Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 3:00am

In a new policy brief, the American Association of Community Colleges calls on the federal government to encourage the establishment of state “postsecondary longitudinal data systems” that “capture the workforce outcomes of educational pursuits.” The brief argues that “the data that are gathered to evaluate [workforce] outcomes must reflect the post-college occupational experiences” of community college student, who end up in occupations as varied as child-care providers, nurses, engineers and members of the armed services.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:00am

A coalition of higher education associations is backing the University of Texas at Austin's defense of its affirmative action policies. The university was sued based on its success in attracting minority students during the period that it was barred from using affirmative action. Opponents of affirmative action said that this success demonstrated that affirmative action wasn't necessary and therefore didn't meet legal tests to justify it. But a judge last year rejected that legal argument and said that Texas was within its rights to use a variety of tactics -- including affirmative action -- to promote diversity. The backing from national higher education groups isn't surprising, since all of those involved are on record backing the use of affirmative action. "[T]his case implicates principles of academic freedom and the ability of an institution of higher education to assemble a student body which best serves its identity and mission," says the brief filed by the organizations. "Many colleges and universities have decided that the admission of a racially and ethnically diverse student body will serve their individual educational missions."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:00am

India's cabinet on Monday approved legislation that would allow foreign universities to confer degrees in India, The New York Times reported. While the measure still needs parliamentary approval, the decision Monday was a major advance for the bill. The legislation includes provisions that are designed to discourage some foreign operators. For example, the bill would ban foreign universities from taking profits outside of the country.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of South Florida's former football coach sued the institution Monday for breach of contract, charging that in firing him for mistreating a player in January, its officials had ignored evidence that supported his account of the incident that prompted his dismissal, The Tampa Tribune reported. Jim Leavitt's dismissal, one of several such firings of coaches within a few weeks of each other this winter, came after an investigation by South Florida found that he had "grabbed the throat and slapped the face" of a player, and that Leavitt's denials were "consistently uncorroborated by credible witnesses." Leavitt's complaint alleges otherwise and seeks access to the records the university collected during its inquiry, to which the coach says he has been denied access.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:00am

About 12,000 students in Texas -- or 1 percent of all college students in the state -- lack the legal documentation to show that they reside in the United States legally, The Dallas Morning News reported. The figures come amid a legal challenge to a state law that grants such students in-state tuition rates if they meet certain conditions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The trustee for the bankrupt consulting firm BearingPoint is suing Yale University for the $6 million the firm donated to the university in the two years before it sought bankruptcy protection, The Wall Street Journal reported. The money was used to endow a chair in management and for various facilities. Federal law allows for the recovery of some funds paid out by bankrupt firms prior to their bankruptcy. Yale officials declined to comment.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Butler University's faculty has rejected a student proposal to invite John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to be the commencement speaker this year, The Indianapolis Star reported. Roberts has a niece in the graduating class. Faculty members said that they voted down the idea not because they object to Roberts's ideas, but because they generally avoid political figures for commencement speakers.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Simon Fraser University is currently in the process of being reviewed for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, an agency for colleges in the United States. Simon Fraser was prompted to do so because it is joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but its decision also points to the lack of any national accreditation agency in Canada, Maclean's reported. In some cases, the magazine reported, differing provincial requirements mean that some universities' degrees are accepted as valid in some but not all parts of the country.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Arizona's public universities were ordered by the Board of Regents Friday to cut their payroll costs by 2.75 percent, The Arizona Daily Star reported. It is unclear whether institutions will cut salaries or order layoffs. In the last two years, about 2,000 jobs were eliminated and thousands of other higher education employees in the state had furloughs.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Association of Colleges and Employers has released its latest survey on the majors that yield the highest starting salaries, Eight of the top 10 are in engineering, with the non-engineering majors being computer science and information sciences. Topping the list is petroleum engineering at $86,220, followed by chemical engineering at $65,142. That places those new bachelor's degrees holders above the average salaries of many associate professors in the humanities.

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