Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, May 10, 2013 - 3:00am

Cheating concerns have led the Educational Testing Service to call off the SAT in South Korea this month, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move followed reports that questions from the May SAT were circulating in some test-prep centers. Some Korean students planning to apply to colleges in the United States are trying to find other countries where they can take the exam.

 

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 3:00am

The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association has written a letter to the president of Egypt’s Suez Canal University protesting its investigation and informal suspension without pay of an English professor variously accused of “contempt of religion” and “insulting Islam.” As the letter details, Mona Prince is accused by a student of making “untoward” statements about Islam in a lecture on sectarian tensions in Egypt. 

The letter describes the incident as a misunderstanding or disagreement between Prince and a student complainant. "It seems to us, indeed, that Dr. Prince acted precisely as a professor should, particularly in a discussion section of a course designed to teach critical thinking skills,” states the letter, signed by MESA’s president, Peter Sluglett. “She encouraged her students to tackle matters that, while sensitive and unpleasant, are among the most pressing socio-political issues in contemporary Egypt.”

“We are quite disturbed, therefore, that the university has opened an investigation at all,” the letter continues. “The mere fact that the university deems this innocuous incident worthy of inquiry could exercise a chilling effect  upon academic freedom."

The president of Suez Canal University did not immediately respond to an email message on Thursday. 

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 4:30am

Students at California State University at San Marcos held a protest outside the president's office Thursday to protest the university's decision not to punish Alpha Chi Omega sorority following a racially insensitive incident, KPBS reported. The sorority held an event in which members posed for photographs dressed as Latina gang members, and then posted the photos to social media. One of the students who protested said: "To come to school where people don’t understand that there’s real struggles behind these things; that they’re real, we have to go home to them whenever we go home to our families or our communities. And it’s not funny. It’s not funny to us. In fact, it’s hurtful."

 

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 3:00am

An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics graduating from high school in 2012this is Latinos, right? make this "of the Hispanic students graduating from high school in 2012..."? -sj enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates from the same class, of whom 67 percent enrolled in college.

According to Pew, Hispanic college-going has seen a long-term increase, especially since the recession hit, whereas enrollment by white high school graduates has gradually declined since 2008.

In addition, the high school dropout rate among Hispanic 16 to 24-year-olds has been cut in half since 2000, when it was 28 percent, compared to 14 percent currently. The white high school dropout rate has also declined, albeit only two percentage points and from a lower base (7 percent to 5 percent).

Recent High School Dropouts (numbers in thousands)

Race/ethnicity 1999-2000 2011-2012
Hispanic 101 134
White 384 197
Black 111 124
Asian (unavailable) 19

Ratio of High School Completers to Dropouts

Race/ethnicity 1999-2000 2011-2012
Hispanic 3:1 5:1
White 6:1 12:1
Black 4:1 4:1
Asian (unavailable) 9:1

(Both tables from Pew Research Center)

Although they surpass white students in the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college, Pew added, Hispanic graduates still lag behind in some aspects; for instance, Hispanic high school graduates have a 56 percent likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college, as compared to 72 percent for white graduates. They are also less likely than whites to be full-time students or earn a bachelor's degree.

Pew offers two possible explanations for the increased Hispanic enrollment: the worsening job market (unemployment among Hispanics 16-24 has increased seven percentage points post-recession, compared to five points among whites) and the emphasis Hispanic families are likely to place on a college education (according to two separate 2009 Pew surveys, 88 percent of Hispanics 16 and over agreed that a college degree is necessary for success, compared to 74 percent of Americans overall who said that).

 

 

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 4:34am

A new report, "The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities," was released Thursday by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The report details the role of black colleges, outlines demographic trends in enrollments and discusses educational and financial challenges facing the institutions.
 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

 

Time again for Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest. You can suggest a caption for a new cartoon or choose your favorite from among the three finalists nominated for best caption for last month's drawing. And we have news about the winner of March's contest, who hails from South Dakota.

To submit your captions for May's cartoon, please click here. The three entries that our judges find the smartest or funniest or just plain best will be put to a vote by our readers next month, and the winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by Matthew Henry Hall, the artist.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated as finalists for our April cartoon, which should have had special appeal for you Dracula fans.

And congratulations to the winner of the Cartoon Caption Contest for March, Joe Valades, director of academic advising in the Student Success Center at Black Hills State University, in Spearfish, S.D. Find out more about him and his submission here.

Thanks for playing along in any way you see fit.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Wealthy American universities are cutting way back on their endowments' holdings in U.S. debt, Financial Times reported. In some cases, Treasury securities represented as much as 30 percent of endowment holdings in 2008-9 and that figure is now down to zero in some cases, or very small percentages in others.

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 4:31am

Indiana University last year approved -- and then quickly unapproved -- the release of a sex reporting app by its Kinsey Institute, long famous for cutting-edge sex research. Using the app, individuals could report promptly (and anonymously) on their own sexual activities, potentially giving researchers new information on exactly what people do and when and how they do it. The university denied it was being prudish and said it needed only to review privacy protocols. Following months of review, the university announced Wednesday that the app has again been approved for release -- with only one change. That change is that all reports will be placed on hold for geographically defined areas. Only when enough people from a given area respond so that reports could not be linked to any one individual will that information move into the database where it can be studied.

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The articles aren't today's breaking news, but reflect long-term trends and some of the forward-looking thinking of experts on how MOOCs may change higher education. The idea is to provide these materials (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Inside Higher Ed will be releasing more such compilations in the months ahead, on a range of topics.

You can find "The MOOC Moment," the debut in this series, here.

And we invite you to participate in a free webinar with Inside Higher Ed's editors to talk about the issues raised in the articles and the latest developments involving MOOCs on Thursday, May 30, at 2 p.m. Eastern. To register, please click here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 4:33am

Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, has halted the search for a new president of Nassau Community College, pending a review of allegations of problems in the search. An editorial in Newsday outlined a range of concerns that were expressed prior to Zimpher's action, including charges of racial bias and of scheduling search committee meetings at times some members could not attend. The editorial also questioned the quality of the candidates that have emerged thus far.

 

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