Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 3, 2014

The National Geographic Channel has indefinitely put off a new television show "Nazi War Diggers" that was to have featured the digging up of Nazi war graves, The New York Times reported. The action followed strong criticism of the planned program by the American Anthropological Association and other scholarly groups. Scholars, who conduct digs according to ethical standards, have said that their work is undercut when television shows suggest that digs are about entertainment or making money.

 

April 3, 2014

The General Assembly of South Carolina, which selects most public college trustees, on Wednesday voted down the re-election of a trustee even though no other person had decided to run for the position, The Post and Courier reported. It was unclear why the legislators rejected Daniel Ravanel. Some said it was because he had endorsed a recent board resolution that defended the idea of academic freedom -- which was widely seen as a rebuff to legislators who are angry that the college assigned an acclaimed memoir (that deals in part with gay and lesbian sexuality) to freshmen last year. (In an interview for his trustee re-election, Ravenel had indicated that he shared legislative concerns. Other reported indicated that Ravenel was being punished for not being sufficiently supportive of the recent controversial selection of a long-time legislative leader to become -- over student and faculty opposition -- the next president of the college.

 

April 3, 2014

Florida was a pioneer in having community colleges offer four-year degree programs (and having them drop "community" from their names). Now, some legislators are raising questions about whether the four-year programs overlap too much with offerings of the state university system, Miami Today reported. College leaders defend the programs, saying that they meet key education needs in their local communities, and that state universities don't have capacity for all of the students But Joe Negron, chair of the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee, said his concern was the impact on university budgets and aspirations. “I think we have great universities, but I want to see them get to an elite level, where we have universities in Florida that are thought of with the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill [and the] University of Michigan,” he said. “And we can’t do that if we have two systems that are overlapping."

 

April 3, 2014

A police official was killed and several others were wounded in bombings near Cairo University on Wednesday, The New York Times reported. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, which the Times described as seeming to signal an intensification of violence on Egypt’s university campuses. 

April 2, 2014

The labor market returns for associate degrees remained strong throughout the recession, according to newly released research from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE). Students who earned a two-year degree, or who transferred and completed a bachelor's degree, earned more and were less likely to be unemployed than were their peers who failed to graduate or transfer, according to the research.

The study was based on students who enrolled in North Carolina community colleges in 2002. It drew data from the National Student Clearinghouse as well as unemployment insurance wage data. Students in some disciplines fared better than others, particularly ones who earned credentials in health care.

April 2, 2014

We thought we dropped enough hints about Bryn Mawr College's plan to drop vowels from its name (and perhaps literature). But we did hear from some readers who were concerned. So to be clear, the college is not eliminating vowels; it was just having fun on April Fools' Day.

While student newspapers have long featured joke issues, many others in academe are getting into the act on April 1. We enjoyed this (obviously false) report about a magazine abandoning M.F.A. rankings after admitting that its rankings didn't help applicants.

The anthropology blog Savage Minds pretended to be BuzzFeed with (of course) a list: "11 Cutting-Edge Thinkers That Anthropologists Should Be Paying Attention to Right Now!"

The University of Idaho announced that each new freshman in the fall would receive a kitten. The effort was called the Feline-Undergraduate Relationship for Retention Initiative, or FURRI. And Lawrence University decided to offer a different kind of special benefit to newly admitted students and their parents:

 

 

 

April 2, 2014

The Faculty Senate at the College of Charleston voted unanimously Tuesday that it has no confidence in the college's board. The vote was prompted by the recent pick of a career politician known for his love of Confederate history as the next president of the college. Board members -- elected by legislators -- have said that Glenn McConnell's political connections will help the college. But students and professors disagree.

The resolution of no confidence says that the search was conducted with "clear disregard" for best practices, by adding candidates (including McConnell) to a list of finalists prepared by the search committee. Further, the resolution notes board members who have been raising questions about the teaching of books that offend them, and an apparent disregard in the college's mission as a liberal arts institution. "[T]hese recent actions and positions have hurt the image and brand of the college and appear likely to negatively impact our ability to recruit students, expand our outreach to minorities, recruit and retain faculty, and successfully engage in fund-raising," the resolution says.

April 2, 2014

Some students who attended the office hours of Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon on Tuesday refused to leave and staged a sit-in that was still going on as of 9:30 p.m. The students are demanding that Hanlon endorse the "Freedom Budget" that they have created. That document includes numerous demands, including increased enrollment (to 10 percent each) of black, Latino and Native American students; the enhancement of many ethnic studies programs; a pledge to make 47 percent of postocs be people of color; and a requirement departments "that do not have womyn or people of color will be considered in crisis and must take urgent and immediate action to right the injustice." Hanlon expressed his commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. A statement from Dartmouth Tuesday night said that students who remain in the president's office "understand, based on discussions with campus safety and security that they are in violation of college policy."

April 2, 2014

Most North Carolina employers haven't heard of massive open online courses, but about three-quarters of them view MOOCs as having a positive effect on hiring decisions, a survey conducted by Duke University and RTI International shows. The study, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also suggests 71 percent of employers could see themselves using MOOCs for professional development.

April 2, 2014

Governor Andrew Cuomo, a New York Democrat, has backed away from a plan to use state funds for college programs in prisons. Cuomo and New York State's legislative leaders wrapped up work on a budget plan this week without funds for the effort, Gannett reported. At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Cuomo said that the plan would start up, but with private funds paying for it. "There was a feeling, primarily in the Senate, that we should not be using public funds to provide college courses in prison, that many families are struggling to pay for college and we shouldn't be using public funds to provide college courses in prison. I understand the sentiment. I don't agree with it, but I understand it and I understand the appearance of it," Cuomo said. The governor had argued that his original plan would save the state money, by reducing recidivism rates. But Senate Republicans and others opposed the idea from the start.

 

Pages

Back to Top