Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

More colleges are making portions smaller and adding nutritious ingredients (sometimes without telling) in efforts to encourage healthier eating habits in students, The Boston Globe reported. Among the changes: Smaller portions at Wellesley College, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vegetables that are added to plates at Merrimack College when students ask for meat entrees, a reduction in the size of ice cream servings at Babson College, and a secret switch in the chocolate chip cookie recipe at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to one based on whole wheat.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday announced that the government will develop plans for an endowment to be used to supplement the salaries of top academics, many of whom in recent years have left Israel for the United States, Haaretz reported. He said that the goal was both to prevent further losses and to lure back to Israel some who have already left.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

Following an intense lobbying drive by colleges and students in Illinois, a new law will authorize about 137,000 low-income students to receive their state grants for the spring semester. The grants were endangered because the state -- facing a budget crisis -- cut $200 million from the program. But the Chicago Tribune reported that Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation allowing the state to borrow money for the grants from other state funds.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

Harding University announced Friday that it will consider the new state lottery in Arkansas to be off limits to students, the Associated Press reported. The new lottery supports college scholarships, and Harding officials earlier said that the university's ban on gambling did not apply to the lottery. David Burks, president of the university, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, said: "My intention [in the original policy] was to express in our policy the reality that it will be very difficult to enforce any prohibition against the lottery. In an attempt to avoid one appearance of hypocrisy, I made a decision that has itself come to be viewed as hypocritical." While several public universities in the state ban gambling on campus, their policies do not apply to student conduct off campus. Religious colleges in the state, however, typically have student codes of conduct that extend off campus. The AP said that Ouachita Baptist University considers the lottery to be included in its ban against gambling. John Brown University, a nondenominational Christian college, has a policy discouraging gambling by students, but officials told the AP that there would likely be little punishment for students who play the lottery.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

Gallaudet University named T. Alan Hurwitz as its next president on Sunday. Hurwitz has spent most of his professional career at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, where he started teaching engineering in 1970 and rose through the ranks to become president. NTID is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Hurwitz also serves as an RIT vice president. Not only does Hurwitz have extensive experience in deaf education, but he is deaf -- which is seen as important by many students, professors and alumni. Hurwitz will follow Robert Davila, who also preceded him at NTID and who was named to a lengthy interim presidency at Gallaudet in 2007. That appointment followed a presidential search that divided the campus and the deaf community, when Gallaudet's board in 2006 named Jane K. Fernandes, then the provost, to become president. But after months of protests, which at times effectively shut down the institution, the board withdrew its offer. Davila's leadership is generally credited with calming the campus, as well as addressing key issues, such as an accreditor's complaints that were resolved last year.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

The latest trend in college football recruiting is in the air: helicopters. The New York Times reported that helicopters, which tend to cause an intended commition when they touch down near a high school football field on a Friday night, are now being used by at least eight major football programs to impress high school players: Louisiana State and Rutgers Universities, and the Universities of California at Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri.

Monday, October 19, 2009 - 3:00am

While the admissions cycle for next fall's enrollments is just getting started, there are signs that public institutions may again be flooded with applications. The California State University System, which on October 1 opened applications for fall 2010 enrollment, reported that it received 111,140 applications through October 15, compared to 62,520 during the similar time period a year ago. All 23 campuses are accepting applications through November 30; at least 12 may stop accepting applications for some or all programs after that date.

Friday, October 16, 2009 - 3:00am

Weeks after the well-respected head of Colorado's Department of Higher Education quit in a spat with Gov. Bill Ritter, the governor on Thursday selected a cabinet member with little higher education experience to fill the job. Rico Munn, who heads the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies, will serve as the state's top higher education official, replacing David Skaggs, a former Congressman who was in the job for two and a half years before leaving in an apparent personnel dispute with the governor. Munn has been a member of the state's Board of Education, which oversees elementary and secondary education, but apart from some time as an adjunct law professor teaching trial practice at the University of Denver's law school, he has no other apparent higher education background.

Friday, October 16, 2009 - 3:00am

Russian authorities have arrested a historian who was conducting research on the Germans sent to Arctic gulag camps during World War II, The Guardian reported. Many historians view the arrest as the latest sign of a Russian clampdown on scholars who work on the Stalinist era.

Friday, October 16, 2009 - 3:00am

A Harvard University student group has rescinded an invitation to Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, to speak at a forum this weekend on immigration, The Boston Globe reported. Minuteman is a staunch opponent of immigration and sends patrols to the Mexican border to try to block people from coming to the United States. A previous appearance by Gilchrist at Harvard led to protests. The student organization organizing the forum on immigration, the Undergraduate Legal Committee, released a statement that said: “Mr. Gilchrist’s participation in the conference on the behalf of the Minutemen Project was not compatible with providing an environment for civil, educational, and productive discourse on immigration, and we cannot host him at this time.’’ Gilchrist denounced the revocation of the invitation. On his organization's Web site, he issued this statement: “[T]he minute they received threats from fellow students these pre-law students shied away from defending free speech. That future graduates of the most renowned university in the world are literally afraid to support the very cornerstone of the foundation of our nation, namely ‘free speech,’ ought to frighten anyone looking to America as the beacon of liberty, freedom, and justice for all."

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