U.S. News & World Report announced on Friday that it is pulling some of its rankings of engineering programs due to "several database errors." The previous year's rankings will remain in place, the magazine said. "Because year-to-year changes in these rankings are usually marginal, we don't feel that the outcome is substantial to our readers. However, we know that a one- or two-place change can be important to the institutions involved, and we apologize for any problems or confusion this has caused," said the statement. The specialty areas that were replaced by last year's rankings were the following engineering fields: aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical; bioengineering/biomedical; chemical; electrical/electronic/communications; environmental/environmental health; materials; and nuclear.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A Texas state representative has filed legislation that would bar public colleges from penalizing students or faculty members based on their research or beliefs that reject evolution, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. It is unclear what impact the bill would have on grading. Anti-evolution groups say that academic freedom should allow people to argue that evolution is not accurate, despite the consensus among scientists.
A teaching assistant at Canada's York University has apologized for critical comments she posted on her Facebook page about her students, The Toronto Star reported. The comments, now removed, said: “My student’s papers are making me dumber, so very stupid; by the minute. Please, make them, stop. They are infecting me with there huge and apparent stupidity, and I fear they will start to effect in my opinion the way I myself right papers (sic).”
Alexandra Wallace, who made a now notorious video mocking and complaining about Asian students, announced Friday that she is leaving the University of California at Los Angeles, because of death threats and ostracism, the Los Angeles Times reported. She has apologized several times for the video and did so again in announcing her departure. Also on Friday, UCLA announced that while it had denounced the video, it had no plans to take disciplinary action against Wallace because her actions did not violate the campus code of conduct.
Significant cuts in Georgia's popular but expensive HOPE scholarships (which primarily help those at public institutions) have some educators and politicians raising questions about why state funding for programs that help private colleges is remaining stable, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Private college officials note that the funds they receive for educating Georgians free up space at public institutions for other students. But that argument isn't going over at a time of big cuts for HOPE. “It is clear the current political leadership in this state tilts toward private education over public education,” said State Senator Nan Orrock.
Generations of students at the University of Chicago have complained about the lack of a social life there, dubbing their intellectual institution the place "where fun comes to die." But as CBS Chicago reported, the website attracting attention at the campus is committed to turning Hyde Park into "the place where fun comes to thrive." The website -- UChicagoHookups.com -- is committed to letting University of Chicago students find partners (among fellow students only) for casual sex. "We're trying to change the ages-old stereotype that UChicago students are severely sexually deprived," explains the site.
For the second year in a row, more students finishing their programs at medical schools in the United States have obtained residencies in family medicine. The number is up by 11 percent from 2010. A major goal of many medical educators and experts in recent years has been to shift more medical students into such general kinds of medicine and away from specialties.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling on Thursday released a report on very early admissions -- those that take place before the start of high school students' senior years. NACAC has discouraged such admissions offers, saying that they are not good for the applicants -- even if they get admissions offers. The association's policies say that admissions offers should not be made until after transcripts are recorded for the second semester of students' junior years. The report found that only a minority of colleges (7 to 15 percent) engaged in such early admissions programs, and that there was some confusion about which policies the association was encouraging. Several years have passed since the data were collected, so it is possible that that the proportion of institutions offering very early admission is even smaller today.
With concerns growing about safety in Japan, Temple University announced Thursday that it is evacuating the 200 students it has in a program in Tokyo. American staff members are also being given the option of coming to the United States, but one of them -- Dean Bruce Stronach -- has opted to stay.