Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 23, 2014

British universities are less likely to admit ethnic minority applicants than they are white applicants, even when controlling for academic record, social background and other factors, Times Higher Education reported. The finding was from a study done by the London School of Economics and Political Science. The disadvantage is most evident for Pakistani applicants.

 

July 23, 2014

The digital learning consortium Unizin has named Amin Qazi as its founding CEO. In a statement, Unizin co-founder James Hilton, dean of libraries at the University of Michigan, said, “The academy is at a critical moment in the growth of digital education. In Amin we chose a leader who could span the technical, organizational, and economic needs that the Unizin service will provide for its members."

July 23, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Paul Selden, professor of invertebrate paleontology at the University of Kansas, discusses his survey of spider fossils, through which he is helping piece together ancient ecosystems to better understand the world at present. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

July 22, 2014

Adjuncts at the University of St. Thomas have voted by a large margin, 136 to 84, to reject a unionization bid by the Service Employees International Union, The Star Tribune reported. The campaign at St. Thomas was part of the SEIU's drive to organize adjuncts in various metro areas. The campaign has been winning votes in parts of the country, but appears to have run into difficulties in Minnesota. While adjuncts there at Hamline University voted to unionize, a scheduled vote at Macalester College was called off amid some adjunct skepticism of the union campaign.

 

July 22, 2014

Anthem Education, a 34-campus for-profit chain, appears to be on the verge of shutting down campuses, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Anthem has notified state officials of layoffs coming soon in Missouri, Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia. A Missouri official said that the three campuses in that state are shutting down. Those campuses have also posted notices that enrollment is closed. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that a Wisconsin campus is closing. A company spokesman declined to confirm for the Post-Dispatch that campuses are closing, but did say that Anthem is facing a serious cash flow problem. He added that “closure isn’t a foregone conclusion.”

 

July 22, 2014

Some gay M.B.A. students are frustrated that straight students are attending job fairs set up to recruit gay talent, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. At a recent Reaching Out M.B.A. event, only 1 of the 15 students who attended from Rice University was openly gay. The job fairs are theoretically designed to help gay students navigate the corporate world, and feature programs in addition to the chance to meet with recruiters. Gay students report being offended when they hear straight students at the event say things like “Dude, I’m not gay” or “There needs to be less focus on gay stuff at this event.”

July 22, 2014

Bryn Mawr College announced Monday that it will no longer require standardized tests for admissions. In 2009, the college went "test flexible," under which a range of standardized tests -- not just the SAT and ACT -- could be considered, but applicants were still required to submit standardized test scores. Now the college has gone test-optional and no scores are required. Officials said that they found little valuable information from test scores on top of what they could find about applicants from their high school grades and other parts of their applications.

 

July 22, 2014

The African Literature Association is among a growing number of scholarly organizations that have backed the boycott of Israeli universities. In the rationale for its resolution, approved by the membership at the ALA’s annual meeting in Johannesburg, the association said that the resolution “is offered in the spirit of the past boycott of Apartheid South Africa, one of the ALA’s earliest efforts at political coalition politics.” 

Leaders of the African Literature Association, which is headquartered at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in New York State, did not return messages seeking comment on Monday. Other U.S.-based disciplinary associations that have endorsed the academic boycott of Israel include the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. American college presidents have widely condemned the boycott as violating principles of academic freedom. 

July 22, 2014

The Senate Appropriations Committee last week passed a bill to fund the Defense Department that would increase the Pentagon's basic research budget and also place new restrictions on the flow of federal dollars to for-profit colleges. The $549.3 billion funding measure, which lawmakers on the panel approved last Thursday, includes a 5 percent increase in funding for Department of Defense basic research. Such research would receive $2.27 billion in funding for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins October 1.

The Obama administration had sought a nearly 7 percent reduction in Pentagon-sponsored research.

The Association of American Universities on Monday praised the committee for rejecting that proposed cut.  "We commend the Committee for taking another step toward closing the innovation deficit and will work to sustain this funding level as the bill advances and is ultimately reconciled with the House bill," said Hunter Rawlings, the group's president.

Separately, the panel also approved a provision, pushed by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, that would place a new restriction on some of the federal military benefits that are used at for-profit colleges.  Durbin's language would change the so-called "90/10 rule" that caps for-profit colleges' receipt of grants and loans administered by the Education Department at 90 percent of their annual revenue. The bill would include money from the Pentagon's Tuition Assistance program as part of that cap. Such benefits, as well as veterans' educational aid, are not included in that calculation, which for-profit critics say makes them vulnerable to aggressive and predatory recruiting. For-profit industry representatives have rejected such efforts, arguing that they would reduce access to their institutions for servicemembers and veterans.

July 22, 2014

A District of Columbia judge ruled Monday that seven students of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, along with a faculty member and a staff member, have legal standing to challenge the merger of the college into George Washington University while much of the Corcoran's art collection would go to the National Gallery of Art, The Washington Post reported. Corcoran officials have said that their proposed reorganization is the only way to save the institution, but students and others disagree. Monday's decision means much more extensive legal consideration of the students' complaint that the new arrangement would hurt their educations and the values of the Corcoran.

 

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