Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 5, 2013

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, which is the for-profit sector's primary trade group, announced today that it has hired Michael Dakduk as vice president of military and veterans affairs. Dakduk has been executive director of Student Veterans of America, a nonprofit organization with more than 900 chapter affiliates.

November 5, 2013

Latinos in California are far less likely to earn a college credential than their peers from other ethnic groups, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit group based in California. One third of the state's adult population is Latino, the report said, but only 11 percent of Latinos in the state hold at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 39 percent of white Californians.

November 5, 2013

While public and private institutions have chosen different strategies on online education, academic officials in both camps face the same challenges with getting faculty members on board with the efforts, according to new research conducted by the Learning House, Inc., of members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.

The findings, detailed in two separate reports, show that public institutions continue to be the driving force when it comes to offering fully online programs. Nearly half of the surveyed AASCU member institutions, or 48 percent, said they offer five or more such programs, while an equal number of CIC member institutions reported they don't offer a single one. 

The independent institutions are unlikely to close the gap in the coming years. Asked to list their top priorities in the next two years, only 23 percent of respondents picked creating fully online undergraduate or graduate programs. Still, the report notes that "Even among institutions that do not offer any fully online programs now, interest is strong, and across all degree types." For example, the survey suggests these institutions are more likely to consider hybrid programs. About one-third of respondents listed that as a priority -- the second most popular item after increasing international student enrollment. 

Officials at public institutions also placed a heavy emphasis on international students, but many of their priorities appear to reflect the fact that their institutions have already established more robust online offerings than their independent counterparts. Fully online certificate programs are on the agenda for 41 percent of AASCU members, and while about two-thirds of those respondents already provide support services for online students, another 33 percent plan to do so in the next two years.

Although online programs are more prevalent in public institutions than in private ones, lack of acceptance among faculty members continues to be prevalent. More than half of respondents in AASCU and CIC member institutions said they still encounter that kind of hostility. Both groups still pointed to the time and effort it takes to teach online as the most common barrier they face.

November 5, 2013

Anderson University, a private Christian institution in Indiana, has announced that it will eliminate its French, philosophy and theater majors as part of a plan to deal with financial shortfalls, The Herald Bulletin reported. A total of 16 faculty and staff positions will be eliminated as a result of those and other changes.

 

November 5, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Ali Nayeri of Chapman University discusses the explanatory power of string theory cosmology. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 5, 2013

Two reports were issued Monday on medical education:

  • The Blue Ribbon Commission for the Advancement of Osteopathic Medical Education issued a report calling for a shift in osteopathic medical education and residencies away from assumptions based on years of study, to an approach based on measuring "readiness" for residency (in medical school) and "readiness for practice" during residency.
  • New York State received 20 percent of all of Medicare's graduate medical education (GME) funding while 29 states, including some with shortages of physicians, got less than 1 percent, according to a report published  by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

 

November 4, 2013

Service Employees International Union released a report Friday detailing the financial struggles of adjunct faculty at institutions across Boston, as part of its ongoing effort to unionize adjuncts in that city. The campaign is part of a national SEIU effort, called Adjunct Action, to organize adjunct faculty at individual institutions and regionally.

According to the report, called "High Cost of Adjunct Living: Boston," 67 percent of faculty members -- some 15,000 people -- in the Boston area were employed as adjuncts in 2011. Based on median pay per course in New England -- from $3,750 at private, master's-level institutions to $5,225, at private, doctoral-level institutions -- SEIU finds that an adjunct would have to teach 17 to 24 courses annually to enjoy median-priced housing and utilities in Boston, where the cost of living is 32 percent higher than the national average. Teaching 12 courses per year at those rates -- an unusually large course load -- an adjunct may earn $45,000, the report finds. Comparatively, full-time faculty earned from $113,000 to $154,000, on average, in 2011, depending on institution type.

The report is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education Digest of Education Statistics, among other sources, as well as SEIU interviews with adjuncts across Boston. Some tell of living off inexpensive food such as fried potatoes and onions for an entire semester and using credit cards to pay for basic costs, such as Internet and groceries. Many tell of feeling buried by student debt. According to SEIU calculations, an adjunct would have to teach one or two courses per semester to pay back average doctoral student loans alone. SEIU notes that adjuncts who are unionized enjoy on average 25 percent better pay nationally, as well as other benefits, such as increased job security, and, in some cases, access to health insurance.

 

November 4, 2013

A new study -- summarizing 26 previous studies on the scores of female and male students in physics -- has failed to find a consistent explanation for women appearing to start and finish courses, on average, with lower comprehension levels than their male counterparts. Viewing the studies in isolation, there is evidence that some factors -- such as different preparation of levels of men and women before college -- may contribute to the gap. But no one factor studied can explain the overall gap, "suggesting that the gender gap is most likely due to the combination of many small factors rather than any one factor that can easily be modified," says a summary of the study, which will appear in Physical Review Special Topics. The summary of the paper also notes that "several high-profile studies that have claimed to account for or reduce the gender gap have failed to be replicated in subsequent studies, suggesting that isolated claims of explanations of the gender gap should be interpreted with caution."

 

 

 

November 4, 2013

A Kentucky jury has awarded the former director of marketing publications at the University of Louisville $412,000, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. Laurel Harper claimed in her suit that her job was eliminated because she complained about wasteful spending. Specifically, she had complained about the high costs associated with a kickoff party for a fund-raising campaign. The university said that the job was eliminated as part of a reduction to cut costs, and not because Harper was a whistle-blower.

November 4, 2013

A California Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit from California Competes, a nonprofit group that had challenged the shared governance structure of California's community college system. The group, which is led by Robert Shireman, a former official at the U.S. Department of Education, sued over the legal status of state regulations that allegedly grant veto powers to local academic senates. The judge last week denied that motion. (Note: This article has been corrected from a previous version to fix an incorrect reference to the judge's ruling. The judge issued no written explanation for his decision.)

Pages

Back to Top