Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Institutes of Health plans to sharply restrict its use of chimpanzees in biomedical research studies and retire most of the animals it now supports, adopting most of the recommendations emerging from a several-year study of the issue. Agency officials said they would retain (but not breed) several dozen chimpanzees for future research that meets rigorous guidelines set forth in a 2010 study by the Institute of Medicine. “Americans have benefited greatly from the chimpanzees’ service to biomedical research, but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary,” Francis S. Collins, the NIH director, said in a statement. “Their likeness to humans has made them uniquely valuable for certain types of research, but also demands greater justification for their use. After extensive consideration with the expert guidance of many, I am confident that greatly reducing their use in biomedical research is scientifically sound and the right thing to do.”

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

George Pernsteiner, who led Oregon's university system for nearly a decade, has been named to succeed Paul Lingenfelter as president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The association represents the leaders of the public higher education systems in their states.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

Imposing new regulations governing foreign university campuses in India have been drafted by the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, The Times of India reported. The regulations would require foreign educational institutions to operate as nonprofit entities and maintain a corpus fund of at least 250,000,000 rupees, or more than $4 million, per campus. Only those institutions listed in the top 400 of three major world university rankings systems need apply. And foreign universities would face restrictions on their teaching activities: they would not be permitted to offer a course that, as the newspaper reported, “adversely affects the sovereignty and integrity of India or its friendly relations with other countries.”

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 27-month-long investigation into improper recruiting at the University of Oregon came to a close Wednesday, with the NCAA finding that the institution and its former head football coach had failed to monitor the program. The sanctions were lighter than some expected, after a the lengthier-than-usual process prompted speculation that Oregon might get hammered and Coach Chip Kelly left this year to lead the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. By doing so, he avoided the 18-month show cause order that the NCAA announced Wednesday, which would have hindered his ability to be hired at another college.

The university used a recruiting service provider (which in theory are supposed merely to evaluate athletes' talent and report back) “who became a representative of the university’s athletic interests," the NCAA said in its public infractions report. The recruiter provided prospects with impermissible benefits including cash and lodging, and provided staff members with information beyond what recruiting services typically deliver. Further, non-coaching staff asked the recruiter to have prospects contact them and had frequent communication with recruits, against NCAA rules. At one point, the university paid the recruiting service $25,000 for scouting reports it never received.

Penalties (which were almost entirely self-imposed by the university) include three years’ probation, during which time the university may not subscribe to recruiting services and will lose three football scholarships, and a reduction in football prospect evaluation days and visits.
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The U.S. economy will create 55 million job openings between now and 2020, according to a new study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Roughly 65 percent of those jobs will require at least some college credits, the study found. A bachelor's degree will be a minimum requirement for 35 percent of job openings. Given current rates, the economy will face a shortfall of 5 million workers with some higher education.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dustin Goltz of DePaul University explains the shifting meaning of “coming out” among different generations within the gay community. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday's Academic Minute linked to the wrong podcast for much of the day. Our apologies. To hear yesterday's podcast about environmental risk from aging sewers, please click here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON — A key higher education policy aide to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will move to the Education Department, filling one of the many vacancies in higher education policymaking that have added up since President Obama won re-election last November. Spiros Protopsaltis, who has worked for two and a half years as a senior education policy adviser for the committee's Democrats, will join the Education Department's Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. That office has been without a leader since assistant secretary Carmel Martin left for the Center on American Progress, and has seen departures from other policymakers as well.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- The Education Department's announcement earlier this year that it would better accommodate same-sex couples, and unmarried couples, on its Free Application for Federal Student Aid beginning in the 2014-15 academic year means that the Supreme Court decision Wednesday allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage will have little impact. 

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. That means same-sex couples may file joint tax returns, and the children of those couples should list both parents on the FAFSA, according to a fact sheet released Wednesday by gay and lesbian advocacy groups.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Have enrollments in traditional liberal arts fields dropped? Debates over the issue turn up everywhere, and Nate Silver -- the popular New York Times analyst of polling and statistics -- has taken up the issue. He argues that it all depends how you frame the question. If you ask whether certain majors are less popular, you may find that they are relative to other majors. But part of that is because the college population has expanded over time, with many of those going to college -- who might not have in earlier generations -- picking practical majors. But if you look at the percentage of all college students majoring in a given field, you may get a different figure. So, for example, English majors as a share of all majors have fallen in recent years, but English majors as a percentage of all college students have been relatively constant.

 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 3:00am

More than half of all student loan borrowers are concerned they will be unable to repay their debt, according to a paper released today by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, using data from the 2012 National Financial Capability survey. The report found that 57 percent of all student loan debtors are concerned about repayment, and 9 percent of student loan borrowers never attended college at all — either because they borrowed for vocational certificates or because they borrowed on behalf of family members.

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