Higher Education Quick Takes
Elsevier on Tuesday became the latest academic publisher to add an adaptive learning component to its products. The company announced it will use a memory management tool provided by Cerego, a company based in California and Japan, to help nursing students learn basic concepts.
Cerego is content agnostic, meaning the technology can be applied to any topic. With textbooks, for example, subject matter experts can go through a chapter, highlight important concepts and feed the data to Cerego, which will turn the concepts into review exercises. As students complete the exercises, the system will tailor the content to test students on gaps in their knowledge, and also calculate how often they should review.
“Our vision for this goes beyond what we have today, but our current app is really, really good at translating that foundational information into personal knowledge,” founder and executive chairman Andrew Smith Lewis said.
Elsevier is looking to add the adaptive learning technology to the majority of its titles, Smith Lewis said. The company will roll out titles throughout the year.
California's Foothill-De Anza and Butte-Glenn community college districts have received $17 million from the state to develop a "one stop" online education portal, the colleges announced. The project will provide funding and support for all of California's 112 community colleges to offer courses through the statewide portal, which will feature a common course management system and student supports. Faculty members will play a leadership role in the work, college officials said.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted on Tuesday to merge Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University. The merger, announced on Nov. 1 as a foregone conclusion by the board, is now a sure thing. The merging itself will play out over the next several years and students will not attend the new institution, which will keep the Kennesaw name, until 2015.
The plan, which was announced to the surprise of most people on both campuses, met some opposition from students and alumni at Southern Poly.
The Georgia system has already merged eight institutions in an effort to, among other things, save money. So far, countless hours have been spent on the mergers, and historic institutions’ names have been wiped off the map. And, so far, the 31-campus system has saved only about 0.1 percent -- an estimated $7.5 million -- of its $7.4 billion operating budget.
After identifying a seventh possible meningitis case at Princeton University since March, New Jersey health officials declared a meningococcal disease outbreak there Sunday. A Princeton spokesperson told CBS News that all students living on campus are required to be vaccinated for meningitis, but the vaccine does not fully protect the strain that infected six students (the seventh victim was a visitor).
Sylvia Manning, president of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, has announced that she plans to retire in July, she confirmed in an email to Inside Higher Ed. From her post as leader of the nation's largest regional accreditor, Manning has been a high-profile voice in the intensifying debate over accreditation. She is also widely credited with leading the commission's tougher approach on for-profit education. A search for her successor will be announced soon, Manning said.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday on a rare circumstance poised to occur this week: the firing of a tenured faculty member by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Tribune article states that the case appears to represent the first time the Illinois board has been asked to weigh in on a tenure review decision. The case involves Louis Wozniak, who was removed from teaching several years ago over an email he sent to students that was perceived to have sexual overtones, one of several points of conflict that have led university administrators to seek to revoke his tenure. A faculty committee cleared him of most of the charges filed against him, but Illinois officials have argued that his continued flouting of one demand justified his firing.
First Lady Michelle Obama -- who has focused many of her public efforts on fitness, nutrition and military families -- will today start a new effort related to higher education, The New York Times reported. Obama will be focused on encouraging more low-income students to pursue higher education, and will draw on her own background as a child from a working-class family who earned degrees from Princeton and Harvard Universities.
A former professor of French at Wittenberg University in Ohio is suing the institution -- along with local police and media -- following his acquittal on rape and kidnapping charges in a case involving a developmentally disabled man, the Associated Press reported.
Hollant (Max) Adrien filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last week seeking reinstatement and $2 million in damages from Wittenberg, which fired him last year, before the case went to trial. In lieu of reinstatement, he's seeking $10 million. He's also seeking $50 million from local police and $110 million combined from six news outlets. A Wittenberg spokeswoman said via email that while the university doesn't comment on pending litigation, "we are confident that our institution was lawful and consistent in our policies and procedures in connection with Max Adrien."