Higher Education Quick Takes
It's a ranking that makes many administrators cringe: top party school. On Monday, Princeton Review gave the "honor" to West Virginia University. (The ranking methodology is based on a survey of students related to the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study and the popularity of Greek life.) The next four universities on the list are the University of Iowa, Ohio University (last year's winner), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Georgia. A spokeswoman for West Virginia University told the Associated Press: “If you look at the schools on this list, they are mostly large, public universities with strong academic and research profiles, as well as highly successful athletic programs. But in the big picture, clearly this list has no real credibility."
Missouri State University officials said Tuesday that they had fired Mark Brixey as bookstore manager after he couldn't account for $400,000 in receipts over the last three years, KY3 News reported. A key clue: Auditors said that they discovered $81,000 in cash in Brixey's desk drawer last week, when he was on vacation. News accounts did not indicate if Brixey has responded to his dismissal or the allegations.
Latino enrollments in higher education passed several milestones in 2011, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center:
- Latino students are now the largest minority group among four-year college and university students.
- Latino students now make up one quarter of community college enrollments.
- Total Latino enrollment has passed 2 million students, or 16.5 percent of all college enrollments.
Jane Davis, chair of the Faculty Senate at Tennessee State University, was arrested for disorderly conduct at a Senate meeting Monday, The Tennessean reported. Davis has clashed on a number of issues with the administration, and the university -- at a faculty member's suggestion -- recently surveyed professors on whether Davis should be ousted as chair. University officials said that, during a Senate meeting, Davis was disruptive by refusing to stop speaking in defense of her leadership, and in questioning the survey. Following her arrest, she was led from the meeting in handcuffs, and the Senate voted to remove her as chair -- a vote Davis said was not valid.
There's a new kind of massive open online course (MOOC), and it lacks an instructor, The New York Times reported. The course will combine existing materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCoureware project, quizzes from Codeacademy and study groups from Open Study, and will be coordinated by Peer 2 Peer University. With those services, organizers said, an instructor (while central to other MOOC offerings) won't be necessary. The first offering will be on a computer programming language and is called "A Gentle Introduction to Python."
The University of Oregon has called off plans to pay political consultants $25,000 to influence a student vote on new fees to support a major renovation of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Many students were angry that administrators -- who want students to approve the fee -- would bring in professionals to try to alter student sentiment. (Students have twice previously rejected the fees.) The vote will take place in October.
Woman have been banned from 77 fields of study at 36 Iranian universities, The New York Times reported. At many universities, accounting, engineering and chemistry have been restricted to men. At the University of Tehran, only men will be permitted to study natural resources, forestry and mathematics. "Some fields are not very suitable for women’s nature," said Abolfazl Hasani, a senior Iranian education official.
The University of Oregon has paid $25,000 to a political consulting firm to try to influence a student vote in October on whether to impose a new fee to finance renovations of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Administrators want the students to authorize the fee, but they have twice rejected the idea. A memo about the consultants' work obtained by The Register-Guard said that critics would be described as "narrow minded" and "stubborn." Student leaders are criticizing the decision to hire the consulting firm, saying that students should be able to express their views without an expensive campaign to influence them.
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved draft legislation to ease the regulations for universities to hire foreign academics, Focus Taiwan News reported. Officials are concerned about brain drain and want to make it possible to attract more foreign talent.