Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, April 2, 2012 - 4:41am

Research and development expenditures at Johns Hopkins University topped $2 billion in the 2010 fiscal year, according to data released last week by the National Science Foundation. Hopkins has led the list for decades because of federal support of its Applied Physics Laboratory. Of the $61.2 billion in R&D expenditures at universities, $21.5 billion in spending takes place at the top 25 universities, and just over $60 billion in activity takes place at doctoral institutions. Public institutions account for $41.2 billion in spending. Following Hopkins are: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ($1.2 billion), University of Wisconsin at Madison ($1 billion), University of Washington at Seattle ($1 billion), and Duke University ($983 million).

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Anna Maria College has withdrawn its invitation to Victoria Reggie Kennedy to be the institution's commencement speaker, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. The college, a Roman Catholic institution, cited the objections of the Rev. Robert J. McManus, the bishop of Worcester. Bishop McManus said he wouldn't attend the graduation ceremony with Kennedy present because of her views in favor of legal rights to abortion, gay marriage and contraception. Kennedy issued a statement in which she said: "I have not met Bishop McManus, nor has he been willing to meet with me to discuss his objections. He has not consulted with my pastor to learn more about me or my faith. Yet by objecting to my appearance at Anna Maria College, he has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic. This is a sad day for me and an even sadder one for the church."

Monday, April 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Trustees of the State College of Florida said Friday that they do not have any plans to end the system of continuing contracts that acts as an equivalent of tenure, The Herald Tribune reported. Some trustees had called for a review of the system, expressing fears that it encourages mediocre work. But trustees said Friday that their study revealed that there are appropriate measures in place to deal with any faculty members on continuing contracts who do not perform well.

Monday, April 2, 2012 - 4:42am

For the second year in a row, Texas Tech University has won the Final Four in chess. After games in which each of four finalists play the other teams, Texas Tech's squad earned 8 points, narrowly edging out the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (each of which finished with 7.5 points), The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported. New York University was fourth. There could be big changes next year, however, as Texas Tech's coach, Susan Polgar, is moving to Webster University, taking key team members with her.

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Ellis of Saint Michael's College reveals the connection between American rock and roll pioneer Sam Phillips and the roots of reggae. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 3:00am

John Huppenthal, Arizona's superintendent of schools, led a successful campaign to suspend Mexican-American studies from the Tucson public schools. Fox News reported that he now has the University of Arizona Mexican-American studies program as a target. "I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Huppenthal said in an interview with Fox News Latino. "To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes." It is unclear what Huppenthal could do to a public university program. A university spokesman said via e-mail: "We're not issuing public comment at this time, since there haven't been any conversations yet between the university and Mr. Huppenthal regarding the Mexican-American studies program."

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Providence's mayor urged Rhode Island legislators Thursday to approve legislation that would allow the state's cities to charge colleges and other nonprofit institutions taxes of up to 25 percent of what they would owe if they were taxable entities, The Boston Globe reported. Providence is among numerous cities that have been looking to their tax-exempt institutions to help it fill budget gaps left by state budget cuts and declines in other revenues.


 

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 4:27am

Laureate Education Inc., a major player in for-profit higher education, is preparing an initial public offering, Reuters reported. The past year has been a tough one for many for-profit entities, but Laureate's international emphasis (half of its revenues come from Brazil, Chile and Mexico, countries experiencing huge increases in demand for higher education) has helped the company grow. Laureate declined to comment for the Reuters report.

 

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 4:28am

It's the time of year that elite colleges and universities report on the shrinking percentage of applicants they admitted this year. The low admission rates aren't actually a surprise, since many of these colleges already announced new records in the number of applicants (and had no plans for significant increases in their class size). The figures from Harvard University tend to attract the most attention because of the very low admit rate (5.9 percent this year). With its prestige and very high yield rate (the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll), Harvard's admit rate tends to be among the lowest most years. Other institutions announcing admissions data this week include Yale University and Williams College. Among the institutions announcing drops in admit rates were Cornell University (16.2 percent, down from 18 percent), Johns Hopkins University (17.7 percent, down from 18.3 percent) and the University of Pennsylvania (12.3 percent, down from 12.4 percent).

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 4:30am

Federal agencies are conducting a review of research they support that could be used by terrorist groups. The document announcing the review note the need to balance multiple issues in the review. "Life sciences research is essential to the scientific advances that underpin improvements in the health and safety of the public, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, and national security. Despite its value and benefits, some research may provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be misused for harmful purposes," the document says. "Measures that mitigate the risks ... should be applied, where appropriate, in a manner that minimizes, to the extent possible, adverse impact on legitimate research, is commensurate with the risk, includes flexible approaches that leverage existing processes, and endeavors to preserve and foster the benefits of research."

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