Wealthy backgrounds lead to higher graduate earnings

May 3, 2021


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first_imgOn the issue of why those from wealthier backgrounds might do better than their peers in competition for the very highest earning jobs, the study offers suggestions but no firm answer. According to one postgraduate with experience in business and hiring processes however, “it remains an unfortunate reality that wealthy, influential families have connections that can give certain graduates an unfair advantage in hiring processes for highly-paid roles.” Jonathan Black, director of the Oxford Careers Service, highlighted the initiatives run by the university that aim to address any disadvantages brought about by household income or gender. He told Cherwell, “the Careers Service provides connections with alumni (to address any social capital deficits) for students, and training programmes are being introduced (eg, Springboard for women students) to address any confidence issues.“The Moritz-Heyman scholarships programme, which particularly targets students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds, includes as part of its support for on-course students funded internship opportunities that allow students to pursue valuable work experience while having their costs covered.”­­­ A recent study on graduate income has revealed that students from wealthy backgrounds go on to earn more than those from less well-off families. The findings of the report also indicate a disparity in the earnings of men and women, as well as differences based upon the course studied and institution attended by the graduate.The study was a collaboration between the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Institute of Education, University of Cambridge and Harvard University, with funding from the Nuffield Foundation. The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) press release states ‘the average student from a higher-income background earned about 10% more than the average student from other backgrounds.’ Zoe Fannon, currently reading for an MPhil in Economics, told Cherwell, “the question in both cases is why individuals from less-wealthy families and female graduates seem to not end up in the high-paid jobs.” The disparity grew at the very top of the earnings spectrum. ‘The 10% highest-earning male graduates from richer backgrounds earned about 20% more than the 10% highest earners from relatively poorer backgrounds even after taking account of subject and the characteristics of the university attended. The equivalent premium for the 10% highest-earning female graduates from richer backgrounds was 14%.’ She was eager to address the information the study was based on and said “they only have data on the graduates who took out loans from the Student Loan Company.” As a result of how income thresholds are calculated, “the graduates from wealthy families are mostly people whose parents are professionals rather than people whose parents own companies or run hedge funds (because they would likely pay fees straight up rather than taking out a loan).” Oxford was no exception in the study. While ‘more than 10% of male graduates from LSE, Oxford and Cambridge were earning in excess of £100,000 a year ten years after graduation in 2012/13’ only LSE had over 10% of its female graduates earning above the same figure.last_img read more

