Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, July 29, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Martin Krieger, professor of planning at the University of Southern California, examines how the clustering of people in metropolitan areas applies to physics and whether cities behave like particles in a nucleus. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 4:27am

A student at Emmanuel College has used a public Facebook post to say that she'll be leaving the college because of its finding that a student she accused of rape was not responsible for sexual assault. “It is clear to me that you value your reputation more than you value your community. The compassion that you spoke so strongly about in the beginning of my time with you was only skin-deep. You host events that 'empower' women like myself to speak freely of issues like sex and race, but these are just empty words,” says the Facebook post by Joanna Vandyke. The post is being widely shared, along with comments criticizing the college.

The college issued a statement to Boston.com in which it said, “We are deeply concerned about the statements recently presented by a student on social media. There were more aspects to the account than what was shared on social media by this single party. The facts in this case overwhelmingly supported the Student Conduct Board’s conclusion.”

Vandyke told Boston.com she met the student she accused of rape on Tinder and that she was sexually assaulted after they were drinking and smoking pot together. The student whom Vandyke accused of rape, in a written statement that she released to Boston.com, said they had sex three times that night. He said that they did not formally discuss consent, but that she pointed at and grabbed his genitals.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 3:00am

Edwin Lara, a part-time campus public safety officer at Central Oregon Community College, has been charged with murder for allegedly running over a woman on campus and then getting rid of her body, CNN reported. Lara was arrested in California, based in part on a tip from his wife.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 3:00am

St. Catharine College, a small Roman Catholic college located in Kentucky, is shutting down. The college's leaders blamed its closure on the U.S. Department of Education, claiming the feds unfairly sanctioned the college over its management of federal financial aid money.

This week a federal court placed all property owned by the college into receivership, a rare occurrence involving a college campus, which means a firm has been appointed on behalf of St. Catharine's creditors to manage and preserve its assets.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 3:00am

Carthage College, in Wisconsin, has dropped its requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. The college explained the shift this way: "Why test optional? This policy aligns with our admissions philosophy of holistic review and aligns with the college’s strategic plan on access. The best indication of whether a student will be successful at Carthage College is their performance in high school -- the grades they earn and the rigor of their course work."

The option is not available to those applying to study nursing, applicants who have been homeschooled and international students for whom English is not their native language.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Joshua Rothman, professor in the Department of History at the University of Alabama, discusses how ads placed for the return of runaway slaves give us a more complete picture of our past. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday said it was cutting off federal student aid eligibility at three Medtech College campuses, located in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. A department investigation found "egregious misrepresentation of job placement rates" by the Medtech campuses, alleging that the for-profit college overstated placement rates to its accreditor, the department and prospective students.

The three campuses enroll a total of roughly 750 students, the department said, and received about $16 million in federal grant and loan aid in 2014-15. To continue to be eligible for federal aid at its other campus locations, the company must post a letter of credit equal to 80 percent of its annual federal aid revenue, worth about $37 million.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 4:20am

Fisk University sparked controversy several years ago when it tried to sell off parts of its collection of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings to help solve its financial problems; the sale was ultimately blocked by a judge and the university wound up sharing its collection with an Arkansas museum in exchange for an infusion of cash.

But as the university was negotiating that legal arrangement, its president at the time quietly sold two other paintings, The New York Times reported. The sale was not reported at the time, and the Times quotes the director of another university's museum as saying that the Fisk sale was "very much against the ethics of our profession."

The Fisk situation was one of several in recent years that have raised questions of whether colleges or universities can try to transform art donated to them into assets they can use to support themselves.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 4:30am

Florida National University does not infringe the trademark of Florida International University, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. Florida International, a sprawling public university in Miami, successfully prodded what was then called Florida International College to change its name to Florida National College with a similar lawsuit in 1989.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals, backing a 2014 ruling by a federal district court, ruled Tuesday that the institutions' names are different enough to avoid confusion, given that there are 12 colleges or universities with both "Florida" and "university" in their names and that the words "international" and "national" are sufficiently different.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 3:00am

Competency-based education can expand opportunities and enhance learning for nontraditional students while also being a boon for workforce development, said a majority of leaders at 251 colleges that are active or interested in the emerging form of higher education delivery. But the pace of adoption of competency-based courses and programs remains gradual, said most respondents to the survey conducted by Ellucian, Eduventures and the American Council on Education. One in four of the institutions surveyed have competency-based academic programs in place, and 37 percent said they use competency-based courses.

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