Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 4:20am

President Obama on Wednesday nominated France Anne Córdova as director of the National Science Foundation. Córdova has previously served as president of Purdue University, chancellor of the University of California at Riverside and as chief scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 3:00am

The use of athletes’ individual likenesses in video games is not Constitutionally protected by the First Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday, rejecting a bid by the video game company Electronic Arts Inc. to throw out a lawsuit filed by nine former football players, who can now seek class-action status on behalf of other athletes. EA, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is also a defendant in the potentially game-changing class action lawsuit filed by Ed O’Bannon alleging that athletes deserve a share of the profit generated off their image.

Last month, the NCAA announced it would not renew its football video game contract with EA, reiterating its confidence in its legal standing but asserting that the contract was not in the association’s best interest, “given the current business climate and costs of litigation.” In May, an appeals court made a similar ruling (in that case, overturning a lower court’s decision), stating that the First Amendment did not protect EA’s right to depict individual players in games; that case, filed by former Rutgers University quarterback Ryan Hart, will move forward.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 4:23am

The White Student Union, a new organization, is drawing complaints at Georgia State University. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the group is not officially recognized and may not involve very many people at all, but that when notices about it started to appear on campus, a number of people complained. Georgia State -- where 38 percent of students are white, 35 percent are black, 12 percent are Asian and 7 percent are Latino -- prides itself on having a diverse, inclusive campus. Officials said that the non-recognized groups have the right to hold events and publicize them, and that the university does not regulate the views of student organizations.

Patrick Sharp, who organized the group, said there was a need for white people to discuss issues such as immigration and affirmative action. "If we are already minorities on campus and are soon to be minorities in this country why wouldn’t we have the right to advocate for ourselves and have a club just like every other minority?" Sharp said. “Why is it when a white person says he is proud to be white he’s shunned as a racist?"


Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 3:00am

It wasn't pretty, and advocates for students aren't happy with it. But after almost two years of fits and false starts, Congress on Wednesday passed legislation that would tie interest rates on federal student loans to the market and, at least in the short term, forestall hefty increases that were to hit new borrowers beginning this fall.

The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin (392-31, with 10 abstentions) after originating in the Senate, which approved it last week. The measure, when signed by President Obama, will reset interest rates on federally guaranteed loans each July based on the previous May's auction of 10-year Treasury bills. Undergraduate loans -- those that are federally subsidized as well as those that are not -- would be set at the Treasury rate plus 2.05 percentage points, while loans for graduate students would be set at 3.6 points above the Treasury rate, and loans for parents at 4.6 percentage points over the T-bill rate. The maximum rate would be capped at 8.25 percent for undergraduate loans, 9.5 percent for graduate student loans, and 10.5 percent for parent loans.

Even as both chambers overwhelmingly backed the compromise, the parties continued to bicker about whose previous versions of the bills were worse, and took credit for different parts of the compromise.


Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 4:25am

The University of Maryland University College -- an institution known for distance education -- has announced that it will award academic credit to those who complete six massive open online courses and who pass tests offered for those courses, CBS News DC reported. The MOOCs are introductory mathematics and science courses, and are offered by Coursera and Udacity.


Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 3:00am

The U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday approved a renewal of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the federal law that governs work force training. The bill, which hasn't been updated in 15 years, would overhaul a broad range of job training programs at community colleges. The two-year sector supports the legislation. It faces an unclear future, however, in part because the U.S. House of Representatives passed a much different job training bill earlier this year.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Kerry Clark of the University of North Florida explains why Lyme disease is becoming a threat in areas beyond the northeastern United States. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 3:00am

Kevin P. Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, announced Tuesday that he plans to step down in January, following a nine-year tenure in the position. He has served as president during a period of deep budget cuts, a faculty unionization drive, a move by the governor to bar such unions and a battle over how much independence the flagship campus at Madison should have. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that Reilly was stepping down after a legislative session in which he had numerous clashes with legislators over reserve funds of the university. But Reilly said that his decision had been in the works well before the most recent legislative session.

The American Council on Education announced that Reilly would become a presidential advisor for leadership at the organization, working on programs to help presidents and other senior administrators. In an interview, Reilly said that he viewed it as crucial to higher education that future leaders be recruited and trained. He noted that in his current position, he has hired 31 chancellors or interim chancellors. One issue he said would like to address is the reluctance of an increasing number of provosts to consider presidencies. He said that he believes the right programs can help provosts see that "while it's not an easy job, it is a job they can do and that is so worth doing."



Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 3:00am

The Organization of American Historians has released a report on the historians who were part of a large study released by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce last year about faculty members off the tenure track. Among other things, the study found that historians were more likely than other adjuncts to view college teaching as their primary job, and to have hope of full-time or tenure-track work.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 4:30am

The board of the St. Louis Community College District -- after a 3-3 tie vote -- will not renew the contract of Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Discussion of Dorsey took place in an executive session, so the rationale of board members was not clear. But Dorsey and the district have faced widespread criticism over the handling of an incident in which a female student was attacked in a restroom and her supporters say that the college failed to respond adequately, with campus police letting the suspect go. Dorsey was hired in 2011 and her current contract goes through June 2014.


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