Questions, answers with Harvard’s Muslim chaplain

March 1, 2021


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first_imgKhalil Abdur-Rashid was named Harvard’s first full-time Muslim chaplain last July, bringing with him a strong foundation in civil rights, social work, higher education, and Islamic law and philosophy. Since choosing Islam as a youth, and embarking on a spiritual journey whose genesis began around the time of 9/11, Abdur-Rashid has cultivated a strong, personal understanding of the African-American Muslim experience.The holder of master’s of philosophy degrees in Islam and Middle Eastern studies, both from Columbia University, and an Islamic advanced doctorate (ijaaza ilmiyyah) in Islamic legal sciences and ethics from the ISAR Seminary in Istanbul, Abdur-Rashid is also nearing the completion of a doctorate in liberal studies, for which he is writing a history of the development of the African-American Muslim community, from the death of Malcolm X to the death of Muhammad Ali.But while his understanding of Islam is deeply steeped in rigorous academic inquiry, it is the imperative to help young people connect religious tradition to lived experience that largely drives his work at Harvard.Abdur-Rashid sat down with the Gazette to reflect on his first academic year, and to share his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the religious community on campus, and in particular for Muslim American students at Harvard.Q&AKhalil Abdur-RashidGAZETTE: You’re closing in on completing your first academic year here. How has your time been spent, thus far?ABDUR-RASHID: My first year was about doing everything I could to map out the landscape. It was about beginning to understand the culture of the University and the students’ needs, both in terms of, generally speaking, students at the College, and also, more specifically, the Muslim students at the College and graduate schools. I’ve also sought to understand what kinds of programs I can offer to best root the students in a sense of stability. This is so important in today’s overwhelmingly changing social climate.GAZETTE: Talk more about the opportunity for a university to have a full-time Muslim chaplain. Why is this important to Harvard, and to the students themselves?ABDUR-RASHID: First and foremost, as President Drew Faust articulated in her rationale for creating this position, there was a matter of equality that needed to be addressed on behalf of Harvard’s Muslim students. Historically, many have felt the sense of being marginalized, of being targeted, and of being left behind. There was a need for somebody to be able to speak to their concerns in a way that represented both the University and where those students were coming from. I’m able to do this in a way that helps them better discover what it means to be a student of an American Muslim background. I can empathize with their feelings of being targeted or of feeling ashamed of their identity. And I can do these things in my role as a University representative, seeking to help those students to understand that they can be proud of who they are.GAZETTE: I imagine you draw on your experience for this work. You have your own unique story to tell as an American Muslim who chose his faith tradition at an early age.ABDUR-RASHID: Yes, I can very closely relate to these students. My own experience around a similar age challenged me to figure out what it means to be an American Muslim. I had just graduated from college on 9/11, a traumatic experience and a major turning point for our nation and for Muslims living in America and abroad. But this was also a defining moment for me personally, because it took place at the time when I went on my own spiritual journey, and also when I went out into the real world. It was a lot to deal with all at once. A lot of these students are experiencing similar feelings of so much happening at the same time. They’ve left the homes they grew up in and the families they grew up with. They’re living in dormitories for the first time, getting exposed to different foods that their moms didn’t cook. They’ve arrived in Cambridge, which is in one sense a bubble, and which is in another sense one of the most diverse places on the planet. So much is new, and I seek to help guide them through this newness.Of course, I draw upon my own background and experiences in my work. My youth as an African-American growing up in the South, whose family was very much involved in the Civil Rights Movement, mixed with my own studies in Islam and my own spiritual journey in a post-9/11 world, have afforded me the opportunity to look at the intersections of race and religion in an American context. These experiences have allowed me to explore the challenges that come with that intersection, and to learn how to rise above those challenges, and speak to those challenges, in a way that’s authentic and gives hope. “They’re living in dormitories for the first time, getting exposed to different foods that their moms didn’t cook. They’ve arrived in Cambridge, which is in one sense a bubble, and which is in another sense one of the most diverse places on the planet.” GAZETTE: What are some of the specific challenges for Muslim students at Harvard?ABDUR-RASHID: The major consistent challenges that I’ve seen since I’ve been here come in two domains. The first domain, which affects mostly students at the College, is about “What does Islam have to say about x, y, and z?” For example, police brutality. Gender identity. Can I take Adderall to help me stay up at night to study?Many of these students grew up in a Muslim home, from a cultural background, and even a religious background, but it was never articulated to them how to be a Muslim in the worldly sense, outside of ritual. Now, in this environment, they have to think for themselves. They have to try to find answers. Sometimes they may come across things in class or when they’re in dialogue with their peers that jar them, challenge them, and cause them to ask questions of themselves as to who they are and where they stand on these issues, not only as American students but as Muslim students. The American side of their brain might trigger one answer, but the Muslim identity might respond differently. Are they consistent? Are there divergences? What happens if the Muslim side says no or yes and the American side says no or yes, and they’re in contradiction? How do I reconcile those two? Is it even possible? And then, how do I think about this whole notion of a dual consciousness? That’s what I see at the level of the College.The second domain, which is more prevalent in the graduate Schools, is more about how to intersect Islam with a student’s field of study and planned career path. It’s about how do I “interdisciplinarize” my faith with my work?Let me give you an example. A young woman from the Kennedy School came into my office the other day. She’s a Muslim woman from an East Asian country, one year away from graduation, who told me she wants to go back to her country and become the first Muslim woman prime minister there. That was her goal. So her question to me was: What does Islam say about this, and how do I persuade the male-dominated culture that I come from that I should be prime minister? How do I work within an Islamic framework, using terminology and sources from the tradition, in a way that will resonate with Muslim clerics in her country, to the men in her country who are in parliament, and to those who would come to her website to learn more about her candidacy? Amazing, right?GAZETTE: Let’s talk more about this “interdisciplinarization” that you advocate for in your own work, because it reminds me of all of the diverse opportunities here at Harvard, the multitude of Schools, programs, activities, and perspectives that all make up this University, yet too often exist in silos. President Faust has spoken frequently about the importance of creating “One Harvard,” and breaking down barriers across campus. Have you had any One Harvard moments in your first year, and how can your work serve to further this important mission?ABDUR-RASHID: The vision of One Harvard is absolutely reachable within the work that I do, and especially through collaborations with the 30-plus Harvard chaplains here. We believe, together, that this University is sending the message that Harvard is about making the world a better place. And we believe One Harvard is about utilizing all of our individual strengths to leverage our collective strength in hopes of reaching that goal. As chaplains, of course, we advocate for the religious, spiritual, and ethical life to supplement the intellectual life, that the human being is not just a robust intellectual being but a spiritual being as well.GAZETTE: But Harvard is often seen as a secular institution. How does spiritual life fit in here, and how does it complement the academic journey being undertaken by Harvard students?ABDUR-RASHID: In life, just like there’s an IQ, there’s also an SQ, a spiritual quotient, and I believe that both of those things need to be synchronized. I also believe that faith and spirituality matter here at Harvard. And they matter because they help students to learn the right thing to do in an environment where the right thing is often based in very restrictive settings — in a math class based on algorithms, or in a language class that’s based on grammatical rules, or in another class that’s based on the rules that the teacher has outlined.One of the things I do with both undergraduate and graduate students is give them a religious language to use that makes sense in the secular environment. And often that language is ethics. How do you treat people, and how do you advocate for good treatment? My work is less about helping students to understand Islam as a theological tradition. For most of these students, that’s already a given. Instead, so many are looking for ways to translate the teachings that they know so well into a way that can be a part of their studies and their future professions. I seek to help them to understand Islam as a lived experience.GAZETTE: What are some of the programmatic offerings you’re working on to help students to enhance their “spiritual quotients”?ABDUR-RASHID: I’ve just finished putting together 10 programs that will be gradually introduced in phases over the next three years. These programs will be directed toward Muslim students, but also University-wide, open to everyone, even if they’re not students of faith. There will be two programs this coming fall, the first of which is called “Life Matters.” “Life Matters” is an interview show where I speak with an esteemed faculty member or prestigious person who is a part of the Harvard community, and ask her or him to share certain aspects of their life story that no one would have known before. We’ll discuss times when that person has faced a challenge, and how they’ve used some aspect of faith or spiritual teachings, or even family teachings passed down, in their decision-making process in order to overcome those obstacles. We hope to have these shows available as podcasts for archive and for the benefit of future students and alumni.We’ll also have a program called “Faith in Conversations,” a roundtable discussion involving me and two or three distinguished members of the faith community at Harvard. The conversations will not be about commonalities, but instead we’ll talk about our differences and how these differences can be used to get to know one another and eliminate blind spots that we have around each other.The whole idea is that narratives are very powerful, that when you get to know someone, this is what can break down walls. I’m looking forward to partnering with Pastor Jonathan Walton of Memorial Church, and the Rev. Kathleen Reed, who is president of the Harvard chaplains, for the first program. I hope to start with the Abrahamic traditions, and then go into other traditions. I’m very much looking forward to it.This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

