Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 3, 2013

American Commercial Colleges, a for-profit higher education business in Texas, has agreed to pay the federal government up to $2.5 million to settle claims that it falsely certified that it was in compliance with certain requirements to receive federal student aid. A statement on the settlement from the Justice Department said that American Commercial Colleges had "orchestrated certain short-term private student loans" that the college repaid in order to appear to comply with the "90/10" rule. That rule requires that colleges seeking to participate in federal student aid programs receive at least 10 percent of their revenues from sources other than federal student aid. H. Grady Terrill, a lawyer for American Commercial Colleges, told The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that he anticipated the institutions soon reapplying for authority to operate.

June 3, 2013

Washington University in St. Louis has agreed to stop using cats in medical training, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The university has used cats to teach medical students how to place a tube in an infant's throat. Animal-rights groups have been focusing on Washington University, saying that most other medical schools have replaced the use of cats with mannequins. The former television host Bob Barker, a longtime animal rights advocate, in April said he would pay for the mannequins if the university would stop using cats.

June 3, 2013

Some groups of Roman Catholics regularly criticize Catholic colleges and universities for not being (in the views of these groups) Catholic enough. And plenty of bishops have from time to time criticized certain commencement speakers or campus events. But in what may be a new tactic, William Peter Blatty, best known as author of the novel and film The Exorcist, on Friday filed a complaint against Georgetown University with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who oversees the archdiocese of Washington. In the complaint, Blatty charges that Georgetown is so insufficiently Catholic that the cardinal should either force changes or force the institution to stop calling itself Catholic. The complaint has not been released, but is 198 pages and 124 "witness statements." The Cardinal Newman Society, which pushes Catholic colleges to closely adhere to what it considers to be Catholic teachings, also supplied a 120-page "dossier" on Georgetown, also not released. In a statement, Blatty said that Georgetown has become a "Potemkin village" of Catholicism.

A spokeswoman for Georgetown said that the institution has not seen the complaint and so can't comment. But Georgetown officials -- when faced with similar criticisms in the past -- have noted that Georgetown has masses every day (up to seven on Sunday) and a wide range of programs that reflect the university's Catholic and Jesuit identity.

June 3, 2013

Ivy Tech Community College -- a well-regarded statewide network in Indiana -- is considering closing up to 20 of its 72 campus locations, The Indianapolis Star reported. The system is facing a $68 million deficit, the result of several years in which enrollment increased substantially without the colleges' receiving per-student appropriations sufficient to keep up with the growth.

 

June 3, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Dale Durran of the University of Washington explains why it’s more difficult to keep your drink cold on a humid day. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

June 3, 2013

Study abroad officials are carefully tracking events in Turkey, where large protests in Istanbul and elsewhere have led to clashes with police. Syracuse University has 20 students in Istanbul, about to finish up a semester program. Margaret Himley, associate provost for international education and engagement, said via e-mail that students are scheduled to leave Sunday and "we are carefully monitoring the situation and talking with students about what these demonstrations mean and about what precautions they should be taking." A number of other institutions have summer programs about to start in Turkey. Jim Butterfield, a professor of political science at Western Michigan University, said that he is scheduled to accompany five students to Istanbul in three weeks. He said that "we're monitoring developments." Julie Anne Friend, associate director for international safety and security at Northwestern University, which will be sending students to Turkey for a program that starts July 1, said via e-mail that "we are not considering suspension at this time, but will, of course continue to monitor the situation."

May 31, 2013

More than 46,500 American students were pursuing full degrees abroad in 2011-12, according to a new report released by the Institute of International Education. This represented about a 5 percent increase from the year prior. Of those going abroad, about 42 percent are enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, with the remaining 16 percent pursuing doctorates.

The report is based on data from 14 countries, including the United Kingdom, the largest host of American students. (Other countries in the sample are Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, China, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Denmark and Malaysia.) The numbers do not include students who study abroad as part of a course of study at a U.S. institution.

May 31, 2013

On Thursday, Inside Higher Ed's editors, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, discussed the latest developments and issues surrounding massive open online courses during a free webinar. To watch the webinar, which was held in conjunction with the recent release of "The MOOC Moment," a collection of articles and essays about MOOCs, click here.

May 31, 2013

Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, has apologized for comments he made about the University of Notre Dame and about Roman Catholics, the Associated Press reported. In a meeting of Ohio State's athletics council, a recording of which was obtained by AP, Gee said that Notre Dame wasn't invited to join the Big 10 because priests are not good partners, and "those damned Catholics" can't be trusted. He also said that "the fathers are holy on Sunday, and they're holy hell on the rest of the week." Ohio State issued a statement indicating that Gee had agreed to a "remediation plan" because of the remarks. Gee has personally apologized to officials at Notre Dame, who accepted the apology. Last year, Gee apologized to Polish-American groups after he compared the difficulty of managing the university to leading the Polish army.

 

May 31, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Levin of Tufts University explains the process that determines organ placement as an embryo develops. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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