At Boston University last week, every freshman and transfer student -- all 4,300 of them -- received a call from a university official asking how they were doing in their adjustment to the institution, The Boston Globe reported. Among those making the calls were the provost and dean of students. The idea is to show personal attention, and to invite any students facing difficulties to seek assistance.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Islamists stormed the University of Sousse, in Tunisia, on Saturday as tensions escalated over the university's refusal to enroll a woman who wears a full face veil, Reuters reported. After the incident, security forces surrounded the faculty building to prevent further attacks.
West Virginia University on Friday asked reporters to avoid calling studies by its faculty members "WVU research," The Charleston Gazette reported. Many colleges and universities routinely urge reporters to cover research by their faculty members, and to link the findings to the institution involved. A statement from the university said that it was trying to clarify only that the university does not take a stand on research -- except to defend professors' rights to explore ideas. But the newspaper noted that the clarification followed a series of public health studies by the university's researchers that have been heavily criticized by the coal industry, an influential force in West Virginia.
At least six university athletics directors have salaries of more than $1 million, according to a study by USA Today. The study also found that, since August 2010, at least 10 public universities have given their athletics directors raises of at least $75,000.
Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, has sent a letter to the American Bar Association, calling on it to take more meaningful steps to make sure that law schools report accurate statistics on job placement to prospective students. The ABA has said that it is moving on the issue and strengthening its rules. But citing lawsuits and media reports, Boxer wrote to the ABA that it was not doing enough.
"In a year when a number of lawsuits alleging consumer protection law violations have been filed against ABA law schools, when major newspapers have devoted thousands of words to problems with law school reporting practices, and when two United States senators have encouraged significant changes to your policies, it is surprising that the ABA is resorting to half measures instead of tackling a major problem head on," Boxer wrote.
She called for independent oversight and auditing of the statistics reported by law schools.
When the maximum Stafford loan went up, the percentage of undergraduates who borrowed through the program decreased at first, but as time passed, that percentage grew. That is one of the findings of a new research brief from the National Center for Education Statistics. The analysis focuses on issues related to the setting of maximum levels for borrowing under the Stafford program. Another parts of the study looked at the relationship between working full time and Stafford borrowing. A smaller percentage (26 percent) of those who worked full time when enrolled borrowed the maximum than did those who borrowed less than the maximum (33 percent) and those who did not borrow (37 percent).
In today's Academic Minute, John Hatle of the University of North Florida explains his research using grasshoppers to understand why avoiding reproduction often increases an organism’s overall lifespan. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The Cerritos Community College board has voted to change the way trustees are elected, moving from at-large seats to regional representation, the Associated Press reported. The move follows by a week a lawsuit by Latino citizens charging that the old system minimized their representation on the board.
Jack Conway, attorney general of Kentucky, has found that University Hospital is a public entity because it is controlled by the University of Louisville, The Courier-Journal reported. The ruling came in an open records dispute. But the finding could have a significant impact on the university's plan to merge the hospital with three others, including a Roman Catholic hospital that limits certain procedures that conflict with Catholic teachings. Some groups are challenging the merger plans, citing church-state concerns.
The Los Angeles Community College District has suspended all new construction projects that are part of a mammoth $5.7 billion bond program, The Los Angeles Times reported. The district acted so it could study whether it has plans to maintain the facilities being constructed. The move will halt or suspend 67 projects planned by the district's nine colleges.