Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 12, 2014

The Common Application announced Tuesday that it is keeping the current essay prompts (and word limit of 650 words). When the prompts were introduced last year, they received mix reviews, but the Common Application announcement said that a survey found that 70 percent of member colleges and 90 percent of school counselors approved of the prompts. They are:

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
February 12, 2014

The Indian arm of Penguin Random House has agreed to pull from the market all copies of a University of Chicago scholar's 2009 book on Hinduism that came under attack from some conservatives in the country, The Wall Street Journal reported. The book, "The Hindus: An Alternative History," by Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at Chicago, was withdrawn as part of a settlement (obtained by the Journal) with a nationalist group that had complained about the book. In a statement, Doniger said she was "deeply troubled by what it foretells for free speech in India in the present, and steadily worsening, political climate."

February 12, 2014

Bob Jones University is facing criticism for halting a study that it commissioned on the institution's response to sex abuse, The New York Times reported. The university has been vague about why it called off the investigation, just as the company hired to do it was wrapping up interviews. Those who gave interviews are feeling particularly vulnerable, having told their stories and now learning that nothing will be done to fix problems. Generally, the issues explored by the investigation have focused on reports that the university was dismissive of students who reported that they had been abused, and discouraged them from reporting the abuse, the Times said.

 

February 12, 2014

Kent State University has suspended a wrestler from its team after he used anti-gay slurs on Twitter to talk about this week's news that a college football star came out as gay. While the Twitter comments have been removed, they were saved on the website Outrage DC and show Sam Wheeler, the wrestler writing about "that fag from mizzou." Jim Andrassy, head wrestling coach at the university issued this statement: "As an alum of Kent State University and as Sam’s head coach, I was surprised and offended by what I read on Twitter. I have spoken to Sam personally, and while he is remorseful, he will be suspended indefinitely while we determine the best course of action moving forward."


 

February 11, 2014

Britain's home office has suspended the administration of English language tests run by the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service after the BBC news program, "Panorama," uncovered “systematic fraud” at British test centers. As summarized in this BBC articlePanorama recorded instances of Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) examinees being replaced by “fake-sitters” who completed the test for them, and of a proctor reading the correct answers aloud to test takers.  The news program followed a network of agents who help bogus students from outside the European Union pass the TOEIC, a government-approved English test for immigration purposes, and otherwise obtain student visa extensions fraudulently. 

Thomas A. Ewing, an ETS spokesman, told Inside Higher Ed via email that the issues seem to involve two TOEIC testing centers and that the government’s suspension of TOEIC and Test of English as a Foreign Language exams within the U.K. will not affect test-takers elsewhere in the world. “When testing on a global basis, no test provider can claim 100 percent prevention or detection of fraudulent activity, but ETS does everything it can to detect and prevent rare instances of dishonest test administrators or test takers,” an ETS statement read, in part. 
 

February 11, 2014

Two prominent Republican Senators on Monday continued to push for an overhaul of U.S. accreditation of colleges, seeking to open up federal student aid to non-traditional forms of higher education as a way to lower costs and broaden access. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, in a speech at a National Journal event in Miami, called on Congress to establish a new independent accrediting board that would accredit free online courses -- a proposal also floated by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. “Action on this issue can and should be swift,” Rubio said, adding that “members of both parties are beginning to realize that for every day we delay bold accreditation reform, our education system leaves more Americans behind to languish in a dwindling market of low-skill jobs.”

Rubio praised a proposal by Senator Mike Lee of Utahyou mean Utah, right? or is the senator wrong? -sj ** oops, I meant Utah /ms that would allow states and companies to accredit courses. At a separate event in Washington, Lee said that such a plan would help lower the cost of higher education.

In his remarks in Miami, Rubio also laid out several other higher education proposals. He suggested that income-based repayment should be the default payment plan for federal student loans. He said that the various federal income-based repayment programs are underutilized and too confusing for borrowers.

In addition, he proposed a mechanism called “Student Investment Plans” as an alternative option to loan-financing for college tuition. Under the plan, students would have the option of applying for an investment plan from an “approved and certified private investment group” whose investors would pay the students’ tuition in return for a percentage of their income for a set period of time after graduation. 

February 11, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Philip Marcus of the University of California at Berkeley explains the persistence of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 11, 2014

DeVry Inc. shut all 13 of its Chicago-area DeVry University and Chamberlain College of Nursing campuses Monday, citing an emailed threat that was deemed a "potential security issue," The Chicago Tribune reported. Little information was provided about the nature of the threat, but DeVry officials said in a statement that local authorities had declared it safe to reopen the campuses today.

February 11, 2014

Officials at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California are identifying racist and sexist fliers sent to Asian-American organizations on the two campuses, The Los Angeles Times reported. UCLA students held a rally Monday to protest the flier.

 

February 11, 2014

Wayne State University is standing by Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering, whom faculty members have accused of lacking integrity and, last week, sparked the resignation of a longtime professor. "I really want to emphasize that Dean Fotouhi is doing a good job," Margaret Winters, provost, said Monday. "A great deal of what we see going on here is that some older, more established faculty frankly don't want to see change." Winters said Fotouhi had been hired several years ago to make key changes in the college, such as raising research productivity and boosting enrollment in engineering, and that he was meeting those goals -- to some professors' chagrin.

James Woodyard, an associate professor in the computer and electrical engineering department who has been at Wayne State for more than three decades, announced Friday at the university's Board of Governors meeting that he was resigning due to Fotouhi's "lack of integrity," The Detroit News reported. In an email, Woodyard said Fotouhi had, on numerous occasions, been dishonest about the nature of personnel and budgeting decisions. Woodyard accused Winters of being biased against members of the computer and electrical engineering department and accused the administration generally of not exercising due diligence in its investigation of Fotouhi. Winters said the university had thoroughly looked into claims against Fotouhi on two separate occasions and that the dean had come up clean. Now in his third year, Fotouhi will be formally evaluated in his fifth year, according to Wayne State. Fotouhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


 

Pages

Back to Top