Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 11, 2013

Details emerged Tuesday about allegations that tests prepared for use at Florida International University were being stolen and sold. The university announced Monday that three people -- two of them students -- had been arrested in such a scheme, but released few details. Officials said Tuesday that the case involved hacking into a professor's email account, stealing four tests, and then selling them to students for $150 each, The Sun Sentinel reported.

December 11, 2013

Students in courses hosted by Coursera, the massive open online course provider, can now access lessons on the go -- as long as they have an iPhone. The MOOC provider launched an official mobile app on Tuesday, allowing iPhone users to browse courses, receive notifications from the courses they are enrolled in, and stream and download lectures.

Additional features such as in-video quizzes and private courses are not yet available. The official app is in development for other platforms, according to Coursera's website, but for now, Android users have to make do with several unofficial options. Coursera is the first of the larger MOOC providers to create an app, but competitors such as edX may soon follow. "We are working on a mobile solution for a global audience -- we think of mobile from the [inexpensive Android tablet] Akash to the iPhone," an edX spokesman said in an email.

December 10, 2013

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday announced the appointment of two new members to the department’s advisory committee on accreditation.

Simon Boehme, a Cornell University student, and Roberta “Bobbie” Derlin, the associate provost of New Mexico State University will be the newest members of National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

Duncan also re-appointed three incumbent members of the panel: Susan Phillips, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Albany; Frank Wu, chancellor and deal of the University of California Hasting College of the Law; and Frederico Zargoza, vice chancellor of economic and workforce development at Alamo Colleges in San Antonio, Texas.

The committee is set to meet later this week in Washington, D.C. 

December 10, 2013

Arkansas Baptist College faculty members have not been paid since Nov. 1, KTHV News reported. The Faculty Senate also released a letter calling for the removal of President Fitz Hill, questioning his financial decisions and saying that he was not supporting the principles of shared governance. The college responded with a statement saying that the faculty accusations were inaccurate.

December 10, 2013

Florida International University announced Monday night that university police "have arrested three individuals, including two current students," on charges that "range from dealing in stolen property to theft and burglary." The charges relate to an effort "to gain unauthorized access to exams and sell them to students." An investigation "has revealed that one class in the current semester is impacted with a limited number of students involved," the university said. Florida International's statement said that because the investigation is ongoing, few details can be released at this time. The statement said that "FIU will pursue all avenues to ensure that everyone who is involved is held accountable."

 

December 10, 2013

The University of Texas Board of Regents has scheduled a closed-door discussion Thursday of the employment status of Bill Powers as president of the flagship campus at Austin, The Texas Tribune reported. What the discussion means is unclear. Regents with close ties to Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, have been pushing for the ouster of Powers, but he has strong support among many students, alumni and faculty members.

 

December 10, 2013

The National Institutes of Health has hired its first permanent associate director of data science -- a formal signal by the biomedical agency that the age of "big data" has arrived in scientific research. The NIH's director, Frances S. Collins, said that Philip E. Bourne, associate vice chancellor for innovation and industry alliances at the University of California at San Diego, would help ensure that the NIH plays a "major role in coordinating access to and analysis of many different data types that make up this revolution in biological information.” Bourne, who is also a professor of pharmacology, will take over from Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who Collins appointed in an acting role earlier this year to drive the agency's big data work.

December 10, 2013

The University of California at Riverside confirmed Monday that an employee has been diagnosed with meningitis, The Press-Enterprise reported. The employee's job includes advising students, and the university said it is offering support and any medical attention needed to those who have come into close contact with the employee. It is not yet known if the strain is similar to those at Princeton University and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Princeton announced that on Monday -- the first day on which it was offering vaccines for the strain of meningitis present there -- 1,959 individuals had been vaccinated.

December 10, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Sara DeLeon of Drexel University reveals how exposure to environmental pollutants can alter the performance of bird songs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

December 10, 2013

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights will investigate a complaint alleging that the University of Connecticut violated Title IX when it “did not respond promptly and effectively to complaints and other information indicating that students have been subjected to sexual violence, including sexual harassment, and that students have, as a consequence, been subjected to a sexually hostile environment,” OCR told the university Monday. The complaint was filed in October by seven Connecticut students who subsequently sued the university, saying officials failed to protect them from sexual assault. General Counsel Richard Orr said in a statement that officials expected the review and “look forward” to working with OCR.

Connecticut President Susan Herbst sparked protest last month by saying the students’ claims were “astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue.” She later said she was not implying that students lied, but that their claim of “institutional indifference” was inaccurate.

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