Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 20, 2009

The White House on Monday released a report on the impact of federal stimulus funds on state budgets for education, with most of the attention in the report -- similar to the way most of the funds were used -- focused on K-12. The report finds that $2.2 billion of the $13.1 billion spent on education in the last academic year went to higher ed, and that $3.2 billion of the $20.3 billion to be spent this academic year will go to higher education. The report also features figures for individual states.

October 20, 2009

Seattle University suddenly removed its dean of admissions, Michael McKeon, last month, following an off year in the enrollment of freshmen, The Seattle Times reported. While McKeon and senior administrators are not talking about his departure, shifts in admissions strategy are prompting discussion on the campus, where some fear that McKeon's emphasis on attracting minority and low-income students will be replaced by one on attracting more students who can pay. Seattle enrolled 747 freshmen this year, missing the university's target by 10 percent. Meanwhile Gonzaga University, also a Jesuit university in Washington States, is seeing enrollment increases.

October 20, 2009

The University of California at Los Angeles, which has found itself and its researchers under attack by underground animal rights groups, is continuing efforts to try to reshape the debate on the use of animals in research. The latest move is a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times urging people to join the "pro-test petition" in which scientists and non-scientists alike state the need for use of animals in various studies. "It's important that UCLA demonstrate strong support for researchers who have been subjected to violence and harassment by anti–animal research extremists and that the public understand the vital role animal research at UCLA plays in improving our lives," said UCLA's chancellor, Gene Block, in a statement.

October 20, 2009

Given the music industry's intense campaign to discourage students from downloading music without paying for it, one obvious question is: What attitudes lead students to pay? A new study published on the Social Science Research Network, based on a survey of undergraduates at a Southern private university, finds two factors that correlate with students' decision to pay for music. They are the probability of facing a lawsuit and a sense of morality.

October 20, 2009

France's minister of higher education on Monday suspended the president of the University of Toulon and two top aides in a growing scandal over irregularities in the admission and graduation of Chinese students at the institution, The Washington Post reported. The allegations that led to the suspensions involve allegations about both the awarding of degrees, possibly in return for bribes, and charges that the university blocked an investigation into the situation from going forward.

October 19, 2009

While the admissions cycle for next fall's enrollments is just getting started, there are signs that public institutions may again be flooded with applications. The California State University System, which on October 1 opened applications for fall 2010 enrollment, reported that it received 111,140 applications through October 15, compared to 62,520 during the similar time period a year ago. All 23 campuses are accepting applications through November 30; at least 12 may stop accepting applications for some or all programs after that date.

October 19, 2009

A gesture from the new leader of a South African university is sparking a new debate over an ugly incident. Jonathan Jansen, the new rector of the University of the Free State, is the first black leader of the institution, which is in an Afrikaner dominated area. AFP reported that in his inaugural speech Friday, Jansen announced that the university would drop disciplinary charges against four white students who were found to have produced a video last year in which black workers were humiliated by being given food on which students had urinated. In his speech, Jansen said that letting the students return to the university would be "a model of racial reconciliation." But the African National Congress and other groups have denounced that stance.

October 19, 2009

More colleges are making portions smaller and adding nutritious ingredients (sometimes without telling) in efforts to encourage healthier eating habits in students, The Boston Globe reported. Among the changes: Smaller portions at Wellesley College, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vegetables that are added to plates at Merrimack College when students ask for meat entrees, a reduction in the size of ice cream servings at Babson College, and a secret switch in the chocolate chip cookie recipe at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to one based on whole wheat.

October 19, 2009

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday announced that the government will develop plans for an endowment to be used to supplement the salaries of top academics, many of whom in recent years have left Israel for the United States, Haaretz reported. He said that the goal was both to prevent further losses and to lure back to Israel some who have already left.

October 19, 2009

Following an intense lobbying drive by colleges and students in Illinois, a new law will authorize about 137,000 low-income students to receive their state grants for the spring semester. The grants were endangered because the state -- facing a budget crisis -- cut $200 million from the program. But the Chicago Tribune reported that Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation allowing the state to borrow money for the grants from other state funds.

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