Quick Takes: Economic Models for Scholarly Publishing, Death of New College of California, Grade Changing Scandal, Limits on Industry Ties to Med Schools, New Twist on B-School Rankings, Border Dispute Is Back, Marlboro Drops SAT, White Male Failure in UK

June 20, 2008
  • As university presses consider new economic models for online publishing, a new report urges them to think beyond getting started -- and to issues such as how to sustain efforts that are created. "Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources," was released by Ithaka, a nonprofit group promoting the use of such models. The report urges a businesslike approach, focused on growth and partnerships, not just the more standard approach of some nonprofit startups of looking for enough money to promote current projects. "Entrepreneurial success," the report says, may determine the long-term viability of the projects being explored by university presses.
  • The New College of California, whose viability has been in doubt for months amid financial and accreditation woes, is officially shutting down. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the college's final act will be tomorrow's graduation. Professors and vendors haven't been paid for months, and the college is selling off its remaining buildings.
  • Florida A&M University's law school is facing a grade-changing scandal. Last week, The Tallahassee Democrat reported that three administrators had been fired and two students had been dismissed over inappropriate grade changes and admissions issues. Today, without offering details, the newspaper is reporting that the dismissed students didn't have grades changed, but a student who did remains enrolled. In addition, also without details, the newspaper says that two of the fired employees reported the grade changing.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges on Thursday officially urged its members to adopt rules suggested by a special commission that reviewed ties between the pharmaceutical industry and medical schools. Among other measures, the guidelines urge medical schools to create policies that bar the acceptance of any gifts from industry by physicians, faculty, students and residents on- or off-site; eliminate the receipt of drug samples or manage their distribution via a centralized process that ensures timely patient access throughout the health care system; restrict access by pharmaceutical representatives to individual physicians by confining visits to non-patient areas and holding them by appointment only; strongly discourage participation by faculty in industry-sponsored speakers' bureaus; and prohibit physicians, residents and students from allowing presentations of any kind to be ghostwritten by industry representatives.
  • An economist at Vanderbilt University's business school has unveiled a new approach to business school rankings -- an approach that responds to one criticism of M.B.A. education, which is that graduate schools of business are great at identifying talent, but don't necessarily do much with it once students are enrolled. Mike Schor, the economist, took the top 50 programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and took data on inputs (college grades and scores on the GMAT) and outputs (average salaries). It is no surprise of course that some of the top ranked programs see their graduates do particularly well, but Schor noted that these schools attract some of the best students -- so he compared salaries to what might have been the "predictive" salary based on GMAT scores and college grades. And he ranked the 50 in order of the gains in salary that the school appears to provide. Using this system, Cornell University comes out on top, followed by Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Virginia. Details are at Schor's blog.
  • Leaders of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (jointly run institutions very close to the border with Mexico) thought they had a compromise with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over its plan to build the border fence in a way that would cut off part of the campus. But now campus officials have filed court papers charging that government officials aren't seriously looking for alternatives, The Brownsville Herald reported.
  • Marlboro College, in Vermont, announced Thursday that it will no longer require applicants for undergraduate admission to submit either SAT or ACT scores. College officials cited studies showing that dropping such requirements leads to more diverse applicant pools without a decline in academic quality.
  • White British teenage boys, even those with grades good enough to earn admission to universities, are significantly less likely than Asian and black African teenage boys in Britain to enroll, The Guardian reported.
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