'This Week': Transforming Teaching and Learning / Foundation Effort to Combat 'Undermatching'

On "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free weekly news podcast, Cathy Davidson joined Editor Scott Jaschik and the moderator Casey Green to talk about why she left Duke University for the City University of New York and how her Futures Initiative may transform graduate and undergraduate education at the enormous public institution. In our other segment, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Harold Levy discusses its new effort to use technology to help low-income students better understand their college-going options. Sign up here to be notified of new "This Week" podcasts.

Study: Cadavers Better Teaching Tool Than Computers

A new study in Anatomical Sciences Education finds that cadavers are more effective than computer simulations in teaching anatomy. The study divided the 233 students in an undergraduate anatomy course into groups in which some learned on a cadaver and others through computer simulation. Those using the cadaver scored higher on tests both of identification of body parts and explaining how those parts work. The latter finding is particularly significant as simulation advocates have suggested that approach may be superior for using how parts work.


Brandman U. Gets Green Light for Direct Assessment

Brandman University this week announced that the U.S. Department of Education had approved its application to offer federal financial aid for an emerging form of competency-based education. The university is the fourth institution to get the nod from the department for "direct assessment" degrees, which are decoupled from the credit-hour standard. The feds have sent some mixed signals about this approach, most recently with a critical audit from the department's Office of Inspector General. But Brandman's successful application is more evidence that the Education Department largely backs direct assessment.

University and LMS provider sue each other for breach of contract

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A university and its learning management system provider sue each other for breach of contract.

Boulder Philosophy Again Accepting Grad Applications

Would-be graduate students in philosophy may again apply to the University of Colorado at Boulder, to begin their studies in fall 2015. Graduate admissions to the department were suspended last year after an external study of its climate described systemic sexual harassment and bullying. Andy Cowell, who was appointed interim chair of philosophy following the American Philosophical Association subcommittee's unflattering report, said in a statement that department faculty members “had willingly participated in numerous facilitated department workshops, as well as activities and exercises to build the culture" spanning the last nine months. Current graduate students were involved in the reform process. Provost Russell L. Moore called the department's efforts "laudable," saying they could serve as a model for other departments struggling with climate issues.


After Plagiarism Probe, College Strips Senator's Degree

The U.S. Army War College has stripped U.S. Sen. John Walsh, a Montana Democrat, of his master's degree, the Associated Press reported. Walsh's office said Friday that the college had revoked his degree following an investigation into plagiarism allegations regarding a 2007 paper he wrote while he was student there. The allegations came to light this summer, when The New York Times reported that large chunks of his paper had been lifted from other sources, without proper attribution. Walsh said he disagreed with the college's findings, but accepts the decision.

A MOOC About Abortion

The University of California at San Francisco -- a leading medical institution -- is about to start a massive open online course about abortion. The MOOC is believed to be the first to focus on the topic. "Despite its universality, abortion remains controversial and inaccessible for many women. Both the clinical and public health contexts of abortion are often excluded from curricula in medicine, nursing, and other health professions," says the course description. The program aims to help health providers in the United States and around the world both with patient care and the public health aspects of abortion. More than 20 faculty members are participating in the six-week course, offered through the web platform Coursera.


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Colleges start new programs

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  • Manhattan College is starting a new master's program in mathematics and a bachelor's-master's combined program in mathematics.

Cornell Will Expand Off-Campus 'Engaged' Learning

Cornell University will today announce a plan to expand off-campus "engaged" learning, in which students interact directly -- all over the world -- with different communities, The New York Times reported. The engagement will be through new courses, and by 2025 the university plans to have all students take one or more of such courses. The new program is being financed by a $50 million gift being announced today from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, plus $100 million in other gifts.


Are STEM fields more gender-balanced than non-STEM fields in Ph.D. production?

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New study finds that STEM fields aren't actually worse than other disciplines in attracting talented students to doctoral study.


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