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Quick Takes: Raid and Be Raided, Antioch College President Quits, Key to Science Success, No Benefit to 'Exceptional' Lender Designation, Villanova Expels 3 Athletes, Green Mountain Drops SAT, Education Statistics, Lockout at Bishop's U.

July 27, 2007
  • Back in 2001, George Mason University pulled off a hiring coup when it recruited Vernon L. Smith and six other economists who worked with him from the University of Arizona. Smith was widely seen as someone who might win the Nobel in economics, and the hire was an attempt by George Mason to put its economics department on the fast track. Smith was hired at a salary in excess of $200,000 and his colleagues were making close to $100,000. The investment paid off when Smith won the Nobel in 2002. But on Thursday, Chapman University announced that it has recruited Smith -- now 80 -- and three of those who had followed him from Arizona to George Mason. Chapman is creating an Economic Sciences Institute to be a base of operations for the new hires. A spokeswoman for Chapman declined to say how much they would be paid.
  • Steve Lawry, the president of Antioch College, announced Thursday that he was resigning, effective at the end of the year, "in light of" the decision by Antioch University's board to suspend operations of the college after the next academic year. Lawry had been expected to stay on during the period that the college's operations were suspended and a new version of the college was designed, under the plans announced by the university last month. It was unclear Thursday night what impact Lawry's departure would have, and he was unavailable for comment. Many of the students, faculty members, and alumni who have been harshly critical of the university's administration have expressed much more trust in Lawry. In a statement he made to faculty members Thursday, he said that he believed the college could be revived if it had its own board of trustees. Critics of the central administration have said that the Antioch University board has focused too much on the non-residential campuses around the country, and not on the historic Yellow Springs campus of the college.
  • New research by professors at Harvard University and the University of Virginia has found that no single high school science course has an impact beyond that type of science, when it comes to predicting success in college science. However, the researchers found that a rigorous mathematics curriculum in high school has a significant impact on performance in college science courses. The research, which will be published in Science, runs counter to the "physics first" movement in which some educators have been advocating that physics come before biology and chemistry in the high school curriculum. The study was based on analysis of a broad pool of college students, their high school course patterns, and their performance in college science.
  • Eliminating the U.S. Education Department's "exceptional performer" program for lenders would save the government money without hurting student borrowers, the Government Accountability Office said in a report Thursday. The "exceptional performer" designation, which would be eliminated under budget reconciliation bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives as part of a package of cuts to lender profits, provides heftier reimbursements on defaulted loans to student loan providers that are shown to provide outstanding service to borrowers. But the GAO report concludes that the program would cost the government $1 billion over five years, without materially improving the servicing of loans or diminishing loan defaults.
  • Villanova University has expelled three incoming freshmen who were football recruits in the wake of sexual abuse allegations in a dormitory housing participants in a summer program, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The three athletes have not been charged with any crime, as the woman bringing the complaint reported it to campus officials. The expulsions were announced following widespread rumors about what had happened on the campus, the newspaper said.
  • Green Mountain College, in Vermont, is dropping the SAT requirement for applicants, although those who were home-schooled or educated outside the United States will still need to submit scores. Earlier this week, Goucher and Merrimack College announced similar changes.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics has released "Digest of Education Statistics, 2006," the latest annual compilation of statistics on all levels of education.
  • Bishop's University, in Quebec, on Thursday locked all unionized employees off the campus, and suspended summer courses and programs. University officials told The Montreal Gazette that they believed the step would move contract negotiations forward. The talks have been stalled by disputes on pensions, among other issues. Union officials said that the lockout was not necessary and was hurting students.
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