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Quick Takes: How Community College Students Start, More Aid From Harvard Med School, Another Direct Lending Convert, New Leader for AUB, Mixed Verdict on Reno Prof, Land Deal and Tenure, Science Agenda for the Candidates, Korean-Americans in Korea

March 24, 2008
  • A new survey -- by the researchers who study the engagement levels of community college students -- is looking specifically at how they start their programs, and the results suggest some cause for concern. The Survey of Entering Student Engagement, in a pilot survey at 22 colleges during the fourth and fifth weeks of the semester, found that only one third of new students had met with an academic advisor to plan goals and that 41 percent had not used any academic advising or planning services at the college. A larger survey is planned next year. A larger survey, based on the idea that community colleges need to focus more on the "front door" experiences of their students, is planned. More information and video interviews with selected students are available here.
  • Harvard University's medical school announced Friday that it was following other parts of the university in unveiling major additions to financial aid programs. The medical school will in effect drop the expected family contribution for students from families with incomes of up to $120,000 a year. The expected contribution for many of these families would have been $50,000 over four years.
  • Mercyhurst College, in Pennsylvania, has announced that it is joining the federal government's direct loan program. Mercyhurst's move follows similar announcements -- amid the growing credit crunch -- from Pennsylvania State University and Northeastern University.
  • Peter F. Dorman, a professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago, was on Friday named as the next president of the American University of Beirut. Since its founding in 1866, AUB has played a key role as an outpost of American educational values in the Middle East, for many generations educating the elites of many nations. The university suffered considerably during the Lebanese civil war, and several presidents were unable to work in Beirut, but that changed under John Waterbury, who is retiring after 10 years in office. Dorman has deep ties to AUB and Lebanon. He was born in Lebanon as his father was part of the Presbyterian mission in Lebanon. Dorman is the great-great-grandson of Daniel Bliss, the founder of the university. In a brief e-mail interview, Dorman said it was too soon to outline his priorities, but said that he was impressed by AUB's "intellectual vigor" and role in the region. The launch of a number of American universities in the Middle East in recent years doesn't change AUB's mission, he said, but "does present challenges that will bear evaluation as these young institutions unfold." The university recently revived eight Ph.D. programs, Dorman said, with the "expectation of restoring the vital role AUB has historically played in graduate research and teaching."
  • A hearing officer at the University of Nevada at Reno on Friday cleared Hussein S. Hussein, a professor, of charges that he plagiarized students' work, but found that he was unprofessional and dishonest in managing research funds, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. While he could face various sanctions, Hussein no longer faces the possibility of being fired from his tenured job. Hussein has denied all wrongdoing and charged that the inquiries are retaliation for charges he made that the university was violating animal welfare rules.
  • Two engineering professors at the University of Texas at San Antonio have been suspended and face the possibility of losing their tenured positions based on their purchase of a land plot that had been surveyed by their students as part of a course project, the San Antonio Express-News reported. While the professors did not comment to the newspaper, they previously indicated that they did not think they had done anything unethical.
  • The Association of American Universities on Friday released "Science as a Solution," a report outlining a science and research agenda for the next president. The report offers ideas on research support, science education, the nature of university-government partnerships and on the role of science in developing policy in the White House.
  • Korean universities have stepped up their recruitment of Korean-American undergraduates, some of whom are turning down top American universities, Joong Ang Daily reported. The Korean universities have started accepting the SAT to encourage applications from Korean-American students who are considering institutions in both countries. A proliferation of English-language programs means that the students need not speak Korean.
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