Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is preparing to offer Cheyney University, a financially troubled historically black institution, a $6.5 million line of credit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The university's finances have been in doubt for a number of reasons, including a 36 percent enrollment drop in recent years. The line of credit is believed to be sufficient to help the university manage through early 2016. The university system and Cheyney officials are also working on enrollment and financial plans to give the university more stability.

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Albright College, in Pennsylvania, announced last week that it is suspending operations of its campus in Mesa, Ariz. Albright cited lower than projected enrollments. Mesa recruited five private colleges to start operating a higher education center there, on the theory that they could attract students to programs that were already doing well at home campus locations. But enrollments have lagged. Westminster College, in Missouri, last year announced that it was pulling out of Mesa.

 

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Atlantic Union College, which suspended operations in 2011 due to a financial problems and a loss of accreditation, is planning to again admit students into some programs, The Worcester Telegram reported. The Seventh-day Adventist college in Massachusetts has received help from its church to deal with debt and is seeking accreditation again.

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of the West of England is promoting its research on uses for urine by setting up a special area at a music festival where attendees may urinate and see their waste products used as a biofuel to generate electricity to light up the urinal. University researchers hope to take advantage of the typical shortage of bathrooms at outdoor music festivals to generate excitement about the project. Those who visit the special facility will also see materials about uses for urine that can promote sustainability and help those in refugee camps and elsewhere. University researchers refer to the product as “urine-tricity” or “pee power.”

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Emily O’Brien, a medical instructor at Duke University Medical Center, discusses her work to treat the cardiac condition. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 4:15am

Two neighboring performing arts colleges -- the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory -- are exploring a merger, The Boston Globe reported. Berklee, with an endowment of $321 million and more than 4,000 students, is the larger of the institutions. But Boston Conservatory -- with a $15 million endowment and enrollment of 730 -- has some academic strengths not in the broader curriculum of Berklee.

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 3:00am

A new poll by Gallup finds that Americans give fairly similar grades, and positive ones, to two-year and four-year colleges. Asked to base their judgments on their own knowledge, 70 percent of Americans said that the quality of four-year institutions was good or excellent. The figure was only slightly lower, 66 percent, for community colleges. But the figure was much lower -- 36 percent -- for online-only programs. Gallup conducts surveys for Inside Higher Ed, but this poll was conducted independently of Inside Higher Ed.

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 3:00am

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics shows that the proportion of adults with a work credential typically increases with educational attainment, excluding those adults with a doctoral degree. The figures range from 6 percent for adults with a high school diploma having a work credential to 68 percent for people with a professional degree.

Over half of credentialed adults -- 53 percent -- have less than a bachelor's degree.

Work credentials are often used as an alternative or supplement to education credentials like diplomas and degrees. The credentials include occupational licenses and certifications. The most common work credentials are obtained in health care, education and the trades, according to the report.

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Speaking at the Campus Safety Nation Forum on Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, urged college law enforcement officers to more speedily and thoroughly collect evidence and interview witnesses when investigating claims of campus sexual assault. "That is where the truth reveals itself," McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor, said. "Witnesses corroborate or they show lies. Evidence corroborates or it shows lies. And this can't be done weeks later or even months or years later."

McCaskill described Florida State University's handling of sexual assault allegations against former star quarterback Jameis Winston as "terribly unfair" to both the accuser and the accused, in part because the university waited so long to conduct an investigation. The alleged victim reported the assault three hours after she said it occurred. The first witness, McCaskill said, wasn't interviewed until 342 days later. The campus hearing did not take place until two years after the allegations were made.

Treating all claims of campus sexual assault as worthy of a thorough investigation, McCaskill said, could help later clarify who is telling the truth in "he said, she said" types of hearings. "All of these cases deserve to be investigated one way or another," she said.

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Glenn F. McConnell, president of the College of Charleston, has faced criticism for not speaking out as other higher education leaders in South Carolina have called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. McConnell, while a member of the legislature before becoming a college president, orchestrated the deal under which the flag not only appears as it does but can be moved only by supermajority votes of lawmakers. He has been declining to comment, but a day after his college's board endorsed the removal of the Confederate flag, McConnell did the same, issuing a statement Thursday. He said that he supports the idea of removing the flag "as a visible statement of courtesy and goodwill to all those who may be offended by it."

But he added that he hoped other symbols of the Confederacy, which many are calling to be removed, stay put. "I also urge all public officials and activists who are focusing on this issue to come together, the way the good people of Charleston joined hands following the terrible tragedy we suffered, and agree not to transfer the fight to other physical vestiges and memorials of our state’s past. In a spirit of goodwill and mutual respect, let us all agree that the monuments, cemeteries, historic street and building names shall be preserved and protected. How sad it would be to end one controversy only to trigger a thousand more," he said.

McConnell's appointment as college president last year was controversial for many reasons, including his long support for Confederate symbols. He used to own a shop that sold memorabilia of the South’s rebellion, and he appears in a widely circulated picture dressed as a Confederate general.

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