Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 12, 2015

In addition to its tuition-free community college plan, the White House on Friday released a proposal for a new technical job-training fund. The new money would build on a similar $2-billion workforce grant program aimed at two-year colleges, which expired last year.

The president wants the federal government to pay for the creation of 100 new job centers around the country. The focus of the centers would be to "help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills to work into growing fields with significant numbers of middle-class jobs that local employers are trying to fill," the White House said in a fact sheet, "such as energy, IT and advanced manufacturing."

Initial grants under the plan would pay for pilot programs, which would bring together colleges and employers. Larger grants would pay to expand programs that prove successful based on graduation and job-placement rates, according to the administration.

The White House did not provide a budget estimate for the proposal, which is dubbed the American Technical Training Fund. As with the community college plan, the president presumably will announce more details later this month.

The Association for Career and Technical Education applauded the proposed fund, saying it recognizes the "great need" for additional support of technical training programs, which are necessary to "keep America's workforce globally competitive."

Roughly 12 million college students receive career and technical training, the association said, as well as 94 percent of high-school students.

"While this initiative will provide critical resources to build capacity, incentivize innovation and pilot new approaches in some areas," LeAnn Wilson, the association's executive direct, said in a written statement, "we must prioritize a robust federal investment into the entire CTE system through proven approaches, particularly the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act."

January 12, 2015

Some students at Montclair State University are asking why the institution needs to spend $210,000 on a 12-foot bronze statue of the mascot, a red hawk, NorthJersey.com reported. (The design is at right.) The student government previously agreed to pay $100,000 of the costs. Now, some students say that the money is a waste and that there are more important uses for funds. The university released a statement Friday that said: "For centuries, physical symbols, such as public monuments and town square statues, have played an important role in the life and traditions of communities around the world – and a university is very much a community. The idea for a Red Hawk statue originated eight years ago with a group of Montclair State students who wanted to create an iconic symbol that would be placed prominently on campus. Montclair State University adopted the Red Hawk – a mythological bird based on the Red-Tail Hawk that can frequently be seen on campus – as its symbol in 1989 or 25 years ago this past September. For the university community, the Red Hawk has come to stand for the determination of our students to make something important of their lives and for the courage it takes to challenge oneself to truly fulfill one's potential."

January 12, 2015

On "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, two experts on faculty and labor, William A. Herbert and Gary Rhoades, discuss the recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board that may make it much easier for unions to organize faculty members at private colleges and universities. Sign up here to be notified of new editions of "This Week."

 

January 12, 2015

A review of 108 studies has concluded that digital learning is likely to be as effective as traditional in-person education in undergraduate health professions education worldwide. The review was conducted by Imperial College London on behalf of the World Health Organization. The review's examination of digital learning included online learning and offline digital learning, such as that provided through CD-ROMs ot USB sticks.

 

 

January 12, 2015

Paine College announced Saturday that it is suspending its football program, which its board voted in 2012 to revive. The team played its first season in 2014. A statement from the college noted the financial and accrediting problems facing the historically black college. “At this critical juncture in the history of Paine College, we have no choice but to firmly reestablish the financial health of our college," said a statement from Samuel Sullivan, the interim president “It is only through achieving this condition that we will have a chance of being removed from probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and winning reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation. We must take this and other steps to reduce overall expenditures by the college and increase our net assets. After removal of all sanctions imposed upon the college by SACSCOC, we will conduct a cost benefit analysis and evaluate the return of our football program.”

January 12, 2015

Eleven people have pleaded guilty in a scheme in which students filed tax forms to receive refunds on behalf of people other than themselves, including -- six former football players at the University of South Dakota who were on the team at the time of the wrongdoing, the Associated Press reported. The schemed involved students identifying people they know and then filing the tax returns with other addresses than those of the people ostensibly filing, and then keeping the refunds. The fraud managed to obtain more than $400,000.

 

January 12, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Angela Crean, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of New South Wales, discusses telegony, the idea that a woman's past sexual partners can influence the genetics of her children. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 9, 2015

Dartmouth College has charged 64 students -- many of them athletes -- with cheating in a sports ethics course, the Valley News reported. According to the course's instructor, Randall Balmer, dozens of students frequently did not attend the class, and instead handed their clickers to other students who then used the devices to respond to questions during in-class assignments. The course was originally created, Balmer said, to help college athletes who struggled with Dartmouth coursework. The university declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm the number of students facing potential punishment, which could include "suspension or separation."

Though less common within the Ivy League, the incident is the latest in a string of academic scandals involving athletes at selective institutions. A report released in October detailed a decades-long pattern of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where 3,100 students enrolled and passed classes they never attended

January 9, 2015

A federal appeals court has decided it won't rehear a case on whether or not Georgia State University's e-reserves violate publishers' copyright, setting up the possibility for a Supreme Court showdown over fair use. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications, which sued the university in 2008, won a partial victory last October, but nevertheless asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to rehear the case, known as Cambridge v. Patton. The court denied the request on Jan. 2, meaning the publishers' next move may be an appeal to the Supreme Court.

January 9, 2015

A National Labor Relations Board ruling in December could make it easier for adjuncts at religious colleges and for faculty members generally at private colleges and universities to unionize. The ruling came in an adjunct unionization bid at Pacific Lutheran University, and the ruling permitted the votes there to be counted. The university announced Thursday that 30 adjuncts had voted for representation by the Service Employees International Union, and 54 had voted against. However, there are 38 challenged ballots. The university had been expected to go to court to appeal the NLRB ruling, but it is unclear if it would do so if it defeats the union bid.

The next edition of "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, will feature a discussion of the NLRB ruling. Sign up here to be notified of new "This Week" podcasts.

 

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