Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 4:09am

Western New England University has dropped its requirement that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. However, those applicants who opt not to submit test scores will be required to do an additional essay.

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Michael Kofler, a psychologist at Florida State University, presents new research on the condition. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Did The Harvard Crimson endorse Donald Trump? What would have been a coup for the Republican presidential candidate turns out to be a prank by the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon. The magazine regularly steals a formal chair of the president of the Crimson. This time, the Lampoon took the chair to Trump Tower, where Trump posed in it for the endorsement, which then appeared online, as if from the Crimson, with matching style.

Of Trump, the faux editorial says in part: "His endless dedication to widening employment opportunities extends beyond the Trump Organization and into his many entertainment endeavors. The creative methods and avenues through which Trump has created jobs would likely make (former Crimson editor-in-chief) Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘03 smile. For instance, his work at "The Celebrity Apprentice" has allowed him to reach out to celebrities who have been inactive or troubled and help them to redefine their careers through business education and brand building. These same celebrities are able to create jobs after their exposure on his show, a creative domino effect of job building that almost every other GOP candidate aside from Texas’s Rick Perry fails to match."

The more serious Harvard publication has disavowed the endorsement, stressing that it has not made one in the 2016 race.

Trump was apparently not amused. Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the candidate, told The Hill: “The students who perpetrated this are fraudsters and liars, but frankly it was a waste of only a few minutes."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

The employment data of several law schools will start to look very different after two American Bar Association decisions Friday.

The ABA affirmed a decision from earlier this year that requires law schools, starting next year, to count school-funded positions and fellowships separately from other employment. Critics of this process claimed that schools with large fellowship programs had inaccurately inflated employment figures. 

Meanwhile, the ABA also defined "long term employment," another indicator of a school's employment success, as a position that lasts a year or longer and pays at least $40,000 a year. The change was hotly contested, as it will force many schools who offer fellowships with salaries under $40,000 to count those as short term employment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Textbook and student services provider Chegg will later this year launch a test preparation service, CEO Dan Rosensweig announced during the company's quarterly earnings call Monday afternoon. The paid service will initially cover the ACT and SAT tests, and will be made available to high school students later this year. A Chegg spokesperson said the services will later expand to cover more standardized tests and students. Details on the cost of the service were not announced on Monday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been named the number one party school in the country by the Princeton Review -- and the chancellor isn’t happy about it. The university claimed the top spot on the list Monday for the first time in more than a decade, knocking Syracuse University -- the previous winner -- down to No. 5. The University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Bucknell University rounded out the top four.

Phyllis Wise, chancellor at Urbana-Champaign, slammed the ranking, calling it a “promotion for the Princeton Review” in a statement, but said it presented an opportunity for university officials to discuss safety with students and parents. This is the institution’s first time landing the No. 1 spot.

“Our student body is comprised of the brightest, most hard-working students anywhere. Their graduation rates and achievements in their careers and lives demonstrate that they take their studies seriously and that they are at Illinois to get a world-class education,” Wise said. “It’s disappointing that, once again, Princeton Review is promoting this pseudo ranking as though it were meaningful. It’s insulting to all of our students, since they are here to prepare to become leaders of their generation.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 4:18am

The Association of American Medical Colleges on Monday released a report outlining steps taken and ideas for future strategies to increase the number of black male applicants to medical schools. The report comes amid concerns among medical educators about the inability of medical schools to attract more black male applicants -- a first step in enrolling more of such students. From 1978 to 2014, the number of black male college graduates increased, but the number of black male applicants to medical school dropped to 1,337 from 1,410.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Wesleyan University has suspended its chapter of Psi Upsilon, the university announced Monday, shutting down the one remaining fraternity on campus.

In an email sent to students and faculty, Michael Roth, Wesleyan's president, stated that the chapter was under investigation by state and federal prosecutors for "illegal drug activity," including group purchases of narcotics. The house will be suspended for at least one year, though Roth said the punishment could last longer as the investigation continues. The property will be off limits to all Wesleyan students. 

