Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 4:33am

Lap-Chee Tsui, president of the University of Hong Kong, on Tuesday announced his plans to retire in August. The Wall Street Journal reported that while he gave no reason for his decision, critics believe it relates to a lingering controversy over the way police treated (many say mistreated) protesters during a visit to the campus in August by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang. Pro-democracy students were "roughed up," the Journal said, with one locked in a staircase by police officers for an hour. Many at the university questioned why Tsui allowed unprecedented police activity on the university's grounds.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

The addition of 22,700 undergraduates at Canadian universities has pushed total undergraduate enrollments in the country over 1 million, according to data released Tuesday by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Graduate enrollment is also up modestly -- 3.2 percent for full time, and 2.3 percent for part time -- to a total of 195,400.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 6:20am

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Education Department announced in today's Federal Register that it would hold a series of negotiations aimed at developing new regulations to govern teacher education programs and to define how states should assess the performance of such programs. The agency had announced in May that it would conduct a new round of negotiated rule making, but it did not identify the topics at that time. This month, the Obama administration said it would pursue a new approach to overseeing teacher education programs, with the primary aim of directing aid to those that graduate the teachers who produce the most successful outcomes in the students they teach. The new round of negotiated rule making -- which in recent years have been increasingly fractious over topics such as accreditation and the integrity of financial aid programs -- is set to begin in January.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Seiler of Old Dominion University explains how the human tendency to copy the behavior of those around us contributed to the ongoing mortgage crisis. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

You may have heard that Smith College was about to ban meat from campus, but don't worry about it -- just present a good argument. That's because the report that the college was going to ban meat and non-locally produced food was never true, but was a rumor started by two professors who teach a course on logic, and who like to spread semi-outrageous rumors to teach lessons about how to make arguments, The Boston Globe reported. Many Smith students believed the rumors and were outraged by the prospect of losing meat options and that staple of most college students, coffee (which isn't grown in New England).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

The College Board and the Educational Testing Service have hired a top security firm to review SAT security, and the two organizations will consider any changes that inquiry recommends, the Associated Press reported. The news came Tuesday at a New York State legislative hearing on SAT security, scheduled in the wake of arrests of Long Island students charged with having someone else take the SAT in their names. Lawmakers have suggested that security needs more scrutiny, noting that one of the students arrested was a woman who is alleged to have had a man take her exam.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Trustees of public and private colleges are generally well engaged with the institutions on whose boards they serve, but could also benefit from more education, according to a study released Tuesday by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

While the findings were generally positive, one concern identified was in risk assessment. The AGB study found that only about one-third of all boards have a formal process for comprehensive risk assessment. The top areas for risk assessment include finances, compliance, facilities, and campus security.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Women perform as well as men in engineering courses, but are less likely to stay in the field because of a confidence gap, according to research published in the new issue of American Sociological Review. Women are less likely to feel "professional role confidence," the study found, which has to do both with their view of their own talent and also of their sense that they are in the correct field. "Often, competence in engineering is associated in people’s minds with men and masculinity more than it is with women and femininity. So, there are these micro-biases that happen, and when they add up, they result in women being less confident in their expertise and their career fit," said the lead author of the study, Erin Cech, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Steven Maranville has sued Utah Valley University, charging it with breach of contract after he left a tenured appointment with the University of Houston to teach at Utah Valley and then was told after a one-year probationary period that his style was not working with students, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The suit charges that the decision was based inappropriately on student complaints. The university has said that it will defend itself against the suit, but has not provided details of its perspective on the issues.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Some faculty members at the University of Sydney are calling for officials to call off a campus event with Israeli scientists, saying that such a program would offend Muslim students, The Australian reported. An e-mail circulated among faculty members said that Israeli universities are complicit in government mistreatment of the Palestinians, and that Israeli universities should teach in Arabic. Organizers of the event with Israeli scientists note that another such event is planned with Arab scientists. Manuel Graeber, a neuroscientist at the university, e-mailed colleagues in defense of the planned program. "The event with Israel should go ahead exactly as planned," he wrote. "There is absolutely nothing questionable about it. Academics must not be held hostage by ideologies."

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