Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Many public colleges in New Jersey have in recent years announced salary freezes for presidents, citing the budget cuts faced at the institutions along with the tuition increases being paid by students and their families. But an investigation by The Star-Ledger documented lucrative benefits that have remained in presidential contracts providing many of them with substantial additional funds during this time. Many of the presidents, for example, receive retention bonuses -- lump sum payments (in the six figures in some cases) for staying for certain periods of time. Other benefits: personal financial advisers and health club memberships, million-dollar insurance policies and unlimited gas.

Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Kansas has opened a new branch of its medical school -- for only eight students. The New York Times reported that the new campus, in Salina, in a rural part of the state, is part of an effort to attract more M.D.'s to work in rural parts of the state. The thinking is that by recruiting students from the region, and keeping them there, they won't be tempted to relocate to urban areas later. The curriculum will be more focused on typical problems faced in rural areas than on specialties.

Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Kaplan Inc. has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle a whistle-blower's suit charging that the company's CHI Institute, in Pennsylvania, enrolled students in a surgical technology program without having enough clinical placements for the students to graduate, The New York Times reported. About $500,000 in the settlement will repay student loans of those enrolled in the program. Kaplan did not admit any wrongdoing.

Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Kaplan Inc. has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle three legal matters at the company's CHE Institute, in Pennsylviania, including a whistleblower's suit charging that the campus enrolled students in a surgical technology program without having enough clinical placements for the students to graduate, The New York Times reported. About $500,000 in the settlement will repay student loans of those enrolled in the program. Kaplan did not admit any wrongdoing. About $225,000 will go to settle the whistleblower's suit.

Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Atlantic Union College has issued layoff notices to all employees, effective July 31, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. The college, in Massachusetts, has been in the process of becoming a branch of Washington Adventist University, in Maryland. But delays by Massachusetts officials in approving the merger have left Atlantic Union without the resources to continue, without the authority to merge. Had the merger gone through, layoffs were projected to be minimal.

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 3:00am

A special panel of the American Bar Association is considering a proposal to raise the average bar passage rates required for law schools to be accredited, The National Law Journal reported. Currently, law schools must have at least 75 percent of graduates pass the bar exam in at least three of the past five years. Alternatively, a law school can show that its first-time bar-passage rate is no more than 15 percent below those of other ABA schools in the same state during three of the past five years. (Bar passage rates vary from state to state.) A new proposal would require that at least 80 percent of graduates pass the bar exam in three of the past five years, or that first-time bar-passage rates be no more than 10 percent below other law schools in the same state. Advocates for the change say that the current requirement is too low. Advocates for more racial and ethnic diversity in law school classes are opposing the proposal, arguing that it will discourage law schools from recruiting students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and who may be at higher risk of failing the bar exam.

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ilya Buynevich of Temple University explains what studying the
structure of today’s coastlines can teach us about the geology of the past. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Boston University researchers have retracted a paper, originally published in Science, in which they claimed to have identified a genetic signature for human longevity, The Boston Globe reported. A new analysis found that some of the data they used were incorrect. A statement from Science said: "Although the authors remain confident about their findings, Science has concluded on the basis of peer review that a paper built on the corrected data would not meet the journal's standards for genome-wide association studies. The researchers worked exhaustively to correct the errors in the original paper and we regret the outcome of the exhaustive revision and re-review process was not more favorable."

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The heads of four major archaeological institutes at Israel universities have written to Limor Livnat, the country's culture minister, to ask that she withdraw proposed changes to the Antiquities Authority Law, Haaretz reported. Currently the chair of the Antiquities Authority Council must be a scientist who is a member of the Israel's National Academy of Sciences. Livnat has argued that the pool of candidates isn't large enough so she wants to be able to select someone after consulting with the National Academy of Sciences, but not necessarily from that body. The academic institute leaders argue that this shift is an attempt to put a right-leaning scholar in charge of the council and its work.

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Peace College, a women's college in Raleigh, N.C., announced Thursday that it will become a university and will admit male students to all programs. Peace said that it would maintain its commitment to students in part by offering selected "single-gender courses in targeted disciplines where research shows that women and mean learn differently and that each benefit from a single-gender classroom." Even with such sections, "all classes will be accessible to add students," the statement said. The last year has seen numerous controversies at Peace as budget cuts and layoffs have been criticized by many. Moves to admit men to women's colleges have angered alumnae elsewhere. The first post on the Peace alumnae Facebook page is a link to a petition "to save Peace College," and criticizing the administration's management of the institution.

On Thursday, in response to the news from Peace, Meredith College -- another women's institution in Raleigh -- issued a statement affirming that it plans to remain single-sex.

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