global sales — and after 16 years of human trials involving tens of thousands of patients — is remarkable in itself. And yet this is the norm, not the exception. Which brings us to perhaps a more fundamental question, one that few people really want to ask: do clinical trials even work? Or are the diseases of individuals so particular that testing experimental medicines in broad groups is doomed to create more frustration than knowledge? The commentary was in The New York Times Sunday Review. This commentary has relevance to Carnegie's approach to improvement in education, where we offer a prototype of a new infrastructure for research and development.
The providers of massive open online courses have rapidly expanded in the past year, aided in part by a series of potentially lucrative no-bid deals with public colleges and universities, including for services that may extend beyond the MOOC model. At least 21 universities and higher education systems in 16 states have signed agreements with Coursera, Udacity or edX without going through a competitive bidding process, according to interviews and open records requests by Inside Higher Ed.
A large number of poor high school students who say they are continuing on to college fail to show up in the fall. The reason is referred to as the "summer melt." Students face many hurdles, including lack of resources and mentors. A Harvard study found that upward of 20% of recent high school graduates who indicate that they will continue on to college do not show up in the fall. The piece ran on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Even in this age of political discord, most people would agree that the main purpose of newly adopted teacher-evaluation instruments is to help teachers improve their effectiveness. However, a policy disconnect stands in the way of using these new evaluation models to actually improve educator practices. To understand why, Stephen Fink (executive director of the University of Washington Center for Education) takes a look at the genesis of the recent teacher-evaluation movement in Education Week.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative Republicans don’t think a GOP rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law does enough to reduce Washington’s influence. Moderates are warily eying proposals that would expand charter schools’ role. Those intraparty differences appear to be blocking the bill’s momentum. It’s just the latest example of the fractured Republican membership in the House, where the party has a majority but often stumbles over internal disagreements. The AP article is in the Boston Globe.

Some of the News Fit to Print
The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College has graded all 50 states on their efforts to teach the ABCs of financial literacy to high school students. The assessments are based primarily on published reports covering state-by-state measures, along with reviews of state legislation going back more than a decade. The piece is from CNN Money.
Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman presented a plan that would make it tougher for teachers to get and keep licenses by demanding higher scores on initial licensing tests and then requiring more frequent renewals, which would be based in part on evaluations of their teaching effectiveness. Only six other states are known to have discussed or adopted similar changes to licensing.  The article is in the Tennessean.
The Boston School Department has refused to release overall ratings of teacher performance at individual schools, denying families access to potentially powerful information that could shed new light on the quality of instruction. The Boston Globe had requested a breakdown of the teacher ratings for each school under a new job evaluation system that deems whether a teacher’s performance is exemplary, proficient, in need of improvement, or unsatisfactory. The Globe requested only an aggregate of the teacher ratings at each school and not for individual teachers so that no one would be personally identified.
High school and middle school teachers think students' writing is affected by digital tools, for better and for worse, according to a survey led by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Of the 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers surveyed, 68 percent said digital tools make students more likely to take shortcuts and 48 percent said students are writing too carelessly and quickly. But, at the same time, teachers said students' potential exposure to a broader audience online and the feedback they receive from peers encourage investment in writing and the process of writing. The information is from Inside Higher Ed’s Quick Takes.
Bill Gates says that this is the “golden era” of learning, thanks to massive open online courses and easy access to information. The chairman of Microsoft gave the keynote address on Monday at Microsoft Research’s Faculty Summit, an annual event that brings together Microsoft researchers and academics from more than 200 institutions for a two-day conference in Redmond, Wash., on current issues facing computer science. At the summit, Mr. Gates told the audience that he sees enormous potential for MOOCs but cautioned that online education still faces many challenges. The post is from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog.
Public colleges in Massachusetts will get a whopping 16-percent increase in state appropriations for the 2014 fiscal year compared with what they got in the previous state budget. Although that amount is being hailed by college leaders as a major reinvestment in public higher education, the state is still spending less on public colleges than it did in the 2008 fiscal year, at the beginning of the recession. "In many states the mood is more positive, but no one is saying, 'We made it,'" said Daniel J. Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The article is The Chronicle of Higher Education.

