Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Allegheny College has become the latest institution to drop the SAT or ACT as an admissions requirement. “Allegheny College embraces the concept that standardized test scores do not exclusively reflect a student’s full range of abilities or potential to succeed in college,” said a statement from the dean of admissions, Cornell LeSane. “Mounting evidence indicates that high school performance -- as measured by rigor, grades and/or class rank -- and less quantifiable factors, such as character, determination and love of learning, are the best indicators of success in postsecondary education. Giving students the option of providing test scores gives them the opportunity to showcase their greatest strengths.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 4:27am

A new ad campaign by Massey University has set off a debate over the strategy being used by the New Zealand university. Various ads portray students with an “I am…” tag line. An ad being both criticized and defended (at right) features a female student appearing to walk on water in a sundress. The ad says “I am a game changer.” A column in Waikato Times called the student a “pixie vixen” and made fun of the idea that this approach would attract students. He asked if Massey was seeking students for dates or an education and, if the latter, whether it was to learn to walk on water.

It turns out the ad featured not a model, but a real student, Catherine Cater. She defended the ad in a Facebook post in which she called the criticism sexist. Addressing the columnist, she wrote, “You have ignored the age old rule of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and have allowed yourself to judge me solely on my looks, as opposed to my intelligence, personality and character.”

The university is also defending the ad campaign and noting that the campaign consists of more than the one ad showing Cater. (Another ad is below.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 4:09am

The University of Tokyo, long considered the best university in Japan academically, has never had that reputation in athletics. The university, unlike some of its competitors, does not award athletic competitors. In a country with many baseball fans, the university has attracted considerable attention for not winning a game in the sport since 2010. On Saturday, the university won a game and ended the streak of losses, The New York Times reported.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Michael Rawlins, a geoscientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, explores climate change in the context of last winter, one of the coldest on record for the northeastern United States. And if you missed Monday's Academic Minute about false historical narratives, you can listen to it here. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 4:19am

An Illinois Senate report will be released today blasting the "fantasy world of lavish perks" for presidents of public colleges and universities, The Chicago Tribune reported. The study criticizes funds given to presidents for cars, homes and clubs as well as large severance packages provided to a number of presidents. Some legislators are expected to introduce a bill that would, among other things, limit severance payments to one year's salary.

Higher education leaders (and not just in Illinois) tend to defend various benefits for presidents as needed to recruit top talent. But the report says that these benefits have hurt important values. "This has led to a culture of arrogance and a sense of entitlement reflected in many of these executive compensation plans, with an apparent disregard for middle-class families whose taxes and tuition dollars are funding these exorbitant salaries and excessive fringe benefits," the report says.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 3:00am

Only one in five college students say they feel "very prepared" to join the workforce, according to the results of McGraw-Hill Education's annual student workforce readiness survey. While 45 percent of the roughly 1,000 respondents said they feel "somewhat prepared" to begin a career after college, slightly more than half said they did not learn how to write a résumé. And 56 percent did learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview. The survey found that less than one-third of students said career services on campus were effective. Only 14 percent reported using career services frequently, with nearly a quarter saying they never used career services.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 3:00am

A group of six Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday introduced legislation that would reinstate Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated college students. Congress in 1994 banned the use of Pell Grants by prisoners in state and federal prisons. However, the U.S. Department of Education is expected to announce an limited waiver of the ban under the experimental sites program, sources have said. If that experiment is successful, it could help advocates make the case that Congress should drop the ban.

Representative Donna F. Edwards of Maryland led the group of Democrats in introducing the Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act on Thursday. Several advocacy groups support it, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 3:00am

The suicide rate among National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes is lower than that of college-aged members of the general and collegiate populations, a new study found. Male athletes and football players, the study concluded, had significantly higher rates of suicide than female athletes.

The authors of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Sports Health, examined nine years of NCAA data on athlete deaths and found that suicide accounted for 35 of the 477 deaths the NCAA recorded between 2003 and 2012.

The annual rate of suicide for male athletes was 1.35 per 100,000, and for female athletes it was 0.37 per 100,000. Among black athletes, the annual rate was 1.22 per 100,000. Among white athletes, the rate was 0.87 per 100,000 students. The highest rate of suicide occurred in football, with a rate of 2.25 instances of suicide per 100,000 athletes.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Dan Chambliss, a professor of sociology at Hamilton College, discusses his research on the nature of college experiences. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

Harvey Kesselman, the acting president of Stockton University, had been expected to leave shortly to become president of the University of Southern Maine. But on Wednesday, the two universities announced that Kesselman would stay on as interim president of Stockton, where the former president is on medical leave and the university is facing numerous challenges related to a failed plan to develop a campus at the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. Stockton board members said that they appealed to the board in Maine to release Kesselman from his contract so he could help the university he has served for many years navigate through various issues.

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