Breaking down how college tennis rankings are determined

September 16, 2020


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first_imgOne of college tennis’ best-ranked doubles teams hasn’t played together this season.The pairing of Valeria Salazar and Gabriela Knutson opened the year ranked No. 10 in the country. Even though Salazar’s right-wrist injury ended her season after one game, in early February, the duo is still ranked, now at No. 26.They remain ranked due to an oddity in college tennis rankings. The only way to drop out of the rankings is to lose and the only way others can pass the Salazar-Knutson team is by winning.Like every other Division I tennis program, Syracuse (7-10, 4-6 Atlantic Coast) is beholden to the mathematical formula. It determines ranks across all modes of play: singles, doubles and team. The system used in college tennis is also unique. The three other major governing bodies in the sport use a different method.“I wouldn’t want my coaches to decide how it is,” Knutson said. “So, I really like that it is computerized, because I think it’s fair. If you beat a ranked opponent, you should move higher.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textUnlike football, hockey or basketball, there is no poll — coaches or press — to determine which team gets which number by its name. Just like the former Bowl Championship Series math in college football, the computer rankings determine the fields for the singles, doubles and team NCAA tournaments at the end of the season. The rankings ensure the ranking’s importance.It’s a constant crunching of one mathematical formula.Emma Comtois | Design EditorThe equation takes the sum of points from wins, which are assigned relative to an opponent’s ranking. Wins over No. 1 through No. 5 are worth 80 points, six through 10 are worth 75, and the scale decreases until Nos. 101 to 125, which are worth 10. A similar system applies to loss points, but in reverse. Losing to the No. 1 player adds one-tenth of a point to the loss points and losing to an unranked player hits at 1.25 loss points. Every player’s wins and losses are reported to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, which plugs in the results and calculates each player’s average point value. They are then ranked accordingly.Freshman Miranda Ramirez is the only active SU player ranked, at No. 79 in singles. Salazar, despite having played only one match, ranks No. 109.“I actually don’t know how college rankings work,” Ramirez said. “I never really followed college tennis before I came here, so I’m still in the process of learning.”The system compiles the top 125 players in the country and, currently, No. 125 has an average of 4.59 points while No. 1 owns a 74.55 average. The gap appears enormous, but if No. 125 were to beat No. 1, she would receive 80 win points for beating a top-5 opponent and shoot up the rankings. How far depends at when in the season the upset occurred.By relying on a formula and points, ITA rankings remain relatively steady as the season progresses. The rankings are volatile early in the season because the denominators for each player are just a handful of points. A big upset could jump a player over 50 spots. The ITA combats these mathematical overreactions by not releasing a second set of rankings until the season’s fourth week.But as April and May arrive, mobility decreases as totals increase. The stability in the rankings is part of why coaches and players, including Syracuse head coach Younes Limam and the Orange, buy into the calculus for selecting the NCAA tournament field.“We always say, ‘results don’t lie,’” Limam said.So, while it’s impossible to be at the top without winning, it’s impossible to drop without losing.The other four major bodies in tennis — the International Tennis Federation, Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association and United States Tennis Association — don’t use any type of calculation. They all use a raw points system, in which a tournament champion gets the most points, the runner-up gets just under that and semi-finalists get slightly fewer. Everything results in a net positive and winning a championship earns exponentially more points than being ousted in the early rounds.Knutson, who began the season No. 99 in singles, beat Miami’s Sinead Lohan, the No. 14 player in the country, on Sunday and didn’t even know it until after the match. When she found out, a grin flashed across her face.“Well now that I know, that’s awesome,” Knutson said on Sunday. “That means I’ll jump in the rankings.” Comments Published on April 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more