思考一下美國為什麼不須設立 Las Vegas 大學

// 圍牆內的校園範圍是澳門的地方,圍牆外則是中國的地方,實施「一島兩制」管理方式。但是,一座圍牆亦阻不住澳大越來越「國內化」,與校方所謂的打造「國際化」、世界「一流大學」(還是世界「一.流大學」?)背道而馳。澳大橫琴校區由設計至投入運作,相關的醜聞可謂沒完沒了,而學校作風更非常富有中國特色,越趨封閉、官僚。//
最初估算為58億,到完工要102 億,超支近一倍的「澳門第一學府」澳門大學(澳大)今學年正式遷往與澳門一河之隔…

Training Future Macau Casino Bosses


Eric Rechsteiner for the International Herald Tribune

澳門——納塔莉·陳(Natalie Chan)收注、發牌,還計算輸贏,但她並不是賭場里的莊家。事實上,20歲的她要進入離學校不遠的那些五光十色的賭場賭博,甚至還不夠年齡。
  • 檢視大圖 眾多的賭場已讓澳門成為亞洲的拉斯維加斯,銀河是其中之一。
    Eric Rechsteiner for the International Herald Tribune
  • 檢視大圖 澳門大學,餐旅服務與博彩管理課程的學生們正在上課。
    Eric Rechsteiner for the International Herald Tribune
陳是澳門大學(University of Macau)餐旅服務與博彩管理(Hospitality and Gaming Management)專業的三年級學生,這一課程為澳門迅速發展的博彩與餐旅服務業培養管理和行政人才。而賭場業務培訓只是其中的一部分。
2002年,澳門開放了它的博彩業,於是像金沙 (Sands)和永利渡假村(Wynn Resorts)這樣的大型美國投資者紛紛進入。如今,澳門至少有35家賭場,僱傭了超過8.1萬名員工。它的博彩業收入已超過了拉斯維加斯大道,如此紅 火也因為,博彩業在中國大陸屬非法。每年,有超過2000萬來自大陸的遊客造訪澳門。
餐旅服務與博彩管理課程的協調人埃米·蘇(Amy So)表示,當他們在2003年啟動這一課程的時候,在這個領域的教育上,幾乎沒有什麼其他的選擇。
三年級的學生可以參加一個為期兩周的實地考察項目,造訪拉斯維加斯和夏威夷。上午,他們會在內華達大學拉斯維加斯分校(University of Nevada, Las Vegas)上課,下午會去賭場和酒店。內華達大學拉斯維加斯分校提供餐旅服務和酒店管理的學位。
23歲的姬蒂·龔(Kitty Kuong)去年參加了這個項目。她說,比起美國,澳門還有很大改進的空間。在美國,旅行社、酒店和政府會進行合作。今年,她會成為第一批畢業於澳門大學會務和餐旅服務管理專業的學生。

MACAU — Natalie Chan collected bets, dealt cards and calculated payoffs. She was not a croupier working in a casino — in fact, at 20, she was not even old enough to be on the gambling floor at the glitzy casinos just a short walk from campus.
But she is learning the tricks of the trade through a program meant to train Macau residents to run the hotels and casinos that have made this city Asia’s answer to Las Vegas.

