Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 3:00am

Colorado will standardize how its public colleges grant credit for prior learning, The Denver Post reports. The Colorado Higher Education Commission will create a comprehensive, statewide prior-learning assessment policy, which it said will provide more consistency and transparency. However, the state's colleges will have a chance to weigh in on the standards before they are finalized, the commission said.

"One of the main goals directing this work is to ensure that PLA credits earned at one public institution will be accepted in transfer and apply to equivalent general education requirements at any receiving public institution," said the commission, "and to unify equivalently applied cut scores for major and elective credit to the greatest extent possible."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 3:00am

The boards of Clarkson University and the Union Graduate College have approved plans to merge the two institutions, pending approval from New York State and the colleges' accreditor. Officials hail the merger as one that combines two successful institutions, in contrast to some higher ed mergers that involve a healthy institution effectively absorbing a struggling one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 3:00am

The push for open educational resources (OER) in the Virginia Community College System is expanding. The system on Monday announced a $200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which will be used to pilot degree programs using free textbooks and other materials at 15 community colleges. The pilot is estimated to save 50,000 students about $100 each -- or more than $5 million in total -- in its first year, according to a press release.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 4:27am

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research explores the impact that Chinese graduate students had on the productivity of American professors when a change in China's policies in 1978 led to a sudden surge in the number of Chinese graduate students in the United States. The paper (abstract available here) uses databases that track the research output of American mathematics professors and that identify the graduate students working with individual American professors. The study finds that Chinese students were disproportionately likely to have Chinese-American faculty advisors, and that these advisors saw a notable increase in research productivity. Other American faculty members at these universities saw a decline in the numbers of students they mentored, and these professors saw a decline in their productivity.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 3:00am

Yale University on Monday announced a $150 million gift to renovate several historic facilities and to create a campus hub for student life with a mix of educational, cultural and social functions. The gift is from Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Blackstone founder and a Yale alumnus.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Ryan Schact, postdoctoral research fellow at University of Utah, explains work on our reproductive goals in relation to availability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 3:00am

Norfolk State University announced Friday that it will eliminate 97 jobs -- some of them currently vacant -- to deal with a $16.7 million deficit in the budget for the next academic year, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Norfolk State is a historically black college that is struggling with enrollment and, as a result, with finances. Enrollment for the fall is expected to be about 5,100 -- a drop of 900 in a year. Of particular concern is that only 500 freshmen are expected.

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 3:00am

The co-owners of the Charleston School of Law said last week that they might not enroll a new class of students in the fall, according to The Post and Courier and other news outlets. The for-profit law school in South Carolina last year was in discussions with InfiLaw System, a for-profit chain, about a possible sale. But state regulators voted down that plan. Last week the school's owners said it was losing money and would struggle to keep its license.

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 3:00am

Tufts University students announced Saturday that they were ending a hunger strike they launched to protest the university's outsourcing of some janitorial services, a move that current janitors and students say will result in many janitors losing their jobs. The four students who were the first to start their hunger strike had been fasting for five days. Tufts made no concessions and has said that the changes will save money, which is essential to minimize tuition increases.

“Janitors and students alike were concerned about the welfare of our peers,” said a statement from one of the student organizers, Nicole Joseph. “Given that the administration refused to meet with us over the weekend and pushed off a meeting until Monday, we felt this was the best decision in order to ensure the well-being of the strikers.”

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 3:00am

An article in The New York Times explores the way Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican running for president, has supported and been supported by Norman Braman, a billionaire auto dealer and a major donor. Some of those intersections have involved universities. After Rubio left his position in the Florida House of Representatives but before he ran for Senate, he taught at Florida International University, assuring the university he would raise money to pay for his position. Braman donated $100,000. While he was in the Legislature, Rubio played a key role in helping the University of Miami land an $80 million grant for a genomics institute that was a priority of Braman, then vice chair of Miami's board.

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