Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 24, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Alan Willner of the University of Southern California reveals how twisting light could drastically increase data transmission speeds. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

July 24, 2013

A California appeals court has ruled that the names of the officers involved in the notorious pepper spray incident at the University of California at Davis are covered by the state's open records law and should be released, the Associated Press reported. The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee have been requesting the names. The appeals court issued a stay for the ruling, giving the union that represents the officers 40 days to file an appeal with the California Supreme Court.

July 23, 2013

A college education has a positive impact for men on health and tends to extend lifespan, according to a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (summary available here). The study uses data from the enrollment decisions of men during the Vietnam War era, when going to college greatly decreased the odds of one's being drafted, and so encouraged many men who might not have otherwise gone to college to do so. Looking at these cohorts and tracking them over time, the study finds that going to college decreases the odds of morbidity over time. Decreases are noted for college-going men in the rates of cancer and heart disease. Many factors could be at play, the authors note. The men who completed college, for example, were less likely to be smokers and more likely to have health insurance.

 

July 23, 2013

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has revoked the operating certificate of the University of Northern Virginia, an unaccredited institution that was raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in 2011 in relation to its enrollment of foreign students. In a letter sent to the institution, the State Council cites the university's failure to obtain candidacy status with an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education in five years. The letter also states that the university waived its right to appeal the revocation upon entering into a 2012 consent agreement that extended the deadline to obtain said candidacy status until June 1 of this year. 

The university has been instructed to immediately cease offering postsecondary educational programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to provide the State Council with enrollment and financial records. The university, whose Manassas and Annandale locations are certified by the U.S. government to enroll international students, has also been instructed to confer with the U.S Department of Homeland Security "to determine viable options” for F-1 visa holders enrolled at the institution.

Officials at the University of Northern Virginia did not immediately respond to voicemail messages on Monday afternoon. An e-mail to the general mailbox bounced back as undeliverable.

 

July 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Rafael Verduzco of Rice University explains the development of a new silicone material that becomes stronger with repeated use. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 23, 2013

Universities in Canada are increasingly concerned that a strike by foreign service workers will affect the ability of international students to obtain their visas in time to enroll for the fall semester. “That’s a real possibility that there will be students missing in the ranks,” McGill University’s dean of students, André Costopoulos, told CBC News

“This is the time of year when international students have got choices,” Paul Davidson, the president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada told the CBC’s Ottawa Morning radio program. “They have applied to universities in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in the United States and in Canada, and the country that gets them their visa fastest has the best chance of getting those students. So the job action with the visa applications backlogging is a real barrier for international students getting to Canada for this September.”

July 23, 2013

The University of Southern California is under investigation over allegations of sex discrimination, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights confirmed this weekend. USC is the latest institution where students filed federal complaints alleging violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 stemming from the handling of sexual assault cases. OCR also recently opened up investigations at Swarthmore College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in response to a renewed focus on the issue by the Education Department and an unprecedented wave of student activism and awareness of their rights.

July 23, 2013

Harvard University acted in "good faith" in conducting secret searches of e-mail files of some instructors, an outside report has concluded, The Boston Globe reported. The outside report, by a law firm, was commissioned amid widespread faculty and student anger over the e-mails searches, which were conducted as the university was concerned about leaks about a cheating investigation. Administrators believed at the time that they were acting in ways consistent with university policies, and administrators did not read the e-mail messages in the accounts that were searched, the report said.

 

July 23, 2013

Two months after faculty and staff votes of no confidence in his leadership, Ray Staats has been placed on leave as president of Gadsden State Community College, in Alabama, WBRC News reported. Faculty said that his priorities were misplaced, charging him with creating administrative positions and spending on facilities that weren't needed at a time that programs important to students lacked for funds. Staats did not respond to a requeset for comment.

 

July 22, 2013

National Journal has just completed its analysis of the college degrees (undergraduate and graduate school) of the top 250 Obama administration officials. The institutions at the top of both lists are private. Of graduate degrees in the senior ranks of the administration, only 25 percent come from public institutions. And while the top five lists lack public U.S. institutions, the University of Oxford does make one of the lists.

Top Universities for 250 Top Obama Administration Officials

Undergraduate Graduate
Harvard U. -- 23 Harvard U. -- 38
Yale U. -- 12 Georgetown -- 12
Cornell U. -- 11 U. of Oxford -- 11
Princeton U. -- 6 Columbia U. -- 9
U.S. Military Academy -- 6 George Washington U. -- 9

 

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