Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Dartmouth College leaders are issuing apologies and talking about making use of a "teachable moment" following ugly fan behavior directed at members of Harvard University's squash team, The Boston Globe reported. Cheering at a squash match between the two institutions' teams turned into personal name-calling by some Dartmouth fans, using language seen by many who were there as sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. Women on the Harvard team were called "whores" and "sluts" and men had their sexuality called into question with crude shouts. Many comments were directed against Franklin Cohen, the captain of the men's team from Harvard. He was asked whether he likes bagels, and one witness told the Globe that a student shouted: "Cohen, do you cheat in business, Cohen?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Antioch College's continued rebirth took another step forward Wednesday with the naming of an interim president, Matthew Derr, who has been serving as chief transition officer. Derr, formerly vice president for institutional advancement at the Boston Conservatory, will now oversee the restoration of the facilities, the hiring of key staff members, and fund-raising efforts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Young adults who attended college but left without graduating are likelier to attribute their departure to the need to work and make money than to the price of college. They also say that to get students like them to go to college, colleges and policy makers should focus as much on flexible scheduling and financial aid for part-time students as on cutting college prices, according to a survey released Wednesday by Public Agenda and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The survey aims to inject the views of students into a set of policy discussions around college access and completion that are often dominated by higher education officials and policy makers, said Jean Johnson, who directs Public Agenda's education efforts. The survey compares responses of 22- to 30-year-olds who earned a postsecondary degree or certificate with those who did not, on a wide range of questions about their educational backgrounds, aspirations and experiences, and finds that the need to work and support themselves and their families often overwhelmed their desire to stay in school. More than a third of students who had left college and wanted to return said they would not be able to even if scholarships covered their tuitions and books.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that Oklahoma State University was within its rights to use eminent domain to obtain the last piece of land needed to build a new athletic complex, the Associated Press reported. The case was remanded, however, for hearings on how much the university must pay two brothers who own the land, and who sued to block the use of eminent domain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed legislation Wednesday that would prohibit the promotion of any post-season National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I contest “as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.” The bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, passed the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection by a voice vote. According to an Associated Press account of the vote, only Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Georgia dissented. The Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) crowns its champion following a 16-team playoff, whose title game is next week, putting it in compliance with the legislation. The Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), however, crowns its champion via the Bowl Championship Series, an arrangement among the wealthier conferences in the subdivision, whick picks two teams to play in a title game. Republican Sen. Orin Hatch brought Congressional attention to the controversy surrounding the BCS this summer, when he pushed the Justice Department to investigate it for antitrust violations at a packed Senate subcommittee hearing. To date, no action has been taken on Hatch’s request. Of the latest attempt by Congress to force college football to accept a playoff system, Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, did not mince words, saying in a statement before the House subcommittee vote, “With all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

New research has found that British universities favor research over teaching when evaluating candidates for promotion, The Times Higher reported. In many cases, the research found that universities don't even consider teaching in a substantial way or document how it is evaluated.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Students took over a building at San Francisco State University Wednesday morning and have held several days of non-disruptive protests at the University of California this week, the Associated Press reported. The protests are over both budget cuts and tuition increases (called fee increases in California).

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Three students started a hunger strike at Vassar College Tuesday, while other students organized a sing-in -- all designed to get the institution to reverse a decision to eliminate the jobs of 13 staff members, The Poughkeepsie Journal reported. The students say that the jobs can be preserved. College officials said that staffing reductions are necessary due to endowment losses, and that those whose positions are being eliminated have received first chance at other jobs that have opened up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:00am

Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary, its neighbor in St. Louis, announced an agreement Wednesday that is designed to dramatically step up the collaboration between the two institutions. Under the arrangement, Webster will pay Eden $5.3 million in exchange for a 5.5 acre parcel of land and three buildings, including its library. The seminary's holdings will then be integrated into Webster's library, to which Eden students and employees will have access. Webster will also lease Eden's athletics fields and, in exchange, give seminary students and staff access to its fitness center. Many religious seminaries have faced increasing financial stress in recent years, and Eden was among the postsecondary institutions that received letters last year after failing on a series of measures designed to gauge financial health.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 3:00am

Princeton Review said Tuesday that it had completed its $170 million takeover of Penn Foster Education Group, which provides career training and administers an online high school. The transaction, which was announced in October, will double the testing company's revenues and mark its entrance in the growing career education market.

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