Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 4:29am

The University of Southern Mississippi has become the second university in the state, following the University of Mississippi, to stop flying the state flag. Many people are urging the state to remove a Confederate flag from one corner of the state flag.

Rodney D. Bennett, president of the university, issued this statement: "I have chosen to raise American flags on all University of Southern Mississippi flagpoles to remind the university community of what unites us. We have all chosen to work, study and live in a country in which debates like those around the state flag of Mississippi can take place and ideas can be civilly expressed and advanced. While I love the state of Mississippi, there is passionate disagreement about the current state flag on our campuses and in our communities. I am looking forward to a time when this debate is resolved and USM raises a state flag that unites us."

Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Martin Krieger, professor of planning at the University of Southern California, describes the notion that urban development is not unlike Newton's law of gravitation. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 4:36am

In 1962, Grove City College fired Larry Gara, a history professor whose left-wing politics offended a powerful trustee. As recounted in an Associated Press article, the college brought various charges of incompetence against Gara and fired him. Gara went on to a successful teaching career at Wilmington College, in Ohio. But a Grove City alumnus, Steven Taaffe, a history professor at Stephen F. Austin University, did research on his firing and found considerable evidence that the charges were unfair. All the Grove City officials involved in the firing are dead. Based on Taaffe's research, a former president of the college, Richard Jewell, recently visited Gara and personally apologized on behalf of the college. Gara, 93, told the AP, "I never thought they would come around."

Grove City is the college that has been on the censure list of the American Association of University Professors for the longest time, due to this case. While all the information about the case was not available at the time, the AAUP noted a denial of due process to Gara, who was never given a chance to defend himself against charges now known to be false.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 4:31am

Susquehanna University is facing backlash for its announcement this week that it is dropping the name “Crusaders” from its athletic teams. University officials said they did not think the name was unifying for the campus and might offend some people. But many alumni are objecting, saying the college is ignoring its own history. At some colleges and high schools, variations of the nickname are a reference to the military campaigns against Muslims in the Middle East in the Middle Ages. But at Susquehanna, the name “Crusaders” has a different meaning.

As described on the university's website: “The nickname ‘Crusaders’ was adopted in the 1920s when a new athletics director, Luther Grossman, inaugurated a new athletics policy at the university. In the years following World War I, Susquehanna became briefly embroiled in ‘big-time’ intercollegiate football, which in those days involved importing players who, strictly speaking, were neither students nor amateurs. Grossman, however, was determined that SU field football teams that were truly representative of the student body and, furthermore, that an extensive intramurals program be developed to offer all SU students some opportunity to engage in athletic competition. Grossman’s campaign was termed a ‘Crusade,’ hence the nickname ‘Crusaders.’”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday finalized the regulations carrying out President Obama's expansion of the government's most generous income-based repayment program to more federal student loan borrowers.

Starting this December, all federal direct loan borrowers will be able to cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and have any remaining undergraduate debt forgiven after 20 years of making payments. Borrowers with loans from graduate school would have to make payments for 25 years.

Borrowers who took out federal loans within the past several years have already had access to a repayment program, Pay as You Earn, with virtually identical benefits.

But the Obama administration estimates that the new program, dubbed Revised Pay as You Earn, or REPAYE, will make some five million borrowers newly eligible for capping their payments at 10 percent of their income and receiving forgiveness after as early as 20 years of repayment.

Education Department officials estimated that two million borrowers will end up choosing to enroll in the new program, and they projected that expansion of benefits will cost $15.3 billion over the next 10 years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 3:00am

Southern New Hampshire University and the Flatiron School, a coding boot camp, today announced a broad collaboration. The university and the New York City-based education provider will seek to expand the use of Flatiron's recently created online learning platform. They also will create a joint academic program, through which Southern New Hampshire's campus-based students will take three years of courses at the university followed by six months of Flatiron's web development curriculum and a paid apprenticeship during the final semester before graduation. Finally, the two partners will create an in-person coding boot camp at Southern New Hampshire's Nashua campus.

“Our mission is focused on the success of our students. By offering this opportunity, we can position our students for career opportunities and future growth and success in their selected fields," said Paul LeBlanc, Southern New Hampshire's president, in a written statement.

Southern New Hampshire and Flatiron also announced that they will apply to participate in a recently announced experiment the U.S. Department of Education is hosting. That program will allow a handful of accredited colleges to partner with boot camps to offer academic programs that will be eligible for federal financial aid.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 3:00am

Kadenze, an online education platform that focuses on the creative arts, now offers a year's worth of credit through online courses. The platform launched in June with a network of partner institutions such the California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Saint Joseph in Macau, among others. Kadenze's network has since grown to 20 members, including recent additions Ringling College of Art and Design, the Pratt Institute, and the Paris College of the Arts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 4:23am

Cengage Learning announced Tuesday that it has purchased Pathbrite, which offers schools and colleges electronic portfolio services. Schools and colleges can offer students portfolios in which to include a range of materials to document their work -- and these materials can be used by students to complete requirements or demonstrate ability for certain jobs. The announcement comes a month after Cengage bought Learning Objects, which will allow Cengage to help colleges put programs online.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 3:00am

Several private colleges near Dubuque, Iowa, are challenging the University of Iowa's plan to offer a master's degree in business administration in the city at the request of a major company there, The Gazette reported. An Iowa agency that considers new programs is scheduled today to consider the plan by Iowa's Tippie College of Business to offer a master's degree requested by officials at John Deere, the manufacturing company.

But the presidents of Clark University, Loras College and the University of Dubuque -- all of which offer business master's degrees -- questioned whether the area needs yet another, and one that is subsidized by state funds, the newspaper reported.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Rachel Mayo, associate professor of public health sciences at Clemson University, explores how reaching out to African-American women is key in fighting this disease. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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