The student speaker at Columbia University's School of General Studies graduation ceremony included a joke that was taken from the comedian Patton Oswalt, ABC News reported. Oswalt posted online links to the graduation speech and his original joke and a Columbia statement says that the student has apologized.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Jefferson Community and Technical College has agreed to award full academic credit for courses taken through StraighterLine, an online course provider, the company announced Tuesday. Under the arrangement, students who take one of nine general education courses from StraighterLine can apply those courses for credit toward their associate degrees at the two-year institution in Louisville. The college says on its page on StraighterLine's Web site that a student who takes all nine of the courses that StraighterLine offers, transfers them to Jefferson, and ultimately gets a four-year degree from one of Kentucky's public universities could spend thousands of dollars less than if he or she enrolled at the four-year institution upfront. "We share with StraighterLine the belief that reducing cost as a barrier is a critical element to provide all qualified individuals an opportunity to earn a college degree," Tony Newberry, the college's president, said in a news release about the arrangement. Jefferson Community and Technical College joins several other institutions as partners of StraighterLine; some of those arrangements have been controversial, with critics questioning the quality of StraighterLine's low-cost courses.
Many experts are predicting that students are about to embrace e-books as a preferred form of textbooks. But a newly released survey from the National Association of College Stores -- conducted last fall, before the arrival of the iPad -- suggests that the shift had not happened by that point. Rather it found that 74 percent of students preferred printed textbooks and that a slight majority wouldn't consider a digital version. The survey is based on data from 19 campuses nationwide.
John D. Mazzuto has been charged with stock fraud -- including his handling of stock in his company that he then donated to Yale University for its baseball team, The New York Times reported. According to authorities, the stock fraud included giving away stock in ways that inflated the value of the stock. Officials said that Yale, while benefiting from the alleged scheme, was not part of it or aware of what was going on. A Yale spokesman told the Times that the university was "holding the donation aside" at this time. Yale sold the stock in question for $1.5 million.
An investigation by Nebraska officials into Ben Johnson's expenses during his presidency at Peru State College has ended because the former leader of the institution committed suicide last month, The Journal Star of Lincoln, Neb., reported. The investigation found that he had apparently used about $43,000 in university funds to cover personal expenses. Further, the inquiry found that Johnson had failed to reveal a felony conviction when he applied for the Peru State job. Johnson had recently been hired as interim vice president of enrollment services at Fairmont State University, in West Virginia.
Many higher education groups have been condemning the new Arizona immigration law and vowing to boycott the state. But many of those associations don't have anything currently scheduled in Arizona. One group that does is ACPA -- College Student Educators International. It announced Monday that it is moving a January meeting for mid-level managers, currently slated to be in Tucson, to a yet-to-be-determined location outside the state. Holding a meeting in a state "that could potentially create an atmosphere of exclusion, harassment, or an unwelcome environment for an ACPA member ... is problematic and goes against our fundamental values of inclusion," said a statement from the association.
Ann Curry, the NBC journalist, started off her commencement address at Wheaton College Saturday by naming some distinguished alumni: the Rev. Billy Graham, the former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and the director Wes Craven, among others. Unfortunately for Curry, she was at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and five of the six people she cited are graduates of Wheaton College in Illinois. The sole graduate Curry named correctly was her fellow newscaster Lesley Stahl. While the two Wheatons share a name and a liberal arts tradition, they are quite different. The Illinois Wheaton is a Christian college, while the Massachusetts Wheaton is not. Until 1988, the Massachusetts Wheaton was a women's college -- so the alumni Curry incorrectly cited couldn't have gone there (at least at the time they were in college).
The Massachusetts Wheaton has a transcript and video of Curry's commencement address online, but they do not include the list of the other college's alumni. Michael Graca, a spokesman, said that he decided against "broadcasting information we knew to be inaccurate." While some of the Twitter criticism of Curry's error suggested that she should return any money she was paid for the address, Graca said she appeared without a fee. Curry sent an e-mail message to students and faculty members Monday noting some of the Wheaton alumni she wishes she had cited and apologizing for the error. "I am mortified by my mistake, and can only hope the purity of my motive, to find a way to connect with the graduates and to encourage them to a life of service, will allow you to forgive me," she wrote.
Faculty members from Marquette and Seattle Universities took out a full-page ad in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to condemn Marquette's recent decision to rescind a job offer as dean to a Seattle professor who is a lesbian and whose scholarship includes issues of lesbian sexuality, the Journal Sentinel reported. "We believe this action has caused significant harm to the reputation of Marquette University," the ad says. "It threatens our credibility and integrity as a university. It has caused suffering among students, alumni, staff, and faculty, and it will cost Marquette considerably in terms of community relationships, research, and recruiting and retaining students and faculty." University officials have denied that the rescinded job offer was discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The board of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District is promising tighter oversight of senior administrators after the release of a law firm's investigation of certain activities of Chancellor Rosa Perez, who is currently on sick leave and will be leaving her position in June, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The board is also asking the local district attorney to investigate whether Perez violated laws. The law firm's report concluded that Perez may have violated conflict of interest laws by buying a house and sharing expenses with her partner, whom she supervised as an administrator at the college. Further, the report cited numerous trips -- some of which her partner made as well -- as being "not cost effective" for the college district. The investigations were prompted by reports in the Mercury News and KGO-TV. Perez could not be reached for comment.
The Texas Board of Education on Friday approved new history standards that have angered many historians, The Dallas Morning News reported. Critics have said that the standards inject political views into most consideration of modern history, elevating the role of President Reagan above others, for example, and offering a much more positive assessment of Sen. Joseph McCarthy than many scholars find justified. In a victory for the critics, the board returned Thomas Jefferson to the list of political philosophers considered worth studying.