“It wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be,” said Ms. Chan, who learned how to play blackjack and baccarat. “At the end of the training, we had an assessment and I had to perform several calculations while dealing the cards. It was challenging.”
Ms. Chan is a third-year student at the University of Macau’s Hospitality and Gaming Management program, which grooms students for managerial and executive positions in the booming gambling and hospitality industry. Casino floor training is just one part of the course.
“Besides learning about the games, the training allowed me to experience what the dealers go through, the stressful environment that they have to work in, as well as what makes them tired,” Ms. Chan explained. “It gave me an idea of the things I need to be aware of when managing dealers in future.”
Macau opened its doors to major U.S. investors like Sands and Wynn Resorts when it liberalized its casino industry in 2002. It now has at least 35 casinos employing more than 81,000 staff. Its gambling revenue, which outpaces that of the Las Vegas Strip, is aided by the fact that casino gambling is illegal in mainland China, which sends more than 20 million visitors to the city each year.
But the sudden boom, combined with a lack of good local training, meant that many top-level positions were filled by expatriates from the West or other Asian cities like Hong Kong.
Amy So, coordinator for the Hospitality and Gaming Management program, said there were almost no education options in the field when the program opened in 2003.
“Before we started this program, Macau wanted to develop the hospitality and gaming industry, but at that time there were not a lot of people working in this profession and there were no such degrees offered,” she said.
Admission is competitive, with only 72 spots for 360 applicants last year, though Dr. So said the program might be expanded in the future.
In recent years, it has evolved to cater to the emergence of huge family-friendly entertainment complexes, as opposed to the narrowly gambling-focused casinos that existed a decade ago. “I think the trend of this industry is moving toward developing integrated resorts where all the departments — including hotel, gaming, retail, conventions and exhibitions — work together,” Dr. So said.
The university’s courses also cover business, marketing, technology, events management, and food and beverage operations. Students have the choice of specializing in one of two streams: gambling management or convention and hospitality management.
Third-year students can join a two-week field trip to Las Vegas and Hawaii. They take morning courses at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which offers degrees in hospitality management and hotel administration, and spend afternoons at casinos and hotels.
Kitty Kuong, 23, went on the trip last year. She said that Macau had room for improvement in comparison with the United States, where travel agents, hotels and the government work together. She will be among the first batch of students to graduate from the University of Macau’s convention and hospitality management stream this year.
“I can learn both the gaming aspects and also the hospitality aspects of the integrated resorts,” she said. “Also, some of the lecturers are from the industry. It is a good way for us to be in touch.”

2014年11月15日 星期六



教改過錯矛頭? 李遠哲:很委曲

被當成教改過錯矛頭 ,李遠哲今表示委屈、遺憾、沒有道理。許敏溶攝





談教改 3前教長幫李遠哲說話






黃榮村說,現在很多人將教改怪罪於李遠哲一人,這是「Easy Target」,無法解決問題。他以食安議題為例,台灣社會罵是很會罵,但後續進一步追究黑心廠商的責任,確實改善食安,才是「正辦」,不能只是罵而已。



民報編輯部 2014-11-15 14:02

2014年11月13日 星期四


81% of American parents believe that spanking is sometimes necessary. That is more than in many other rich countries, 20 of which have banned spanking even by parents. Overall, Republicans spank more than Democrats; southerners more than north-easterners; blacks more than whites; and born-again Christians more than everyone else. Yet numerous studies show children who are regularly spanked become more aggressive themselves, and are more likely to be depressed or take drugs. http://econ.st/1Bg5JH8

Nearly 30 studies from various countries show that children who are regularly spanked become more aggressive themselves, as both children and adults. They are also more likely to be depressed or take drugs, even after correcting for other factors. Still, 81% of American parents believe that spanking is sometimes necessary. That is more than in many other rich countries http://econ.st/1zl0nFC

GEORGE STEWART’S teacher in Jamaica used to wait by the school door with a switch to punish tardy pupils. His parents whipped him, too. Now he lives in the Bronx...

2014年11月12日 星期三

美國大學師生越來越精英才當得起;不如當水電工;Education and Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] subjects as the most guaranteed route to employment.

For students and teachers alike, the world of higher education is increasingly available only to the most privileged.
One after another, the occupations that shape American society are becoming impossible for all but the most elite to enter.

彭博勸高中生 上大學不如當水電工


【陳智偉╱綜合外電報導】全球青年面臨失業與低薪,美國也不例外,紐約市前市長、身價361億美元(1.11兆元台幣)的全球第12大富豪彭博(Michael Bloomberg)建議面臨生涯抉擇的高中生:上大學不如去當水電工。


彭博勸高中生 上大學不如當水電工

【陳智偉╱綜合外電報導】全球青年面臨失業與低薪,美國也不例外,紐約市前市長、身價361億美元(1.11兆元台幣)的全球第12大富豪彭博(Michael Bloomberg)建議面臨生涯抉擇的高中生:上大學不如去當水電工。
Forcing us to specialise so young is the biggest failing of our education system

