Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 25, 2013

Google is making a play for the student textbook market. At the Wednesday unveiling of its new tablet, the Nexus 7, the company announced it would be adding e-textbooks to its online store and allowing e-textbook rentals. The company said it is working with Cengage, Wiley, Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Macmillan. Rumors of the company's entry into the textbook market had been floating in textbook industry circles ahead of the announcement. 

July 25, 2013

Forbes, which this week unveiled its latest college rankings, banished four institutions for two years. The four that will not be eligible for the next two years are Claremont McKenna and Iona Colleges, and Bucknell and Emory Universities -- all of which have admitted to reporting false data in past year to various entities. "As a penalty for their dishonesty – and an acknowledgment of the growing scope of the problem – we are removing the four institutions from our list of the country’s best schools for two years," said an article in the magazine. Of course those are only some of the colleges that have admitted to false reporting in the last 18 months. Michael Noer, executive editor at Forbes, said that some of the other colleges that reported false data didn't do so to Forbes or to data sets used by Forbes. So only those "that lied about data we used" were punished.

 

July 24, 2013

The board of the California State University System on Tuesday set the salaries of six campus presidents, and officials made a point of saying that none of the salaries represented an increase over what the presidents' predecessors had earned, The Los Angeles Times reported. In addition, the university said that there are no supplemental pay packages for any of the new presidents. The system has been criticized in the past by politicians, students and faculty leaders for significant raises for new presidents over what previous presidents had earned.

 

July 24, 2013

The Minerva Project has found a partner in accreditation. Minerva is a much-publicized venture that aims to educate top undergraduates from around the world -- online -- moving the cohorts of students around the world for residencies in various cities. One of Minerva's challenges has been lack of accreditation. Ben Nelson, the founder, told Inside Higher Ed in April that Minerva would deal with this by using "various loopholes" in accreditation rules, such as aligning itself with an accredited institution. On Tuesday, such a partnership was announced -- with the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. The partnership still must be approved by Keck's accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

July 24, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Alan Willner of the University of Southern California reveals how twisting light could drastically increase data transmission speeds. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

July 24, 2013

A California appeals court has ruled that the names of the officers involved in the notorious pepper spray incident at the University of California at Davis are covered by the state's open records law and should be released, the Associated Press reported. The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee have been requesting the names. The appeals court issued a stay for the ruling, giving the union that represents the officers 40 days to file an appeal with the California Supreme Court.

July 24, 2013

Louisiana Tech University has agreed to use online learning materials that are accessible to the blind, under an agreement to resolve complaints of discrimination investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department found that the university had been using materials that caused a blind student to fall behind on his schoolwork. That student will receive more than $23,000 under the settlement.

 

July 23, 2013

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has revoked the operating certificate of the University of Northern Virginia, an unaccredited institution that was raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in 2011 in relation to its enrollment of foreign students. In a letter sent to the institution, the State Council cites the university's failure to obtain candidacy status with an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education in five years. The letter also states that the university waived its right to appeal the revocation upon entering into a 2012 consent agreement that extended the deadline to obtain said candidacy status until June 1 of this year. 

The university has been instructed to immediately cease offering postsecondary educational programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to provide the State Council with enrollment and financial records. The university, whose Manassas and Annandale locations are certified by the U.S. government to enroll international students, has also been instructed to confer with the U.S Department of Homeland Security "to determine viable options” for F-1 visa holders enrolled at the institution.

Officials at the University of Northern Virginia did not immediately respond to voicemail messages on Monday afternoon. An e-mail to the general mailbox bounced back as undeliverable.

 

July 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Rafael Verduzco of Rice University explains the development of a new silicone material that becomes stronger with repeated use. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 23, 2013

Universities in Canada are increasingly concerned that a strike by foreign service workers will affect the ability of international students to obtain their visas in time to enroll for the fall semester. “That’s a real possibility that there will be students missing in the ranks,” McGill University’s dean of students, André Costopoulos, told CBC News

“This is the time of year when international students have got choices,” Paul Davidson, the president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada told the CBC’s Ottawa Morning radio program. “They have applied to universities in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in the United States and in Canada, and the country that gets them their visa fastest has the best chance of getting those students. So the job action with the visa applications backlogging is a real barrier for international students getting to Canada for this September.”

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