Higher Education Quick Takes
Dozens of scholars of crime -- organized by the Crime Lab of the University of Chicago -- have written a joint letter to Vice President Biden to urge him to include research issues in the Obama administration's proposed response to gun violence. The letter focuses on restrictions on the use of National Institutes of Health funds for research that might be used to advocate for gun control. Further, it noted repeated efforts by gun supporters to block funding of research on guns by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The "politically motivated constraints" have limited research that could help the country prevent gun violence, the letter says.
U.S. News & World Report doesn't think that four incidents in the last year of colleges submitting incorrect information for rankings reflect any trend. Robert Morse, who directs the rankings, published a blog post Thursday in which he said: "We have no reason to believe that other schools have misreported data — and we therefore have no reason to believe that the misreporting is widespread." The blog post said that the magazine has removed the ranks of colleges whose incorrect information resulted in a higher ranking than they would have received with accurate data.
The National Association of Scholars released a report Thursday criticizing the history departments of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M at College Station for being too focused on issues of race, class and gender. The report used syllabuses and professors' webpages to classify many faculty members (especially at Austin) as "high assigners" of race, class and gender, and the report questioned whether traditional topics in history were receiving enough attention. The University of Texas at Austin released a statement in response suggesting that the report ignored much of the work in history at the institution, which focuses on the sorts of topics the the NAS says are needed. Further, the statement said that there is nothing wrong with having professors who study race, class and gender.
Martha Keochareon offered nursing students at Holyoke Community College, her alma mater, an unusually valuable lesson, The New York Times reported. Facing death from pancreatic cancer, Keochareon suggested that nursing students could use her as a case study to learn about patients facing fatal cancers. The article looks at the lessons students learned from visiting and talking with Keochareon.
Islamic University in Gaza City, the flagship university of Hamas, has started a Hebrew program, the Associated Press reported. The program seeks to train teachers for high schools in Gaza, which have been encouraged to add Hebrew to their curriculum. Somayia Nakhala, an official of the Education Ministry in Gaza, said that "as Jews are occupying our lands, we have to understand their language." Nakhala added that students need to "understand what's going on, like wars, medical treatment in Israel, in the West Bank."
Albany State University has returned a portion of the $3 million it received from the Ray Charles Foundation to construct a fine arts building to be named for the singer, The Albany Herald reported. The university has used some of the funds for scholarships, but the foundation has been seeking the money back since the fine arts center was not built.
Postsecondary enrollments will grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2021, far less than the 46 percent increase that occurred between 1996 and 2010, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released Wednesday. The report, "Projections of Education Statistics Through 2021," provides a slew of data that anticipate how key K-12 and higher education indicators (enrollments, degrees conferred, etc.) will change over the next decade. By comparison, last year's report projected a 13 percent increase in college enrollments between 2009 and 2020; whether the uptick is a sign that the "completion agenda" is having an effect will be a subject for debate.
This year's report also projects a 21 percent increase in the number of associate degrees awarded by 2021-22, a 21 percent increase in the number of bachelor's degrees, a 34 percent rise in the number of master's degrees, and a 24 percent upturn in the number of doctoral degrees. In all cases those numbers are roughly half the number awarded in the 1996-97 to 2009-2010 period.
Critics of Helen Dragas, who as board chair of the University of Virginia led the failed attempt to oust Teresa Sullivan as president, took to the skies Wednesday, with a banner flown in Richmond urging lawmakers to reject the re-appointment of Dragas to the board, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The banner said: “Restore Integrity at U.Va. Don't Confirm Dragas.” The article said it was not known who arranged for the banner's display.
City College of San Francisco is unlikely to be able to make necessary changes in time for a March deadline with its regional accreditor and will seek an extension, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The college is working frantically to correct a raft of financial and administrative problems, which could lead to a loss of accreditation. While the college has made solid progress, according to a special trustee who was brought in to help deal with the crisis, much more work remains. He told the newspaper that labor unions and some trustees remain opposed to changes like salary cuts and location closures.
Florida A&M University has blocked the university's student newspaper, The Famuan, from publishing until the staff goes through additional training, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Further, the university has removed the advisor of the student newspaper. The Student Press Law Center also reported that staff members are being told that they must reapply for their positions. The moves follow a libel lawsuit against the newspaper.