Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 3, 2013

Ivy Tech Community College -- a well-regarded statewide network in Indiana -- is considering closing up to 20 of its 72 campus locations, The Indianapolis Star reported. The system is facing a $68 million deficit, the result of several years in which enrollment increased substantially without the colleges' receiving per-student appropriations sufficient to keep up with the growth.

 

May 31, 2013

More than 46,500 American students were pursuing full degrees abroad in 2011-12, according to a new report released by the Institute of International Education. This represented about a 5 percent increase from the year prior. Of those going abroad, about 42 percent are enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, with the remaining 16 percent pursuing doctorates.

The report is based on data from 14 countries, including the United Kingdom, the largest host of American students. (Other countries in the sample are Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, China, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Denmark and Malaysia.) The numbers do not include students who study abroad as part of a course of study at a U.S. institution.

May 31, 2013

On Thursday, Inside Higher Ed's editors, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, discussed the latest developments and issues surrounding massive open online courses during a free webinar. To watch the webinar, which was held in conjunction with the recent release of "The MOOC Moment," a collection of articles and essays about MOOCs, click here.

May 31, 2013

Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, has apologized for comments he made about the University of Notre Dame and about Roman Catholics, the Associated Press reported. In a meeting of Ohio State's athletics council, a recording of which was obtained by AP, Gee said that Notre Dame wasn't invited to join the Big 10 because priests are not good partners, and "those damned Catholics" can't be trusted. He also said that "the fathers are holy on Sunday, and they're holy hell on the rest of the week." Ohio State issued a statement indicating that Gee had agreed to a "remediation plan" because of the remarks. Gee has personally apologized to officials at Notre Dame, who accepted the apology. Last year, Gee apologized to Polish-American groups after he compared the difficulty of managing the university to leading the Polish army.

 

May 31, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Levin of Tufts University explains the process that determines organ placement as an embryo develops. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

May 31, 2013

The agency that accredits California's two-year colleges says that its review of the process it followed in evaluating City College of San Francisco found no irregularities, rebuffing allegations made last month in a complaint filed last month by several employee unions. The massive complaint filed by the unions made a wide range of charges against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, including that the review of CCSF by the two-year arm of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges was tainted by conflicts of interest and in violation of state and federal laws. The report said the review by the commission's executive committee found the complaint to be "without merit." A spokesman for the California Federation of Teachers called the accreditor's report a "non-response" that was "completely predictable," and said the union was weighing its next steps.

May 31, 2013

Stanford University reported this week that it has made progress in diversifying its faculty. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of underrepresented minority faculty members (black, Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native) increased by 43 percent, to 146. During the same period, the overall growth in the Stanford faculty was only 9 percent. At the same time, the university said that a study based on interviews with 52 of the minority faculty members found areas that need improvement. Many minority faculty members, the university found, report feelings of research isolation, diminished peer recognition and "lesser collegiality."

 

May 31, 2013

Faculty members and some trustees are raising questions about why St. Mary's College of Maryland, well regarded for providing a public liberal arts education, missed its enrollment target for the fall's class by 150 students, The Washington Post reported. Some are criticizing President Joseph Urgo, who has said that the college will be cutting its budget to make up for the lost tuition revenue. Urgo has said that he is studying what happened and will make necessary changes, but many faculty members say he is responsible. They particularly note that Urgo has replaced most senior administrators since arriving three years ago, and that changes in the admissions office replaced people who knew Maryland high schools well.

May 31, 2013

A new paper sponsored by several divestment advocacy groups and written by the Tellus Institute, a think tank that works on issues of sustainability, attempts to chart a course for institutions to follow in order to divest fossil fuel holdings from their endowments and overcome administrators' objections that divestment would be too costly and onerous. In the past few months, several university governing boards and endowments have become the target of a coordinated national campaign, which most wealthy institutions have so far resisted.

In the paper, author Josh Humphreys, a fellow at the Tellus Institute, who is this? -sj lays out a three-step path of freezing and divesting investments in coal companies, investing in renewable energy companies and "strategic reallocation across all asset classes in order to manage climate risk and embrace sustainable opportunities in a holistic way." The paper does not present any new calculations on the potential costs or benefits of divestment, instead relying on previous works, though it does express a belief that colleges that divest will likely see higher returns than institutions that continue to invest in fossil fuels.

May 30, 2013

In death as in life, Margaret Thatcher's relationship to her alma mater, the University of Oxford, is contentious. The Oxford college she attended is currently raising funds for scholarships to be named for the late prime minister. But on Wednesday, London Mayor Boris Johnson denounced the university for not doing more, BBC reported. He noted that Thatcher was the first Oxford graduate after World War II who became prime minister and was never awarded an honorary doctorate. Professors blocked a move to award her the honor in 1995.  Johnson called on Oxford to name a college after Thatcher. Many British academics hated Thatcher and her policies, which they viewed as taking away government support from the institution. But Johnson said that Oxford and other universities, which today depend on tuition revenue from foreign students, should remember that Thatcher's policies made it possible for universities to gain financially from such enrollments.

"I'm still waiting for the Oxford dons to accept the gravity of their error and, in the spirit of magnanimity, to award Baroness Thatcher not only a posthumous doctorate, but why not endow a college?" Johnson said. "Why not have a college in honor of their greatest post-war benefactress as they rake in the doubloons from international student fees?"

The university said that it has no plans to create additional colleges.

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