Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Subscribe to Inside Higher Ed | Quick Takes
Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Donald Trump, a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said the deaths at Umpqua Community College on Thursday would have been minimized had instructors been armed, CNN reported. "By the way, it was a gun-free zone," he said at a campaign event in Tennessee. "Let me tell you, if you had a couple teachers with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 4:18am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have warned Philadelphia-area colleges of threats of violence made on social media to an unspecified college “near Philadelphia.” The threats are for today at 2 p.m. Several colleges have sent alerts to students and faculty members and -- while maintaining regular operations -- have added extra security for the day. Here are the notices sent out by Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

A new book, Breaking Cardinal Rules, by a Louisville-based escort, Katina Powell, charges that a former University of Louisville director of basketball operations arranged for escorts to be provided to basketball recruits for several years, The Courier-Journal reported. The university is investigating the allegations and has reported on the situation to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Andre McGee, the former Louisville official, is now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, which has placed him on administrative leave. Scott Cox, McGee's lawyer, said that McGee knew Powell but denied the charges in the book.

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Education Management Corporation has laid off 115 faculty and staff members at its Art Institute campuses, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The for-profit chain has had slumping revenue and enrollments. In May it announced the closure of 15 of the 52 Art Institute locations. Then, in June, EDMC laid off 300 employees.

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

The Assembly of the National Association for College Admission Counseling voted Saturday to amend its ethics code to state that colleges should "not ask candidates, their schools, their counselors or others to list or rank their college or university preferences on applications or other documents." The move comes amid criticism of the practice, which some colleges have used to make admissions or financial aid choices, rewarding those who seem most likely to enroll. Critics have said that the practice is particularly troublesome given that many applicants don't know how colleges will use the information. The Education Department in August said it would stop sharing this information with colleges.

W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president and vice president for enrollment, communication and planning at Augustana College, wore a sandwich board to the opening night reception at NACAC urging Assembly members to be careful about approving additions to the ethics code. In an interview, he said Augustana does not ask applicants where they are applying and to rank their choices. But he said Augustana does do some things that come close to that, and while he's been assured by NACAC leaders that he would not be violating the ethics code by continuing these practices (which are in place at many colleges), he was worried about seeming to possibly violate the policy.

For example, he said that Augustana asks, postadmission, if the college ranks first, in the top three or top five of an admitted applicant's choices. And Augustana asks applicants placed on the wait list "Are we your first choice and will you enroll if admitted?"

Barnds explained that the rationale for such questions is that they "help prioritize counseling outreach and ensure the others involved in recruiting are focused on those who are most interested." He added, "If we had limitless resources this wouldn't be necessary, but we have to try to be efficient when possible."

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Some Chicago-area faculty members and students continued their efforts to get DePaul University to investigate the past of its dean of the College of Science and Health, based on allegations that he -- as past president of the American Psychological Association -- may have supported torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. More than 600 people have signed a petition calling for the ouster of Gerald Koocher as dean, and late last week, a group of activists held an on-campus news conference expressing their continued concerns.

“They had one goal in mind, and that was to make sure that psychologists could continue in Guantanamo,” Frank Summers, a professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, said at the conference. M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor emeritus of law at DePaul, urged the university to independently investigate whether Koocher violated its code of ethics, saying that “an academic institution like DePaul based on its Vincentian values cannot allow for a member of its faculty be involved in such situations.”

The allegations against Koocher come from a recent independent review by the APA, which found that the association seemed to want to please the Pentagon rather than stick up for ethical standards -- and that the activities of key leaders of the association buttressed the argument for using interrogation techniques many consider to be torture. The report mentions Koocher by name numerous times but does not conclude that he personally supported torture of detainees. It does, however, conclude that APA leaders had reason to suspect that it had occurred.

DePaul did not return requests for comment. In July, upon release of the report, Koocher and another past president of the APA wrote a lengthy public response denying participation in or support of torture. “We want to state clearly and unambiguously: we do not now and never have supported the use of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners or detainees,” they said. “We absolutely reject the notion that any ethical justification for torture exists, and confirm that any such behaviors never have been ethically acceptable. … We never colluded with government agencies or the military to craft APA policies in order to justify their goals or the illegal ‘enhanced interrogation’ practices promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush.”

The APA apologized for its actions upon the report’s release, and pledged a series of reforms.

This isn't the first time an academic psychologist’s career has been challenged by past involvement in detainee interrogation policies. Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry James’s 2013 bid to take a new administrative post at the University of Missouri at Columbia died after students protested his work at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at Guantanamo. James, however, said he helped fix a broken a broken system -- much of which is recounted in his book, Fixing Hell: An Army Psychologist Confronts Abu Ghraib.

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Calestous Juma, a Harvard University professor who is an international development expert, wrote a policy paper last year in support of genetically modified organisms without disclosing the role of Monsanto in the work, The Boston Globe reported. Emails obtained by the Globe show that that Monsanto suggested the topic of the paper, connected Juma with a publicist who promoted the paper and suggested the headline for the work. Juma noted that he had not been paid by Monsanto, and said he didn't intend to do anything wrong but may have used "bad judgment."

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 5:50am

The winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine are William C. Campbell of Drew University and Satoshi Omura of Kitasato University in Japan, who share half of the award “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites” and Youyou Tu of the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who receives the other half for “her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria.” Background on the winners’ research is available here.

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Laureate Education on Friday announced plans to once again become a publicly traded company. Laureate is the largest U.S.-based for-profit college chain, with over one million students at 88 institutions in 28 countries. The privately held company was publicly traded before 2007, when a group of investors led by its CEO, Douglas L. Becker, bought Laureate in a deal valued at $3.8 billion.

The company also announced Friday that it has become a public benefit corporation. That switch means the company remains for-profit but legally is allowed to focus more on activities that aren’t related to boosting its profit margin. The process requires companies to alter their governance structures. Another for-profit chain, Rasmussen College, made the same change last year.

Becker explained the decision in a written statement:

“Most of our operations are outside of the United States, where there are many barriers that inhibit participation in higher education. We committed ourselves to overcoming these barriers in order to expand access. For a long time, we didn't have an easy way to explain the idea of a for-profit company with such a deep commitment to benefiting society. In 2010, we took notice when the first state in the U.S. passed legislation creating the concept of a public benefit corporation, a new type of for-profit corporation with an expressed commitment to creating a material, positive impact on society. Our public benefit is firmly rooted in our belief that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit.”

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:00am

A number of South Carolina colleges, especially those in Charleston or on the coast, are closed today, trying to preserve safety and minimize damage from Hurricane Joaquin. Among those closed today: Charleston Southern University, the Citadel, the College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University, Horry Georgetown Technical College and Trident Technical College.


Search for Jobs

Back to Top