Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 10, 2013

Emerson College officials pledged Wednesday to improve the process by which they handle allegations of sexual assault, The Boston Globe reported. Among other steps, college officials said they would hire an "advocate" to help victims of sexual assault through the investigation and judicial process. The announcement follows filing of a federal complaint by Emerson students saying that the college failed to adequately investigate two recent incidents.

October 10, 2013

The University of Chicago president has clarified the university’s policy about elevator use in the administration building, after some said uniformed workers were not being permitted to use the elevators. “Let me state in the simplest of terms what the policy actually is: the elevators are for everybody’s use,” Robert Zimmer wrote in a statement to facilities staff members. “This includes all of you and other staff members, faculty, students, visitors, vendors, and guests to the university. That has always been my intent, and there will be no policy to the contrary.”

The policy was criticized after reports that a maintenance worker with a hip replacement and a maintenance worker with asthma had to walk up four flights of stairs because they were not allowed to use the elevators in daytime hours. The Service Employees International Union, Local 73, had planned a rally to protest the policy prior to the president’s statement. 

October 10, 2013

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is seeking the resignations of some members of the Norfolk State University board, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The requests come just weeks after the board fired Tony Atwater as president. Norfolk State faces numerous challenges, including the lowest graduation rate among public four-year institutions in Virginia and scrutiny from accreditors.

October 10, 2013

Alice Munro, the Canadian author, was this morning named winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was honored as a "master of the contemporary short story." A statement released with the announcement said: "Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts – problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions. Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning."

Scholarship on Munro, published by university presses, includes: Alice Munro by Coral Ann Howells, (Manchester University Press), Controlling the Uncontrollable: The Fiction of Alice Munro, by Ildikó de Papp Carrington (Northern Illinois University Press), The Tumble of Reason: Alice Munro's Discourse of Absence, by Ajay Heble, (University of Toronto Press) and Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro, by Beverly Rasporich (University of Alberta Press).

 

 

October 9, 2013

Large numbers of students who have transferred to a four-year institution from a community college before earning an associate degree may be eligible to receive that credential, according to a newly released study from the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The report, which is dubbed "Credit When It's Due," looked at the potential for "reverse transfer" policies in 12 states, finding that 27,000 students who had no credential four years after transferring would have been eligible for an associate degree. 

October 9, 2013

Three researchers will share the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems." The winners are Martin Karplus of Université de Strasbourg and Harvard University, Michael Levitt of Stanford University and Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California.

 

 

October 9, 2013

Princeton University's new president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, has appointed a faculty committee to review the institution's grading policies. In response to concerns about grade inflation, the university in 2004 adopted a policy stating that each department, over time, award no more than 35 percent of its grades in the A-range. The policy has been widely praised by educators who worry about grade inflation, but many Princeton students have been frustrated by it. In his charge to the committee, Eisgruber wrote: "Since the implementation of the policy ten years ago, the number of A-range grades awarded across departments has become much more consistent. Likewise, the grade inflation of the late '90s and early 2000s has been halted. Yet concerns persist that the grading policy may have unintended impacts upon the undergraduate academic experience that are not consistent with our broader educational goals."

 

 

October 9, 2013

Desire2Learn on Tuesday announced an upgraded version of its learning management system has begun rolling out to the company’s roughly 750 clients. The newest version of the Learning Suite reflects the series of startups Desire2Learn has acquired in recent months, including group collaboration software created by Wiggio.

John Baker, president and CEO of Desire2Learn, said one of the major goals of the new platform is to smooth out the technical difficulties of collaborating across different applications and websites. Instead of logging in to access their online documents on one site and their photos on another, users will be able to tie those credentials to their Learning Suite account.

The platform also features support for institutions to create their own massive open online courses without the use of a MOOC provider. The upgrade will come at no charge to Desire2Learn’s existing customers.

October 9, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Boylan of Rice University explores the connection between prison reform and a reduction in social aid programs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

October 8, 2013

A state legislator has introduced legislation aimed at largely exempting public university executive searches from Florida's expansive open meeting and public-record laws, The Gainesville Sun reported. Florida's sunshine laws are among the most reaching in the country, and the legislation introduced by State Rep. Dave Kerner says that the laws create a "chilling effect on the number and quality of applicants" for president and other top university jobs. The bill would protect the names of candidates until finalists are chosen, at least 21 days before a final candidate is selected.
 

 

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