Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 17, 2013

Those hoping to see the medical profession diversify may need to consider the way debt appears to affect different kinds of medical students, says an article published Monday in the journal PLOS One. The study -- by researchers at Columbia University -- asked medical students nationwide to estimate how much debt they would have upon graduating. The answers varied by racial and ethnic group, with 77 percent of black students estimating that they would owe more than $150,000. For other groups, the share was smaller: 65 percent of white students, 57 percent of Latino students, and 50 percent of Asian students expect to graduate with those debt levels.

 

September 17, 2013

This summer, the Associated Press revealed that Mitch Daniels, while governor of Indiana, tried to discourage the use of the books of the late Howard Zinn, a leftist historian, in the state. In a new effort to defend Zinn's legacy, scholars have announced plans for a "read in" of Zinn's work, to take place at Purdue University, where Daniels is now the president. Efforts are under way to organize readings at other colleges and universities in the state that day to give Zinn's work more visibility. The events will take place on November 5, the 158th anniversary of the birth, in Indiana, of Eugene Debs, the socialist leader.

September 17, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Blob of Clemson University explains why the evolutionary migration to land was dominated by limbed species. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 17, 2013

Duke University’s controversial campus in Kunshan has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education, the university announced on Monday. Duke Kunshan University, a joint venture institution with Wuhan University, will accept its first students in 2014. It initially plans to offer master’s programs in global health and management studies; a proposed graduate program in medical physics is pending approval. The campus will also offer a liberal arts-oriented, semesterlong study abroad program for undergraduates. 

September 17, 2013

Parchment, an electronic transcription service, on Tuesday announced a partnership with the GED Testing Service under which students who pass the high school equivalency test will receive free electronic diplomas and transcripts. The GED, which is owned jointly by the American Council on Education and Pearson, is gearing up for a move to become fully electronic next year. The new partnership will allow GED-holders to share their electronic transcripts with potential employers and colleges.

September 16, 2013

Teenagers say graduating from college is highly important, but teens and their mothers worry about the price tag, according to a report released this month by Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

Researchers for report “Voices for Two-Generation Success: Seeking Stable Futures” conducted focus groups with married and single mothers, teens and preteens this summer to get their thoughts on the importance of education and the affordability of college, as well as on barriers to success, community support and other issues.

Teenagers expressed economic anxiety over their future. Almost all of the older teens said they worried about affording college and knew many people had high debt and student loans. Some said their parents will contribute financially to their educational pursuits. Other teens said they may take out loans or work while in school. Despite concerns, teenagers believe a college degree leads to financial security and success. “Because nowadays you need really a college education to have a steady job that could support you,” a preteen boy from Denver said in the report.

Mothers also said a college education is important for their children and allows them to have a career instead of a job and to work on a passion rather than trying to make enough money to pay bills and get by. “Go all the way in school,” a low-income mother from Denver said in the report. “All the way… It is probably the strongest foundation you can ever have. People can take your money, they can take your house, your car, but you will always have your education to fall back on.”

September 16, 2013
Birmingham Metropolitan College has reversed its ban on students wearing the niqab, a veil worn by some Muslim women that covers the face save for the eyes, The Telegraph reported. The college, which also prohibits the wearing of caps, hats and hoodies, had banned the full-face veils for safety reasons, saying it was important for individuals to be readily identifiable whenever they’re on campus. However, students protested that they were being discriminated against based on their religion. The college reversed the ban after more than 8,000 people signed a petition within 48 hours and right before a demonstration was planned on campus, saying it would modify its policies “to allow individuals to wear specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values.”
 
"The college will still need to be able to confirm an individual's identity in order to maintain safeguarding and security.”
 
September 16, 2013

Metropolitan State University has paid its summer course instructors – a week late, the Pioneer Press reported. Administrators said last week that paychecks had been issued to several dozen instructors who did not receive their paychecks on time. The lump-sum payments were for thousands of dollars in some instances.

The Twin Cities-based university’s collective bargaining unit, the Inter Faculty Organization, representing faculty in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, also has requested "detailed, enumerated," line-items on their paystubs going forward, and an audit of six years’ worth of faculty pay and benefits, citing a history of payroll problems.

University administrators could not be reached for comment Friday.

September 16, 2013

Purdue University's regional Calumet campus has rescinded layoffs ordered for seven faculty members, The Journal & Courier reported. Administrators had said that enrollment declines necessitated the layoffs, but now officials say that more encouraging enrollment projects mean that there is no longer the need to eliminate positions.

 

September 16, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Supriya Kumar of the University of Pittsburgh examines how flu outbreaks can be reduced by encouraging workers to use an extra sick day. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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