Higher Education Quick Takes
- NACAC 68th National Conference, National Association of College Admission Counseling, October 4-6, Denver, Colo.
- 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning, Sloan Consortium, October 10-12, Orlando, Fla.
- Fall Southeastern Sectional Meeting, American Mathematical Society, October 13-14, New Orleans, La.
- New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning, Association of American Colleges and Universities, October 18-20, Baltimore, Md.
- POD Network Annual Conference, Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education, October 24-28, Seattle, Wash.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar, to which campus and other officials can submit their own events. Our site also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education; please submit your news to both listings.
St. Paul's College, a historically black college in Virginia, is suspending most operations for the fall semester, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. In the last month, the college has helped many of its students transfer to other institutions. The moves follow the decision in June of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to revoke St. Paul's accreditation. The college is appealing, and is also exploring possible mergers, but decided that suspending operations for the fall was the best course of action for now, officials said.
Faculty leaders and many professors at Australian National University are objecting to the way student evaluations of their teaching are being used, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The university has used student evaluations for years, but this is the first year that the results are being used as part of the institution's evaluation of faculty members. Almost 1,000 professors are being asked to explain why they received low grades from students, and faculty leaders say that this sends a message not to be rigorous, for fear of offending someone in class.
Authors have been telling the University of Missouri Press in the last week that they want the rights to their books returned, and that they don't believe new plans for the press live up to its obligations, The Kansas City Star reported. The university announced plans to phase out existing operations, but then said that the press would be kept alive as a way to teach students, in an all-digital format. For the last week, the Star reported, Missouri officials have been calling authors asking them not to demand their rights back, or not to turn over their rights to other presses.
The Indian government appears to be delaying legislation that would allow foreign colleges and universities to open campuses in India, The Economic Times reported. The higher education focus for the government in the next parliamentary session will be on other bills, such as one requiring accreditation for all institutions.
Stephen Bloom, the University of Iowa journalism professor who created a storm late last year by writing an article in The Atlantic that called rural Iowans “an assortment of wasteoids and meth-addicts,” will be teaching at the university again this fall. Bloom, whose essay was criticized by his colleagues and Sally Mason, the university's president, has been teaching in the University of Michigan communication studies department for the last year as a visiting professor. “Yes, he is scheduled to teach,” David Perlmutter, director of the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa, said in an e-mail.
Monday is the deadline for briefs backing the University of Texas at Austin in its Supreme Court defense of the consideration of race in admissions. On Thursday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill filed a brief, and included a new research study arguing for the educational value of diversity. The researchers, who looked at law school students, found that racial differences "contribute to learning because differences foster richer interactions and positive educational outcomes that benefit students, institutions and society," according to a summary by the university. "In addition, when a law school’s racial diversity was significant and group interaction was high, graduating law students perceived their law school as more open and respectful of diverse ideas."
Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a group that opposes the consideration of race in admissions, questioned the study. In an e-mail message, he said: "The issues chosen to show how racial diversity correlates with perspective diversity are deliberately narrow (Anything about property? How about tax? ....), and of course law itself is a discipline in which such correlation is more likely than most others (Is there a Latina perspective in chemistry? Mathematics? Economics? Engineering? Russian? Etc.) Even if there are some educational benefits to having racial diversity in a class on "Race and the Law," that would not justify racial preferences in undergraduate admissions to the University of Texas."