In the year since a student at the University of Notre Dame died when the aerial lift on which he was making videos of practices for the football team fell, many colleges and universities have changed their policies on the use of such lifts, the Associated Press reported. Some universities -- including Notre Dame -- have stopped using the lifts, which were designed for construction sites, not football fields. Others have continued their use but have issued new policies, such as barring their use on particularly windy days.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Skolkovo Foundation and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (known as SkTech) announced Wednesday that they would jointly create a new graduate research university in Russia. The new university will offer graduate degrees in these fields:
- Energy science and technology
- Biomedical science and technology
- Information science and technology
- Space science and technology
- Nuclear science and technology
A federal judge on Wednesday extended a restraining order barring Linn State Technical College from going ahead with its plan to test all new students for illegal drugs, the Associated Press reported. Judge Nanette Laughrey, while not issuing a final ruling on the legality of the plan, suggested it will run into trouble. Students, backed by civil liberties groups, are challenging the drug-testing plan.
Israel is experiencing a growth in private master's programs -- which receive no government support -- at otherwise government-funded universities, Haaretz reported. In the last six years, the number of such programs has increased from 26 to 51. The programs charge much higher tuition than the rest of the universities that house them, and proponents say that these offerings help provide funds for the rest of higher education. But critics say the growth of these programs is creating a two-tiered system, where those who can afford to pay more get better access to high-demand programs than do other students.
Women perform as well as men in engineering courses, but are less likely to stay in the field because of a confidence gap, according to research published in the new issue of American Sociological Review. Women are less likely to feel "professional role confidence," the study found, which has to do both with their view of their own talent and also of their sense that they are in the correct field. "Often, competence in engineering is associated in people’s minds with men and masculinity more than it is with women and femininity. So, there are these micro-biases that happen, and when they add up, they result in women being less confident in their expertise and their career fit," said the lead author of the study, Erin Cech, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research.
Lap-Chee Tsui, president of the University of Hong Kong, on Tuesday announced his plans to retire in August. The Wall Street Journal reported that while he gave no reason for his decision, critics believe it relates to a lingering controversy over the way police treated (many say mistreated) protesters during a visit to the campus in August by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang. Pro-democracy students were "roughed up," the Journal said, with one locked in a staircase by police officers for an hour. Many at the university questioned why Tsui allowed unprecedented police activity on the university's grounds.
The addition of 22,700 undergraduates at Canadian universities has pushed total undergraduate enrollments in the country over 1 million, according to data released Tuesday by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Graduate enrollment is also up modestly -- 3.2 percent for full time, and 2.3 percent for part time -- to a total of 195,400.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Education Department announced in today's Federal Register that it would hold a series of negotiations aimed at developing new regulations to govern teacher education programs and to define how states should assess the performance of such programs. The agency had announced in May that it would conduct a new round of negotiated rule making, but it did not identify the topics at that time. This month, the Obama administration said it would pursue a new approach to overseeing teacher education programs, with the primary aim of directing aid to those that graduate the teachers who produce the most successful outcomes in the students they teach. The new round of negotiated rule making -- which in recent years have been increasingly fractious over topics such as accreditation and the integrity of financial aid programs -- is set to begin in January.