Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, March 22, 2013 - 4:24am

Nationally, teacher education programs are boasting about tougher admissions standards. But in Mississippi, the state's higher education board is being criticized for not raising standards for entering teacher education. Governor Phil Bryant, a Republican, criticized the board for not backing his proposal to require college students entering teacher education to score 21 or higher on the ACT and to have a 3.0 grade-point average on college work prior to starting the major, the Associated Press reported. Currently, the average for teacher ed majors is 20.8 on the ACT. College officials said that if they adopted the governor's plan, half of their students would no longer be eligible.



Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:00am

In a press call coinciding with the kickoff of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s men’s basketball tournament, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said college presidents, trustees and coaches need to take up a “different set of values” and worry more about graduation and less about on-court victories. Citing the large gap in graduation rates between white and black male athletes (up to 30 percentage points on some basketball teams) and the 11:1 difference in value of contractual coach bonuses for athletic success vs. academic success, Duncan called for a “better, healthier balance.”

“It will take courageous leadership by governing boards and college presidents and willingness to engage,” Duncan said, “and challenge the status quo.” Duncan suggested more financial incentives for better, more equal graduation rates – or disincentives for failure to produce such a result – could improve athletes’ academic performance.

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:00am

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities said Thursday that the Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, the former president of Regis University, will become the group's new president. Father Sheeran, who was president of Regis for 20 years, oversaw the development of the college's online programs. The Rev. Gregory Lucey, the previous president of the group, which represents the nation's 28 Jesuit colleges, will return to Spring Hill College as chancellor. Father Lucey had led Spring Hill before he became president of the Jesuit college group in 2011.

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:00am

The Oregon Senate on Thursday joined the House in approving a bill that would grant in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who graduated from high schools in the state, The Oregonian reported. Governor John Kitzhaber has said he will sign the legislation. The success for the bill follows several failed attempts in recent years.


Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:00am

Corning Community College barred Conner Habib, a gay film star, from giving a lecture on campus this week, forcing him to instead speak at a local library, The Press & Sun Bulletin reported. The planned lecture was called "Sex, Sexuality, Pornography and Culture," and Habib had been invited by a student group. A spokesman for the college said, “Mr. Habib’s celebrity status as an adult film star is inconsistent with the educational theme of this program."

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Mike Wheatland of the University of Sydney explains the gravity-defying physics of a falling Slinky. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Friday, March 22, 2013 - 4:17am

A key state legislator told reporters Thursday that one way North Carolina lawmakers may deal with budget cuts would be to consolidate campuses of the University of North Carolina System. "I think our members definitely envision that there could be some consolidation between campuses, and we might need to go from 16 down to 15, 14, something like that," said Senator Pete Brunstetter, co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, WRAL News reported. On Wednesday, Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, called for a $135 million cut in funding for the UNC system, a reduction that would follow several large cuts in recent years.


Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 4:23am

The University of Melbourne is a member of Coursera, one of the primary (and U.S.-based) platforms for massive open online courses. But an all-Australian MOOC platform was launched today, The Conversation reported. Several universities are already signed up to offer free courses through the platform, called Open2Study.


Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 4:27am

The University of Texas Board of Regents voted Wednesday to conduct a new inquiry into the relationship between the University of Texas at Austin and the foundation that supports its law school, The Dallas Morning News reported. The relationship has already been the subject of two prior reviews, which did identify some financial concerns, which have since been fixed. The new review is being called for by regents who are believed to want to oust Bill Powers, currently the president at Austin and formerly the law dean there. 

The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, a group formed by supporters of public higher education in the state, issued a statement questioning the motives behind the new review. "Unfortunately, today’s vote by the UT System Board of Regents has the appearance of a continued vendetta against UT Austin and its leaders," the statement said. "From all appearances, UT Austin has been open, transparent and cooperative in regards to the investigation into the UT Law School Foundation, fully complying with three rounds of inquiry — from system’s general counsel, from the attorney general and from the board’s Audit Committee. President Powers himself requested the Law School dean’s resignation. The suggestion that he or his office have not been transparent or cooperative is untrue."


Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 3:00am

If the National Collegiate Athletic Association shared revenue with players the same way professional leagues do, the typical football and men's basketball players from Bowl Championship Series conferences would earn an average of more than $714,000 and $1.5 million, respectively, beyond their full scholarships over the four years between 2011-15.

And players on the top-10 revenue-generating basketball teams would earn another $3.5 million during that time, according to the new study from the National College Players Association and Ellen Staurowsky, a sport management professor at Drexel University.

The study found that while the average full scholarship for Football Bowl Series conference players is worth $23,000, football and men's basketball players have a "fair market value" of $137,000 and $289,000, respectively. It also found that the average full FBS scholarship fell an average $3,285 short of the full cost of attending college during the 2011-12 academic year.


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