Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 3:00am

The race- and gender-related hiring practices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's member institutions have received a C grade in this year's College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, issued by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. That is the worst grade ever issued by the institute, which began creating the reports in 2001.

The report card notes declines in the hiring of women and people of color in nearly every major profession in college athletics. The report's grade for gender hiring fell from a B in 2012 to a C- in 2014. Its grade for racial hiring fell from a B to a C+. For the 2014 season, only 22 percent of men’s Division I basketball coaches were African-American (down from 23 percent) and 23.8 percent were coaches of color (down from 24.8 percent). Less than 10 percent of Division I athletic directors are women. The number of head football coaches of color in the Football Bowl Subdivision decreased from 15 in 2013 to 14 at the start of the 2014 season. About 90 percent of the coaches were white. All FBS conference commissioners in 2014 were white men.

“It was extremely discouraging that this year’s CSRGRC showed further deep overall declines," Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and the primary author of the report, said in a statement. "The drop in the race and gender grades emphasized an area of continuing and alarming concern."

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 3:29am

Southern New Hampshire University's president, Paul LeBlanc, has taken a three-month assignment with the U.S. Department of Education. LeBlanc's appointment, which begins next week, will be as a senior adviser to Ted Mitchell, the department's under secretary. He will focus on competency-based education and "developing new accreditation pathways for innovative programs in higher education," the department and Southern New Hampshire said in a joint news release.

LeBlanc's university has been an early adopter of a new form of competency-based education. It was the first to receive approval from the department for a "direct assessment" program, an approach that does not rely on the credit-hour standard.

“I hope to help the department, and all of us, answer the many questions we still have about competency-based education," LeBlanc said in a written statement. "The department’s innovation agenda has the potential to reshape and change higher education and ultimately to better serve students. The opportunity to play even a small part in that effort was irresistible.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 3:00am

The French government on Wednesday announced plans to pay for a major expansion in the number of university courses on Islam, International Business Times reported. The courses will be free and will be based on teaching about Islam within a context of the values of the French Republic, officials said.



Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Lynn Helding, an associate professor at Dickinson College, discusses the importance of a science of the voice. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3:00am

A Yale University report has cleared the officer who briefly detained a black student at gunpoint, renewing a debate over racial profiling on campuses. The student who was detained was not the actual suspect, but the student's father was a New York Times columnist who publicized the case. The Yale report found no violations of procedures. "Among its findings, the investigation concluded that the officer drew his firearm in the 'low ready' position, with his finger off the trigger at all times, and put his weapon back in its holster in a matter of seconds. The officer did not violate any Yale Police regulations regarding patrol procedures or the use of force, the report stated," said a summary by Yale of the report.

Charles M. Blow, the father of the student, said on Twitter: "So, according to Yale, this was 'in compliance with department policy'? No apology?" He followed that with "#sigh."


Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Tensions between the University of California System and state leaders escalated Tuesday, The Sacramento Bee reported. State officials have been pushing the university system to shift some admissions slots from out-of-state applicants to Californians. But in legislative testimony Tuesday, UC President Janet Napolitano said that the university could not increase in-state enrollment at current budget levels. “We will not be admitting students that we don’t know that we actually have funding for,” she said. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins called Napolitano's statement "UC’s latest attempt to use students as bargaining chips.”


Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3:00am

An article in The Star Tribune explores a particular problem faced by Minnesota colleges in dealing with drunk students -- some wander or pass out outside and freeze to death. While colleges nationwide deal with students who pass out, Minnesota and other parts of the country are particularly dangerous in that these students could die, even if their alcohol intake alone would not have killed them.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Cengage Learning and Greenwood Hall on Tuesday announced a partnership that will see the two companies work together on products and services aimed at students. In a press release, Greenwood Hall said the partnership will target the "most significant challenges" facing higher education, including improving student outcomes. "To break it down -- Greenwood Hall has the expertise on the more administrative type services (financial aid, recruiting, enrollment) and we have it on the course solutions, tech and content side," a Cengage spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "Together we can offer institutions more services for students."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 4:26am

Thomas White has resigned as president of the Columbus College of Art & Design after only eight months in office, The Columbus Dispatch reported. There has been no public explanation of his departure. But the article noted controversy over his decision to replace the college's marketing department by outsourcing the work. And some feared that White was not a supporter of the fine arts programs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today The Quest for Student Success at Community Colleges, our latest compilation of articles. As with other such print-on-demand booklets, the compilation groups together pieces that explore different strategies used by faculty members and institutions -- and efforts to track their success. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Wednesday, March 25, at 2 p.m. Eastern, about the themes of the booklet.


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