Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 3:00am

The Digital Public Library of America, an online repository of the nation's historical and cultural riches, will launch as scheduled tomorrow, though its formal opening event has been canceled by Monday's attacks in Boston, the project's director announced Tuesday. In the statement, Dan Cohen noted that the bombings took place in close proximity to the Boston Public Library, where the opening event was to be held. (That is also right near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the target of the attacks.) The fact that the area near the library has been closed, and the need for the library's staff members, "like so many other honorable public servants in Boston, ... to be there for the surrounding community first," make canceling the event the obvious choice, he said. A larger event will be held in the fall.

But "[t]he new DPLA site will still go live at noon ET on Thursday as planned, and we look forward to sharing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. Although we have canceled all of the formal events, DPLA staff will be available all day online, and informally in person in the late afternoon in the Boston area (at a location to be determined), for those taking their first look," Cohen said. "I see the building of a new library as one of the greatest examples of what humans can do together to extend the light against the darkness. In due time, we will let that light shine through."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 4:23am

Officials of the Los Angeles Community College District are calling it a "rebalancing" plan, but student leaders and others aren't going along. The Los Angeles Times reported that the plan involves cutting the $1,500 monthly car allowance top administrators receive to $500, and then using the extra $1,000 a month to give raises to those administrators. The plan is based on the idea that the administrators are underpaid, compared to others in California. But student leaders and their backers say that the district shouldn't be paying top officials to drive to and from work, and that any savings should go to restoring some of the class sections that have been cut in recent years.

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 3:00am

Students in Australia are protesting more than $2 billion in proposed cuts to higher education, which, according to Universities Australia, represents the largest funding reduction since the 1990shope to flesh this out slightly and add link if/when Universities Australia website comes back online

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 3:00am

The Washington Post's Fact Checker column gave Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that prospective foreign students are being deterred by fears of gun violence a three-Pinocchio rating (out of four). The Post noted that although students from Japan (the specific country in question) are on the decline, the Institute of International Education’s analysis of the phenomenon does not cite concerns about student safety but rather “the effects of a rapidly aging Japanese population and other factors including the global economy and the recruiting cycle of Japanese companies.” Over all, the number of international students in the U.S. is on the rise.

The Post faulted Kerry for relying on mere anecdotal information and relaying it to a reporter.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 3:00am

Officials of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina are talking about a merger, The Post and Courier reported. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley organized the discussions, and said that he believed the city needed a comprehensive research university.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:14am

The American Political Science Association has named Steven Rathgeb Smith as its next executive director. Smith will succeed Michael Brintnall, who is retiring, on September 1. Smith currently holds the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. His research areas include nonprofit organizations, public management and social policy.

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Leonard Mermel of Brown University discusses how small germs can cause big problems for astronauts on long-term missions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:17am

When Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, spoke to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors last week, much of his talk focused on issues of efficiency. But he also asked the leaders of the UNC system to focus more on issues of drug and alcohol abuse, The Herald-Sun reported. "There’s a serious drug and abuse of alcohol problems on your college campuses right now," he said. "There’s binge drinking. There’s a serious cocaine problem. There’s a serious heroin problem on every one of your campuses. You go ask the any student and you go ask sheriffs in any county.”

The governor said, "I’m just telling you as the Board of Governors and chancellors that we’re not going to hide it anymore. We’ve got to let it be known that there is a serious addiction issue that’s kind of being swept under the rug."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Missouri Board of Curators is preparing to change a rule that has, until now, stated that donors to the system's campuses could have only one building named after them, The Kansas City Star reported. Officials believe that lifting the rule may encourage some major donors to give even more, enticed by the possibility of having their names on multiple buildings.

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:29am

Colleges need to start tracking retention rates not only by various factors widely considered today (race, gender, socioeconomic background) but by sexual orientation, according to a paper released by ACPA: College Student Educators International and by Campus Pride. The paper notes that, to do so, colleges need to start finding out how many students of different orientations they have -- and many colleges don't ask that question. But the report says that, given various pressures on gay students, it is wrong not to consider whether they are graduating at different rates from straight students.

"Colleges and universities are responsible for the education and safety of all students, including their LGBT students," the paper says. "Colleges and universities need to know and count their out LGBT students to provide necessary services and/or maintain proper safety and campus climate. Demographic questions asking students about their sexual orientation and gender identity give administrators the data they need to properly implement LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. Doing so will not be easy as different from other identity groups, LGBT student identity is fluid and often evolves during the college years. But, if our institutions of higher learning can achieve complex tasks like landing a spacecraft on Mars, we can certainly figure out this challenge."

 

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