Higher Education Quick Takes
Missouri State University officials said Tuesday that they had fired Mark Brixey as bookstore manager after he couldn't account for $400,000 in receipts over the last three years, KY3 News reported. A key clue: Auditors said that they discovered $81,000 in cash in Brixey's desk drawer last week, when he was on vacation. News accounts did not indicate if Brixey has responded to his dismissal or the allegations.
Latino enrollments in higher education passed several milestones in 2011, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center:
- Latino students are now the largest minority group among four-year college and university students.
- Latino students now make up one quarter of community college enrollments.
- Total Latino enrollment has passed 2 million students, or 16.5 percent of all college enrollments.
Jane Davis, chair of the Faculty Senate at Tennessee State University, was arrested for disorderly conduct at a Senate meeting Monday, The Tennessean reported. Davis has clashed on a number of issues with the administration, and the university -- at a faculty member's suggestion -- recently surveyed professors on whether Davis should be ousted as chair. University officials said that, during a Senate meeting, Davis was disruptive by refusing to stop speaking in defense of her leadership, and in questioning the survey. Following her arrest, she was led from the meeting in handcuffs, and the Senate voted to remove her as chair -- a vote Davis said was not valid.
There's a new kind of massive open online course (MOOC), and it lacks an instructor, The New York Times reported. The course will combine existing materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCoureware project, quizzes from Codeacademy and study groups from Open Study, and will be coordinated by Peer 2 Peer University. With those services, organizers said, an instructor (while central to other MOOC offerings) won't be necessary. The first offering will be on a computer programming language and is called "A Gentle Introduction to Python."
Officials at the University of Ulster, having mistakenly offered admission to all 370 students who applied for its 194 slots to study engineering this year, will enroll all of them even though many of them did not achieve the requisite academic requirements, The Irish Times reported. The university sent out an e-mail offering admission to all of the students who applied, rather than just to those who had qualified for admission. Some of the students would have earned places in other colleges at Ulster, so the number of students who would not have enrolled there numbers about 100, according to the newspaper.
With regularity, new studies document the dangers to college students of binge drinking, generally defined as four drinks at a time for women and five for men. But today new research being released at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association reports that college students who binge drink are happier than those who do not. Carolyn L. Hsu, an associate professor of sociology at Colgate University, and Landon Reid, a law student at New York University, surveyed nearly 1,600 students at a residential liberal arts college that was not identified. The survey found that those students who engaged in binge drinking were happier than those who were not. Further, "higher status" groups on the campus (wealthy, white, male, heterosexual and Greek students, among others) were more likely than others to binge drink and to be happy about it. And students from "lower status" groups, if they engaged in binge drinking, were happier than were their counterparts who didn't engage in binge drinking.
The University of Oregon has paid $25,000 to a political consulting firm to try to influence a student vote in October on whether to impose a new fee to finance renovations of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Administrators want the students to authorize the fee, but they have twice rejected the idea. A memo about the consultants' work obtained by The Register-Guard said that critics would be described as "narrow minded" and "stubborn." Student leaders are criticizing the decision to hire the consulting firm, saying that students should be able to express their views without an expensive campaign to influence them.
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved draft legislation to ease the regulations for universities to hire foreign academics, Focus Taiwan News reported. Officials are concerned about brain drain and want to make it possible to attract more foreign talent.
The University of Georgia newspaper board has backed down on asserting the direction of The Red and Black, the student newspaper, The Associated Press reported. Last week, the student editors and staff walked out to protest board guidance that they said took away their control and encouraged them to minimize hard-hitting journalism. With the withdrawal of the guidance and an apology from the board, the students are starting to return to their former positions at the paper.