Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 20, 2014

The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed flat funding for the Fulbright Program despite the Obama administration’s recommended $30.5 million reduction, the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, an association that lobbies on behalf of international exchange organizations, posted Thursday in a report on its website

Fulbright alumni and others have mobilized to protest the president’s proposed 13 percent cut to the State Department’s flagship exchange program and – so far – they seem to have been heard. A parallel bill proposed in the House of Representatives and released earlier this week called for “not less than” $236.974 million in Fulbright funding, which would represent a slight increase over current spending levels. 

June 20, 2014

Southern New Hampshire University, known for its online and competency-based programs, but which also has traditional campus-based offerings, is in merger talks with the New Hampshire Institute of Art, a private, bachelor's granting arts college, The Manchester Union Leader reported. A merger, officials said, would expand Southern New Hampshire's arts offerings and provide it with real estate in downtown Manchester, while the art college would gain from the university's marketing and recruitment strengths.

 

June 20, 2014

Several buildings sustained damage when a tornado struck the University of Wisconsin at Platteville Monday evening. There were no fatalities or serious injuries, but damage assessment is continuing. University officials said that they were committed to being open on time for students who arrive in the fall.

June 20, 2014

Did you ever wonder how your alma mater's dorm capacity ranks among institutions where business is the most popular major among students -- or where it ranks in annual rainfall among religiously affiliated institutions? OnlyBoth, a web tool that launched last month, mines data from the National Center for Education Statistics to track 3,122 colleges and universities on 190 different attributes.

"Higher education transparency is well-served by this, I believe," Raul Valdes-Perez, a former Carnegie Mellon University adjunct instructor who co-founded OnlyBoth, said in an email.

June 20, 2014

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences made its case for the humanities in high-profile report last year called “The Heart of the Matter.” In the year since, the academy says its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences has heard consistent requests from college and university personnel and others for more accessible data on the topic. So the academy on Thursday unveiled three new or updated data troves in which decision makers and others interested in the humanities can find facts and figures to continue the national conversation.

HumanitiesIndicators.org was redesigned to provide clearer and more direct access to data about the state of humanities, such as degree completion rates. A new report, called the State of Funding in the Humanities: Funding 2014, is a compilation of the most recent data on funding for the humanities compared to other disciplines. The report says that humanities funding is still below pre-recession levels and makes up less than 1 percent of research and development funding for science and engineering (combined). National Endowment for the Humanities funding is was down to $146 million in 2014, compared to a peak of nearly $400 million in 1980, and Ph.D. students in the humanities who are not supported by any kind of grant rose slightly from 2009-2012, the report says. A third resource, call The Data Forum, invites experts to comment on and critique the data.

June 20, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Helena Laroche, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa, explains how she made some changes to the menu during selected sporting events and studied the results. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

June 19, 2014

Duke University will once again call East Residence Hall by that original name, stripping it of the name of the former North Carolina governor who had outspoken white supremacist views, President Richard H. Brodhead said in a letter to students this week. Students at Duke had pushed in recent months to change the name of Aycock Hall, a freshman residence that had been named in 1914 for the former North Carolina governor Charles B. Aycock, who pushed for both expanded public education and for segregation.

Brodhead said the decision to change a building's name was not made lightly, given the "strongest possible presumption" of permanence when a building is named. But "while Governor Aycock made notable contributions to public education in North Carolina, his legacy is inextricably associated with the disenfranchisement of black voters, or what W. E. B. DuBois termed 'a civic death.'... [T]he values of inclusion and nondiscrimination are key parts of the university's mission. After careful consideration, we believe it is no longer appropriate to honor a figure who played so active a role in the history that countered those values. In keeping with our educational role, an explanation of the history of the building's name will be displayed in the lobby of the East Residence Hall.In keeping with our educational role, an explanation of the history of the building's name will be displayed in the lobby of the East Residence Hall."

June 19, 2014

The CEO and two other senior officials of the Harvard Management Co., Harvard University's investment arm, are leaving their jobs or plan to do so soon, following years of disappointing investment returns, Bloomberg reported. For the five years ending June 30, 2013, Harvard saw average returns of 1.7 percent, compared to 6.8 percent at Columbia University and 5.4 percent at the University of Pennsylvania.

June 19, 2014

Northwestern University's law school this spring expelled a student -- months from graduation -- who is a felon who has been convicted for falsely impersonating a lawyer, The Chicago Tribune reported. The student who was kicked out then sued the university, although a settlement appears to have been reached. Northwestern faulted the student for failing to disclose his past, and said that he was an "undesirable" candidate to become a lawyer. The would-be lawyer disputes the charges from his past, but he also argues that Northwestern never asked him about his criminal history.

 

 

June 19, 2014

The conservative airwaves and blogosophere were full of reports on Wednesday that the University of Wyoming had banned a veteran from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a student government meeting. One problem is that the story wasn't entirely accurate. What really happened is that a student senator asked that the student government meeting start with the pledge. But the student government has a set of rules that state how meetings should start -- and the pledge isn't on the list. Officials said that the senator was told that if he proposed changing the "order of the meeting" to start with the pledge, and if the measure passed, the pledge could in fact start every meeting. But the senator must make the proposal and it must pass.

 

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