Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:00am

The Department of Homeland Security has selected seven colleges for a "Campus Resilience Pilot Program," designed to explore new ways to help colleges prevent emergencies and respond to those that occur. The colleges are:

  • Drexel University.
  • Eastern Connecticut State University.
  • Green River Community College.
  • Navajo Technical College.
  • Texas A&M University.
  • Tougaloo College.
  • University of San Francisco.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Kelly Benoit-Bird of Oregon State University explains why safety marine prey species do not always find safety in numbers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:00am

On his television show Monday, the Rev. Pat Robertson responded to a viewer question about why miracles seemed more likely in Africa than in the United States. His answer? "Those people overseas didn't go to Ivy League schools." Robertson went on to say that at our "most advanced schools, we have been inundated with skepticism and secularism," while those in Africa are taught to believe in miracles.

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday issued a statement calling on colleges not to deal with new health-care requirements by cutting adjunct hours. A number of colleges have done so, seeking to keep adjuncts below the minimum levels at which employers are required to provide health coverage. The AAUP statement outlines what it considers to be fair ways to calculate adjunct work (stressing the planning and grading that takes place outside of class time). But regardless of how hours are calculated, the AAUP says that colleges should not respond to cost concerns by limiting adjunct hours.

"We have been dismayed by news reports of a handful of colleges and universities that have threatened to cut the courseloads of part-time faculty members specifically in order to evade this provision of the law," the statement said. "Such actions are reprehensible, penalizing part-time faculty members both by depriving them access to affordable health care as intended by law and by reducing their income."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:00am

A new working paper finds that economic conditions are a critical factor in determining whether foreign-born science and engineering Ph.D. students plan to remain in the United States after they graduate: students are most likely to stay if the U.S. has experienced strong gross domestic product growth in recent years or their home country has had weak growth. Students who come from countries that have recently democratized or have higher average income levels are less likely to remain in the U.S.

The study, based on an analysis of the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates data from 1960 to 2008, also found that foreign students who plan to stay in the U.S. have higher levels of academic ability, as determined by the educational attainment of their parents and their own success in earning fellowships and other sources of graduate funding. (An exception is those students who receive funding contingent upon their return to their home country; not surprisingly, these students are less likely to intend to stay in the U.S.)  

Foreign-born students made up 56 percent of all science and engineering Ph.D. recipients in the U.S. in 2007. The working paper is by Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon H. Hanson, of the Universities of Chicago and California at San Diego, respectively, and is available on the National Bureau of Economic Research website for $5. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 4:19am

Harvard University secretly searched two e-mail accounts of a resident dean, not just one, as the university previously admitted, The Boston Globe reported. The university acknowledged the additional searching Tuesday in a meeting with faculty members. University officials said that their goal was to protect the confidentiality rights of students caught up in a cheating scandal. But the e-mail searches have angered many faculty members. Drew Faust, the president, announced that she has asked a lawyer to study the full extent of the e-mail searches, and that she is creating a committee to develop recommendations about the issue of e-mail privacy.

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 3:00am

Vanity Fair and "60 Minutes" have released a poll of the public on alma maters. Among the findings:

  • Only 32 percent of adults can name the president or dean of their alma mater.
  • Asked about the SAT, 39 percent called the test "a necessary evil," while 23 percent called it a "successful equalizer."
  • Only 34 percent could name Illinois as the state where you can find Northwestern University. (Washington State was picked by 17 percent, Michigan by 11 percent and Oregon by 6 percent).
  • Asked what they wished they had done more of in college, 48 percent said studying, 40 percent said networking, 4 percent said sex and 1 percent said drugs.

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 3:00am

Oberlin College marked April 1 by letting kittens take over its website. The site should be back to normal today, but the college has archived the kittens of Meowberlin College here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Lisa Aziz-Zadeh of the University of Southern California explains how the brain behaves differently while observing someone we dislike. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 3:00am

Many colleges in Florida — and potentially other states, including California and Texas — could lose eligibility for their students to receive federal financial aid under a new interpretation of the Education Department's "state authorization" rule. While the rule will not be enforced for distance education, it still requires colleges to be licensed in their own state. The Education Department is currently interpreting the rule in a way that disqualifies state licensure by means of accreditation — a process that allows colleges to bypass the ordinary licensure process and be granted state approval based on their accreditation status.

The Education Department sent letters to several Florida colleges in recent weeks, warning them that licensure by means of accreditation is not sufficient to comply with the state authorization rule. The states and the Education Department have until July 1 to resolve the dispute. At that time, all colleges must be in compliance with the department's program integrity rules, including state authorization.

 

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