Quick Takes: National Higher Ed Center Lives, Grade Scandal, Faculty Frustrations at Ohio U., Assessing the Assessments, Campaign to Get Guns on Campuses, Conviction in Texas Southern Case

May 4, 2007
  • The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education will live to see another year. Reports of the influential group's pending demise had been circulating in higher education circles for months, leading to speculation about what would happen, among other things, to its primary project, "Measuring Up," and annual report card on the state of American higher education. But in a statement planned for release today, the group's director, Patrick M. Callan, said the center would begin its 11th year in July, focusing on "Measuring Up 2008," other projects, and a plan for its future, including "current and alternative organizational and staffing approaches."
  • As many as 84 students at Diablo Valley College may have paid bribes to have their grades changed, The Contra Costa Times reported. College officials have been conducting a broad investigation and are preparing to turn over some materials to prosecutors. The newspaper said that the grading scandal is being blamed on unusually wide access provided to the college's records database.
  • Faculty members at Ohio University have presented the board with a letter calling for "sweeping change" following a series of scandals or problems for which the handling by the administration "has been inadequate and/or incompetent," The Columbus Dispatch reported. Roderick McDavis, the university's president, said that the university was working on problems and welcomed the chance to talk about issues with faculty members.
  • The Educational Testing Service plans to publish a report today that analyzes a dozen standardized assessments that are currently available to colleges and universities looking to measure what their students have learned. The report, “A Culture of Evidence: Critical Features of Assessments for Postsecondary Student Learning,” provides information about the various tests and is meant to be a guide for institutional officials contemplating how best to measure their students' learning outcomes.
  • The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on Thursday released a report charging that pro-gun lobbyists are engaged in a campaign to alter state laws to make it easier for people at colleges to have guns. The report details arguments against allowing guns on campus and efforts by the National Rifle Association to loosen gun regulation that applies to colleges. An N.R.A. spokesman told Bloomberg that there is no national campaign under way.
  • A jury on Thursday found Quintin Wiggins, the former chief financial officer of Texas Southern University, guilty of illegally spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in university funds on the home of Priscilla Slade, the ousted president of the university, The Houston Chronicle reported. Wiggins' lawyer told the jury that his client may have been negligent, but did not intentionally break the law. Slade faces a trial on related charges in August.
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