Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

More than 41 percent of students who took Advanced Placement tests last year failed to earn at least a 3 (on a scale of 1-5) that would be considered a passing grade, according to an analysis by USA Today. The high failure rates, according to the newspaper, raise questions about the strategy of the College Board and many states of encouraging greater use of the AP program, especially in schools where students may not receive adequate preparation. College Board officials maintain, however, that increasing failure rates are inevitable as more students take the exams, and that the overall failure rates are rising on some of the tests and falling on others.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

The Yuba Community College board on Wednesday voted to revoke a controversial $29,000 raise for Chancellor Nicki Harrington, News 10 reported. Board members said that they were starting a process to award a new raise, and that they acted because questions have been raised about whether their earlier vote to award the raise violated state open-meetings requirements. Board members said that they didn't believe they had violated the law, but wanted to remove any doubts. Many faculty and student leaders have spoken out against the raise, saying it was inappropriate at a time of deep budget cuts at the California community college.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

In the latest budget cut, City College of San Francisco has called off summer session. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that many students are frustrated, given that they have been closed out of classes in the rest of the academic year and have been hoping to catch up by taking courses during the summer. While some surrounding community college districts have summer sessions, they give priority to their own students and may not have much room for those from San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on Tuesday approved a plan for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to absorb the Southern New England School of Law, a freestanding, private institution. Massachusetts residents will gain a public law school under the plan, which university leaders pushed. But critics -- including some at the state's private law schools -- questioned the move.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

British authorities have found that the former registrar of the University of Surrey and of the University of Bath offered African women fake degrees if they would let him spank them, The Times of London reported. He claimed that he was seeking their assistance with a "pain management" study, but that was not the case. Karl Woodgett, the former registrar, pleaded guilty to charges of making false instruments (the university degrees) and of possessing items used for fraud.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

In theory, "Argyle," the new sculpture installed at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, is about fabric and textiles. But many on the campus see something phallic in the 10-foot work of art. See this photograph from The Tuscaloosa News and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

Southwestern College, a community college in California, has been placed on probation by its accreditor, which issued a harshly critical report on the institution. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the report said that the accreditor cited serious problems with governance, morale and learning. The college was in the news last year for, among other things, suspending four instructors without pay, following a campus rally criticizing the administration's handling of budget cuts. Faculty leaders said that the accreditor's report backed up the criticisms they and student leaders have been making. College leaders said that they were working to remedy the problems and were confident the college would get off probation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

A graduate student has sued the University of Kentucky, saying he was unfairly fired from his job at the university's medical center because he had a handgun in his car, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The car was parked on campus and the student had a permit, but he was fired under university regulations barring anyone from having a gun on campus (with exceptions for law enforcement, military training, or athletic programs that use weapons). His status as a student has not been affected by the gun dispute.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 3:00am

La Sierra University's Faculty Senate has unanimously adopted a resolution defending the biology department at the Seventh-day Adventist university, which is being criticized by some for teaching evolution. The text of the resolution appears in The Adventist. The resolution notes that "certain off-campus persons" have tried "to dictate" the contents of the science curriculum. The resolution says that the faculty leaders affirm "our commitment to the preservation of academic freedom with intellectual and moral integrity in the context of our heritage, and service as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian University."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The new career path for athletics director of big-time programs is in the business world, not college sports, The New York Times reported. The article examines a string of hires -- most recently the new director of the University of Michigan's sports program, who is moving there from being chief executive of Domino's Pizza -- that reflect the shift.

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