Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

New data from Statistics Canada show full-time faculty salaries increased by 2.5 percent in the last year, while inflation rose by 2.7 percent, Maclean's reported. The new data also showed a slight gain (of 1.3 percent) in the share of university teaching positions held by women. Men hold 62.4 percent of such positions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

An article in Duke Today explores the tradition at Duke University (and elsewhere) of graduate students bringing food -- homemade or store-bought -- to their dissertation defenses. The article notes that defenses, while a crucial milestone, rarely take place until it is clear a student will pass, so the food can't be viewed as a bribe.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

National journalism groups are flocking to criticize the University of Kentucky for cutting off a student newspaper's access to the institution's basketball players. The Associated Press Managing Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists both sent letters to Kentucky officials Tuesday condemning what the APME called the "reprehensible behavior" of Kentucky's athletics department in revoking the access of a Kentucky Kernel reporter to interview men's basketball players at the institution one on one. The decision, the editors wrote, "amounts to no less than an attempt to bully the newspaper into submission and to censor news concerning operations of the University of Kentucky athletic department." Kentucky officials acted after they said the reporter, Aaron Smith, had violated its policies concerning how information regarding walk-on players could be made public.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Wide gaps persist in the graduation rates of Division I football players and other male students, and these gaps are not limited to "football factory" institutions, according to a report released this morning by the College Sport Research Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study found only two conferences in Division I -- the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- in which football players graduated at rates greater than the full-time male student body. The Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10) had the greatest gap, with football players graduating at a rate 26 points lower than other male students.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Over 76 percent of people in a survey in China said that universities don't disclose enough information about themselves, Xinhua reported. The news service reported that many students say that they must rely on personal networks for basic information. As a result, many students receive inaccurate information, the article said.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

A recent article here explored how West Virginia University and some of the other champion universities at obtaining earmarks are adjusting to a post-earmark era. An article today in The Boston Globe looks at how colleges in Massachusetts -- a state with some universities that do quite well under peer review distribution of grants -- are shifting gears. While many of the colleges are hiring lobbyists to find federal funds, others are laying off workers, accepting that funds won't be as easy to obtain as in the past.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 3:00am

One year removed from high school, 86 percent of new graduates believe that college is "worth the time and money," according to a new survey by the College Board. The majority holds (at 76 percent) for those who have not gone to college. The survey also found that 90 percent of all new high school graduates agree with the statement: "In today's world, high school is not enough, and nearly everybody needs to complete some kind of education or training after high school." Of those in college, 54 percent reported that their courses were more difficult than they expected, and many students said that they wished that they had taken more rigorous courses in high school.

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