Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Association of Colleges and Employers has released its latest survey on the majors that yield the highest starting salaries, Eight of the top 10 are in engineering, with the non-engineering majors being computer science and information sciences. Topping the list is petroleum engineering at $86,220, followed by chemical engineering at $65,142. That places those new bachelor's degrees holders above the average salaries of many associate professors in the humanities.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Colin Carlson, a child prodigy who at 13 is a double major (with a 3.9 grade point average) in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies at the University of Connecticut, has filed an age bias complaint with the U.S. Education Department after being turned away from a field ecology class that includes a three-week trip to South Africa, ABC News reported. Carlson's complaint says that the professor said that he was too young for the trip, even though his mother volunteered to accompany him (at her own expense). UConn officials declined to discuss the case while it is being considered by the department's Office for Civil Rights.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Some professors, concerned that their students are too wired to e-mail, Facebook, and other new media tools, are assigning their students to take a "fast" from technology for 24 hours, The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported. Some faculty members are calling for students to be offline for just a day, while others have been more ambitious, with one professor asking students to refrain for five days from using any gadget not invented by 1984. Some students last only an hour or so.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon last week proposed ending the eligibility of private college students for various state aid programs, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported. A spokesman said that the savings could amount to $50 million a year. "It’s not that we’re against private colleges in Missouri. There are great private colleges in Missouri. But in this financial situation, it’s a luxury that Missouri taxpayers can no longer afford, in our opinion," said the spokesman. Officials of private colleges said that they were shocked and upset by the proposal.

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the State University of New York at Binghamton are circulating a petition calling for the institution, in the wake of a basketball scandal, to leave Division I, The New York Times reported. Senior administrators have acknowledged problems in the program, but shown no willingness to reconsider big-time athletics. The faculty statement, however, says: "“Withdrawal from membership in Division I is in the interest of this university that aspires to be a ‘premier’ public research institution. It will send a strong message to [SUNY System] Chancellor [Nancy] Zimpher, our students and alumni that we intend to end the spirit of cover-up that was encouraged from the top, raise our academic standards, and restore BU’s reputation.”

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Book Critics Circle on Thursday announced winners of its annual book awards:

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

President Obama announced Thursday the charities to which he is donating the $1.4 million he received as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize -- and several of the organizations support efforts to help more students go to college. Among the recipients: College Summit, the Posse Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation and the American Indian College Fund.

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Three female employees at Alabama State University have filed a lawsuit charging that they were the victims of repeated incidents of sexual and racial harassment, and that senior administrators condoned the actions, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. University officials counter that the suit was prompted by a former trustee who, they claim, is trying to unsettle the insittution.

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Gretchen Bataille's many supporters remain confused and upset by her ouster last month as president of the University of North Texas, with only vague statements having been issued about why she was forced out. The Dallas Morning News, based on a review of e-mail records obtained through an open records request, reports that there may have been no single dispute between Bataille and system leaders, but that she differed with Chancellor Lee Jackson on a series of issues, including tuition, organizational matters and a branch campus.

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 3:00am

In a relatively rare move in higher education, Syracuse University has appointed a pagan chaplain, ABC News reported. As of last year, there were only 11 student pagans at the university, but they hope their numbers may grow now that they have a chaplain.

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