Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 2, 2015

A Jewish fraternity at the University of California at Davis was defaced with swastikas this weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported. Fraternity members said that they believed their house was a target because they had spoken out in defense of Israel when the student government at Davis recently called on the University of California Board of Regents to sell stocks in companies "that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories." But student groups pushing for divestment from Israel said it was unfair to blame their movement, and they too condemned the act of putting up the swastikas.

 

February 2, 2015

Authorities are investigating the ninth death of a student at Appalachian State University this academic year, NBC Charlotte reported. No cause has been reported, and there are no indications of foul play. Two of the deaths were in car accidents and four were suicides, but the causes of the others remain unknown.

 

February 2, 2015

With blizzards in the Midwest today and returning to New England, some colleges and universities in both regions are calling off classes.

But at the University of Wisconsin at Madison no such luck for students or professors. The university's Twitter account didn't even want people to go to sleep Sunday night thinking they might have today off. The account posed the question "Snow day tomorrow?" and supplied the answer below.

 

 

February 2, 2015

Menlo College, a private institution in California, announced Sunday that it is dropping intercollegiate football. Menlo, with only 750 students, is a small college to field a football team. It played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and was the only member of the NAIA in California with a football program and one of only four within a 700-mile radius of the campus.

The NAIA looks to gain another member in football, however. Clarke University, in Iowa, announced that it is starting up a program. Clarke, a former women's college where 70 percent of students are women, hopes to attract more male students with football.

 

February 2, 2015

On a new edition of This Week, Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, Elena Silva of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Western Washington University's Johann Neem join Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik and This Week moderator Casey Green to discuss the foundation's new report on the continued viability of the credit hour in higher education. In our second segment, Keith Hoeller of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association and Alan Trevithick, a part-time instructor at Fordham University, Westchester Community College and LaGuardia Community College, consider the implications of a possible national walkout of adjunct instructors. Sign up here to be notified of new This Week podcasts.

 

February 2, 2015

Many testing centers in the Northeast canceled the Jan. 24 SAT because of a blizzard in the region, and the College Board rescheduled those test takers for Feb. 7. One problem is that some of those test takers were already spoken for on Feb. 7 -- as that's a national ACT test day. Some high schools and other testing centers also now have to manage both tests on the same day, something they typically avoid. ACT announced Friday that it would waive the normal rescheduling fee for anyone who needs to change the dates to avoid taking both tests the same day. A spokesman for the College Board said that it already waives the fee in cases like this, where students have been assigned a date rather than selecting one.

 

February 2, 2015

Frederick Lawrence announced Friday that he is stepping down as president of Brandeis University at the end of the academic year and will take a teaching position in the law school at Yale University. Lawrence was named president of Brandeis in 2011, following a period of sometimes acrimonious debate about the university's finances. The discussion of university finances has been calmer under Lawrence, and applications have grown.

February 2, 2015

Bryn Mawr College is taking a lot of heat for an e-mail it sent recently inviting students with "elevated" body mass index numbers to join a group that would offer fitness and nutrition advice. Philly.com noted that many women took offense at the invitations, saying that they had never indicated to the college's health service that they wanted such a group for themselves. Some have accused the college of "fat shaming," and of invading students' privacy. A college spokesman said that Bryn Mawr uses records that are maintained confidentially to reach out to students who may benefit from a particular health program. The same program has been offered without complaint in the past, and some students have taken to Facebook to say it was a valuable program (while generally saying that the college should let students identify themselves for participation).

 

February 2, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Michele Markstein, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, explores the use of fruit flies in improving chemotherapy treatment in the hope of fighting cancer. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

January 30, 2015

The head of the University of Wisconsin System defended faculty from state Governor Scott Walker's suggestion that professors should teach more classes to save money as part of a Walker-backed $300 million budget cut.

Faculty are like state lawmakers, system President Ray Cross said in a radio interview, "if all we think they do is what we see them do when both chambers are in session. They only work a few months at best a year. That's not any different than faculty. Faculty on average are working 50 to 60 hours a week."

Cross said he's "frustrated over" Walker's comments. "We need to appreciate [faculty] more because it's on the backs of the best and the brightest that we're going to solve some of the problems we have in this country and in this state," Cross said.

Cross released a statement this week supporting the newfound independence Walker is offering the system to go along with the cuts, which are likely to result in faculty and staff layoffs. Cross also suggested this week that universities can cope with the proposed cuts by raising tuition on students.

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