The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Online Education Policy Initiative, an offshoot of a recent task force on the institute's future, officially launched on Thursday. The initiative, which is funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will over the next nine months release reports, host workshops and lecture series, and eventually make recommendations about online learning. Sanjay E. Sarma, director of digital learning, and Karen Willcox, professor of aeronautics and astronautics in the aerospace, will lead the initiative.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A new federal report presents a wealth of data about how 2002's 10th graders fared in higher education (and not) a decade later -- potentially offering researchers and policy makers enormous insight into who attains postsecondary success and why.
The report offers a first look at new data from one of the U.S. Education Department's most important longitudinal research studies, the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which followed 10th graders through to the 2012-13 academic year. Eighty-four percent of those high school sophomores went on to at least some postsecondary education within that decade, while 16 percent did not, with those variations differing, somewhat predictably, for certain demographic traits (women were more likely to go on than men, students from wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely than their peers, etc.).
For those who went on to postsecondary education, the study examines what they attained (how many credits earned, whether they earned a credential and, if so, what kind), when and in what kind of institution they enrolled (13 percent of students attended a two-year institution first and then a four-year college, and 12 percent did the reverse), how they performed in terms of grade point average and other outcomes, and how many times they stopped their studies.
The report also includes data on the proportion of undergraduate credits that students actually earned versus those they attempted, and provides a slew of information on the characteristics of students who took at least one remedial course.
Student groups have been pushing the University of Texas at Austin to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the campus. On Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, someone (or more than one person) vandalized the statue of the Confederate leader, writing "Davis Must Fall."
Catholic University of America has eliminated 37 positions through buyouts and layoffs, The Washington Post reported. The university is trying to cut costs in the wake of declining enrollment in its law school and architecture school.
The faculty of Northwest Nazarene University has voted no confidence in President David Alexander. The vote comes amid widespread faculty (and student and alumni) anger over the decision to end the employment of Thomas Jay Oord, a theologian who has a tenured position at the university. While the university said that his job was eliminated because of declining theology enrollments, many doubt that and believe Oord was being punished for views that differ with the president and some members of the Nazarene church. Prior to the vote, Alexander issued a letter in which he said that as the university was retrenching, "no individual in this process was targeted for academic or theological reasons." Alexander did apologize for the way Oord was told (via email) that his job was eliminated, and Alexander said that this was "not respectful."
After the vote of no confidence, Alexander issued another letter in which he said he would reconsider the university's recent moves, although he made no pledges to change any of them. "I am going to study and reconsider action and take at least 14 days to talk with the board, the faculty officers and my cabinet. We need to reflect on and determine the best course for the university in light of the concerns being raised," Alexander said.
ACT on Wednesday released a paper that seeks to define workplace readiness. The nonprofit testing firm also called for a new model of college and career readiness that argues that the skills needed in those two areas, while overlapping, are distinct. And measurements of readiness must include both academic and nonacademic skills, the paper said.
According to the report, four categories of skills contribute to success after high school. They are core academic skills, cross-cutting capabilities such as critical thinking, behavioral skills and navigation skills.
A report being issued today by Moody’s finds that the wealthiest American colleges and universities are getting wealthier at a faster rate than other institutions, The Wall Street Journal reported. This is largely a continuation of a longtime trend. The wealthiest institutions are elite universities that attract large donations and use sophisticated investment strategies that rarely are available to institutions with small endowments. The new Moody's report says the wealthiest 10 universities in fiscal 2014 held almost one-third of cash and investments at four-year colleges and universities, while the top 40 had two-thirds.
A former University of Oregon basketball player suspended over sexual assault allegations will soon play the sport for the University of Houston, the Houston Chronicle reported. The player, Damyean Dotson, was one of three members of the Oregon basketball team who were accused of sexually assaulting a female student. They were suspended for up to 10 years by the university. All three players have now found new college teams to play for.
The female student is suing the Oregon and its men's basketball coach, alleging that they recruited one of the players, Brandon Austin, knowing that he had previously been accused of sexual assault and suspended from Providence College. The suit also alleges that the university scrubbed the players' transcripts of any references to sexual misconduct, making it easier for them to transfer to play elsewhere.
Austin was able transfer again, this time to Northwest Florida State College, where he is now a member of the basketball team. Steve DeMeo, Northwest Florida State's head basketball coach, has acknowledged Austin's previous suspensions, saying at the time of the transfer that "the college has decided to give this young man an opportunity to continue his education." The third player, Dominic Artis, is now a basketball player at Diablo Valley College.