Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 6, 2014

Nearly three weeks after its planned merger with another institution fell through, Virginia Intermont College's president announced her resignation Monday. E. Clorisa Phillips said she was resigning for personal reasons. The college said last month that its merger with Webber International University had collapsed, and in accepting Phillips's resignation, Virginia Intermont's board said it was working with an interim president and "restructuring agent" to devise a solution for "some or all of the college."

 

 

 

May 6, 2014

While it is fashionable in some circles to question whether students gain economically from a four-year college degree, new data released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggest that the benefits are significant. Counting both the average costs of going to college and lost wages from time enrolled, the study estimates that the lifetime earnings premium for a four-year degree is more than $800,000. Further, most people with a degree recoup the costs of their education by age 40.

 

May 6, 2014

A new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences uses two longitudinal surveys to attempt to explain the relative academic advantage of Asian-American students, on average, compared to white students. It appears to be about work ethic. "We find that the Asian-American educational advantage is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics," says the abstract, available here.

 

May 6, 2014

Muhamed McBryde has been sitting on the sidelines during wrestling matches, unable to compete on behalf of the State University of New York at Buffalo because of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules requiring that players be clean-shaven. As a Muslim, McBryde said that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. Now the NCAA has granted him a waiver so he can compete, The Buffalo News reported. However, he will be required to wear a face mask and chin strap to cover the beard.

 

May 6, 2014

More than 250 colleges and universities have enrollment capacity for their fall 2014 semesters, the National Association for College Admission Counseling said Monday in its annual spring report on available openings. The group's College Openings Update, which was formerly called the Space Availability Survey, is designed to help find possible destinations for students who have not found spots by the standard May 1 deadline for acceptances at selective colleges (and to help those colleges that have not filled their classes). It serves as a useful counterpoint each year to the hype in many quarters about how difficult it is for students to get into college. (Note: This article has been updated from an earlier version.)

May 5, 2014

Campbellsville University, a Christian institution, on Saturday announced plans to introduce an online chapel in the fall. The goal is to provide online students with the same spiritual opportunities available to those on campus, and the university said it believed its program would be the first of its kind. There will be three parts to the program: There are three parts to the online chapel. One will be live streaming of regular worship services, and the creation of an archive of services. (Some other institutions, such as Baylor University, provide such a service.) The second part will be the creation of an online Bible study center, in which Bible study offerings will be refreshed each week. The last part will be the creation of a 12-part video about the Old and New Testaments.

May 5, 2014

Students at the University of California at Davis staged a sit-in Friday in a campus coffee house whose student employees had planned an off-campus party with the name "Cinco de Drinko," playing off today's celebration of Mexican heritage, The Sacramento Bee reported. Many students said that they were offended by a Facebook page promoting the party, which has now been canceled. The page featured four male students in sombreros, attempting to get over a chain-link fence.

May 5, 2014

Universities in South Korea are increasingly hiring faculty members off the tenure track, The Korea Herald reported. Universities say that they are pressured to hire more full-time faculty members, but lack the funds to hire those who would be eligible for tenure. The non-tenure-track faculty members are hired for one or two years, and must be renewed to stay on, and they are paid about half of what tenure-track faculty are paid.

 

May 5, 2014

The University of California at Los Angeles -- with strong support from Chancellor Gene Block -- is again considering a requirement in its largest undergraduate college that students take at least one course about diversity, The Los Angeles Times reported. Faculty in the College of Letters and Science have rejected such a requirement three times previously. Supporters say that diversity is so crucial to today's society that all students should have at least one course in the subject. Critics question whether such courses improve race relations, and note that many UCLA students are pressed to meet existing requirements.

 

May 5, 2014

San Jose State University has expelled three students who are facing criminal charges for months of harassing a black freshman who lived in their suite, The San Jose Mercury News reported. A fourth student has been suspended and, if he does return, will be on probation for the rest of his time at the university. The harassment is said to include placing a bike lock around the student's neck, putting up photos of Hitler, hanging a Confederate flag, and calling the student "3/5" and "fraction," in a reference to the way the infamous Three-Fifths Compromise. When word of the harassment surfaced in November, many on the campus were outraged.

 

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