Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Is the College Board favoring students who are experts on Snooki? Many students who took the SAT this month were surprised to find an essay prompt on reality television shows, and some students who prefer more educational forms of entertainment complain that they were at a disadvantage in writing their essays, The New York Times reported. Student discussion boards have many comments from students who took the most recent SAT saying that they don't watch television or this particular genre. College Board officials defended the question, saying that all the information students needed for the essay was in the prompt.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

After a year in which many law students have been complaining about poor job prospects, applications to law school are down 11.5 percent from this point a year ago, according to data provided by the Law School Admission Council to The Wall Street Journal. "When the economy first went down, students saw law school as a way to dodge the work force," Ryan Heitkamp, a pre-law adviser at Ohio State University, told the newspaper. "The news has gotten out that law school is not necessarily a safe backup plan."

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Advocates for community colleges are not always happy with the way they are portrayed in popular culture. Witness the debate over NBC's "Community." Critics from the community college world may want to start getting ready for Larry Crowne, a film due out this summer in which Julia Roberts plays a community college professor and Tom Hanks her student (who, like many community college students, enrolls when he loses his job). The last movie featuring Roberts as a professor was Mona Lisa Smile, in which she played an art historian trying to challenge her students and colleagues at Wellesley College in the 1950s. The image of Wellesley didn't go over well with the college.

Here is the trailer for the new film:

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The Idaho House of Representatives voted Wednesday to allow guns -- concealed or visible -- on public college and university campuses, Reuters reported. The measure now heads for the Senate. Critics said that campuses would become less safe if more people had guns there. Legislation to loosen gun regulations on public campuses in Texas passed out of a House of Representatives committee there on Wednesday, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

A new website -- Armed Campuses -- has been created by groups opposed to guns on campus. The site lists colleges that permit guns, so that prospective students and their families have information about those institutions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

As colleges move to comply with a new federal requirement to give students and families a way to calculate an institution's net price, they are doing so in greatly varying ways and to varying degrees of effectiveness, the Institute for College Access and Success says in a new report. The advocacy group for students analyzed the first crop of net price calculators that colleges have put online to comply with the requirement that takes effect in October, and finds that some of the tools are more accessible, easier to use and are more protective of student privacy than are others. The group also offers a series of recommendations for institutions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Students and administrators at the University of Utah are voicing concern over the racial nature of attacks in the student government elections that are wrapping up this week on the campus, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. One of the parties seeking election is close to the university's Greek system while the other party is racially diverse.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dyron Daughrity of Pepperdine University discusses the life of Saint Patrick. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

University of Iowa officials on Tuesday said that a medical official was wrong to secretly have installed a baby monitor to check on whether secretaries were talking too much, the Associated Press reported. University officials have said that they do not believe conversations were actually monitored, but officials at the AFSCME local that is the union of the workers who were monitored are dubious.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The worsening crisis in Japan is prompting varied reactions from colleges with students in study abroad programs there. The California State University System is bringing back about 45 students who are there and calling off the plans of another 50 students to travel there soon, the Associated Press reported. Stanford University announced that all 35 of its students in Japan have returned. Students from the University of North Dakota have already returned, Valley News Live reported. While students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison studying in Japan were given the option to come back, most plan to stay, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into a professor's complaint that the University of California at Santa Cruz allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students on the campus. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Santa Cruz lecturer, filed a 2009 complaint about the university's sponsorship of events that she believed had a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel slant. In a March 7 letter to Rossman-Benjamin, Arthur Zeidman, who heads the civil rights office's San Francisco office, said it would investigate whether Santa Cruz failed to fulfill its requirements under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- a move applauded by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, which is championing her cause. In a prepared statement, Santa Cruz's general counsel, Carole Rossi, said: "We will, of course, fully cooperate with such an investigation. And as OCR noted in its communication with the campus, that office's decision to review an individual's allegations in no way implies that the agency has determined that the allegations have merit."

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