Quick Takes: Princeton Considers Pre-Enrollment Service Year Abroad, Alternative Education Master's Degree, Mormon Studies, Where Engineering Grads Are and Aren't, Science in '08, Anything to Sell a Book
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on February 19, 2008 - 4:00am
Princeton University is announcing today that it is studying the idea of sending about 100 admitted students -- or about 10 percent of an entering class -- abroad for a tuition-free year of public service prior to enrolling. Admitted students from outside the United States would participate in countries other than their own. The idea, according to a university statement, is to promote international perspectives, to serve the world and to provide a break for students from the academic grind many experience in high school. In light of the latter goal, the programs would not be academic in nature, but oriented toward service. While Princeton's approach would be new, it reflects a trend in which a small, but growing number of colleges are sending students to study abroad before enrolling on campus. Unlike the Princeton program, these efforts involve formal study, but proponents cite the way the programs have the potential to give students an international perspective for all of their time on campus.
A modular approach to education master's degrees -- to the frustration of some who run traditional programs -- has become extremely popular with Dallas area teachers, The Dallas Morning News reported. The approach involves a collaboration between Lamar University and a for-profit company, Higher Education Holdings. Students take one five-week course at a time and are able to finish a master's degree in 18 months, significantly less time than traditional programs.
Many colleges are adding courses in Mormon studies, and some non-Mormon universities have recently created endowed chairs in the field, The Boston Globe reported. The newspaper cited several possible reasons for the surge in interest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among them: discussion of the faith during the failed campaign of Mitt Romney for president, a recent PBS documentary, the award-winning play Angels in America and the HBO hit "Big Love."
A new study looks at how which the states are doing at producing more engineering graduates. Gary Schuckman, director of federal relations and research advancement at the University of Central Florida, found that in the last decade, 20 states increased their production of engineering graduates while 30 states reported decreases.
Advisers to Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama each made the case that their candidate was the best on science issues, during a debate at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But an account of the event by the AAAS noted similarities in their science platforms, with both Democratic candidates pledging major budget increases and an end to the politicization of key science decisions.
As selling scholarly books becomes difficult, some scholars are getting creative. Patricia Aufderheide, an expert on documentary film at American University's School of Communication, recently published Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction with Oxford University Press. The book is now on sale at Landmark Theaters in Washington and Maryland, a chain known for foreign films and documentaries. American University officials think it may be the only scholarly book available with a tub of popcorn, but we wonder if some scholar of the horror flick or Jane Austen might have tried this approach as well.