Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about accreditation and student learning. The articles aren't today's breaking news, but reflect long-term trends and some of the forward-looking thinking of experts on how colleges are responding to the increasing pressure they're facing in accreditation to measure student learning. The goal is to provide these materials (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here.

This is the third in a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Wednesday, September 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed's editors will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles and essays, as well as the latest developments involving accreditation and student learning. To register for the webinar, please click here.

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Bill Fischel of Dartmouth College reveals the history of the modern academic calendar. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

The International Olympic Committee voted Sunday to reinstate wrestling as a sport at least through the 2020 and 2024 summer games, after leaders in the sport changed rules to modernize it and add competitive classes for women, The New York Times reported. The IOC's decision last winter to drop wrestling as a core sport -- threatening its place in future games -- raised concerns among advocates for the sport that more colleges would drop their programs, which have eroded in recent years.



Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

A Facebook post seen by many as a threat led authorities to charge Matthew Rouch, a communication faculty member at Northwest Missouri State University, with an illegal pot-growing operation, The Kansas City Star reported. Rouch was originally arrested over a post in which he said that "by October, I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle — with a good scope, and probably a gatling gun as well." Authorities were not convinced the threat was more than a bad joke, but searched his house, where they found numerous marijuana plants growing. While Rouch was originally jailed for the Facebook post, he's still there over the pot.


Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Pasadena City College has started an investigation into Hugo Schwyzer after he admitted to having sex with his students in recent years, The Pasadena Star-News reported. Schwyzer teaches history at the college, and also has taught courses and lectured nationally on women's studies, sexuality, pornography and other topics. He went on leave this summer after admitting that he had been having affairs in ways inconsistent with his public statements, and he announced that he was having a breakdown.

Schwyzer has previously admitted to sex with his students early in his career, but maintained until last week that he stopped doing so in 1998. Then last week, one of Schwyzer's former students anonymously posted an account of having sex with him -- sometimes in his campus office -- while she was enrolled in one of his courses. On his blog, Schwyzer then wrote that the allegations were true. "I am deeply sorry for having maintained a lie for so long, and extend my apologies to the many whom I’ve wronged, including those who fiercely defended me against charges that turned out to be true," he wrote. He added that "I will convey this information to the college, and I expect this will be a factor in discussions about my future as an history instructor."

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Regent University announced Friday that Carlos Campo, president since 2010, was leaving the position immediately. The announcement did not give a reason for Campo's departure from Regent, a prominent force in Christian higher education that was founded by Pat Robertson. Via e-mail, Campo said that "my departure agreement with Regent precludes us from adding to what has already been stated, and I think we all feel it is just time to move forward."

There has been some online speculation in Virginia newspaper that Campo faced resistance for his strong support for immigration reform. Campo is not alone among leaders of evangelical institutions or of Christian colleges in advocating such a position, but the stance is controversial among many conservatives. In his e-mail to Inside Higher Ed, Campo said: "I can say that my stance on immigration was NOT a factor (Pat Robertson and I align perfectly there -- his conservative constituency has long disagreed with him on this issue)."

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 3:00am

States generally meet their obligations to match certain federal funds that go to predominantly white land-grant universities, but this isn't the case for historically black land-grant colleges, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Between 2010-12, the report says, the black land-grant colleges should have received an additional $56 million in state funds.

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 4:25am

Officials at Saint Mary's University, in Canada, are promising disciplinary action and more education programming in the wake over a video showing student orientation organizers leading as student chant promoting underage sex, CBC News reported. The change goes like this: "Y is for your sister [...] U is for underage, N is for no consent [...] Saint Mary’s boys we like them young." The chant is reportedly not new, but has not been widely known to administrators until the video surfaced.


Friday, September 6, 2013 - 3:00am

CourseSmart, the digital publishing company founded by higher education publishers, today announced options to make renting and purchasing educational materials more flexible. Previously, the company only allowed customers to rent e-textbooks for 180 days -- a window that is now being expanded to half a dozen options ranging from a 60-day rental to purchasing the book outright. CourseSmart also introduced Subscription Packs, which allow students to fill six slots in a "digital bookshelf" for a flat fee of $200. 

"There’s a lot that’s to be said about how digital can save students money," CourseSmart CEO Sean Devine said. "Instead of going out and spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks ..., you can come to one place."

CourseSmart is also working with its publishing partners to add more interactive elements, like embedded videos and multiple choice tests, to its e-textbooks, Devine said.

"One of the criticisms of e-textbooks to date has been that they don’t add a lot of value -- except perhaps saving students money," Devine said. "There’s a fair amount of convergence going on beween what was previously a flat textbook and the more interactive, digital products. It’s our belief that digital products in the future will look more like this."

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 3:00am

Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College will next spring launch a competency-based degree program in organization leadership, the institutions announced on Thursday. The programs will be created in cooperation with Pearson, which will create online courses totaling 90 credit hours. Pearson estimates the program will enroll 250 students in its inaugural semester -- a number that will grow to more than 6,000 students by 2019.


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