Syracuse University's law school, responding to reports that students were using bathroom breaks during final exams to cheat, has decided to limit students to one restroom visit per exam, The Syracuse Post-Standard reported. Exams can last up to four hours. Some students were reportedly using bathroom breaks to use their cell phones to send and receive text messages. The newspaper said that students who present documentation of medical conditions requiring more frequent bathroom visits will be exempted from the new rules.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Many low-income students who could benefit from higher education don't apply to college because they don't know they could get financial assistance or they are intimidated by the process, says a new report, "Promoting Economic Mobility by Increasing Postsecondary Education," released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The report argues that simplifying the aid application process is crucial if more disadvantaged students are ever to have a shot at college.
Community colleges need better measures of student learning, measures that yield more information than tests, according to a study issued Tuesday by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The report is based on three years of research, supported by Carnegie and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, on the teaching of basic math and English skills at 11 California community colleges. The research explored a wide variety of assessment techniques. Techniques studied included traditional tests and also "think aloud protocols" (audio and video records of students talking about their thought process while trying to read texts or solve problems), focus groups and surveys.
Jack McDonald, athletics director at Quinnipiac University, on Tuesday admitted in court that some men's coaches rigged rosters to try to make the institution look better on gender equity than it really was, The Connecticut Post reported. The testimony came in a suit in which women's team members charge the university with gender bias violations, and the specific allegation was made earlier in the trial, by a women's coach. McDonald admitted that rosters were rigged as the coach said they were -- with men's coaches dropping some men from their squads a few days before statistics were reported, and then adding the men back a few days after the reports were filed. The reports thus didn't reflect the full range of athletic opportunities available to male students, and the gap between those opportunities available for male and female students. While McDonald admitted that the manipulation took place, he said that the university never tolerated the practice and has addressed it. "Nobody told coaches that, 'This is how you get around it guys,' " the Post quoted him as testifying.
Big-time college football programs now have a pool from which to select minority coaches, according to a study published in USA Today. The study found that about 15 percent of offensive and defensive coordinators in the football bowl division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association are from minority groups. Those coordinator positions are traditionally the path to head coaching positions. In 2002, the last time USA Today did the survey, only 5 percent of coordinators were from minority groups. Despite that significant growth in the pool, only 7.5 percent of head coaches are from minority groups, the newspaper found, up from 3.5 percent in 2002.
With anti-abortion groups continuing to criticize the University of Notre Dame's decision to have President Obama speak at graduation ceremonies, there was one commencement address the critics might like. The commencement speaker at Ave Maria University, which prides itself on strict adherence to Roman Catholic teachings, devoted time to denouncing Obama and Notre Dame. The Naples Daily News reported that the speaker at Ave Maria -- Thomas Hilgers, an obstetrician from Nebraska -- called Obama "viciously pro-abortion" and compared having him to the the invitation made to the speaker Hilgers heard at his own graduation, whom he described as a priest who turned out to be "a denier of the Resurrection, pro-homosexuality and pro-contraception." The anti-Obama talk on graduation day prompted one person to write to The Sun-Sentinel to ask: "Uh, what happened to 'love thy neighbor.' "
Harvard University has had notable success in recent years at attracting more students from low-income backgrounds. But even as the university offers generous aid packages that cover all official expenses, students without money find themselves in a series of awkward social and financial situations, The Boston Globe reported. The article looked at the gaps between students who use laundry services and those who wait at the washing machines in the dormitory basements, or those who tell fellow choir members that male students should have tuxedos for a concert, and those who not only don't have a tux, but lack the funds to rent one.
The District of Columbia agency that handles financial aid requests has just sent detailed information about 2,400 aid applicants to 1,250 of those applicants, The Washington Post reported. The office sent an e-mail to 1,250 applicants and accidentally attached a spreadsheet with 2,400 applicants' names, e-mail and home addresses, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and dates of birth. The agency has since asked all of those who received the spreadsheet to destroy it. Further, it sent an apology to the students whose information was shared, and is offering one-year subscriptions to a credit-monitoring service so that they can try to prevent identity theft.
New Jersey has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a special Rutgers University appropriation that supported a small nonprofit group to teach school children how to grow food in space, The Star-Ledger reported. Given that space agriculture hasn't exactly taken off, the revelation was sure to be controversial, but the newspaper found that this appropriation featured a peculiat twist on the concept of the no-show job. Much of the money has been going to pay the salaries of two people -- one of whom has been dead for two years. The newspaper first reported the unusual appropriation Monday morning, and by the end of the day legislators were vowing to kill the program.
The volleyball coach at Quinnipiac University testified Monday that the institution has distorted athletic rosters as a means of hiding violations of gender equity laws, The Hartford Courant reported. According to the testimony, in a case in which team members are trying to prevent the university from eliminating the volleyball team, the university drops some male athletes from team rosters just before the season starts, reports on the total numbers of male and female athletes while those men are not counted, and then adds the men back. The university's athletic director declined to comment on the allegations.