Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Véronique Kiermer, executive editor of the Nature Publishing Group, says that there is more "sloppiness" than in the past in journal submissions, Times Higher Education reported. Kiermer made the remark in a speech at the World Conference on Research Integrity. Among the problems she said she is seeing more of are: missing control tests, poor use of images,  flaws in experimental design and reporting, and problems with the use of statistics.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 4:18am

State officials in Texas today unveil Compare College Texas, a website that gives students and policy makers easily comparable data on key higher education outcomes for all public institutions in the state.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

A prominent Harvard University historian, Niall Ferguson, has been apologizing for statements he made that John Maynard Keynes didn't care about future generations because he was gay and did not have children. The chair of the Committee on LGBT History, a national group, on Tuesday issued a statement encouraging Ferguson to read more gay history, and calling on Harvard to use the Ferguson controversy to play more of a role in gay history. "Harvard should show leadership here by, at a minimum, hosting a major conference about LGBT history and encouraging Ferguson to attend. It is also high time that Harvard makes a new tenure-track hire in LGBT history. The incident has underscored the value of teaching and researching LGBT histories. This confronts ignorance about LGBT people, lives, and communities, and in the process, builds a more accurate historical record overall," said the statement, published at the History News Network.

In an e-mail message to Inside Higher Ed, David Armitage, the chair of history at Harvard, said: "We do not currently have a tenure-track position specifically focused on gay and lesbian history but we did request a post in the modern history of gender and sexuality (jointly with Harvard's program in women and gender studies) long before the recent debate arose. We already have great strength in this field, with Afsaneh Najmabadi, Nancy Cott, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in our department, but we very much hope to extend our reach in this area, alongside many other pressing priorities for our department."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Frank Elgar of McGill University explores the psychological benefits of making time for family meals. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 4:25am

The University of Southern California announced Wednesday that it would receive $70 million from the music producers Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre to create an academy designed to encourage entrepreneurship in the music industry. The USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation -- Andre Young is Dr. Dre's real name -- will bring together courses in business, marketing, engineering and the arts, among other disciplines, to try to stimulate creativity in the music industry.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public liberal arts college, is likely to face a budget shortfall of about $3.5 million after commitments from incoming freshmen came in short of what the college expected, The Washington Post reported. Aiming for a class of about 470, the university has received commitments from only about 360 students so far. Administrators said the college is trying to attract more applicants and enroll students off the waitlist, as well as figure out how to cope with the lost tuition revenue. Administrators said they are not yet sure why the college saw a decrease in commitments after receiving a 14 percent increase in applications, but are looking into it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Fifteen percent of college students have or have a friend who has ordered drugs off the Internet without a prescription, according to a new survey by the Digital Citizens Alliance. The survey of 366 current and recent students found that one in three students took prescription drugs “to get through finals,” and a third of them obtained the pills without a prescription.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is using an unusual tactic to promote a bill she proposed on student loan interest rates: asking for "citizen co-sponsors" for the legislation. The bill, one of many proposals put forward in recent weeks to stop the interest rates for subsidized student loans from doubling as planned on July 1, would reduce student loan interest rates to 0.75 percent for a year -- the rate at which the Federal Reserve lends to major banks.

President Obama and House Republicans want a market-based rate for student loan interest; some Senate Democrats would prefer to extend the current subsidized loan interest rate of 3.4 percent while they work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

So Warren's measure isn't likely to pass. But as the first stand-alone legislation from the closely watched freshman senator, it has generated considerable interest online. "If Congress doesn't act by July 1, our students will pay nine times more than big banks," Warren said in an e-mailed appeal to supporters sent via a liberal political action committee, Democracy for America. "Our students are the engine of our economic future, and they deserve at least the same deal as Wall Street."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 4:14am

Legislation that would limit the power of public university trustees -- inspired by perceived micromanaging by the University of Texas System board -- passed the Texas House of Representatives Monday, The Texas Tribune reported. Among other things, the bill would block regents of the state's public university systems from dismissing a campus president without a recommendation from the chancellor of that system, and require -- rather than recommend, as is now the case in state law -- that regents protect the independence of the universities they govern. The sponsors of the legislation, which requires another approval in the House before heading back to the state Senate, said they were motivated by recent steps by UT regents to undermine Bill Powers, president of the system's flagship campus in Austin.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 3:00am

A committee of a regional accreditor last week recommended that the University of Phoenix be placed "on notice," which is a lesser sanction than the probation a peer review team suggested earlier this year, the university said in a financial statement. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is considering the university's 10-year bid for reaffirmation. The peer review team identified alleged governance problems at the university, including a lack of autonomy from its holding company, the Apollo Group. The university made subsequent changes in response to the report. The commission's Board of Trustees is scheduled to make the final ruling on the university's bid next month. The board gets the final call and is not required to take into account the report released last week by the commission's Institutional Actions Council First Committee.


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