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).

Study Defends Huge Salaries of Football Coaches

The seven-figure salaries of Division I football coaches are worthwhile economic investments, according to a new study by Vanderbilt University researchers, The New York Times reported. The study has not been peer reviewed or published, but a draft was shared with the Times. "If one believes that CEO compensation is set by the market at an appropriate level, and that employment contracts reflect this equilibrium, then one should reach the same conclusion about football coaches,” the study says.


Student Detained for Flying Drone Over Football Game

University of Texas at Austin police officers detained, questioned and released a student who flew a drone -- without authorization -- over the UT football game Saturday against the University of Northern Texas, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Authorities are continuing an investigation and seized the drone. While there was no apparent harm caused by the drone, a column in Forbes warned of the dangers. "The flight is the type of seemingly harmless, yet actually irresponsible behavior that irks many drone enthusiasts," said the column, by Gregory S. McNeal. "Experienced operators realize that a malfunction or mistake here could have landed the drone on the playing field or in the stands — jeopardizing fan safety or disrupting the game. That type of televised incident might cause substantial harm to the nascent industry as it struggles to overcome public relations problems associated with irresponsible operators."


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Burlington College President Quits

Christine Plunkett, president of the financially struggling Burlington College, told protesters who confronted her Friday, "I resign. Happy? Goodbye," The Burlington Free Press reported. The newspaper said that other officials indicated that Plunkett had not resigned. Plunkett did not respond to an email from Inside Higher Ed seeking clarification of her status, but on Monday, the board released a statement indicating that she had resigned, and announcing new interim leadership, the Free Press reported.


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Chapel Hill Revises Policies on Sex Assault Charges

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday announced revisions to its policies to handling sexual assaults, The News & Observer reported. Under the new policies, a trained university investigator will handle complaints, and that investigator's findings can be appealed to a panel of faculty and staff members. In 2012, under intense criticism for its handling of sexual assault accusations, the university stripped a student honor court of the power to adjudicate them. The new policy also defines consent, saying that it must be affirmed by both parties in a positive way. Further, the policy says that those who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs are unable to give consent.


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Illinois Philosophy Dept. Votes No Confidence in Chancellor

The philosophy department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has voted no confidence in Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other university leaders, The News-Gazette reported. The vote is based on the recent decision by Wise to block the appointment of Steven Salaita to a position in the American Indian studies program. The resolution states that "the recent words and actions of Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter, and the Board of Trustees in connection with the revocation of an offer of employment to Dr. Steven Salaita betray a culpable disregard not only for academic freedom and free speech generally but also for the principles of shared governance and established protocols for hiring, tenure, and promotion."

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Montana State University-Northern Chancellor Resigns

The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern announced his resignation Thursday, according to the Havre Daily News.

Chancellor James Limbaugh was facing faculty criticism, including a movement to take a no-confidence vote in his leadership.

The campus has faced several bits of turmoil, including issues with its nursing program and a former provost who is accused of repeatedly and inappropriately touching her male colleagues – including Limbaugh.

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