Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 12, 2012 - 3:00am

China's government is encouraging its universities to hire more Western academics, The New York Times reported. Much of the recruiting is through the Thousand Foreign Experts program, which aims to recruit 1,000 people from outside China to work in Chinese universities over the next 10 years. Similar efforts in the past have focused on Chinese immigrants to Western countries, but the new program is designed to attract top academic talent without existing ties to the country.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 4:22am

Peter Thiel is the investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist who likes to deride college as pointless. He even offers fellowships for talented students to drop out of or stay out of college. So what's he doing this spring? He'll be teaching at Stanford University, Reuters reported. His course, "Computer Science 183: Startup," is already full, and students are enthusiastic.

Some at Stanford question the idea of having as an instructor someone who questions the rationale behind college. Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford's Rock Center of Corporate Governance, said, "It's hypocritical, but I'm not surprised.... The same people who go around bashing education are the most educated. What's he going to do? Tell students, 'When you graduate from my class, drop out right after that?' "

That may just be correct. Thiel, through a spokesman, told the news service of his course: "If I do my job right, this is the last class you'll ever have to take."

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 3:00am

The Towson University chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a group that says it promotes traditional American values but that many critics view as anti-minority, caused a furor on the campus last week. The Baltimore Sun reported that the group's members chalked "white pride" in several campus locations. "As a black student, those words scared and concerned me," said Kenan Herbert, president of the Black Student Union. "A lot of other students and I feel unsafe with this organization being on campus." The university says that the chalkings are protected by the First Amendment.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 4:30am

Before he retired last summer as president of the University of Minnesota, Robert Bruininks steered extra money to the institute at the university where he would be spending his post-presidential years, The Star Tribune reported. He moved a total of $355,000 in university funds to the Center for Integrative Leadership. Bruininks told the newspaper that he moved the funds to the center to bolster it as he was seeking major outside grants for the program. "You put it all together in a weird way and it may look like I'm feathering a nest, and that's simply not the case," Bruininks.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Saudi authorities are investigating how about 50 women were injured in a student protest at King Khalid University on Wednesday, BBC reported. The women were reportedly protesting poor management at the university and a lack of appropriate facilities for women.

 

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, who faced criticism from faculty in recent weeks about his handling of several initiatives, said in a statement Thursday that he accepted responsibility for a breakdown in communication and was committed to repairing his relationship with the faculty. On Monday, after a board meeting called to address the faculty criticism, the board chairman said he had confidence in Hogan but that the president needed to change how he was running the university or face the loss of his job.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed on Thursday, Hogan said that coming into office on the heels of the university's admissions scandal, which resulted in significant administrative turnover, meant many changes had to happen quickly. In the rush to address those issues, he said, communication broke down. "We were getting things done so fast that I just gave people the perception that I was more interested in getting things done than I was in hearing opinions,” Hogan said. He said that is not the case, and that he plans to meet with faculty members on the university's three campuses more regularly in the future.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday held a hearing to discuss several proposed bills relating to educational benefits for veterans and military service members. One piece of legislation would expand tuition reimbursement for students who attend out-of-state public institutions under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Another would require colleges to provide more information and counseling to veterans who are prospective students, while also bulking up reporting requirements for student complaints.

Also Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed new legislation that would prohibit some for-profit colleges from being eligible for military tuition aid. The bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, would require that institutions be eligible to receive federal financial aid under Department of Education requirements in order to collect student aid from the G.I. Bill and the military tuition assistance program.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

A panel of state legislators in California on Thursday rejected a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce spending on CalGrants, the state's generous financial aid program, the Los Angeles Times reported. Brown's plan would have reduced the amount of state aid that could be used at private and for-profit colleges, and also raised the minimum grade-point average for incoming students to qualify for grants.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Roselyn Hsueh of Temple University examines the position of the Chinese economy after ten years as a member of the World Trade Organization. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Morlan Isom, a star goalkeeper for the women's soccer team at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, was the first female athlete ever named Homecoming Queen when she won that title last fall. Now, she is trying for a different distinction: becoming a kicker on the football team. The Shreveport Times reported that if she makes the team, she would be the first female in big-time college football since 2003.

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