Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Last month, Meghan Darcy Melnyk resigned as president of the Mount Royal University Students' Association. On Wednesday, she was charged with robbing a bank in Calgary. Authorities said she walked into a bank and turned over a note to a teller, saying that she had a weapon and wanted money, CBC reported. She was tracked down after leaving the bank with money. Students at Mount Royal are stunned.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ken Gobbo of Landmark College explains the range of symptoms contained beneath the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

The “academic, health and overall well-being” of athletes should be considered first and foremost as leaders of the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences weigh potential changes in the structure of the college football postseason, the faculty athletics representatives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I member institutions said in a statement sent Thursday to the commissioners and the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee. allie: this slight rewrite okay, to simplify a bit?  dl

Citing research tying length of seasons and numbers of games to negative health and academic outcomes, the faculty representatives said the new postseason model, which commissioners are forming now and which will take effect in the 2013-14 season, must not: increase the current number of games individual teams play (now 12 to 14, depending on how far a team makes it in the postseason); extend beyond Jan. 9 (ideally, not beyond Jan. 1); or interfere with classes and exams.

But while a four-team playoff to replace the bowl system -- an idea with broad support that is likely to emerge from the discussions, recent reports say -- meets those criteria, it could lead to “slippery slope consequences” of too many teams, too many games and too long a postseason, the FARs said. They pointed to the Division I men’s basketball tournament as evidence.

“We know that this concern is shared by all of us, including university presidents and chancellors; conference commissioners; and directors of athletics,” the FARs wrote. “We also know that all of us are concerned with the academic, health, and overall well-being of our football student-athletes. We therefore urge that a critical component in evaluating different post-season models should be what research tells us regarding the factors that most negatively impact student-athlete academic performance and that most contribute to football student-athlete injuries and serious injuries.”

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Students across the country made good on their word Thursday, coming out in droves to support the youth Occupy movement and advocate for affordable, accessible and democratic higher education. Frustrated by rising tuition and student debt, and their lack of influence on the system, students made major waves in the fall with rallies and protests reminiscent of Thursday’s nationally coordinated “Day of Action.” But things slowed down over the winter break, and Thursday was an attempt to get back into the national spotlight.

The most well-attended protests took place, as expected, in California and New York City, where several hundred students rallied. Students in the Washington, D.C., area also had a notable turnout for their march to Sallie Mae and the U.S. Education Department, and the University of Maryland occupation tweeted that Education Secretary Arne Duncan promised to respond to their list of demands within a week. Protesters in Alabama, Ohio and Texas were active on the Twitter streams. Students at DePaul University said they “seized” an administration office. Although police were on hand on many campuses and city streets, there appeared to be no major confrontations (unlike past rallies). One person drove a car through a group of about 150 students who blocked the entrance to the University of California at Santa Cruz campus, but nobody was seriously injured. Most classes had been canceled in light of the protests, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday announced the creation of a panel of college presidents and other higher education leaders to advise the agency on issues related to international student recruitment, research, and other matters. Agency officials said the establishment of the committee reflected its officials' desire to work with college and university leaders. The panel's members are:

  • Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University
  • Carrie L. Billy, president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges
  • David M. Dooley, president of the University of Rhode Island
  • Royce C. Engstrom, president of the University of Montana
  • Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University
  • Marlene M. Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators 
  • Eric W. Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota
  • R. Bowen Loftin, president of Texas A&M University
  • Wallace Loh, president of the University of Maryland at College Park
  • Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College
  • Ruby G. Moy, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities
  • John Sexton, president of New York University
  • Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz, superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy
  • Dianne Boardley Suber, president of Saint Augustine’s College
  • Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 60 percent of Americans think colleges have a generally positive effect on American life, but noted sharp partisan divides in Americans' views of institutions of higher education. Twenty-six percent of Americans said that colleges have a negative effect on "the way things are going in the country," with the rest of respondents not answering. Fifty-one percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats said that colleges have a positive effect on the country. Among conservative Republicans, 46 percent agreed; among Republicans who agree with the Tea Party, only 38 percent said colleges have a positive effect.

Still, among the population as a whole, the 60 percent approval rating for colleges was relatively high: more saw positive effects from colleges than from churches (57 percent), the news media (26 percent) or Congress (a dismal 15 percent). The Pew Research Center also noted that a 2011 survey found that across party lines, Americans who attended college overwhelmingly believed it was a good investment.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 4:40am

Private admissions counselors -- who work directly for applicants and their families -- are commonly associated with students finishing high school. But The New York Times reported that many counselors are seeing increased use (and are reaching out to) adults thinking about continuing their educations. Adults who worry about getting into the best program and may not have access to a high school counselor are interested in the one-on-one help available.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Corsi of the University of Texas at Austin reveals the hidden sources of air pollution that exist in almost all homes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Pennsylvania announced this week that its employee health plans would include an option that would cover sexual reassignment surgery for transgender employees. Covering such surgery is rare for higher education employers (and for many employers outside academe). The change was sought by student and employee groups at Penn.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 3:00am

These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar, to which campus and other officials can submit their own events. Our site also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education; please submit your news to both listings.

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