Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 9, 2013

The University of Oregon is condemning the behavior of students who on Friday responded to a snowfall by attacking cars and people with snowballs, making it difficult or dangerous for some people (reportedly including professors) to drive. A statement from the university said it was working with authorities to determine who was involved and whether their actions constituted a criminal act. Here is the video:



December 9, 2013

Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a possible strike, following 17 months of contract negotiations with the institution. Joe Persky, professor of economics and president of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty, a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, said in a statement that he hoped to resolve contract negotiations without a strike. Mediation sessions have been scheduled through January.

But if the union decides a strike is necessary, 10 days' notice will be given, as required by law. About 80 percent of voters, both on and off the tenure track, showed up for the election, and 95 percent approved of a possible strike, according to the union. The faculty association says it's pushing for more equitable compensation for non-tenure-track professors and shared governance, among other issues.

In an email to faculty members sent Friday, Lon Kaufman, the provost, said he and other administrators would remain in "immediate contact" with the bargaining team to try to reach a resolution, but said that in the event of a strike, "the university does have an obligation to our students and other constituents to continue normal operations. It should also be emphasized that no faculty member is required to strike or stop work, even if urged by the union. Every faculty member has the right to continue work." He continued: "Frankly, both sides need to focus on resolving the contracts. Please be certain that the UIC administration has heard the proposals by the union and will respond with sincere and meaningful proposals as we move through the mediation phase."

December 6, 2013

The University of Iowa College of Law will dramatically cut prices in an effort to attract more students in a weak legal market and reduce student debt. The state's Board of Regents approved a plan to cut the law school's sticker price by 18 percent for new and continuing Iowa residents and incoming out-of-state students starting in fall 2014. The reductions, approved Thursday, mean a $7,750 a year reduction for nonresident students to $39,500, and a cut of $4,309 for resident students, to $21,965.

December 6, 2013

E. Gordon Gee will be named today as interim president of West Virginia University, The Charleston Gazette reported. Gee was 37 years old when he became president of WVU in 1981, and he stayed in the post for four years. Since then he has been president of the University of Colorado, Ohio State University (twice), Brown University and Vanderbilt University. He resigned from the Ohio State presidency in June amid a series of controversies over controversial statements he had made. But he has been much loved over the years by Ohio State trustees, donors and students. In October, Gee was named in October by Ohio Governor John Kasich to lead a state panel to study how to make higher education in the state more effective and efficient.

December 6, 2013

"Online Education: More Than MOOCs" is a collection of news articles and opinion essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about the many forms of online learning that continue to develop outside the white-hot glare of hype surrounding massive open online courses. The articles aim to put recent developments in online education into long-term context, and the essays present the timely thinking of commentators about experts about how distance education is affecting learning and colleges' business models.

The goal is to provide some of Inside Higher Ed's best recent material (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here.

This is the fourth in a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics. On January 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed will offer a free webinar in which Editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will discuss these issues. You can register for the webinar here.


December 6, 2013

Nichole Wilson, a psychology professor at Yavapai College, is having one of the best semesters ever in terms of student attendance and interaction. More than two-thirds of students have perfect attendance and there were only 12 absences over all over 30 class meeting dates. She attributes the change to a new approach she took this semester to explaining class expectations -- an approach she adopted after seeing a video of a flight attendant using a nontraditional approach to giving the safety instructions. Here is a video of Wilson's class introduction this semester (and likely next semester too, given how well it worked).



December 6, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Lynsey Romo of North Carolina State University reveals why extreme weight loss can be rough on a romantic relationship. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


December 6, 2013

Authorities in New Jersey are investigating whether a video shows the alleged sex assault of a Seton Hall University student, The New York Times reported. The video shows attendees at an off-campus party laughing and cheering during the alleged assault -- and the video was reportedly circulated among students. "The recording or sharing of images of the alleged incident is completely unacceptable and contrary to Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and commitment to fostering an academic and social environment where all students are respected," said a statement from the university.


December 6, 2013

Colorado's attorney general's office announced Thursday that the state has fined for-profit Argosy University $3.3 million for deceptive marketing, The Denver Post reported. The state found that the university led students to believe that it was seeking accreditation for two doctoral programs by the American Psychological Association, which was not the case. Further, students were unaware that they were unlikely to be able to become licensed psychologists in Colorado with their Argosy degrees. Most of the fine will be used to help former Argosy students with their loans. Argosy acknowledged the fine and, in a statement, said that "[a]t Argosy University, student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement."


December 5, 2013

It's a new month, and therefore time for a new edition of Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest -- the last of 2013.

Suggest a caption for this month's cartoon -- get those creative juices flowing.

Vote for your favorite among the three captions culled by our panel of experts from among the dozens suggested by readers for last month's cartoon -- the top vote getter will be next month's winner.

And read more about the winner of October's contest, Brian Halloran. He doesn't work in higher education, but the recent college graduate reads Inside Higher Ed, he says, because "the site is a great tool for information to better educate myself about my career and the challenging issues young adults similar to me are facing."


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