Nicky Morgan is probably right about Stem subjects being the best route to a good job but an education should be about more

Fork in road
There's no getting around it: by eschewing the arts subjects at 16 you are still, by definition, limiting your options. Photograph: Grant Faint
Regrets. When it comes to our educations, we’ve all had a few. We might wish that we had worked harder and messed around less, or passed that exam or – and this is the one I hear most frequently – not narrowed our options so young, setting ourselves on a specific path from which it can be nigh-on impossible to deviate.
The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, feels strongly about this, and in an attempt to encourage young people to keep their options open she has urged pupils to study the Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] subjects as the most guaranteed route to employment.
In summary: students who are unsure as to what their careers might be (and who truly knows at 16?) are operating under the mistaken belief that humanities subjects are useful for all kinds of jobs. This belief, says Morgan, “couldn’t be further from the truth ... The subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock doors to all sorts of careers are the Stem subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths.”
The arts, she implies, probably won’t get you a “good” job, and in an increasingly expensive education system could well be a waste of your time. I sympathise – why spend thousands and thousands of pounds on a degree when there is no guarantee of a job on graduation? Many university students can no longer afford the luxury of spending three years reading and thinking and investigating and interrogating simply for the love of it.
The way we view education in this country has changed. And, while that fact makes me sad, my low-income background made me practical. It was the reason for my quixotic attempt at a law degree, aged 19: I wanted to follow the money.
It’s well known that our education system, in contrast to those in other countries, pigeonholes children at 16. I agree with Morgan that more young people, and especially teenage girls, need to be encouraged not to rule out certain subjects. The way ambition is minimised is a terrible thing, particularly when it comes to girls and science.
So often, young women are limited by gender stereotypes and encouraged towards more “female subjects”. At school, one friend expressed an interest in clinical psychology only to be told by a careers adviser that she would be better off being a primary school teacher. It’s also a question of confidence – you might look back on your school days and suddenly realise that actually, you were really very good at chemistry but didn’t realise it at the time. Perhaps no one ever told you.
But there really isn’t any way around it – by eschewing the arts and choosing Stem subjects at 16, you are still, by definition, limiting your options. Perhaps not so much as regards future employment, though that is a factor too, but also, potentially, for your future happiness, intellectual growth and well roundedness as an individual.
That is how our education system works. It is a system of omission, essentially. You drop the subjects for which you have the least enthusiasm or which seem the least useful to you at that moment, and then have plenty of time to regret it later. A friend who dropped out of medicine, for instance, still, nearly 10 years later, wishes he had taken English.
I know so many people who feel they made the wrong choices. In my first year, it was relatively common for students to transfer to different subjects, or even drop out entirely, only to take up another course a year or several years later. As of July 2014, the percentage of students remaining in higher education after their first year is at an all-time high, and the number of students transferring from one institution to another has also dropped. I hope that this is because students are thinking more carefully about their options but I worry about how the pressure of high fees might be playing a part:“I’ve paid for this, so I’d better keep at it, regardless of how unhappy it makes me.”
Part of growing up is accepting all those things you’ll never be, but which perhaps, in another system or universe, you could have been. My own secret regret is that I would have quite liked to have gone to art school. That I dropped out of law was a surprise to no one.
I wish that, as under the French baccalaureate system, children had longer to decide before they specialised, were not pressured into university when it might not be the right choice for them, and were encouraged to explore their interests, learn a trade, or even wait a few years and apply as mature students. I enjoyed my “useless” degree in Italian and art history, which I believe was as valuable and fascinating as any Stem subject, but it took a while – not to mention a much bigger student loan – to get to that point.
Having mentored aspiring journalists through the Social Mobility Foundation, seeing this agony over subject choices affect a whole new generation has saddened me. I want to tell them that the world is wide, that they are young, and that, above all, they have time to discover the things that will form them. But the truth is, they don’t have that time. And, for a modern education system, that is a failure.