"Police monitored and interrupted one of these transactions in May, and the police investigation into this activity is ongoing," Roth said in the email. "We will reconsider Psi U’s status after the relevant investigations conclude. The investigations may also result in other disciplinary consequences for those involved."

In September, Wesleyan ordered its fraternities to become coeducational. At the time, the university only had two fraternities on campus. Delta Kappa Epsilon was suspended five months later, the university said, for failing to "take any meaningful steps or make any reasonable commitments toward residential coeducation." In February, the fraternity sued Wesleyan for "discrimination, misrepresentation and deceptive practices." The lawsuit is still pending, but a motion to allow members to move back into the house this year was recently denied. An unofficial off-campus fraternity called Beta Theta Pi was also made off limits to students last year. 

Psi Upsilon agreed to become coeducational, but the house will now be closed before any female students move in. "This turn of events is deeply disappointing for so many of us," Roth said. "It is certainly a blow to alumni and students who care for Psi U, and that includes the new women members who had planned to live there this fall."

Wesleyan has recently attempted to rein in drug use among its students after use of the party drug Molly led to a string of hospitalizations last year. Ten Wesleyan students and two campus visitors were hospitalized in one weekend in February. Many of those who required medical attention used the drug while at a party in the residence of Eclectic Society, a coeducational student organization. Eclectic Society remains on campus, though four students were suspended for selling what police described as a "bad batch" of Molly. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

The #forKariann may have achieved its aim: Joshua Eyler, the academic who has been publicly pleading for Aetna to approve an experimental treatment for his wife’s chronic pain, announced Monday that her treatment was approved. Eyler’s wife, Kariann Fuqua, is a full-time, non-tenure-track instructor of writing and communication at Rice University who developed small fiber neuropathy last year and is in near-constant pain in her hands and feet. An expensive treatment held promise for a life beyond pain medication, but Aetna rejected the prescription on the grounds that it was still experimental for her condition. So Eyler, the director of Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence who’d been blogging about his wife’s condition, built a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #forKariann for Aetna to change its decision. 

Eyler said that on Monday, as the couple was in the process of completing their first appeal, Fuqua’s doctor put in the treatment request again -- to the couple’s pharmaceuticals provider, Envision Pharmaceutical Services. Envision ultimately approved the treatment, Eyler said 

Fuqua will begin her treatment next week. 

“This means everything for our family,” said Eyler, who guessed that social media may have played a role in the decision, along with the persistence of his wife’s medical team. “It is a chance for her to live a life without as much pain. All we ever wanted was to have this chance, and now we turn our focus to the treatments themselves.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 3:00am

Wheeling Jesuit University will pay the federal government $2.3 million to settle claims that the West Virginia institution misspent research grant funds over nearly a decade. The settlement, announced by the U.S. attorney for West Virginia's northern district and by the university, resolves allegations that were raised in a 2012 audit by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which focused on a former federal official who became a vice president at Wheeling Jesuit.

The statements from the Justice Department and the university frame the situation rather differently. Wheeling Jesuit's announcement makes the whole thing sound like a misunderstanding: "The allegations leading to the settlement arose from highly complex and divergent provisions of the federal regulations governing the cost principles applicable to federal grants. In good faith and with complete and steadfast disclosure to the federal government, the University had used the same costing practices in its financial management of federal grants since 1998. The regulations at issue have since been replaced in their entirety by simplified rules."

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II described the case this way: "Wheeling Jesuit University applied to the federal government and received many millions of dollars in funding but failed to follow the rules that came with the resources. Grantees must use federal money for the purpose for which the grant was given, and for nothing else. The rules are clear, and they exist to ensure that tax dollars are spent appropriately. Educational institutions, like everyone else, must be held accountable when the rules are broken."

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