Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 3:00am

The Big 12 Conference announced a new policy for diagnosing and managing concussions Wednesday, requiring member institutions to follow guidelines released in July by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and giving full autonomy to medical staff in deciding when an athlete can return to play.

“Our membership has developed a comprehensive diagnosis and management policy that asserts the unchallengeable authority of medical practitioners in overseeing the welfare of our student-athletes in this very important area,” Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12, said. “This policy goes beyond what was approved during the recent N.C.A.A. Autonomy Governance, and puts all associated protocols where they belong: in the hands of trained medical staff.”

The policy approved during the Power Five conferences' autonomy rule-making session last month was much contested, as it did not give medical staff the final say in concussion protocols and whether a player could return to the field.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 3:00am

Coaches for 14 teams at West Virginia University impermissibly texted and telephoned prospective athletes in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, the association announced Wednesday. The N.C.A.A.'s Division I Committee on Infractions and the university -- working collaboratively through the association's summary disposition process -- agreed on the findings and the resulting penalties, which include restrictions on recruiting in all the sports. Most of the violations occurred in four sports: women’s gymnastics, football, women’s basketball and women’s soccer.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Elizabeth Behrman, a professor of physics and math at Wichita State University, discusses her work to create an artificial neural network. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

A legislative committee in Oklahoma has voted to ban the use of state funds for teaching Advanced Placement U.S. history, The Tulsa World reported. Lawmakers complained that the curriculum focuses too much on what "is bad about America." Further, some lawmakers are questioning the entire AP program, saying that it is effectively a national curriculum. These lawmakers note that the state is committed to fighting efforts at creating a national curriculum, and so some are questioning the legality of AP in its entirety.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

About 800 applicants to a master's program in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University on Monday received e-mails accepting them to the program. Then, seven hours later, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, they received a notice that the acceptances were a mistake. They were asked to confirm the revocation of the offers. “This error was the result of serious mistakes in our process for generating acceptance letters,” said a statement from the university. “Once the error was discovered, the university moved quickly to notify affected applicants.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Paul Quinn College, a historically black institution in Texas, plans to become a work college, meaning that all students will work throughout their time at the college in return for much lower tuition rates, The Texas Tribune reported. The college also plans to end the use of paid textbooks and to rely on open-source materials.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 4:22am

Boston College is facing federal and state investigations of whether it has done enough to make its campus accessible to people with disabilities, The Boston Globe reported. Campus officials say that they are regularly making improvements but that the hilly campus creates challenges. But students and faculty members with disabilities point to numerous places on campus where those in wheelchairs or who have difficulty with stairs feel they have few good options to get from one place to another. A Facebook page features photographs (such as the one at right) of such spots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges, our latest compilation of articles. The compilation features articles on the Tennessee plan, other state plans and President Obama's plan, plus opinion pieces that critique and praise the idea. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. You may also sign up here for a free webinar on Tuesday, March 17, at 3 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Tenure-line faculty members at the University of Illinois at Springfield have formed a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The new union has 137 members, who organized under the following platform: negotiate for “fair” wages and benefits, share governance with the administration and advocate for the rights of students without fear of professional retaliation.

Faculty members at Springfield’s sister institution, the University of Illinois at Chicago, also are organized with AFT (along with the American Association of University Professors) and signed their first union contract last year. A Springfield spokesman said the university respects faculty members’ right to decide whether or not they want to be represented by a union, and that the union “will have the power to act and speak for faculty in required group-level negotiations on wages, hours and conditions of work.” Some 71 eligible members signed cards in favor of the union, according to information from the university. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, has been named president & CEO of Achieving the Dream, a network of community colleges focused on "evidence-based institutional improvement." She replaces William E. Trueheart, the group's founding president.

Stout became president of Montgomery County in 2001. The institution has been a part of Achieving the Dream, which she said "helps build capacity one college and one community at a time.”


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