Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Some Chinese students are organizing a class action against the Educational Testing Service following its decision to cancel scores on the Graduate Record Examination given in China last month, People's Daily reported. Last week, ETS officials said that they were offering test-takers the option of retaking the test or getting a refund, but the People's Daily article says that many test-takers don't think that enough. ETS said it was forced to take this action because major portions of the test had already been given in previous administrations of the GRE. "Most candidates believe it is not fair for them to have to accept the consequences caused by the mistakes of ETS," the article says. "Some believe that since there were not many candidates who systematically reviewed the original questions, the number of re-examination questions should be reduced or the score of candidates should be counted by combining the scores of the re-examination and the previous examination." A spokesman for ETS told Inside Higher Ed that "students are understandably upset but we are really doing everything in our power to minimize the impact by offering students options, contacting them with information via e-mail and text messaging, establishing a toll-free number notifying universities, providing reimbursements for travel expenses from the 10/23 administration and so forth. We'll see what happens in the future."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Texas at Austin has been boasting of late of its raids on the University of California's furlough-weary faculty. But The Contra Costa Times reports on how the University of California at Berkeley won back a couple that it lost to Austin just a year ago. Jennifer Johnson-Hanks and William Hanks, a sociologist and an anthropologist, respectively, cited family ties to the Bay Area and the effort by a Berkeley dean who lured them back.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The Medical College of Georgia and a foundation created to support it have ended their rift, The Augusta Chronicle reported. The college cut ties to the foundation two years ago, but has now worked out an arrangement in which the foundation will focus on alumni fund-raising and a new fund-raising arm created by the college will focus on the institution's needs.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Many of Latin America's universities are experiencing renewed investment and are reaching out for more ties to academe in the rest of the world, Times Higher Education reported. Not only are governments putting more money into higher education -- most notably Brazil, in scientific fields -- but Latin American academic leaders are placing more of a priority on partnerships with universities elsewhere, Times Higher said.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

A Kaplan University recruiting manual for admissions officials dealing with veterans who might enroll suggests creating “fear, uncertainty, doubt” about competing colleges, according to an investigation by Bloomberg News, which obtained a copy of the manual. The article discusses how a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq was pressured to enroll by telling him that his spot might be lost to another student -- even though the program for which he was being recruited was online and didn't have any capacity limit. The veteran -- who says the university kicked him out when his federal grant didn't materialize and he couldn't afford tuition -- also says he was told that he could trust Kaplan because it is owned by The Washington Post Company.

A spokeswoman for Kaplan said that the university's approach is to help veterans who may be overlooked by others in higher education. Melissa Mack, the spokeswoman, told Bloomberg: “Active-duty military personnel and veterans are often under-served by traditional institutions.... Kaplan has received significant interest from veterans because of our military-friendly practices.”

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Authorities suspect that an Ohio State University law student stole more than 200 books from the law library and sold or tried to sell them online, bringing in more than $10,000, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The student, who has not been identified, has posted online listings to sell more than 1,000 books. He was discovered when a Brazilian lawyer who bought a book reported to Ohio State that her new purchase had a crossed-out Ohio State ink stamp.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Photo: Bernardo Guzman
We can't be sure, but we think this sign spotted by a friend of Inside Higher Ed at the Rally to Restore Sanity may have come from an academic.
Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Iowa has admitted to violating National Collegiate Athletic Association recruiting rules in part by allowing two basketball recruits to meet Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at a football game, The Des Moines Register reported. Kutcher is considered a representative of the university's athletic interests, so the high school students should not have been introduced to him.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

An investigation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers has found that Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo allowed the first director of a new academic center they jointly sponsored to be ousted unfairly and in violation of principles of academic freedom. The center, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, was jointly created by the universities and the Center for International Governance Innovation, a think tank created by Jim Balsillie, the Blackberry creator and the major financial backer of the academic venture. The CAUT found that Ramesh Thakur was forced out of the directorship of the new international affairs school for objecting to the pressure being placed on it by the corporate think tank CIGI. The two universities were faulted in the report for "a serious lapse of judgment and loss of commitment to institutional autonomy, academic integrity, due process, and natural justice." The two universities issued a statement to The Globe and Mail in which they said that they objected "strenuously" to the faculty group's findings.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Council of Independent Colleges and the Foundation for Independent Higher Education on Friday announced their merger. The two organizations have historically worked closely together, and had been talking for some time about a possible merger. The council has 600 private liberal arts colleges and universities as members and runs a variety of programs to help them with all parts of their missions. The foundation is a network of state fund-raising associations on behalf of private higher education.

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