Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Gary Wilcox, a professor of advertising at the University of Texas at Austin, provides a closer look at alcohol advertising. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 4:29am

The wealth gap in American higher education is a topic of much concern, typically receiving attention when colleges and universities release their annual endowment reports, suggesting that the rich get richer. But a new study suggests that while the wealthy may be far wealthier than the average institutions, the gap isn't growing by much. The National Bureau of Economic Research released a study this morning (abstract available here) arguing that endowments alone are not the right measure to determine wealth inequality in higher education. When wealth is studied by also including measures of income and spending, there have been only "negligible increases" in recent years in institutional wealth gaps, the study finds. At the same time, it affirms that the wealth gaps -- though more stable than conventional wisdom has held -- are large and real. The authors of the study are two economists, Yan Lau of Reed College and Harvey S. Rosen of Princeton University.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Coca-Cola is funding and providing support to a new group, the Global Energy Balance Network, that supports researchers who say that the best approach to obesity is exercise, without a focus on diet, The New York Times reported. Many scientists question this view and have been unaware of Coke's involvement with the group, which comes at a time when Coke sales (excluding diet drinks) have fallen and many experts are trying to discourage consumption of sugary soft drinks. Coke is not only supporting the new organization, but providing grants to support the work of two of the group's founding members, for their work at the University of South Carolina and West Virginia University. A statement from Coke said: “We partner with some of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and physical activity. It’s important to us that the researchers we work with share their own views and scientific findings, regardless of the outcome, and are transparent and open about our funding.”

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Apollo Education Group said Friday that it is being investigated by California's attorney general, Kamala Harris. The inquiry relates to the University of Phoenix, which Apollo owns, and students who are veterans or members of the U.S. military or California National Guard, according to an Apollo corporate filing.

The investigation follows a broad information request last month from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is scrutinizing allegations of deceptive marketing by Phoenix. That investigation also includes the recruitment of military students.

Apollo last week released a written statement by retired Army Major General Spider Marks, who is executive dean of the Phoenix's College of Security & Criminal Justice. "The university’s practices relating to compliance, training and student support services for military students should, we believe and hope, serve as a model for all institutions, organizations and companies," Marks said.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Minnesota's athletic director, Norwood Teague, resigned Friday after two university employees filed sexual harassment complaints against him. The harassment, which included inappropriate text messages, occurred during a university-sponsored dinner. Teague said in a statement that the incidents occurred after he consumed too much alcohol, and that he will seek treatment for his alcohol use.

"Norwood's resignation follows the report of two recent incidents of sexual harassment of two nonstudent university employees, based on unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature occurring on the same evening," Eric Kaler, Minnesota's president, said in a statement. "I have spoken personally to the employees and expressed my sincere regrets that they experienced this behavior. Sexual harassment at the University of Minnesota will not be tolerated. We need to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that those who experience harassment can access the resources available to them and know that the university takes this issue very seriously."

Beth Goetz, the university's deputy athletic director, will serve as interim athletic director.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

After only a year in office, Arvind Gupta is stepping down as president of the University of British Columbia, one of Canada's leading universities and a player globally among research universities. The Globe and Mail reported that the move has left many stunned and asking questions. But the university and Gupta say only that he decided he believes he can best serve the university as a professor of political science.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 4:22am

A federal judge on Friday upheld most of the rules an independent panel had ordered the Law School Admission Council to make so that people with disabilities could seek accommodations on the Law School Admission Test. The panel was set up as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by federal and California officials, arguing that people with disabilities were not having legitimate accommodations awarded. While the judge rejected a few of the panel's decisions, the vast majority of those challenged by the council were upheld. The rules stipulate the kind of documentation needed to demonstrate a disability requiring an accommodation. The council did not respond to a weekend request for comment.

And in a sign of the continued importance of the LSAT, the American Bar Association has ended after one year an exemption that allowed selected ABA-recognized law schools to admit up to 10 percent of their classes from applicants who hadn't taken the LSAT, The National Law Journal reported. Officials said that the exemption was confusing and inconsistent.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Christian Taylor, a student and football player at Angelo State University in Texas, has become the latest unarmed black male to be fatally shot by the police. The Star-Telegram reported that Taylor was shot in a car dealership in the middle of the night, with police investigating a possible robbery in progress there. Police reports say that Taylor was shot during an altercation with police, but some members of Taylor's family doubt that account. On July 30, Taylor used his Twitter account to say: "I don't wanna die too younggggg."

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Two more colleges -- Marymount University, in Virginia, and Point Park University, in Pennsylvania -- announced Friday that they are creating options for undergraduate applications without SAT or ACT scores. In both cases, the option will be available to applicants with at least a 3.0 grade point average in college preparatory courses.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 3:00am

The U.S. Senate last week unanimously approved a resolution commemorating the 125th university of the Second Morrill Act that led to the creation of 19 historically black land-grant universities. The resolution celebrates that 1890 law and designates Aug. 30 as 1890 Land-Grant Institutions Quasquicentennial Recognition Day.

Those institutions collectively enroll more than 110,000 students, according to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which praised the resolution’s passage.

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