Higher Education Quick Takes
Clair Willcox was named Friday to his former job as editor-in-chief of the University of Missouri Press, The Columbia Missourian reported. In recent months, the press was slated for elimination and Willcox was laid off. When the press survived, supporters said that they would not be satisfied until Willcox's job was restored.
The University of Tokyo, Japan's most prestigious university, is starting its first four-year undergraduate degree in English, The New York Times reported. Officials said that they want to attract more international students to the university, and that they want to expand their pool beyond countries such as South Korea and China where many people become fluent in Japanese. The inaugural class includes students from Australia, Britain, Finland, Poland, the United States and Vietnam.
Many students at Cuyahoga Community College are objecting to the decision of the college's Metro campus to refuse to let Maria Graciani continue her job as an "ambassador" -- in which she helped with orientation, campus tours and other activities -- because 16 years ago she was convicted of aggravated assault, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported. Graciani has served in the position successfully in the past, but the college recently started doing background checks on those in such jobs, and denied her the chance to continue as an ambassador this year. While college officials declined to talk about the decision, they have said that that they introduced the background checks to protect the safety of everyone on campus. Graciani's conviction stems from charges that, during a brawl, she hit a woman with a beer bottle. She said in an interview with the newspaper that someone else hit the woman, but that she pleaded guilty to avoid prison.
The University of Texas at Austin has announced a pilot program to test the idea of linking loan forgiveness to progress made by undergraduates toward graduation. Under the program, the university will select 200 undergraduates who receive federal unsubsidized student loans. If they complete 15 credits in a semester, the university will repay $1,000 in principal, plus accrued interest.
A video has surfaced in which Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, blasts widely accepted scientific theories, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. In the video address to a church, Representative Broun said that the Bible contains the literal truth about all matters, and that those who think otherwise are wrong. "God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the big bang theory; all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell," Broun said. "And it’s lies to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there’s a lot of scientific data that I’ve found as a scientist that this really is a young earth. I don’t believe that the earth is but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was made in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible tells us."
Broun is running unopposed for re-election.
A spokeswoman for him said that Broun "was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues."
Emory University is formally acknowledging and apologizing for the first time for the anti-Jewish actions, many years ago, of its dental school, The New York Times reported. When the late John E. Buhler was dean, from 1948 to 1961, 65 percent of Jewish students were either failed or forced to repeat entire years of classes. During that time, the dental school had an application system asking students to identify as "Caucasian, Jew or Other." While the history has been widely known for decades, the university is only now formally acknowledging it.
Private colleges increased their tuition by an average of 3.9 percent in 2012-13, the smallest rise in four decades, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced Thursday. The association said its survey, which included responses from 445 of its 960 members, also found that the average institution's financial aid budget rose by 6.2 percent. The data come at a time of heightened pressure from politicians and the public for colleges to keep their charges within reach of students and families.
The State Higher Education Executive Officers, in an open letter Thursday, laid out a suggested agenda for the next presidential administration (whether President Obama or Mitt Romney) in keeping with many of higher education's requests. The next administration, wrote Paul Lingenfelter, the group's president, should stay focused on increasing the number of Americans with college degrees and keeping college affordable, supporting research while making it more efficient, and facilitate cooperation between higher education and elementary and secondary education. The letter also highlighted the role state funding cuts have played in tuition growth, but didn't suggest that the federal government should do anything (such as maintenance-of-effort provisions in legislation) to reverse the trend.
WASHINGTON -- A National Collegiate Athletic Association committee charged with finding ways to address campus violence and prevention as it relates to athletes has a clearer idea of how it might do so after a two-day think tank here wrapped up Thursday. While the committee won't formulate any recommendations until its meeting at the end of this month (at the soonest), and won't present those until the Division I Board of Directors meets in January, the NCAA staff, athletics administrators and university officials at the think tank discussed the importance of cross-campus collaboration in violence prevention, and the need to identify best practices and institutional models that are effective in preventing victimization.
Reports of athletes involved in "acts of violence" (and other cases that went unreported in the media) prompted the NCAA to address this issue, said Deborah Wilson, chair of the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct and associate athletic director at George Mason University. But no specific cases triggered the initiative, she said.
"This is a huge problem; it's not just an athletic problem, it's really a societal problem, and it's coming onto our campuses and into our athletics departments," Wilson said in an interview Friday. "We want to be very mindful, be respectful and very caring about the true costs to the victims of these incidents. This is not an issue that athletics can address by itself."