Department chairs as enablers of educational change and transformation

Leaders of academic departments are underutilized in fostering change and progress in higher education, writes Marian Stoltz-Loike.

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Instructor Shoots Self in Foot, in Classroom at Idaho State

Faculty members and administrators in Idaho have been protesting a new law permitting concealed carry on campus. On Tuesday, an instructor with a concealed carry permit accidentally shot himself in the foot, in a classroom with others present, The Idaho State Journal reported. The gun was in the instructor's pocket when it went off.


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Higher GPA for Freshmen Who Frequent Campus Gym

First-year college students who regularly visit the campus gym are likely to have higher grade point averages than those who don't.

Or at least that's the case at Purdue University, where the university has tracked which first-year students frequently visited its France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center and used their student ID numbers to generate a report based on their first-semester GPA. The university found that the students who visited the center 15 or more times a semester -- or about once a week -- held an average GPA of 3.08. The average GPA for students who did not regularly use the gym was a 2.81. That's the difference between a B and B-.

"The numbers show us the positive relationship, and we're still trying to identify whether there is a cause and effect," said Michelle Blackburn, assistant director of student development and assessment at Purdue's division of recreational sports. "When we talk to students who regularly use the facility they say it helps with their time management, and it also provides a sense of community which can be very important to that first-year experience."

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Unusual Senior Project to Draw Attention to Sex Assaults

A senior visual arts major at Columbia University has created an unusual senior project to draw attention to the issue of sexual assaults, New York Magazine reported. Emma Sulkowicz, who says that the university mishandled her rape allegations, announced that she will carry a mattress with her everywhere she goes this year, as long as the man she says raped her remains on campus. She is calling the project "Mattress Performance" or "Carrying the Weight."


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Education researchers discuss how Obama college ratings will impact underserved student populations

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Education researchers raise concerns that the Obama college ratings plan may harm underprivileged and minority students.

Questions about the reliability of a sustainability watchdog

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A new report by one sustainable investment advocate suggests one national ranking of sustainable campuses is often unreliable.

Compilation of Articles on Critical Thinking

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of essays -- in print-on-demand format -- on how colleges seek to promote and measure critical thinking by their students.

This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Tuesday, September 23 at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles. To register for the webinar, please click here.

CDC Issues Guidance for Colleges on Ebola

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance for colleges and universities on how to respond to the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Among the recommendations:

  • Calling off education-related travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • Consider the possibility that education-related travel to Nigeria may need to be called off.
  • Conduct risk assessments on students or faculty members who have within 21 days been in countries facing Ebola outbreaks. Offer health monitoring to those individuals.



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Former Football Player Sues NCAA Over Old Scholarship Rules

Already flanked by numerous lawsuits brought by former college athletes, the National Collegiate Athletic Association may soon face yet another antitrust class action.

Last week, Durrell Chamorro, a former football player at Colorado State University, filed a class action seeking damages for football players who were affected by the NCAA's longstanding rule banning multiyear scholarships. Since 1973, athletic scholarships were only allowed to be offered on a year-to-year basis. Chamorro's lawyer hopes to consolidate the class action with another lawsuit already filed before the rules were finally changed in 2012. That lawsuit was filed by John Rock, a former quarterback at Gardner-Webb University.

The timing of Chamorro's lawsuit to the recent ruling in an antitrust class action led by Ed O'Bannon is no coincidence. The lawsuit cites the ruling seven times, CBS Sports reports. In that case, a federal judge ruled that the NCAA violated antitrust laws when it prohibited sharing revenue with football and basketball players for the use of their names and likenesses.

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Cal State Campuses Push for Brand Recognition

Several campuses in the California State University System are trying to rebrand themselves, The Los Angeles Times reported. The campuses want more individual identities and to avoid confusion with University of California institutions. California State University at Los Angeles officials believe their acronym CSULA is frequently confused with UCLA. California State University at Long Beach wants to be known as "the Beach." And California State University at Northridge is promoting the acronym CSUN (to be pronounced SEA-sun).


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