Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 8, 2014

A newly formed coalition of 20 states is trying to create joint data standards and data sharing agreements for non-degree credentials, like industry certifications. While demand is high for these credentials, data is scarce on whether students are able to meet industry-specified competencies. The Workforce Credentials Coalition, which held its first meeting at the New America Foundation on Monday, wants to change that by developing a unified data framework between colleges and employers. Community college systems in California and North Carolina are leading the work.

Also this week, the Workforce Data Quality Campaign released a new report that describes states and schools that have worked to broker data-sharing agreements with certification bodies and licensing agencies. The goal of those efforts is to improve non-degree programs and to reduce confusion about the different types of credentials.

April 8, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Hans Meltofte, senior scientist at Denmark's Aarhus University, describes the negative impact of climate change in the Arctic as "already visible" and details the serious ecological consequences that are resulting. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 8, 2014

A report commissioned by the Texas Legislature has found grounds to impeach Wallace Hall, a member of the University of Texas Board of Regents, The Texas Tribune reported. Among the possible reasons cited for impeachment include alleged use of confidential information in inappropriate ways and "unreasonable and burdensome requests" for information by system officials. Hall, who did not respond to requests for comment but who has defended himself previously, is an ally of Governor Rick Perry, a Republican. Hall is among the regents who have been highly critical of Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, despite the strong support Powers has from faculty members, students and alumni leaders.

April 8, 2014

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representative on Wednesday unveiled their response to the Republican 2015 fiscal year budget released last week by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The plan by Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, would, among other things, authorize a student loan debt refinancing program and expanded loan repayment options.

The budget does not include any details about how those programs would be structured, but it would require them to not increase the deficit over the next 5 or 10  years. Both House budget proposals are largely symbolic political documents aimed at rallying voters in an election year, especially since Congress in December already agreed to top-line spending levels for the fiscal year that begins this October 1.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is set to testify before the House appropriations panel to discuss the administration’s budget proposal on Tuesday. 

April 8, 2014

A day after the American Association of Community Colleges said it would not have anything to say about hiring a Bill Clinton impersonator to appear at the annual meeting, the association is apologizing and blaming the comedian.

The performance stunned and angered many attendees, many of whom walked out of the event. Many considered the jokes sexist, vulgar and inappropriate for a gathering of community college leaders.

Late Monday, the AACC sent this message to attendeeds: "Politicos Brigade comedian Tim Watters, a well-known Bill Clinton impersonator, performed in the final minutes of the opening session of the 94th Annual Convention. Mr. Watters has been on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,' HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher,' and Comedy Central’s 'Win Ben Stein’s Money,' among other shows. The addition of a comedian was intended to entertain our attendees. Unfortunately, the comedian’s humor was not appropriate and it was not successful. AACC vetted the content planned for the performance, but unfortunately the comedian changed this original content without AACC's knowledge. AACC would never purposely offend any member of our association and the comedian in no way reflects the sentiment of the association's leadership."

Dustin Gold, who runs Politicos Brigade, disputed the AACC statement. He said that 10 jokes were provided to the AACC in advance, and that the AACC vetoed only two jokes and that those jokes were not used. He also said that AACC had the right to ask for the entire script in advance and didn't do so. In an email, Gold said: "Tim has been doing this for over 20 years, and has performed for countless Fortune 500s at thousands of events, and has run into several situations where the wrong type of entertainment was chosen for the attending crowd. As we all know, politics is a touchy subject and some audiences are just not the right fit for this type of entertainment. We apologize if anyone was offended, but I am confident that Tim provided the services he was hired to provide."

AACC did not respond to a request for comment on Gold's email.

 

April 8, 2014

Steve Masiello, head men's basketball coach at Manhattan College, lost a bid to become head coach at the University of South Florida when that institution -- and then Manhattan -- found out he lacked the bachelor's degree he claimed to have from the University of Kentucky. Manhattan placed him on leave. But the college announced Monday that if Masiello completes his bachelor's degree, which officials said was doable, he could have his old job back.

In a statement, Masiello said: “I am extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity to continue as the head men’s basketball coach at Manhattan College. I made a mistake that could have cost me my job at an institution I love. Details matter. Manhattan College has shown me a great deal of compassion and trust during this process, and I will do everything in my power to uphold that trust. I understand that I am very fortunate to have the chance to remain here at Manhattan.”

April 8, 2014

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about the drive to increase the number of Americans with college credentials. The articles reflect challenges faced by colleges, and some of the key strategies they are adopting. Download the booklet here.

This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Monday, April 28, at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles. To register for the webinar, please click here.

April 8, 2014

The Project on Fair Representation, the legal team that has brought many legal challenges to the consideration of race, is looking for new plaintiffs. On Monday, the project announced that it has created three websites to invite people to indicate that they feel they have been the victims of discrimination in admissions. The sites seek plaintiffs against Harvard University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Officials with the project have in the past said that affirmative action hurts Asian applicants, an argument that appears related to the photos on the home page of each website.

April 7, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, discusses his studies of self-control and how he is helping to debunk a popular theory regarding the now widely studied topic. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 7, 2014

Two students linked to an Adderall distribution ring at Bowdoin College have left the institution, The Bangor Daily News reported. College officials confirmed their departure but declined to comment on reports that 10 other students were involved and were disciplined in ways that did not result in their leaving the college.

 

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