Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 17, 2014

The board of Pennsylvania State University is expected today to name Eric Barron as the institution's next president, The Centre Daily Times reported. Barron, a former dean at Penn State, has been president of Florida State University since 2010. The Penn State search has been difficult, as the university continues to recover from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and as an earlier leading candidate pulled out of contention amid reports he had been padding his salary without authorization from his board.

February 14, 2014

Faculty members have voted no confidence and students are protesting Gregory Jordan, the president of King University, in Tennessee, The Johnson City Press reported. Administrators say that Jordan is making changes to position the college in the changing environment for higher education. But professors say that he has refused to listen to their concerns, and falsely characterized critics as a marginal group.

 

February 14, 2014

The University of the People, an unusual online institution in which students pay no tuition and faculty members volunteer, has been accredited, The New York Times reported. Officials at the university have predicted that accreditation could lead to rapid growth. The university was accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

The university's founder described his goals in a podcast interview with Inside Higher Ed in 2009.

 

February 14, 2014

Pearson, the education-technology company, this week announced that it has created a new digital badging system, dubbed Acclaim. The open platform, which the company rolled out this week at a Silicon Valley event on badging, allows learners to display their skills, knowledge and achievements on the Web. The Mozilla Foundation and Blackboard have also worked on digital badging, having collaborated on a separate platform.

February 14, 2014

A review of the literature on scientific genius and age -- published by the National Bureau of Economic Research -- may challenge conventional wisdom. "Formal studies are often surprising, both in their findings and in their broader implications. In contrast to common perceptions, most great scientific contributions are not the product of precocious youngsters but rather come disproportionately in middle age," the study says. "Moreover, perceptions that some fields, such as physics, feature systematically younger contributions than others do not stand up to empirical scrutiny."

 

February 14, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Matthew Johnson of Binghamton University explains the link between poverty and marriage stability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 14, 2014

Black students at Drake University complained about a food service dinner Wednesday to mark Black History Month, The Des Moines Register reported. The meal -- which was planned by the food service provider Sodexo without consulting with black students -- featured food items such as fried chicken and collard greens. Students said that serving such food reinforced stereotypes and they added an educational program to the dinner. Sodexo issued a statement of apology: “While clearly a well-intentioned effort to celebrate African-Americans’ cultural history, the result is inappropriate and misguided."

 

February 14, 2014

California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles jointly announced a new effort Thursday to increase the number of minority Ph.D.s in science, mathematics and technology fields. The four universities will create "a unique, cross-institutional community of underrepresented minority Ph.D. students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty members in the targeted fields; developing faculty training to better recognize and help these students thrive and advance; and conducting research that includes annual surveys of Ph.D. students about what factors impact their attitudes, experiences and preparation for the future," the announcement said.

 

February 13, 2014

It will take significant cooperation among state and federal policy makers, traditional educational institutions and others to improve American adults' work force and literacy skills, the American Council on Education argues in a new report. The report examines data released last year as part of Survey of Adult Skills from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which showed U.S. adults lagging behind those in many other countries on literacy and numeracy, and asserts that colleges and others will need to adopt new approaches to change that picture. "Raising the literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills proficiency for adults in the United States will be a team sport, with policy and education leaders working together across federal, state, and institutional boundaries," it says.

February 13, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Jonathan Ruppert of York University describes the connection between shark population and reef health. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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