Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 17, 2014

The nearly 3,800 academic libraries in the United States had nearly one electronic book for every four paper documents in their collections and nearly 86,000 full-time-equivalent employees in 2012, and 223 of them had more than 1 million books in their collections, about the same number as in 2008, the National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released last week.

The report, "Academic Libraries: 2012," provides an array of statistics about the status of academic libraries. Comparing the data for 2012 to those from a comparable report in 2008 reveals some trends about the shape of their collections and staffs, among other things. Among them:

  • The 3,793 academic libraries had just under 1.099 billion books in their collections, compared to 1.052 billion held by the 3,827 academic libraries in 2008. In 2008, the libraries had 102 million ebooks, less than 10 percent the size of their paper collections. In 2012, they had 250 million ebooks, almost 25 percent the size of their paper collections.
  • The libraries had 93,438 FTE staff in 2008, including 27,000 librarians, about 7,500 full-time-equivalent professional staff, and about 24,000 student assistants. Those numbers had dropped by 2012, to 85,752 full-time-equivalent employees, about 26,000 librarians, and about 20,500 student assistants.
February 17, 2014

Oregon State University announced Friday that the engineering dean and the head of the electrical engineering and computer science program were both being removed from their positions immediately, although they remain on the faculty, The Oregonian reported. The dean, Sandra Woods, had earlier moved to dismiss the head of the electrical engineering program, Terri Fiez, but had agreed to let Fiez finish out the academic year. Many faculty and business leaders criticized Woods for dismissing Fiez.

 

February 14, 2014

The University of the People, an unusual online institution in which students pay no tuition and faculty members volunteer, has been accredited, The New York Times reported. Officials at the university have predicted that accreditation could lead to rapid growth. The university was accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

The university's founder described his goals in a podcast interview with Inside Higher Ed in 2009.

 

February 14, 2014

Pearson, the education-technology company, this week announced that it has created a new digital badging system, dubbed Acclaim. The open platform, which the company rolled out this week at a Silicon Valley event on badging, allows learners to display their skills, knowledge and achievements on the Web. The Mozilla Foundation and Blackboard have also worked on digital badging, having collaborated on a separate platform.

February 14, 2014

A review of the literature on scientific genius and age -- published by the National Bureau of Economic Research -- may challenge conventional wisdom. "Formal studies are often surprising, both in their findings and in their broader implications. In contrast to common perceptions, most great scientific contributions are not the product of precocious youngsters but rather come disproportionately in middle age," the study says. "Moreover, perceptions that some fields, such as physics, feature systematically younger contributions than others do not stand up to empirical scrutiny."

 

February 14, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Matthew Johnson of Binghamton University explains the link between poverty and marriage stability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 14, 2014

Black students at Drake University complained about a food service dinner Wednesday to mark Black History Month, The Des Moines Register reported. The meal -- which was planned by the food service provider Sodexo without consulting with black students -- featured food items such as fried chicken and collard greens. Students said that serving such food reinforced stereotypes and they added an educational program to the dinner. Sodexo issued a statement of apology: “While clearly a well-intentioned effort to celebrate African-Americans’ cultural history, the result is inappropriate and misguided."

 

February 14, 2014

California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles jointly announced a new effort Thursday to increase the number of minority Ph.D.s in science, mathematics and technology fields. The four universities will create "a unique, cross-institutional community of underrepresented minority Ph.D. students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty members in the targeted fields; developing faculty training to better recognize and help these students thrive and advance; and conducting research that includes annual surveys of Ph.D. students about what factors impact their attitudes, experiences and preparation for the future," the announcement said.

 

February 14, 2014

Faculty members have voted no confidence and students are protesting Gregory Jordan, the president of King University, in Tennessee, The Johnson City Press reported. Administrators say that Jordan is making changes to position the college in the changing environment for higher education. But professors say that he has refused to listen to their concerns, and falsely characterized critics as a marginal group.

 

February 13, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Jonathan Ruppert of York University describes the connection between shark population and reef health. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Pages

Back to Top