Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 10, 2016

A student's Donald Trump-inspired Tweet has led to anger and condemnation at Marshall University, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The election night tweet referenced the way Trump spoke on video about how he treats women. “As soon as Trump hits 270 electoral votes I am grabbing the first girl I see by the p----. #MAGA,” said the tweet. The hashtag is used by Trump supporters as the acronym of "Make America Great Again," his slogan. The tweet has since been deleted.

Jerome Gilbert, the president at Marshall, issued a statement that said, “By suggesting an action that is inconsistent with our university’s core values -- in direct opposition to the Marshall University creed and everything the Marshall family stands for -- it does not represent behavior we expect from our students …. Language like this can only be viewed as threatening and offensive not only to women but to all members of our community.”

November 10, 2016

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, along with system chancellors, issued a statement on the election results Wednesday that did not mention Donald Trump by name but affirmed support for diversity.

"In light of yesterday's election results, we know there is understandable consternation and uncertainty among members of the University of California community," the statement said. "The University of California is proud of being a diverse and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Diversity is central to our mission. We remain absolutely committed to supporting all members of our community and adhering to UC’s Principles Against Intolerance."

November 10, 2016

The University of Wisconsin at Madison on Wednesday announced that it was banning fans from bringing nooses and ropes to its football stadium. The university promised rule changes following an incident in which two fans brought a noose and a mask of President Obama to pretend to lynch him. Many students and faculty members said that there should have been rules in place to prevent the incident.

The university also announced these rules: "Any person who engages in violent, threatening, abusive or otherwise disorderly conduct which tends to provoke a disturbance or incite violence will be ejected from our events. Threats include statements, actions and behaviors that could reasonably be foreseen as having a purpose to inflict physical harm, even if the person making the threat doesn't have the ability to carry out the threat. Disorderly conduct does not require that a disruption actually occur. Any spectator carrying a prohibited item may be refused admittance or may be ejected from the venue."

November 10, 2016

A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that the majority of students entering the state's community colleges are placed in remedial courses and most of them never move on to earn a degree, certificate or transfer.

The report found that 80 percent of the state's incoming community college students took at least one developmental course in math, English or both. Most of these students placed in developmental math -- 73 percent of them -- begin at least two levels below the college-ready course.

But just 16 percent of developmental education students earn a certificate or associate degree within six years, and 24 percent successfully transfer to a four-year institution.

"Developmental education that is not effective comes at a high cost to students -- not only in tuition and fees for courses that do not count toward a degree but also in time and lost income," said Marisol Cuellar Mejia, a PPIC research associate and co-author of the report, in a news release. "It is also costly to California, which needs more college-educated workers and relies on community colleges as an entry point to higher education."

November 10, 2016

Some black students at Eastern Michigan University face possible expulsion for refusing to leave a sit-in, The Detroit Free Press reported. The students staged the sit-in to protest several recent incidents of racist statements written on university buildings and walls. The students note that the administration has said it supports them but is still punishing them for remaining at a sit-in location after hours. Administration officials said the rules should be enforced and that peaceful protest is possible without violating the rules.

November 10, 2016

Today on the Academic Minute, Joan Cook, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University, discusses why people tend to wait to tell others about traumatic events. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 9, 2016

A state senator has placed a hold on the University of Arkansas's budget request after six members of the women's basketball team knelt during the national anthem last week to protest police shootings of African-Americans. The Republican senator, Alan Clark, said he will also introduce an amendment that would cut university funding by an amount equal to the women's basketball budget, even though the university's athletics department is self-sufficient and does not use state funds. The university's budget would normally be considered by the state Legislature in February.

Clark, a member of the state's Joint Budget Committee, said the hold was a way to get "answers" from Jimmy Dykes, the team's head coach, and Jeff Long, the university's athletic director. Dykes and Long last week both said they supported the players' right to free speech but did not publicly support or condone the protest itself. Clark has suggested that university officials helped coordinate the protests, though there is no evidence to support that conclusion.

“I’m not using coercion to try to keep them from kneeling,” Clark said. “I am using the budget process to get the attention of Jeff Long and the chancellor and Dykes, to get their attention and whoever else is involved, that if they had anything to do with this, and I believe they did.”

November 9, 2016

A voter in Pennsylvania reported Tuesday being told he needed an extra identification card. The law doesn't say that, and as the voter's tweet suggests, this was a particularly well-informed citizen -- Mark Alexander is the dean of the law school at Villanova University. He's also an African-American at a time when many minority individuals feel they are held to higher standards by polling officials in some areas. Alexander tweeted about the incident, attracting considerable attention.

November 9, 2016

Here's another opportunity to cast your vote -- to pick a winner for our October Cartoon Caption Contest. You can pick your favorite from among three finalists here.

If you're feeling creative, click here to suggest a caption for this month's new cartoon. We've already got a bunch of great submissions.

And please congratulate Louise Freeman, a professor of psychology at Mary Baldwin College, whose caption for the cartoon at right -- "There must be some mistake! The boosters who bought me that car told me Coach would take care of any parking tickets." -- was voted our readers' favorite. She will receive an Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon.

November 9, 2016

The University of Colorado at Boulder is revamping doctoral studies in  languages and literature, it announced Tuesday. The change -- in an effort to recruit top talent -- entails restructuring support for six Ph.D. programs into a new Consortium of Doctoral Studies in Literature and Cultures. Programs involved are those in French/Italian, Spanish/Portuguese, German, classics, English and Japanese/Chinese. Accepted consortium students will be guaranteed five years of funding, with the first and fifth years including cost-of-living stipends and zero teaching obligations. Middle years carry a reduced teaching load and a summer stipend.

“With a fifth year dedicated to writing their dissertations, less teaching in the intervening years and support during the summers, students will be able to complete their degrees and enter the job market much earlier than they are able to do now,” Helmut Muller-Sievers, director of Boulder’s Center for Humanities and the Arts, said in a statement. Students also will be encouraged to choose mentors from outside their departments, emphasizing a more cross-disciplinary approach, according to information from the university.

Proponents of the consortium also stressed its inclusion of English, classics and Asian literatures. “Often, universities try to streamline their literature offerings into a generic program in modern European languages, or such,” said Muller-Sievers. “Having Chinese and Japanese in the mix gives students an understanding of non-European traditions and cultures. Also, the inclusion of classics -- of ancient Greek, Latin and classical archaeology -- deepens our students’ understanding of our literary heritage, as well as of the materiality of texts and artifacts. The presence of English gives students access to faculty who are working on today’s most hotly debated topics.”

The Modern Language Association suggested in a 2014 report that humanities graduate programs do what they can to cut time to degree to five years. Stanford University already has moved forward with the idea.

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