Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 13, 2015

Police used tear gas and pepper spray on celebrating Ohio State University students after the institution's win of the national championship in football, The Columbus Dispatch reported. While many students celebrated lawfully, others refused to leave city streets. In addition, there were 40 reports of fires, most of them in dumpsters near campus.

January 13, 2015

Students who received privately funded scholarships were more likely than similarly qualified peers who did not to enroll in four-year rather than two-year colleges and to remain enrolled into their second year, according to a randomized study described in a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study (abstract available here), which was conducted by economists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, found that the effects of the aid in encouraging enrollment and boosting persistence were especially pronounced among nonwhite students and students with lower grade point averages and standardized test scores -- those who often are not reached by merit-based aid programs offered by states and colleges.

January 13, 2015

William Mitchell College of Law's hybrid J.D. program -- the first of its kind to be approved by the American Bar Association -- launched on Monday with 85 students. The four-year program blends online courses with nine scheduled campus visits and externships in the students' communities. The college also offers a traditional J.D. program. "The aspiring lawyers are medical doctors, college professors, bankers, baggage handlers, mothers and fathers, from 31 states and two countries," the college said in a press release. "They range in age from 22 to 67. At least 35 have advanced degrees -- including 14 M.B.A. degrees, five medical doctors and five Ph.D. degrees. Forty-five percent of the students are women and 19 percent are people of color."

January 13, 2015

Duke University ignored a graduate student's warnings about possible misconduct in the lab of a cancer researcher, years before the case exploded into public view, The Cancer Letter reported. The newsletter published documents showing that a medical student, Bradford Perez, tried to inform campus administrators about statistical anomalies in studies produced in the lab of Anil Potti, a cancer researcher. But university officials discouraged Perez from filing a formal complaint, the newsletter reported. Potti ultimately was found to have misrepresented his credentials and Duke was sued by participants in clinical trials that the university suspended amid the controversy.

January 13, 2015

The University of Virginia has formally reinstated the fraternity named in a discredited Rolling Stone article, The Washington Post reported. Phi Kappa Psi voluntarily surrendered its charter after the magazine ran an article about an alleged date rape. The university said that local authorities have done a full investigation and not found evidence to back the claims made in the article.


January 13, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Kim Haines-Eitzen, professor of ancient Mediterranean religions, early Christianity and early Judaism at Cornell University, analyzes educational depth of acoustic soundscapes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


January 12, 2015

The White House will be the site of a meeting this week with Obama administration officials, college athletics directors and leaders of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, USA Today reported. The meeting is expected to come before the announcement of a "Coalition to Save College Sports," organized by the commissioners of conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The agenda for the White House meeting is not known, but it is expected to include discussion of a possible presidential commission on college athletics.

The idea of presidents playing a role in college sports beyond greeting championship teams is not new. President Obama has expressed concern about the concussion issue in athletics, and President Theodore Roosevelt's interest is credited in saving college football in an earlier era.



January 12, 2015
California Governor Jerry Brown’s higher ed budget plan for the next year would give give a chunk of new money to community colleges. The proposal released late last week also, as expected, threaten the four-year University of California system if it goes ahead with a plan to raise tuition by up to 5 percent each of the next five years.
The biggest boon for higher ed is more than $1 billion for the 112-campus community college system. The system chancellor, Brice Harris, said the new money would allow the system to seat 45,000 more students. “Once again, the governor’s plan endorses the work we are doing to improve completion rates, close achievement gaps and make workforce training even more responsive to the needs of our economy,” Harris said. “At the same time, the governor provides a bold plan to lift more Californians out of poverty by reshaping and reinvesting in adult education programs that serve some of our neediest residents.”
About $800 million of the new money is ongoing funds and $300 million is one-time money, the chancellor’s office told a local newspaper.
Brown’s plan for the two four-year systems -- UC and the California State University system -- gives each a 4 percent increase, or about $120 million apiece. The money is  contingent on them both holding tuition flat, which they have done since 2011, although UC is now threatening to raise tuition. The budget warns UC not raise prices and also calls on UC to keep out-of-state student enrollment from rising. The system’s chancellor and board have said without more money from the state, they have to raise to raise tuition or they will choke of enrollment to Californians and admit more higher-paying out-of-state students.
January 12, 2015

In addition to its tuition-free community college plan, the White House on Friday released a proposal for a new technical job-training fund. The new money would build on a similar $2-billion workforce grant program aimed at two-year colleges, which expired last year.

The president wants the federal government to pay for the creation of 100 new job centers around the country. The focus of the centers would be to "help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills to work into growing fields with significant numbers of middle-class jobs that local employers are trying to fill," the White House said in a fact sheet, "such as energy, IT and advanced manufacturing."

Initial grants under the plan would pay for pilot programs, which would bring together colleges and employers. Larger grants would pay to expand programs that prove successful based on graduation and job-placement rates, according to the administration.

The White House did not provide a budget estimate for the proposal, which is dubbed the American Technical Training Fund. As with the community college plan, the president presumably will announce more details later this month.

The Association for Career and Technical Education applauded the proposed fund, saying it recognizes the "great need" for additional support of technical training programs, which are necessary to "keep America's workforce globally competitive."

Roughly 12 million college students receive career and technical training, the association said, as well as 94 percent of high-school students.

"While this initiative will provide critical resources to build capacity, incentivize innovation and pilot new approaches in some areas," LeAnn Wilson, the association's executive direct, said in a written statement, "we must prioritize a robust federal investment into the entire CTE system through proven approaches, particularly the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act."

January 12, 2015

Some students at Montclair State University are asking why the institution needs to spend $210,000 on a 12-foot bronze statue of the mascot, a red hawk, NorthJersey.com reported. (The design is at right.) The student government previously agreed to pay $100,000 of the costs. Now, some students say that the money is a waste and that there are more important uses for funds. The university released a statement Friday that said: "For centuries, physical symbols, such as public monuments and town square statues, have played an important role in the life and traditions of communities around the world – and a university is very much a community. The idea for a Red Hawk statue originated eight years ago with a group of Montclair State students who wanted to create an iconic symbol that would be placed prominently on campus. Montclair State University adopted the Red Hawk – a mythological bird based on the Red-Tail Hawk that can frequently be seen on campus – as its symbol in 1989 or 25 years ago this past September. For the university community, the Red Hawk has come to stand for the determination of our students to make something important of their lives and for the courage it takes to challenge oneself to truly fulfill one's potential."


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