Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Most concussions in college sports occur during practice, not during games, according to a new report by the Institute of Medicine. The study examined the 262 concussions recorded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The researchers found that 57.6 percent of those concussions happened during practice. "Concussions during practice might be mitigated and should prompt an evaluation of technique and head impact exposure," the report states. "Although it is more difficult to change the intensity or conditions of a game, many strategies can be used during practice to limit player-to-player contact and other potentially injurious behaviors."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Elizabeth Basha, an engineer at University of the Pacific, explains the positive uses of drones. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University, last month sent an appeal to alumni on behalf of 180 seniors who were on track academically to graduate this month, but who would be blocked from doing so because they owed money to the university. The Washington Post reported that Frederick described the seniors' circumstances (hometowns, majors, grades and debts) without giving their names. Their balances ranged from $313.50 to $27,871.75. The students collectively owed about $380,000 when Frederick sent out the appeal. So far the university has received $160,000 in response.


Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Four students at Tufts University announced Sunday that they have started a hunger strike, and will camp indefinitely with supporters outside on the campus (see photograph) without eating unless the university abandons what the students say is a plan to cut the jobs of 17 percent of the janitorial workforce. Students are camping outside the main administration building.

A statement from Adelaida Colon, a custodial worker, said: "The cuts will affect many workers, both part time and full time. Many people will be affected, many will lose their work and many of us will receive a heavy load of work. Right now, we are giving the university good service and we have been giving it for 18 years, but if they do the cuts it will be an absolutely different job. The students won't feel the same, it won't be a complete service to the university."

Via email, a Tufts spokesperson said Sunday evening that the university respects the right of students to protest "as long as they do not interfere with university operations or activities." The statement said that the university hoped those on a hunger strike "will be mindful of their health and safety."

As to the issues being raised by the protest, the spokesperson said that the university is working to control costs so that it can minimize tuition, and that looking for efficiencies led Tufts to work with an outside company to manage custodial work. DTZ, that company, "has committed to doing everything possible to find other jobs within the company for the affected custodians, including implementing a hiring freeze to facilitate the transfer of affected workers to new locations." The spokesperson also pointed to a recent essay in The Tufts Daily in which university administrators explained why the university was changing the way it provides custodial services.

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 4:11am

The American division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to announce a program today in which all dealership employees could be entitled to free tuition at Strayer University, either online or at a campus, Fortune reported. The employees will be able to take classes in associate, bachelor's and master's programs. Funds would be paid up front, so no money would have to come from employees. Officials declined to say how much the program would cost. Individual dealerships will have to pay part of the cost for their employees to participate. Chrysler is introducing the program to fight rapid turnover that currently hurts many dealerships.

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

For years, the days on which high school athletes have committed to various colleges have been covered by the press as a big deal. Now government, school and college officials are trying to do the same for nonathletes, with May 1 as College Signing Day. Most students going to college don't wait until May 1 to make their intentions known, but that is the historic deadline for responding to an admissions offer. By making May 1 a big deal, educators and others hope to encourage high school juniors (and those much younger) to start thinking about college and planning to apply. Some of the activities:

  • First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at an event Friday at Wayne State University.
  • At George Washington University, about 100 high school seniors from Washington high schools participated in a ceremony in which they announced their college choices, The Washington Post reported.
  • At a Mississippi high school, a teacher organized a ceremony at which seniors ran to tables, cheered on by fellow students and family members, with banners from the college they would be attending, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
  • Longview High School, in Texas, held its first signing ceremony for nonathletes, The Longview News-Journal reported.
  • The College Board announced a Pledge Your Collegiance contest in which students are encouraged to make videos announcing their choices, with four winners receiving $1,500 each. See video below.




Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

How one gauges the scope and extent of the problem the United States has with postsecondary attainment and crafts possible solutions depends in large part on the data used to assess the situation, argues a report being released at an event in Washington today. The report, funded by the National Science Foundation and produced by American Institutes for Research and George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development, examines how different data sources offer divergent answers to fundamental questions, such as the rate at which four-year college students earn bachelor's degrees and how big gender and racial attainment gaps are. (Note: Inside Higher Ed's Doug Lederman moderated a panel discussion at Monday's event.)

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

University of Akron alumni and students are organizing a petition and other efforts designed to preserve the institution's name. No name change has been officially proposed, but Akron supporters are alarmed by reports that a rebranding effort could lead to the institution being called Ohio Polytechnic Institute, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported.


Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Swarthmore College's board announced Saturday that the college will not sell holdings in companies in the fossil fuel industry, a move sought by a long student sit-in and endorsed by many other students and faculty members. An email to the campus from Gil Kemp, chair of the board, said that "the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College reached consensus not to divest from fossil fuels. The sense of the meeting was to reaffirm its investment guidelines, which since 1991 have stated that the 'Investment Committee manages the endowment to yield the best long-term financial results, rather than to pursue other social objectives.'"

The email did note that the college has undertaken numerous projects to become more sustainable, and that the college will create a fund that does not invest in fossil fuels. This will allow alumni and others to donate to the college without having any of those funds invested in fossil fuels.

Swarthmore Mountain Justice, the student group that led the divestment campaign and held a 32-day sit-in and numerous protests this academic year, issued a statement criticizing the board's decision. "Swarthmore risks being left behind and remembered in history for its failure to take leadership at this critical moment. This crisis is real, in the here and now. Lives are at stake. Our generation’s future is at stake," said the statement.

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:00am

A New York State labor board has ruled that part-time faculty members at Cayuga Community College have the right to bargain collectively as their own unit, The Auburn Citizen reported. College officials had argued that the part-timers could unionize only as part of the union of full-time faculty members, but the part-timers wanted their own unit.



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