Higher Education Quick Takes
Elsevier on Tuesday became the latest academic publisher to add an adaptive learning component to its products. The company announced it will use a memory management tool provided by Cerego, a company based in California and Japan, to help nursing students learn basic concepts.
Cerego is content agnostic, meaning the technology can be applied to any topic. With textbooks, for example, subject matter experts can go through a chapter, highlight important concepts and feed the data to Cerego, which will turn the concepts into review exercises. As students complete the exercises, the system will tailor the content to test students on gaps in their knowledge, and also calculate how often they should review.
“Our vision for this goes beyond what we have today, but our current app is really, really good at translating that foundational information into personal knowledge,” founder and executive chairman Andrew Smith Lewis said.
Elsevier is looking to add the adaptive learning technology to the majority of its titles, Smith Lewis said. The company will roll out titles throughout the year.
California's Foothill-De Anza and Butte-Glenn community college districts have received $17 million from the state to develop a "one stop" online education portal, the colleges announced. The project will provide funding and support for all of California's 112 community colleges to offer courses through the statewide portal, which will feature a common course management system and student supports. Faculty members will play a leadership role in the work, college officials said.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted on Tuesday to merge Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University. The merger, announced on Nov. 1 as a foregone conclusion by the board, is now a sure thing. The merging itself will play out over the next several years and students will not attend the new institution, which will keep the Kennesaw name, until 2015.
The plan, which was announced to the surprise of most people on both campuses, met some opposition from students and alumni at Southern Poly.
The Georgia system has already merged eight institutions in an effort to, among other things, save money. So far, countless hours have been spent on the mergers, and historic institutions’ names have been wiped off the map. And, so far, the 31-campus system has saved only about 0.1 percent -- an estimated $7.5 million -- of its $7.4 billion operating budget.
The University of Utah and leaders of the Ute tribe will negotiate later this month on a set of terms for the university's continued use of the tribe's name to refer to its sports teams, The Deseret News reported. Tribal leaders must assent to the university's continued use of the nickname, based on a 2005 agreement that exempted Utah from a National Collegiate Athletic Association-imposed restriction on use of what the NCAA termed "hostile and abusive" Native American nicknames and mascots. The Utah newspaper said that tribal leaders were planning to ask university officials to create an office of the special adviser to the president on American Indian affairs and to switch from scholarships to tuition waivers for all Ute tribal members who attend the university. A university spokeswoman told the newspaper that those and other issues would be on the agenda for the meeting.
Children with professional parents are about three times likelier than those with working-class parents to be admitted to the most selective universities in England and Australia as well as the United States, according to a study reported by Times Higher Education. The study, produced in conjunction with a conference sponsored by the Sutton Trust, a British philanthropy focused on educational access for those with low-income backgrounds, concludes that while a significant portion of the gap in access can be explained by differences in educational preparation, about a quarter of it cannot.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday on a rare circumstance poised to occur this week: the firing of a tenured faculty member by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Tribune article states that the case appears to represent the first time the Illinois board has been asked to weigh in on a tenure review decision. The case involves Louis Wozniak, who was removed from teaching several years ago over an email he sent to students that was perceived to have sexual overtones, one of several points of conflict that have led university administrators to seek to revoke his tenure. A faculty committee cleared him of most of the charges filed against him, but Illinois officials have argued that his continued flouting of one demand justified his firing.
First Lady Michelle Obama -- who has focused many of her public efforts on fitness, nutrition and military families -- will today start a new effort related to higher education, The New York Times reported. Obama will be focused on encouraging more low-income students to pursue higher education, and will draw on her own background as a child from a working-class family who earned degrees from Princeton and Harvard Universities.
A former professor of French at Wittenberg University in Ohio is suing the institution -- along with local police and media -- following his acquittal on rape and kidnapping charges in a case involving a developmentally disabled man, the Associated Press reported.
Hollant (Max) Adrien filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last week seeking reinstatement and $2 million in damages from Wittenberg, which fired him last year, before the case went to trial. In lieu of reinstatement, he's seeking $10 million. He's also seeking $50 million from local police and $110 million combined from six news outlets. A Wittenberg spokeswoman said via email that while the university doesn't comment on pending litigation, "we are confident that our institution was lawful and consistent in our policies and procedures in connection with Max Adrien."