Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 12, 2014

Betabrand, an online clothing store, has an unusual approach for models for its spring collection for women. All of the women in the ads have Ph.D.s or are doctoral candidates. Shoppers looking at the Del Ray Perfect Dress will find it modeled by a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, and those interested in the Gray Confetti Popover Shirt will find it modeled by a woman who earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Stanford University. (The models are identified only with first names and their degrees.) Betabrand's founder, Chris Lindland gave a statement to Adweek about the new strategy: "When you look beyond the ranks of the professionally beautiful, photography becomes a lot more fun. Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?"

March 12, 2014

Indiana officials are considering whether the state's March 10 deadline for applications for state student aid is too early, and discourages applications from those who may most need assistance, The Indianapolis Star reported. The deadline is earlier than those of most states and the deadline for seeking federal aid. Officials believe that up to half of the state residents who meet eligibility requirements don't apply. Many say that nontraditional students don't figure out their college plans until later in the year, and so are missing the chance at getting state aid. A flip side of this issue, however, is that if more students apply, and the state doesn't provide more aid, the size of grants could shrink.

 

March 12, 2014

Stephanie Ross, an engineering student at Drexel University, died Monday in her sorority house, and meningitis is the suspected cause, Philly.com reported. The university is offering preventive treatment to all who were in close contact with Ross.

 

March 12, 2014

Florida Memorial University, Oakwood University and Wiley College on Tuesday announced the founding of the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning, a collaborative aimed at helping historically black colleges and universities create distance learning programs. The center will work with Lumen Learning, an open educational resources support provider. Housed at Wiley College, the center has created 40 courses using OER and has another 30 in development to be released this summer.

Haywood L. Strickland, president of Wiley College, acknowledged in a statement that HBCUs have been slow to adopt online education. “Distance learning creates inherent challenges for small colleges where the educational experience is grounded in personal relationships that cultivate scholarship and leadership among the students we serve," he said.

March 12, 2014

New research from the University of Manchester has found that members of some minority groups in Britain are more likely than white people in the country to have postsecondary degrees, Times Higher Education reported. The study found that 43 percent of those with Chinese heritage had a degree, as did 42 percent of those with Indian backgrounds and 40 percent of those from black African groups. Only about a quarter of white British people have a degree.

 

March 11, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Russell Poldrack, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses his findings of a 14-month study he conducted on his own brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

March 11, 2014

NAACP leaders in South Carolina on Monday said that they would oppose the selection of Lieut. Governor Glenn McConnell as president of the College of Charleston, the Associated Press reported. Currently, McConnell is a finalist for the position. The NAACP noted his long history of revering Confederate history to question whether the college would be seen as a welcoming place to black students. A widely circulated photograph of McConnell shows him at an event dressed as a Confederate general, posing with black people playing the part of slaves. McConnell also has defended the display of Confederate flags, rejecting the idea that they are hurtful. McConnell said that he should be judged by his record, which he said includes support for historically black colleges and for efforts to attract more black men to teaching.

 

March 11, 2014

David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, was named Monday as the next secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Skorton, president of Cornell since 2006, will leave the university in 2015. At Cornell, he has helped raise more than $5 billion. Under Skorton, Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won a competition to develop a teachnology-oriented graduate school in New York City.

 

March 11, 2014

The South Carolina House of Representatives on Monday twice refused to reverse a $52,000 cut to the College of Charleston's budget -- a cut added by a legislative committee to punish the college for assigning Fun Home, a well regarded memoir by a lesbian, to freshmen, the Associated Press reported. Lawmakers said that they wanted to send a message about the selection of the book.

The college responded to questions from Inside Higher Ed about the vote by releasing this statement from President P. George Benson: "Any university education must include the opportunity for students to engage controversial ideas. Our students are adults, and we will treat them as such at the College of Charleston. As one of the oldest universities in the United States, the College of Charleston is committed to the principle of academic freedom. Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected and how those materials are taught. Any legislative attempt to tie institutional funding to what books are taught, or who teaches them, threatens the credibility and reputation of all South Carolina public universities."

 

 

March 11, 2014

A new article in Educational Researcher develops a typology for government-sponsored international scholarship programs. The lead author, the University of Pennsylvania’s Laura W. Perna, and her co-authors identify 183 government-sponsored programs in 196 countries and find that 76 percent of these programs target graduate or post-graduate (rather than undergraduate) study, 78 percent focus on degree attainment rather than short-term exchange, and 85 percent limit the number of possible destination countries. Just 15 percent of programs allow scholarship recipients to pursue any field of study they wish. Thirty-eight percent of programs cover all expenses, and 59 percent require students to return to their home countries after completing their programs.

The authors divide programs into four main types, based on program characteristics (such as level of study, undergraduate or graduate) and the political and economic dynamics of the sponsoring nations: Type 1, “development of basic skills"; Type 2, “development of advanced knowledge in developing nations"; Type 3, “development of advanced knowledge in developed nations"; and Type 4, “promotion of short-term study abroad."

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