Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 3:00am

Six years after the University of Alabama sued a local artist over his use of images of the storied Crimson Tide football team in his paintings, the institution and Daniel Moore remain locked in a court battle, The New York Times reported. The university's 2005 lawsuit, which the Alabama Appeals Court is due to hear on Thursday, sought to bar Moore from selling his paintings of current and former Alabama players and coaches without a license from the university. A lower court backed Moore's free speech arguments, over Alabama's arguments (and those of its licensing company) that the artist is infringing its trademarks. Moore has also painted scenes involving teams from the University of Tennessee and other Southeastern Conference institutions.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 4:16am

Claremont McKenna College admitted on Monday that it submitted inflated SAT averages to various rankings entities for the last six years, The New York Times reported. College officials said that the scores -- already high at the college -- were boosted by about 10 or 20 points each on the mathematics and critical reading sections. In the most recent data, the college reported a combined median scores of 1410, when the real median was 1400. The 75th percentile was reported as 1510 when it was really 1480. The college said a single individual -- identified by the Times as Richard C. Vos, vice president and dean of admissions -- admitted to inflating the numbers. Vos declined to comment.

Two law schools -- those of Villanova University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- have admitted in recent years to have used inflated LSAT scores to improve rankings.

Robert Morse, who directs rankings for U.S. News & World Report, said this morning that Claremont McKenna did inform him Monday that it had provided incorrect data. But he said that the college declined his requests to provide raw data that would allow for a re-ranking of colleges. He said that it was possible that there could be modest changes in the college's ranking when correct numbers are provided. Morse said U.S. News would recalculate the data for the college, but only when it provided actual numbers, not just a summary with rough figures. (UPDATE: Morse has since reported that the college has made available all of its data.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 4:18am

Robert M. Franklin is stepping down as president of Morehouse College at the end of this academic year, after five years in office, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Given Morehouse's prominence among historically black colleges, Franklin has been a highly visible advocate for the education of black students. At Morehouse, he has been a successful fund-raiser, but has also embraced the bully pulpit role of the college president (a role associated with many Morehouse presidents), speaking out regularly about students' moral development and a range of ethical issues.

 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dean Goldberg of Mount Saint Mary College reveals how political campaigns came to rely so heavily on television commercials. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

 
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 4:22am

The Symbiosis University, in Pune, India, has postponed a seminar and the screening of a film on Kashmir amid protests by nationalist Indian students that the programs were "anti-national," BBC News reported. A university spokesman said that the program had been intended as an "apolitical and academic event."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 3:00am

Parents can have an impact on the drinking habits of freshmen who are otherwise at high risk of abusing alcohol, according to a study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University. The study compared the impact of parental and peer interventions. The researchers found that non-drinkers who receiving information from their parents before enrolling were significantly less likely than others to become heavy drinkers. The impact of parental and peer interventions was the same in terms of helping a heavy drinker become a less heavy drinker.

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Vassar College is apologizing for an incorrect notification of some early decision applicants that they had been admitted when in fact they were not, The New York Times reported. A test letter indicating acceptance was viewed Friday by 122 applicants -- only 46 of whom had in fact been admitted. The letter was supposed to have been replaced by another for the 76 who were not admitted.

 

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- A panel of online higher education leaders on Friday described complex and expensive safeguards they are using to prevent financial aid fraud. "We're engaged in warfare" to combat increasingly sophisticated fraud rings, said James Berg, a vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer for the Apollo Group, Inc. The scale of fraud attempts can be daunting: Wallace Boston, president of the American Public University System, said his university last August received 68,000 phone calls from two ZIP codes in Mississippi, the vast majority of which were likely fraud-related.

Excelsior College and the United States Distance Learning Association hosted the daylong meeting. Panelists, who were drawn from a sector-crossing range of institutions, stressed the need to be proactive about curbing fraud. Otherwise, potentially onerous federal regulations could be enacted, and online higher education's credibility could suffer. "This provides fuel for those who are critical of online education," said John Ebersole, Excelsior's president.

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered City Colleges of Chicago to end a policy of payouts for unused sick days for those who retire from the system while figuring out if it can stop such payments that were pledged in the past, The Chicago News Cooperative reported. The college's board -- at the request of a new chancellor, Cheryl Hyman -- had already ended the policy for new employees. But the colleges' employees have generated $7 million for unused sick days in the last decade. Among the big beneficiaries is the former chancellor, Wayne Watson, who has moved on to become president of Chicago State University. He has already been paid $300,000 for unused sick days, and is due another $200,000.

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Hundreds of students have been admitted to South Korean universities through program designed to help the disadvantaged, even though these students aren't disadvantaged, The Chosun Ilbo reported. Since the admissions program covers students who grow up in some rural areas, families are getting addresses in those areas or moving there briefly, so that their children can be admitted without ever having lived there.

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