Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Virgin America, not to be outdone by fellow low-cost carrier JetBlue, will offer its own educational content for travelers to consume while in flight. The airline, which is perhaps best known for a video shown to passengers before takeoff, has partnered with The Teaching Company, which produces the audio and video series known as The Great Courses. Beginning in February, passengers will have access to more than 530 courses, including such titles as "Not All Carbs Are Created Equal" and "Um, Well, Like, You Know," the company said in a press release.PS: "Making Flying Good Again" is Virgin America's motto -CS

Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Colleges are investigating the majority of reported cases of sexual assault and are finding less than half of accused students responsible, according to a report released Tuesday by United Educators, a risk management and insurance firm. The study examined 305 reported cases of sexual assault at 104 institutions between 2011 and 2014.

About three-quarters of those cases were investigated, according to the report, and the accused students were found responsible in 45 percent of them. One-quarter of the cases resulted in the accused students not being found responsible, and in 7 percent of the cases, the accused students withdrew before the adjudication process was complete.

Of the 23 percent of cases that were never investigated by a college or university, 20 percent of the claims involved students who were unable to identify who had assaulted them. Another 23 percent involved victims who were "uncooperative" and chose not to pursue an investigation. More than 40 percent of the cases that were investigated ended in the accused student's expulsion, the report said, and 25 percent ended in suspensions of more than a year. Disciplinary probation and training accounted for about 9 percent of the sanctions.

"The method used by the perpetrator to carry out the assault may have been a factor in an institution’s choice of sanction," the authors wrote. "More than four-fifths (82 percent) of expulsion sanctions were for perpetrators who either took advantage of a victim’s incapacitation or used physical force. Disciplinary probation and lesser sanctions were most often imposed by institutions when the sexual assault involved failed consent."

Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Florida plans to rename its records management system to avoid a link to the terror organization that rules much of Iraq and Syria, the Associated Press reported. The system has been called the Integrated Student Information System and is known by its acronym, ISIS.


Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Northwestern University on Wednesday announced a $100 million gift from Roberta Buffett Elliott, an alumna. The gift will support a new center on global issues and scholarships for international students.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Kit Wesler, a professor of archaeology at Murray State University, presents an archaeological understanding of climate change. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 3:00am

The White House said Tuesday that it was abandoning its proposal to get rid of the tax benefits for 529 college savings plans, according to The New York Times.

Conservatives had widely criticized the plan, which would have rolled back a tax exemption for the earnings on money that families invest in 529 plans. But The Times reported that top Democrats in recent days also pressed the White House to drop it.

Administration officials had initially defended the plan as an attempt to redirect tax benefits that they said largely benefit wealthy families toward tax credits that help poorer families. The administration will keep its plan to expand other higher education tax breaks, a White House official told The Times.

Obama's full budget request to Congress is due out next week. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of California at Berkeley has found -- and pledged to take action on -- gaps in the average salaries of female and minority professors compared to white male professors. A university announcement said that the gaps are relatively small, and that the causes of the gaps are not yet clear. The gaps were found in an analysis that factored in professors' fields of study and years of experience. The university found that underrepresented minority faculty members trail their white male counterparts by 1 to 1.8 percent, on average. The gaps between women and white males were larger, between 1.8 and 4.3 percent.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 3:00am

After a three-week trial, a jury has found two former Vanderbilt University football players guilty of the 2013 rape of a female student. Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg were accused of filming themselves and other players having sex with the unconscious student in a campus dorm. On Tuesday, they were found guilty on 14 counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery. Vandenburg was also found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography. The players, who face decades in prison, will be sentenced in March. The verdict was delivered as more than 430 representatives from 76 colleges and universities in Tennessee, including Vanderbilt, gathered at a summit this week focused on preventing campus sexual assault.

"Many months ago Vanderbilt found both defendants responsible for violating our sexual misconduct policy, and we quickly discharged both of them from the football team and subsequently expelled them from the university," Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for public affairs, said in a statement. "We are confident we acted appropriately."

Two other former Vanderbilt athletes are still set to stand trial in relation to the rape, including one football player who transferred to play at Alcorn State University after he was suspended from Vanderbilt.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today Teaching With Technology, our latest compilation of articles. As with other such print-on-demand booklets, the articles group together pieces that explore different strategies used by faculty members and institutions -- and efforts to track their success. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 4:27am

Doctors at the health centers that serve students at University of California campuses held a one-day strike Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. Strikes by doctors are rare. In this case, their union is in a dispute with the university over a contract. University officials said that they moved non-urgent appointments while having doctors who are managers and not in the union handle urgent appointments.



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