Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 21, 2013

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges notified officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday that the university will not be put on probation or warned over academic irregularities in the university's Department of African and Afro-American Studies that came to light last year. Instead, the university will be monitored over the next year to ensure that it follows through on plans to "make whole" the degrees of individuals who took the classes where the irregularities occurred.

June 21, 2013

WASHINGTON -- With 10 days remaining until the interest rate doubles on new, federally subsidized student loans July 1, a bipartisan group of senators is said to be working out a compromise -- but whether a bill that can pass both houses of Congress is achievable before the rates increase is still unclear. The compromise would base interest rates on the 10-year Treasury note (as would plans from Senate and House Republicans and from President Obama). Rates would vary from year to year for new loans, but would be fixed over the life of the loan -- as was the case in Obama's plan, and in the Senate Republican proposal. The plan would cap interest rates at 8.5 percent.

It's unclear whether the plan will catch on broadly among Senate Democrats, who have resisted shifting to a market-based rate and instead advocated for a one- or two-year extension of the 3.4 percent rate so that Congress can tackle the issue when it reauthorizes the Higher Education Act, which expires at the end of next year.

June 21, 2013

Lincoln Educational Services this week announced that it will close five campuses in Ohio and Kentucky. The for-profit institution, which offers automotive technology and other academic programs, said legislation Congress passed last year to eliminate federal aid for "ability to benefit" students had resulted in dramatic enrollment declines at the five locations. That legislation prohibits students who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent from participating in federal aid programs. Shaun McAlmont, Lincoln's CEO, said in a written statement that the company was saddened that those students "continue to be marginalized by legislation that treats them differently than so-called 'traditional' students."

June 21, 2013

McGraw-Hill Education plans to acquire adaptive learning software maker ALEKS. The software maker and the publishing giant have worked together over the past decade on math courseware for McGraw-Hill. ALEKS also has a standalone product, which McGraw-Hill said it will continue to offer in the "near term."

The acquisition marks McGraw-Hill's first since it was acquired by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. ALEKS is one of a number of companies trying to figure out how to make education software respond to and aid students.

June 21, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Valorie Salimpoor of the University of Toronto explains the neurology behind the human love of music. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

June 21, 2013

The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted Thursday to conduct a campus survey on whether there is discrimination based on political perspectives, particularly at the flagship Boulder campus, The Denver Post reported. Regents said that there was insufficient political diversity on the faculty, and that this could lead to discrimination against students based on political perspectives. Faculty leaders have said that there is no evidence of bias against students. The survey is expected to cost at least $40,000.

 

June 20, 2013

California's community college system this week unveiled a new Web tool that provides average salary levels of graduates of the state's 112 two-year colleges. The Salary Surfer database includes wage data for graduates of degree and certificate programs in about 25 disciplines. It lists the median annual salary for students two years before, two years after and five years after earning a specific credential. In April the system released Web-based "scorecards" on student performance at each college.

June 20, 2013

With the debate over unpaid internships heating up, new data may give pause to college officials who see unpaid internships as a path to future paid employment. The National Association of Colleges and Employers' survey of new bachelor's degree graduates who applied for jobs before graduation found that 63 percent of those who had paid internships received at least one job offer. The figure for those who held unpaid internships was 37 percent, only 2 percentage points higher than the figure for those who hadn't had an internship. The Atlantic summed up the research this way: "Unpaid interns of the world! Get up and leave the office. You have nothing to lose. Literally. Nothing."

June 20, 2013

The American Council on Education on Wednesday launched a campaign asking college and university presidents to promote faculty career flexibility on their campuses.

"We've found time and time again that flexible workplace policies make for happier, more committed faculty, which ultimately translates to better outcomes for our institutions and our students," Molly Corbett Broad, ACE president, said in a news release announcing the National Challenge for Higher Education: Retaining a 21st Century Workforce.

The campaign aims to reduce faculty turnover, increase productivity and engagement among faculty, and to develop means for baby boomer faculty to remain involved in institutional life upon retirement (ACE noted this is particularly important given the “looming wave” of baby boomer retirements) through more flexible work models.

Ten presidents and chancellors already have signed on to the campaign as founding partners. They are:

  • John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University
  • Mildred García, California State University at Fullerton
  • Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, University of Maryland at Baltimore County
  • Linda P.B. Katehi, University of California at Davis
  • Renu Khator, University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president
  • William E. Kirwan, University System of Maryland
  • David Maxwell, Drake University
  • Lynn Pasquerella, Mount Holyoke College
  • Steven G. Poskanzer, Carleton College
  • Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State University
June 20, 2013

Three former administrators at Carlow University have sued the institution, in federal court, charging the recent elimination of jobs has had an unfair impact on older workers, and in particular on older women, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The women who sued were 61, 65 and 73 at the time that their jobs ended. Their suit charges that 11 positions were eliminated, 6 of them held by women over the age of 60. The suit charges that the duties performed by the administrators were given to younger employees. A Carlow spokesman said that he had not seen the lawsuit and so could not comment on it.

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