Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 26, 2013

An article in The New York Times explores the role of ESPN in college football and how the network has arguably become more influential than conferences, the National Collegiate Athletic Association or (not that there was much doubt) faculty members at various institutions. The article traces the network's role in picking match-ups, scheduling game times and encouraging trends such as games that are not on Saturday.

 

August 26, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Adam Siepel of Cornell University explains why humans and chimpanzees are drastically different despite sharing much of the same DNA. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 26, 2013

The board of California Lutheran University has approved a plan for the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to become part of the university. The seminary, which would maintain its campus in Berkeley, has been free-standing. Both institutions are affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The plan still needs to be approved by the accreditor of the institutions, the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.

August 26, 2013

Robert Rumbelow resigned as director of the band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign last week after officials determined that he sold $87,000 in old instruments of the university's on eBay and elsewhere, The Chicago Tribune reported. Rumbelow faces felony theft charges because the funds from the sales were deposited in his own account. Rumbelow's lawyer said that his client intended to turn the funds over the university once all the old instruments were sold (he now has done so) and enough funds had been raised for a new band building.

 

August 26, 2013

A July letter to President Obama and Congress calling for steps to close the "innovation deficit" now includes a new signatory: Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. The letter was signed by scores of university presidents, and its emphasis on federal funding for research and technology made joining the push an easy call for most higher ed leaders. But faculty members at Purdue -- an institution whose academic strengths in the sciences mean its professors depend on federal support -- noted that Daniels didn't sign. In his pre-Purdue political career, Daniels was known as a budget hawk and he has repeatedly raised concerns about the size of the federal deficit. He explained that he didn't sign the letter because of "its complete omission of any recognition of the severe fiscal condition in which the nation finds itself."

Now, however, he has signed. He explained in a statement that he only recently learned that the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities -- the two groups that coordinated the July letter -- last year released a statement noting their broad concerns about the federal budget deficits. Said Daniels: "I regret that I was unaware of last year’s excellent letter. If it had been attached, restated or incorporated by reference, I would gladly have signed the more recent letter. Now that I have confirmed with the APLU president that last year’s stance remains in effect, I am in full support of the AAU and APLU efforts."

August 23, 2013

Entrepreneurship education, once considered a “niche program” has become a “hot” area of focus that is now expected in most M.B.A. programs and is primarily focused on experiential, rather than theoretical learning, said Sarah Gardial, dean of the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and president of the MBA Roundtable.

Those two points were among the top findings in an M.B.A. Roundtable study, which sought to better understand what approaches MBA programs are taking to teach topics related to entrepreneurial thought. The study relied on data gathered from interviews with and surveys from 137 M.B.A. program directors.

The study found that 91 percent of MBA entrepreneurship programs use at least some form of experiential learning. The teaching in these programs focuses on an apprenticeship model of education, where the learning is largely hands on, and students are mentored and coached rather than taught. This is a sharp contrast from traditional business school methods of teaching, Gardial said. She said this report on entrepreneurial programs could provide a model for other areas of business school to create a “healthier balance” between theory and “doing.” The study also found that 85 percent of the MBA programs surveyed offered entrepreneurship, and a third of executive MBA programs are likely to have 75 percent or more of their students participate in entrepreneurship offerings.

 

 

August 23, 2013

The family of a Frostburg State University football player who died after sustaining a head injury during practice in 2011 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Washington Times reported. The lawsuit, which argues that Derek Sheely’s death was preventable and that coaches ordered players to lead with their heads in drills, also names Frostburg State’s head football coach, running backs coach and assistant athletic trainer. Filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court, the suit also says athletes who complained of concussion symptoms were called “gripers” and ordered to return to practice, after which they had to clean the field.

This is not the only head trauma-related lawsuit the NCAA faces. USA Today also reported this week that after a U.S. district court judge granted a stay in the case, a 2011 lawsuit filed against the NCAA by four former athletes seeking damages for the lasting effects of concussions may end in a settlement.
 

August 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Katharine Maus of the University of Virginia explores the 16th century view of property as revealed in the works William Shakespeare. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 23, 2013

The monthlong string of hate crimes that prompted a federal investigation and culminated in Oberlin College canceling classes for a day in the spring was a hoax orchestrated by two students who have since been removed from campus, The Daily Caller reported Thursday. After police suggested in March that a person spotted in Ku Klux Klan-like robes around the campus Afrikan Heritage Center may have just been someone wrapped in a blanket, some speculated (noting high-profile cases elsewhere) that the sighting, as well as incidents of racist and anti-Semitic notes, posters, harassing emails and graffiti, were hoaxes. After he was caught, police records show, one of the students told campus cops, “I’m doing it as a joke to see the college overreact to it as they have with the other racial postings that have been posted on campus.” The students took responsibility for some but not all of the incidents.

In response to an Inside Higher Ed query, Oberlin spokesman Scott Wargo confirmed that two students "who may [have been] responsible" were identified and "removed from campus" back in March. "While we take issue with the characterizations reflected in the Daily Caller article, we are constrained from commenting further by federal law and the need to preserve the integrity of our ongoing internal judicial processes," Wargo said.

August 23, 2013

Southern Illinois University is the latest institution to limit graduate assistants' workloads ahead of the Affordable Care Act's so-called "employer mandate" taking effect. In an e-mail sent earlier this week to Southern Illinois' Graduate School deans, chairs and graduate directors, Susan M. Ford, interim dean, said that starting in January the school will no longer approve graduate assistant contracts over a 50 percent assignment  -- what typically equates to a 20-hour workweek. Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers such as colleges and universities will have to provide employees working 30 hours or more weekly with health insurance, or face fines, beginning in January 2015.

"This restriction relates to the university's current understanding of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the way [graduate assistant] benefits will be determined," reads the email, obtained by Inside Higher Ed. "This restriction is consistent with practice being enacted at universities across the country and put in place after consultation with the various offices involved with [graduate assistant] benefits on campus."

Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many students the new policy could affect.

Earlier this summer, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa announced it was limiting graduate students' workloads universitywide ahead of the Affordable Care Act. Adjunct instructors at dozens of institutions across the country also have seen their workloads limited for the same reasons.

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