2014年11月11日 星期二

哈佛大學的學生身體狀況The State of the Student Body

The State of the Student Body

Students, Admins Evaluate Wellness at Harvard

Officials at University Health Services found that a significant number of undergraduates continue to face stress, suffer from sleep deprivation, and exercise infrequently despite an increased focus on institutional programs and resources related to mental and physical health.
“It’s terrible—neck pain, shoulders, my eyes get tired, pretty much everything you can think of,” Masahiro L. Kusunoki ’17 said, describing the physical pain he has been dealing with since his freshman year at Harvard.
Long hours of working over his computer and carrying heavy books in his backpack has strained multiple parts of Kusunoki’s body, though he has no diagnosed chronic condition. During his freshman year, Kusunoki said, he experienced insomnia and often slept only three hours a night—a condition he said only started when he arrived at Harvard.
While Kusunoki’s experience may not be representative of the entire student body, it sheds light on the physical cost that can come with studying at an institution like Harvard.
Although much attention has been paid to stress-related mental health, the University has also made great efforts in recent years to bolster physical wellness resources. But while students applaud the changes, they continue to struggle to fit them into a life filled less with sleepless nights and more with a constant buzz of anxiety—an  indicator, student activists say, of the need for a broader cultural shift spearheaded by the student body itself.
According to the 2014 Harvard University Health Services Health Assessment—a comprehensive survey with more than 2,000 student respondents administered last spring—64 percent of respondents rated their overall physical health as “very good or “excellent” and 70 percent indicated that a physical health issue has never or almost never had a negative impact on their academic performance.
However, Director of Harvard University Health Services Paul J. Barreira said that students’ perceptions may not accurately reflect their physical wellness. This may be indicated by lifestyle habits such as sleeping, eating, or exercise—all of which can positively or negatively affect the health status of the students, Barreira said.
The survey results showed that 10 percent of respondents reported getting less than six hours of sleep on a school night, while two-thirds indicated they sleep for six to seven hours. Although Harvard students may be getting more sleep than the popular campus image of “Lamonsters”—students who toil away all night in Harvard’s only 24-hour library—suggests, they may still be regularly sleeping less than scientists suggest is optimal.
“Sleep deprivation” for the college age group has been defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as getting less than seven hours of sleep. By this standard, more than 70 percent of respondents would be categorized as “sleep-deprived”—a condition that can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, scientists have found.
“I know students say ‘I’m healthy,’ but they are also getting only seven or less hours of sleep,” Bareirra said. “If [UHS] were going to name one general health concern, we would say sleep deprivation.”
The survey also reveals that students may not be balancing other aspects of their physical health at Harvard, such as exercise. Only 30 percent of  respondents met the national guidelines for recommended weekly physical exertion, though Barreira said the data suggested that Harvard students’ level of physical activity is not dramatically different from that of the college age group nationally.
Barreira added that students who structure their lives so as to maintain healthy habits generally report less stress or are better able to cope with their stress—another dimension of student life with implications for physical wellness that administrators said they are monitoring.
“Oftentimes there are threads between [mental health and physical health],” said Dean of Freshman Thomas A. Dingman ’67, whose office conducted an assessment of student stress last year.
According to a study conducted by the Freshman Dean’s Office, 86 percent of last year’s freshman reported significant stress from academic challenges. Sixty-seven percent reported challenges related to time management, and an increasing number said they experienced stress from extracurricular activities. Other reported causes of stress included searching for summer opportunities and social relationships.
The FDO’s results are in line with the findings of the Workgroup on Student Stress, which concluded in its 2013 report that student stress had four primary causes: time pressure, academic and extracurricular competition, identity and belonging, and managing digital media.
Dingman noted that extracurricular activities, instead of relieving student stress, have increasingly contributed to higher stress levels in recent years.
“It used to be that people did their extracurricular activities as a way to recharge their batteries, and feel some unencumbered pleasure,” Dingman said. “Now, a number put their extracurricular activities with their ‘should list.’”
With stress permeating an increasing number of aspects of student life, sleeping and exercising habits that are less than optimal leave students poorly equipped to cope with stress and maintain their physical health, administrators say.
Acknowledging the link between stress and physical wellness, Harvard administrators and staff point to a number of existing and developing initiatives meant for students seeking to alleviate their stress.  
