Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The case of Saad Nabeel has attracted considerable attention in Dallas to the problems facing students without legal residency status -- and he has suffered another setback. Nabeel was brought to the United States as a young child by his family, and though he had been enrolled at the University of Texas at Arlington, he was deported to Bangladesh. Faculty members at Southern Methodist University helped him gain admission there, with the hope he could return, but The Dallas Morning News reported that his visa was rejected, and he was told that he can apply again in a decade -- unless he can win a waiver.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 3:00am

While many universities have suffered stock losses in the last two years, Louisiana auditors uncovered an unusual loss at Grambling State University. The News Star reported that the university lost more than $1 million on stocks that were purchased illegally because the funds were restricted to use on university facilities.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 3:00am

A new policy brief by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board outlines steps states can take to improve the college readiness of their students. Among the suggestions:

  • The development and adoption of college readiness standards in reading, writing, and math -- jointly by K-12 schools and postsecondary education.
  • High school assessments that measure students’ progress on the readiness standards.
  • Public school curriculum that reflects the standards.
  • Senior-year high school courses designed to raise students’ skill levels in reading, writing, and math.
  • Professional development for current and aspiring teachers on using the readiness standards in their instruction.
  • The use by colleges and universities of students’ performance on the high school tests for college placement.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 3:00am

A research experiment apparently gone awry caused a 2,000-lb. hydrogen tank to explode in a chemistry building at the University of Missouri at Columbia, injuring four, none critically, The Kansas City Star reported. Officials suspected that the explosion was caused by a spontaneous combustion of gases, including hydrogen and nitrogen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 3:00am

U.S. Sen. Robert W. Byrd, whose nearly 60 years representing West Virginia made him Congress's longest-serving member and brought his state (and its colleges) untold millions in earmarked projects, died Monday at the age of 92. Byrd was never a central player in federal higher education policy making (apart from having a scholarship program named for him), but he was a kingmaker in the appropriations process, and a vocal defender of the use of lawmaker-directed earmarks (often derided as "pork barrel spending"). West Virginia's colleges are dotted with buildings bearing his name.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 3:00am

Susan Desmond-Hellmann is selling her tobacco stock. Desmond-Hellmann is the new chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, a medical institution that is home to researchers who have been leading critics of the tobacco industry. The New York Times reported that her disclosure forms for her new position indicated that she had personal stock holdings of between $100,000 and $1 million in Altria, the owner of Philip Morris. A day after the Times asked about the issue, she announced that she would sell the holdings. “I’d been focused on compliance, dutifully writing down every stock,” she told the Times, “and we didn’t focus on what are the stocks in our holdings and what message does that give to people who care about your values.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 3:00am

The New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct organization, has become the latest to condemn a series of actions at East-West University that have postponed a union organizing drive for adjuncts. With a union affiliated with the National Education Association calling for an election, the university notified all adjuncts that they weren't employees this summer, effectively making it impossible for them to vote in an election. The university says this move was just to clarify expectations. The New Faculty Majority statement says: "The university’s claims that its decisions are based on factors unrelated to the union drive are disingenuous at best and a clear pretext for union-busting at worst."

Monday, June 28, 2010 - 3:00am

The United Methodist Church has lifted sanctions and will restore funds to the Claremont School of Theology, the Los Angeles Times reported. Methodist leaders had been concerned that the theology school's recently announced programs for non-Christian clergy suggested a move away from a traditional mission of training Methodists. But Claremont officials agreed to use church funds only on programs focused on Methodist teachings, and said that they would have a separate structure for the programs about and for members of other faiths.

Monday, June 28, 2010 - 3:00am

Noting the widespread shortage of nurses, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has issued a report, "Charting Nursing's Future," with numerous recommendations on how states and education groups could increase the supply of nurses. Among the recommendations: Allow master's and doctoral students in nursing to serve as "nursing faculty interns" to relieve some of the pressure on the limited supply for nursing faculty members; allow the use of simulation for some clinical hours and the use of distance education and technology to provide more of the curriculum for nursing students, and the creation of new stipends to encourage nurses to earn master's and doctoral degrees so they could teach. Additionally, in a recommendation that is likely to be controversial with some community college educators, the report calls for a requirement that all associate degree nurses receive a bachelor's degree within 10 years of graduation.

Monday, June 28, 2010 - 3:00am

A program to waive application fees for college for one week in Indiana attracted more applications, but also created many problems for colleges, The Herald-Times reported. Many of those who started applications didn't finish them and didn't seem serious about the process, so the colleges and universities reported losing not only the application fee revenue but additional time trying to figure out which applications were serious.

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