Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 26, 2013

Leslie Berlowitz will resign as president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences next week, the organization announced Thursday. She will receive a one-time payment of $475,000, which an academy statement said reflected previously pledged retirement benefits. Berlowitz has been under fire -- and on paid leave -- since shortly after The Boston Globe revealed in June that she did not have a doctorate she claimed to have on various documents submitted by the academy in seeking grants. Subsequent Globe articles raised questions about her management of the organization, and allegations that she did not treat staff members well. In a letter published in the Globe Thursday, Berlowitz wrote that she was "tempted" to provide a response to all of the issues that have been raised in recent months, but opted not to do so. "I believe there is only one fact of consequence that bears mentioning: I always acted in good faith and with the best interests of the academy at heart," she wrote.

July 26, 2013

The Organization of American Historians has become the latest group to issue a statement about the controversy over Mitch Daniels's efforts, while governor of Indiana, to prevent the teaching of the works of the late Howard Zinn.

"The OAH regards the current episode as a 'teachable moment' when instructors in American history at every level have the opportunity to convey to our students how historians debate ideas and assess the merit of each others’ written work. We invite members to contact us with their account of classroom exercises and discussion questions that they have used, or intend to use in class, to promote discussion of such issues. We promise to post as many of them as we can on our website to encourage open discussion," says the statement.

The OAH regards the current episode as a “teachable moment” when instructors in American history at every level have the opportunity to convey to our students how historians debate ideas and assess the merit of each others’ written work. We invite members to contact us with their account of classroom exercises and discussion questions that they have used, or intend to use in class, to promote discussion of such issues. We promise to post as many of them as we can on our website to encourage open discussion. - See more at: http://www.oah.org/news/20130725_daniels.html#sthash.ZycPebZN.dpuf
The OAH regards the current episode as a “teachable moment” when instructors in American history at every level have the opportunity to convey to our students how historians debate ideas and assess the merit of each others’ written work. We invite members to contact us with their account of classroom exercises and discussion questions that they have used, or intend to use in class, to promote discussion of such issues. We promise to post as many of them as we can on our website to encourage open discussion. - See more at: http://www.oah.org/news/20130725_daniels.html#sthash.ZycPebZN.dpuf
The OAH regards the current episode as a “teachable moment” when instructors in American history at every level have the opportunity to convey to our students how historians debate ideas and assess the merit of each others’ written work. We invite members to contact us with their account of classroom exercises and discussion questions that they have used, or intend to use in class, to promote discussion of such issues. We promise to post as many of them as we can on our website to encourage open discussion. - See more at: http://www.oah.org/news/20130725_daniels.html#sthash.ZycPebZN.dpuf
July 26, 2013

Barbara Vacarr, president of Goddard College, has announced that she will leave at the end of the year so she can focus on family issues, the Associated Press reported. The announcement follows reports that the college is facing serious financial difficulties, forcing pay cuts and the suspension of retirement contributions, among other measures.

July 26, 2013

The National Association for College Admission Counseling's Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of a panel charged with evaluating the use of commissioned agents in international student recruiting. This is just one in a series of steps toward any possible changes in NACAC's standards: the board has asked the association's Admission Practices Committee to draft an amendment reflecting the commission's recommendations for consideration by the NACAC Assembly at the annual meeting in September. 

In its report, NACAC's Commission on International Student Recruitment recommended that the association lift its existing ban on the use of commissioned agents in international recruiting while at the same time discouraging the practice. Specifically, the commission recommended that NACAC's "Standards of Principles of Good Practice" be revised to stipulate that members "should not" (but not "may not") engage in incentive-based recruiting overseas and calls upon NACAC to consider adopting mandatory practices in regards to issues of institutional accountability, integrity and transparency for those colleges that choose to work with commissioned agents regardless.

July 26, 2013

Anant Agarwal, president of edX, one of the major providers of massive open online courses, appeared on "The Colbert Report" this week, where he faced some questions on MOOCs that journalists had previously failed to ask him, at least not the Stephen Colbert way. After Agarwal explained the basic concept of MOOCs, Colbert asked if he was talking about the University of Phoenix. After Agarwal explained that MOOCs are free, Colbert said that if he owned a shoe store, and Agarwal was an employee and suggested giving away shoes for free, "I would fire you and throw shoes at your head."

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2013

Not many universities see their names in Google's bright lights. But on Thursday, the search giant celebrated (through its most visible icon, the daily-changing Doodle on its home page) Rosalind Franklin, after whom suburban Chicago's Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is named. Franklin played a significant (but underappreciated) role in the discovery and description of the double helix structure of DNA, through the use of x-ray diffraction. The university, formerly known as Chicago Hospital-College of Medicine, took Franklin's name in 2004, and its marketing department suggested that Google honor her with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 93rd birthday. She died in 1958.

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 25, 2013

A Bloomberg article explores the power of the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, known as FratPAC. The article describes how the political action committee has discouraged anti-hazing legislation (saying it is not needed) while protecting tax breaks for Greek houses.

 

July 25, 2013

A new Gallup Poll has found that most American adults oppose the consideration of race in admissions decisions. The poll question asked whether "applicants should be admitted solely on the basis of merit, even if that results in few minority applicants being admitted" or "an applicant's racial and ethnic background should be considered to help promote diversity on college campuses, even if that means admitting some minority students who might not otherwise be admitted," a large majority picked the former. There was no racial group for which a majority picked the latter, although more black Americans picked the latter than the former (by a narrow margin).

Here are results:

  Solely on Merit Consider Race
All 67% 28%
White 75% 22%
Black 44% 48%
Latino 59% 31%

Breakdowns were not provided for Asian Americans.

Inside Higher Ed works with Gallup on a number of survey projects, but played no role in this poll.

Gallup's results mirrored those of a recent poll by The Washington Post-ABC.

 

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