About 2,000 students at Israeli universities were admitted under affirmative action programs designed to diversify the student bodies, according to research released this week, Haaretz reported. The study found that these students -- once admitted -- performed nearly as well at their universities as did those admitted through traditional means.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops held a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss, among other things, relationships between the bishops and Roman Catholic colleges and universities, the Associated Press reported. Plans for the discussion started in the wake of the controversy over the invitation to President Obama to be the commencement speaker at the University of Notre Dame.
Colleges and universities reported a 27 percent drop in the number of new cases of likely H1N1 flu, but the closely watched weekly survey by the American College Health Association included the first two deaths attributed to the outbreak. The ACHA survey of 263 campuses found 6,373 new cases of suspected swine flu, with 95 percent of campuses reporting new cases, down from 98 percent the week before. The institutions cumulatively reported 21.3 cases per 10,000 students, down 27 percent from the November 7. Five states -- New Jersey, Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho and the District of Columbia -- reported increasing numbers of cases, with the rest noting declines.
Jessica Goode, 23, a student at Ferrum College, was shot and killed Tuesday, and another student was shot in the hand, when a hunter mistook the students for deer, The Roanoke Times reported. The students were collecting specimens for a biology class. The hunter has been charged with manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm and trespassing.
George Washington University has become the first college to offer athletic scholarships for squash, The Washington Post reported. The university is among 11 Division I institutions that play squash at the varsity level.
United Students Against Sweatshops has achieved its largest victory to date with the news that Russell Athletic will rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who will regain jobs they lost after their factory unionized, The New York Times reported. Using pledges made by various universities to demand that companies that produce clothing with their logos meet basic standards for respecting worker rights, the student group had been able to get many of those institutions to suspend or end licensing deals with Russell.
Elgin Community College and Harper College are trying to save America's young people from becoming zombies. That's the message of a new online animated campaign run by the two Illinois community colleges. The video urges students not to be "mindless followers of the traditional college-search mindset" and to consider the low-cost alternative community colleges provide. The video shows those who borrow to attend expensive four-year institutions facing "a lifetime of mindless, brain-consuming misery" as zombies.
Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is a leading critic of conflicts of interest in biomedical research, is focusing on the issue of journal ghostwriting. The New York Times reported that he has written to 10 medical schools, asking about whether they have policies that deal with issues raised by pharmaceutical companies ghostwriting articles that appear under the names of university researchers.
Continuing a trend in which nonprofit disciplinary societies are turning to commercial publishers, the American Geographical Society and Wiley-Blackwell on Tuesday announced that Wiley would start publishing two journals that have been managed directly by the society until now. The journals are Geographical Review and FOCUS on Geography. The Review has been published by the society since 1856.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is joining Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison in announcing that it will not make the Kindle available to students until the device has improvements to be better enable blind people to use it. "Quite apart from our legal obligations, we at Illinois believe that our technology choices should be shaped by our institutional values and aspirations. We will not embrace technologies that undercut our commitment to accessibility. We will instead apply our ingenuity to technologies that enable everyone to participate more fully in society," said a statement from the university. "Like our colleagues at Wisconsin and Syracuse, we recognize the groundbreaking potential that read-aloud features have for making textbooks accessible to students with disabilities. Sadly, that potential can’t be realized until vendors of e-book readers, like the Kindle, add accessible read-aloud menus and basic navigation to their products."