Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 6, 2014

Most prepaid tuition programs were pitched to cover public four-year institutions and, in some cases, private colleges. But in Florida, the state is increasingly promoting -- and finding people receptive to -- prepaying for community college degrees, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Prepaying community college costs less than prepaying for a state university, but now most of Florida's colleges also offer four-year degrees.

 

January 3, 2014

A University of Sydney researcher is alleging that he may have lost out on a grant from the Australian Research Council because some government officials were concerned about his support for a boycott of Israeli universities, The Australian reported. According to the newspaper, officials of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade noted that Jake Lynch, who heads Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, vocally supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, and questioned whether giving him a grant would be bad for the agency's image. Later in the year, the government-supported research council rejected a $290,000 grant for the center to study the work of journalists in parts of Africa, and Lynch has asked a faculty union to explore whether his support for the boycott played a role. Officials at the research council said they followed their procedures.

January 3, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Micah Berman of Ohio State University explains the hidden costs an employer can expect to incur when hiring a smoker. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 3, 2014

A former University of Delaware student is suing the institution under Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment after administrators allegedly mishandled her sexual assault complaint, court filings show. On campus for required student activities during an academic break and without university-provided housing, "Jane Doe" says she was pressured to sleep at a sophomore football player's apartment. The athlete raped her in the bed they shared that night, she said, and transmitted an incurable sexually transmitted disease. "We see this all the time with [athletes like John Doe]," she says a university health services employee told her, and the lawsuit notes that the football player had committed the crime multiple times before and after the alleged rape. The woman sought help from Assistant Dean of Students Monique N. Colclough, the suit says, and although Colclough said an assault had occurred, she did not share the student's rights as a victim or offer any protection or required services, nor did she notify police or any other administrators about the incident or pursue an investigation. Instead, she encouraged the student to seek medical leave, which the student eventually took, before transferring to another institution in poor academic standing, according to the suit. The university declined to comment.

January 3, 2014

The Obama administration has rescheduled a White House meeting with college leaders to discuss how to boost the success of low-income students in higher education.

The summit will now take place on Jan. 16, a White House official said Thursday. Leaders from higher education, philanthropy, business and city and state governments are expected to take part in the daylong event. As part of the event, the administration has been seeking voluntary commitments from colleges on how they plan to increase efforts to help low-income students.  

The meeting was supposed to take place last month, but it was postponed at the last minute because of President Obama’s travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

January 3, 2014

Following a vote by the leaders of the sociology department, the University of Colorado at Boulder says that Patricia Adler is clear to return to teaching her popular course on deviance. Adler has been warned last month that she needed to stop teaching the course because of concerns raised by administrators about a classroom exercise in which some assistant teaching assistants dressed as different types of prostitutes. The university gave a series of conflicting reasons for the concern about the course, which had been taught for years, with strong student reviews. Eventually, the university said that if Adler's course was reviewed, she could teach it again, and that review process is now complete. A spokesman for the university said: "Professor Adler is free to teach the course next semester if she so desires."

Adler currently has a lawyer talking to the university. She issued this statement: "Although it is gratifying that the Executive Committee in the Sociology Department has affirmed the Ad Hoc Committee’s decision to permit me to continue teaching a course that for 25 years has been held in high esteem with no reported complaints, the fact that it had to undergo this extraordinary scrutiny to reverse CU’s initial jump to judgment is a sad statement on what is occurring in universities. My case is just a small step in the fight to preserve academic freedom in universities around the globe. Many issues remain to be addressed in my ongoing relationship with the university, so my future is still unclear. I greatly appreciate the support I have received from students, faculty, and outside organizations."

 

January 3, 2014

China is moving to change the test that is generally the sole factor in university admissions, The Economist reported. Government officials have indicated that they want to add some subjective factors -- such as consideration of extracurricular activities -- to admissions decisions. Some educators are concerned that the current system (and possibly the new one) favor wealthier applicants. In the 1970s, half of students at prestigious Tsinghua University were from poor, rural areas. In 2010, that share was down to 17 percent.

 

January 2, 2014

Lars Hinrichs of the University of Texas at Austin explains why many features of Texas-English are disappearing. Learn more about the Academic Minute here. And if you missed the last 10 days' worth of Academic Minutes, you can catch up on them here.

January 2, 2014

Chinese parents who can afford to do so continue to make huge investments in their children's education by paying tuition for them to attend colleges and universities in the United States and other Western nations. But Financial Times (registration required) noted that some experts in China are questioning the (financial) value of the degrees earned abroad by Chinese students. There is no longer much of a wage premium for those who return. Further, the growing numbers of Chinese students going abroad means that it's no longer just the best and brightest. And some are questioning whether the Chinese students end up with enough knowledge of either the West or their home. Zong Qinghou, the second wealthiest man in China, who sent his only daughter to study abroad, recently said at a press conference that she "knows neither the current situation for Chinese enterprises nor the situation abroad."

 

January 2, 2014

The Kansas Board of Regents has ordered a review of its recently adopted and highly controversial rules on social media. The rules outline situations in which faculty members could be dismissed or disciplined in other ways over statements they make on social media -- and numerous faculty and civil liberties groups have said that the rules violate basic principles of academic freedom and the First Amendment rights of professors.

A statement issued by the Kansas Board of Regents did not withdraw the policy, but announced a review of it: "Because of concerns expressed regarding the Board of Regents’ policy regarding the improper use of social media, Board Chair Fred Logan has asked Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Board, to work with the university presidents and chancellor to form a workgroup of representatives from each state university campus to review the policy. Regent Logan requests that any recommendations for amendments to the policy from the workgroup be presented to the board’s Governance Committee by April 2014."

 

Pages

Back to Top