Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

A Russian studies scholar at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University says he is being wrongly dismissed due to the administration’s unhappiness with an August 2014 lecture he was scheduled to give on Ukrainian-Russian relations, Eurasianet.org reported. The planned lecture by Professor Marcel de Haas, a professor of public policy and a retired officer in the Dutch army, was reportedly canceled after the intervention of a Russian diplomat who protested that the talk would “introduce falsehoods into the minds of students.” Nazarbayev University, which has ties with many elite international universities, did not respond to inquiries from Eurasianet.org about de Haas’s allegations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher will announce today a new transfer policy.

Starting this fall, SUNY is guaranteeing that students can transfer from a community college with all of their general education requirements and courses toward their major to and from any SUNY campus. The policy allows students to transfer credits in any direction, but also works to keep costs down by capping the number of credits they can earn for all undergraduate degree programs at 64 credits for an associate degree and 126 for a bachelor's.

"The full implementation of SUNY's seamless transfer initiative will provide an unprecedented level of guidance to students as they seek to transfer between and among SUNY institutions," said Peter Knuepfer, a SUNY trustee and president of the University Faculty Senate, in a news release. "More than 1,000 faculty members worked in disciplinary groups to identify transfer paths that provide the framework of required and recommended courses in the first two years, so that students know what to take if they plan to transfer and complete a particular major."

More than 30,000 students transfer within SUNY each year, with 49 percent transferring from a community college to a four-year campus. Sixteen percent move from one four-year institution to another, 17 percent transfer from a four-year to a community college and 18 percent move between two-year institutions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Cengage Learning will offer the 24,000 members of the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) access to a portal of online courses and professional development tools. The site will include more than 350 online courses in health care, business, IT and other areas. Cengage also will provide 100 certificate-bearing career training programs through the portal, which will be accredited through community colleges and other institutions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Rolf Vinebrook, a biologist at the University of Alberta, discusses his research focusing on inland lakes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Apple has a new way of promoting its Apple Watch this fall: as a secret in-class communication device. According to 9to5Mac, retail workers are being encouraged to pitch the wearable to students as a means to sneak peeks at a screen without their instructor noticing. “I don’t think the teachers have caught on to the watch yet,” Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts reportedly said in an internal video to retail workers, adding that Apple Store employees should encourage students to “jump on it before the teachers do.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Old Dominion University is not the only institution talking about "welcome" banners at off-campus homes that are sexist and that critics say make light of sexual assault. Ohio State University students put up banners at a house saying, “Dads, we’ll take it from here,” and “Daughter day care 2.0,” WCMH News reported. While many called the banners sexist, some of the male students in the house don't see it that way. Said one student: “People have been saying we are misogynists, we are sexist, we are degrading towards women. My dad, he is a good Christian man, I am a good Christian man, but we just do this for fun. We are not trying to cause any havoc or stir up any trouble, we are just trying to have some fun.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 4:27am

Lindsey Schiffler returned from a recent trip to find her apartment had been robbed, and among the items taken was a flash drive containing both raw data and personal observations for her dissertation for her doctorate in leadership at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, The Star-Tribune reported. Before she left on her trip, she emailed a dissertation draft to her professors, so that exists. But all of her data and observation records were on the flash drive and the flash drive only. Schiffler is hoping it will turn up -- as it would have fairly limited value to the thief who hit her apartment. And she's sharing her story as a reminder to others. “I’m kicking myself for not also saving everything to the cloud or Google Drive,” she said.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Massive open online course platform Coursera has raised another $49.5 million in its most recent round of funding, a number that is expected to grow to $60 million this fall. The sum pushes Coursera well past the $100 million mark in total funding received, as the company stood at $85 million after its series B round, according to CrunchBase. Coursera CEO Rick Levin said the money will be spent on platform improvements and growth in countries such as China and India, which each have about one million registered users.

"We were not running out of money, but this simply gives us more capacity to continue to improve the platform and to really develop international markets at a faster rate," Levin said in an interview.

New Enterprise Associates, one of Coursera's original investors, returned for this round, which Levin described as a signal of "confidence." Times Internet, a subsidiary of the company that owns the Times of India, also joined the funding round, which Levin said will help Coursera expand in the country.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Career Education Corporation disclosed Monday that it received a "civil investigative demand" from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Aug. 20, according to a corporate filing.

The federal agency's request requires Career Ed to provide documents and information from January 2010 to the present, and the investigation is to "determine whether unnamed persons, partnerships, corporations or others have engaged or are engaging in deceptive or unfair acts," related to advertising, marketing, or sale of educational products or accreditation services.

"The company is evaluating the request and intends to cooperate with the FTC," according to a statement within the filing. The FTC has sent similar investigative requests to DeVry Education Group and Apollo Education Group.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

The provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is resigning, The Chicago Tribune reported, two weeks after the university's chancellor announced her departure amid revelations that top administrators used private email accounts for official business and failed to turn over some of those email records in response to public records requests. The university's top-ranking academic officer, Ilesanmi Adesida, cited "current controversies" as his reason to return to the faculty.

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