Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 17, 2014

Ten professors were among the 21 people named as the latest class of MacArthur Fellows. The fellowship, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provides $625,000 over five years, no strings attached. Many refer to the program as the "genius awards," even if the foundation doesn't.

Biographies of this year's fellows may be found here.

The academic winners:

  • Danielle Bassett, the Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Tami Bond, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Sarah Deer, professor of law at the William Mitchell College of Law
  • Jennifer L. Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology, at Stanford University
  • Terrance Hayes, professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Mark Hersam, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University
  • Jacob Lurie, professor of mathematics at Harvard University
  • Khaled Mattawa, associate professor of English language and literature at the University of Michigan
  • Tara Zahra, professor of East European history at the University of Chicago
  • Yitang Zhang, professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of New Hampshire


     





     

 

 

September 17, 2014

Oakwood University will next month launch the first massive open online course developed by a historically black institution. “World Religions, an Occupational Approach,” which begins Oct. 27, will be hosted on Instructure's MOOC platform, Canvas Network. The university partnered with open educational resources support provider Lumen Learning and the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning, hosted at Wiley College, to produce the MOOC.

Alcorn State and Morgan State University in late 2012 announced plans for the first HBCU-developed MOOCs, but those plans appear not to have come to fruition.

September 17, 2014

The National Association for College Admission Counseling has released a guide for colleges that are considering working with agents in international student recruitment. The report emphasizes the risks of institutions engaging with third-party agents and ethical concerns about paying agents per-capita commissions -- particularly in cases in which students and parents are not aware of the financial relationships between a given institution and an agent -- concluding that, “For these reasons, NACAC does not endorse the practice of commission-based international student recruitment.” But NACAC does now permit the practice (even if it doesn't endorse it) and for those institutions that choose to work with recruitment agents, the report provides advice on such topics as identifying and vetting agents, providing training, and monitoring agency performance. Among other things, the guide recommends that institutions list all of their agency partners on their website and that they contractually prohibit agents from “double-dipping” by charging students for services related to advising and application assistance. The guidance also recommends that contracts stipulate that agencies must disclose to students and their parents the fact that they receive compensation from the institutions that they represent. 

September 17, 2014

George C. Bradley resigned as president of Paine College Tuesday, The Augusta Chronicle reported. Paine is a historically black college that has been placed on probation by its accreditor. Critics have said Bradley has not moved to fix the financial and other problems that led to the probation. A statement from the college said that Bradley is leaving to spend more time with his family.

 

September 17, 2014

It may be a hoax, but an anonymous claim on Facebook has authorities at Old Dominion University investigating whether a student is trying to poison a roommate, WTKR News reported. The claim is on a "confessions" page for the university -- such pages exist for many colleges and students anonymous post about crushes or opinions. In this post, the student allegedly is putting items in the food of a roommate that will make her ill. Authorities announced that they have identified the individual who posted the claim and that no charges have been filed.

 

September 17, 2014

Chegg on Tuesday continued to branch off from textbook rentals with the launch of an online college counseling platform. The service starts at $24 an hour, but members of I'm First, a community for first-generation college students, can receive two hours free of charge. Chegg also offers homework help and career search services.

September 17, 2014

A group of higher education leaders on Tuesday announced a new initiative to urge colleges and universities to promote climate change solutions. Solution Generation aims to provide new communications tools, research and resources so college and university leaders can educate and engage campus constituents on climate change. Like the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Solution Generation wants institutions to commit to reducing greenhouse emissions and being leaders in promoting climate change solutions. The initiative is intended to be a more mainstream platform for progress on climate change projects, where colleges and universities can collaborate with leaders in other sectors, such as health and business. 

Solution Generation was created in collaboration with ecoAmerica’s MomentUs initiative, which aims to increase support for climate change solutions and clean energy across a wide range of industries. It's funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ClearPath Foundation and the Linden Trust for Conservation.

September 17, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Felicia Keesing, a biologist at Bard College, profiles biodiversity in the savannas of Africa. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 16, 2014

Urban Outfitters has apologized for selling a vintage sweatshirt that many people assumed (incorrectly, it turns out) was stained with the blood of victims of the 1970 shootings that killed four students. The company had put up for sale a "vintage" sweatshirt. The image (below) appears to show a bloodied sweatshirt, and some on social media assumed that the shirt belonged to someone who was near the victims in 1970. The university released a statement saying: "We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today." Urban Outfitters released its own statement, in which the company apologized but also said that the sweatshirt is discolored, but not stained with blood. "Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such," said the statement.

September 16, 2014

The White House plans on Friday to announce a new program, "It's on Us," to encourage male students to join efforts to prevent sexual assaults, the Associated Press reported. The campaign is based on research showing that many men are reluctant to speak out against violence against women, and that changing that attitude could prevent many assaults.

 

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