Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 25, 2013

The National Association of the Deaf has sued the University of Maryland at College Park, charging that it is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to provide captions in athletic facilities with the information being provided via public address systems. The association says that it has told Maryland previously that it should add caption systems, and the suit asks that they be added to the large scoreboards that convey other information for the fans.

“Athletic events are tremendously popular for the general public to attend, and this is true also for deaf and hard of hearing fans,” said a statement from the association's CEO, Howard A. Rosenblum, "All professional and collegiate sports teams need to recognize that many fans, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing, need captioning in sports stadiums and arenas to understand what is being announced. Every sports team should implement quality captioning systems visible to everyone not only to comply with the law but also to meet the needs of everyone.”

A spokesman for the university told The Washington Post that Maryland believes it complies with the law by creating a website for the captions, so that fans with hearing disabilities can read the captions on their smartphones or tablets. The spokesman also said that Maryland will provide game-day loans of tablets to those who need them.

September 25, 2013

Academics were among the new class of MacArthur Fellows named this morning. The fellowship -- for which one can't apply and for which one receives $625,000 over five years, no strings attached -- is commonly called the "genius" award. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named 24 winners, including Colin Camerer, a behavioral economist at the California Institute of Technology; Craig Fennie, a materials scientist at Cornell University; and Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

September 25, 2013

Lafayette College has announced new rules for alcohol violations by athletes, with various levels of sanctions based on a variety of factors. But The Express-Times noted that the new rules do not eliminate a "Good Samaritan" policy under which athletes can report a friend in trouble without fear of facing any charges. An earlier version of the rules did eliminate that policy, prompting considerable anger from athletes at the college.

September 25, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Kenneth Noll of the University of Connecticut reveals why termites would not be a threat to your home without the help of microbes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 25, 2013

Faculty members at Bellingham Technical College, in Washington State, went on strike Tuesday and classes were called off until the strike is settled, The Bellingham Herald reported. The union said that there are serious differences on a number of issues, including compensation and workload.

 

September 25, 2013

Applications to American M.B.A. programs are again on the rise, according to a report by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Of full-time programs, 52 percent are reporting an application increase in the last year -- the first time since 2009 that a majority of programs were reporting increases. The increases appear to depend on foreign applicants: 56 percent of programs reported an increase from abroad, while 59 percent reported declines in applicants from the U.S.

September 25, 2013

The National Labor Relations Board has agreed to review Pacific Lutheran University's request to that it reconsider a regional board official's recent decision to allow the university's adjunct faculty to vote on forming a union. Pacific Lutheran objected on a number of grounds, including its religious nature. The national NRLB issued a brief statement that said: "The employer’s request for review of the regional director’s decision and direction of election raises substantial issues warranting review solely with respect to the assertion of jurisdiction over the employer and the determination that certain faculty members are not managerial employees." The local Service Employees International Union, with which the adjunct faculty union is affiliated, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

September 25, 2013

The federal government should prod states to better measure the performance of college teacher education programs and redistribute federal funds for the programs to allow a small number of states each year to redesign their training approaches, the Education Trust argues in a new report. The group, which advocates for low-income students, is the latest in a string of reports criticizing the current performance of campus teaching training programs and recommending ways for Congress to reimagine the government's approach to the programs when it renews the Higher Education Act in the coming years.

 

 

September 25, 2013

Evan Dobelle, president of Westfield State University, is under fire for what Massachusetts officials consider to be extravagant or inappropriate spending. The Republican quoted sources saying that Dobelle is exploring the idea of using the state's whistleblower protection law to protect himself. The theory is that since he self-reported some of the questionable spending, he is a whistleblower. A spokeswoman for the university said she didn't know of any legal strategy being considered. But the newspaper noted that Dobelle has of late been telling people "I self-reported."

 

September 25, 2013

The Institute of International Education on Tuesday announced an expansion of its consortium aimed at raising funds to provide emergency scholarships and fellowships to Syrian students and scholars. The partnering organizations have committed $3 million and are hoping to raise another $4 million in university commitments and funds to, among other things, pay for 600 scholarships for Syrian students: 200 scholarships for Syrian students in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, 100 in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, 100 in North America, 100 in Europe, and 100 in Latin America. 

IIE estimates that in 2012-13, the first year of the effort, the consortium raised $3.8 million in assistance for approximately 100 Syrian scholars and students.

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