Barreira cited the Workgroup on Student Stress as a product of growing awareness of a connection between stress, mental health, and physical wellness. The group made several recommendations, one of which was recently realized with the opening of the Serenity Room for freshmen in the basement of Grays Hall.
While Dingman said he thinks the College has greatly strengthened its mental health resources in recent years, he added that it still needs to improve its physical health resources, particularly in encouraging its students to look after their physical health.
Although there have been some discussions among administrators of re-instituting a physical activity requirement for students, Dingman said, he believes the College should work to encourage rather than mandate students to get exercise.
Perhaps the most prominent example of an institutional resource that encourages students to prioritize physical wellness is the Center of Wellness at UHS, where students can get discounted hour-long massage or acupuncture appointments with a professional therapist. The Center also offers yoga classes and free meditation sessions. According to Director of Center for Wellness Jeanne Mahon, undergraduate students had more than 1,300 massage and acupuncture appointments during the 2013-2014 academic year.
The College also provides the freshman class and each upperclassman house with wellness tutors or proctors, who plan events to promote healthy living for their community. According to Kirkland wellness tutors Kelly P. Brock and Rory B. Lindsay, while the Center of Wellness coordinates trainings and assists tutors in scheduling some events, services vary from house to house because tutors are autonomous, planning everything from a puppy study break to Buddhist meditation based on resources and personal interests.
“[House administrators] are thinking about how to create calm spaces—how do you help students manage stress more effectively, as well as helping them change their habits?” Barreira said.
While the 12 students interviewed for this article said they were aware of the resources that Harvard provides, most had not taken advantage of them—a state of affairs student wellness activists said indicates a need for broader cultural changes on campus regarding stress.
One student said that she is too busy to de-stress, questioning whether the College’s wellness programs would be an effective use of time for Harvard students caught in “a culture of continuous competition.”
“I do know about [the resources]. I’ve never actually taken advantage of them,” said Leila Y. Islam ’15. “[Getting a massage] takes up a lot of time. I’d rather take that time to do my work.”
Islam’s statement is representative of a broader lack of motivation for students to utilize these resources. Some said they heard about wellness resources in general terms from Harvard’s advertisements, but none of their close friends have made use of these resources, making them hesitant to seek them out.
“I’ve been informed [of the stress resources], but not well enough that I’d feel comfortable using them,” said Natasha H. Sarna ’18. “In the practical sense, I can’t see myself ever using it.”
According to student activists, that reluctance to seek out University initiatives places greater responsibility on student groups, who can not only offer resources to students in a friendlier manner, but can also help shift the culture on campus so that students will prioritize their own health.
Mimi Yen ’16 is the organizer of Stressbusters, a group of around 15 students who give free backrubs to fellow students. According to Yen, all Stressbusters have gone through a training process at the Center for Wellness, and their mission is to create “deliberate moments of calm.”
“There’s a culture here that says: if you’re not working, you are not being productive and therefore you are wasting your time here,” Yen said. “We should promote a culture that says: it’s okay to take a break. That’s something Stressbusters strives to do.”
Administrators also acknowledge the need for a cultural shift, a transformation that they say students can help to catalyze, while staff and faculty continue to act in support.
“I believe it is possible for Harvard students to maintain a high level of physical wellness, said Ryan M. Travia, director of health promotion and prevention services at UHS. “It requires some effort and for some, an altering of the mindset to prioritize things like sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet in order to ensure optimal health and peak performance both in and out the classroom.”
Dingman agrees.
“I think our role as advisors is to keep asking questions of the care people take of themselves,” Dingman said, noting that administrators should support students’ efforts to adopt healthier habits, rather than imposing changes from above.
Though his symptoms have not disappeared, Kusunoki, who as a freshman had experienced a great deal of physical repercussions for his work and sleep schedule, said he has been slowly making adjustments in his sophomore year. He now visits spas, sleeps the full night, regularly frequents the gym, and takes breaks from campus.
“I feel so much better when I wake up,” he said. “I’m putting my own well-being over my academics.”
—Staff Writer Zara Zhang can be reached at zara.zhang@thecrimson.com.
—Staff Writer Quynh-Nhu Le can be reached at quynhnhu.le@thecrimson.com.



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