Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 23, 2017

Groups representing advanced manufacturers have teamed up with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to create a committee of six educators who will try to identify how colleges can modify their curricula and industry certifications to better meet manufacturers' hiring needs.

Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) are leading the work with APLU. The groups said they picked six educators, several of whom work at APLU member universities, in part because of their significant experience within the manufacturing industry.

The collaboration will include reviews of several technology projects, with an eye toward identifying the knowledge, skill and abilities they will require of employees who work both in design and production.

“The key to developing a workforce with the skills employers are looking for is closing the gap between the information and technology taught in the classroom and the advanced technology being deployed by industry,” Emily Stover DeRocco, education and workforce development director at LIFT, said in a written statement. “The experience of this team and the impressive array of researchers and engineers working on LIFT projects will create the vital connections between technology and education to develop a definitively skilled pipeline of workers to meet future demand.”

February 23, 2017

Rollins College has suspended all six of its fraternities, citing their “high risk behaviors," The Orlando Sentinel reported. The fraternities will not be permitted to have meetings or any activities. Officials declined to specify the nature of the behaviors that led to the suspension.


February 23, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute: Ameae Walker, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside, describes a new treatment option for tuberculosis. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 22, 2017

The Trump administration released new rules on Tuesday expanding the pool of undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation and increasing the number of people removed through an expedited process, The New York Times reported. Whereas the Obama administration prioritized deporting immigrants convicted of serious criminal offenses, immigration authorities have now been directed to remove anyone in the country illegally. 

Of particular interest to colleges, the Times quoted senior Homeland Security officials who said that nothing in the guidance will change the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which young people, known as DREAMers, who came to the U.S. illegally as children have gained temporary protection from deportation and two-year renewable work permits. For now, the Times said, DREAMers – many of whom are college students -- will not be targeted unless they commit crimes.

The prospect of stepped-up immigration enforcement -- and the possible elimination of DACA -- under Trump's presidency has prompted a widespread call for U.S. universities to declare themselves “sanctuaries” and to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities. The future of the DACA program remains uncertain.

February 22, 2017

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the Trump administration will issue new guidance on Title IX protections for transgender students. He also said President Trump viewed protections for transgender students as a states' rights issue.

The comments came in response to a question during a White House press briefing about reports the White House would rescind the Obama administration's guidance that sought to bar discrimination against transgender students and ensure they had access to bathrooms of their choice. 

"The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states' rights issue and not one for the federal government," Spicer said.

He said that the Department of Education and Department of Justice were both working to address the guidance. 

Federal courts had already blocked enforcement of the guidance. But rescinding the guidance or issuing new language would reflect the new oversight approach that the Trump administration was widely expected to take. 

Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, said the states' rights argument doesn't change the reality of what's necessary for campuses to have a safe learning environment for students. He said that position also echoed arguments made in the past against protections for students of color. 

"There is some historical context in arguing that something that is discriminatory is a states' rights issue when in reality we're arguing about equal protections under the law," Widmeyer said. 



February 22, 2017

Some medical students may be particularly hurt by President Trump's plan to ban travel from certain Muslim-majority nations, a plan that has been blocked by courts but that he has vowed to reinstate in a new way. The Boston Globe reported that teaching hospitals are fearful of offering residencies to students from those nations, for fear that these students may be unable to accept the positions. Darrell G. Kirch, chief executive of the Association of American Medical Colleges, told the Globe that  “hospitals are being given an impossible choice” between selecting the best candidates, some of whom may come from countries covered by the future Trump executive order, and being certain that the new class of residents will be able to accept the positions.


February 22, 2017

When Stanford University's fund-raising office tweeted to encourage gifts on Valentine's Day, it probably wasn't hoping to renew a fight with Malcolm Gladwell, the author, who has repeatedly criticized wealthy colleges and universities for not spending more of their endowments. But it did.

Here's the Stanford tweet:
















That prompted a series from Gladwell. Stanford declined to comment. Here are the Gladwell tweets:










February 22, 2017

On Friday, a Clemson University doctoral student, A.D. Carson, will defend his Ph.D. dissertation in the rhetorics, communication and information design program -- and many are already enjoying his work. His dissertation is a 34-song rap album, “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions," which many on YouTube and other social media sites are praising. You can listen to the dissertation here. A short video introduction follows:

February 22, 2017

Gary May, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, has been named as the seventh chancellor of the University of California, Davis. The announcement was made by Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system.

May has been long recognized as a top scientist and also a leading advocate for diversifying the science and technology workforce. In 2015, he wrote an essay for Inside Higher Ed on why, as an engineering dean, he backed President Obama's plan for free community college.


February 22, 2017

Forty-five percent of colleges in a recent survey report seeing an increase in the number of medical withdrawals by students, according to a report by GradGuard, which provides insurance for such situations. The survey notes the varying policies about tuition refunds (mostly pro-rated in the early parts of the semester) and efforts (which vary widely) to inform students about policies on tuition refunds. The findings may be found here.



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