The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week announced new investments in adaptive learning, an increasingly popular approach in higher education that blends individualized instruction, peer tutoring and automated applications that adjust to a student's skill level. Education Growth Advisors released a report, funded by Gates, which found that adaptive learning is spreading slowly despite its potential. And the foundation announced a planned $100,000 grant aimed at U.S. colleges that seeks to help them create partnerships to launch adaptive courses.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Colorado at Boulder on Wednesday announced the hiring of Steven Hayward as the first visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy. The position was created with $1 million in donations, and follows years of criticism of the left-leaning tilt on the Boulder faculty. Hayward has taught at Georgetown and held positions at a number of think tanks, including the the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. At Boulder, Hayward will teach constitutional law, American political thought and free-market environmentalism.
In a statement, Hayward called the creation of his position "a bold experiment for the university and me to see whether the ideological spectrum can be broadened in a serious and constructive way." He added that he hoped he would interact with students with a range of views. "Good teaching should make all students, of whatever disposition, better thinkers,” he said. “In the humanities, this should be done by considering fairly the full range of perspectives on a subject. That’s the way I intend to conduct classes while I am visiting at the university, and I hope that students of every kind of opinion will feel welcome in my classroom.”
The College of the Atlantic announced this week that its board voted to sell all fossil-fuel-related investments. The move follows a student push -- at that college and elsewhere -- to sell investments in companies whose businesses they believe are harmful to the environment. A spokeswoman for the college said that the total endowment is about $30 million and that the value of investments sold to comply with the policy was just under $1 million.
Faculty members, students and parents are criticizing Arcadia University's board for firing President Carl Oxholm III on Friday, and providing no explanation for the decision, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Oxholm had been in office for less than two years, but was getting good reviews on the campus. A university statement issued Tuesday afternoon -- after word of the firing leaked, gave no indication of the reason for the change. Oxholm issued a statement in which he said he was "surprised and disappointed," and that he was sad he had been unable to say farewell to students. Of his dismissal, he said: "It was without cause, and those who conveyed the decision to me declined to give me any reason or explanation for the decision or the speed of its implementation."
The University of Tokyo is planning to replace its admissions exam within five years, The Japan Times reported. In its place a new system will be created, based in large part on interviews and on recommendations from the high schools of applicants.
More than 100 protesters marched to the Higher Education Ministry in Sri Lanka on Tuesday calling for an increase in the number of public universities, Xinhua reported. The news service reported that more than 144,000 students pass the university entrance each year, but there are only spots for 22,000.
The cost of tuition and living for international students in Australia has increased 166 percent since 2002, The Australian reported. An analysis by the Boston Consulting Group estimates total annual costs for the average international student in Australia as being $44,000, compared to $37,000 for international students in the U.S. and $30,000 for those studying in England. The article cites exchange rates as one critical factor in the increase.
A Mississippi man has been charged with two counts of felony cyberstalking over threats posted on Facebook against Carolyn Meyers, the president of Jackson State University, The Clarion Ledger reported. The man, currently held in jail, is not a student at the university.