Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Hungarian students have held demonstrations, and are planning more, in response to government proposals on higher education, The Budapest Times reported. Students are angry about plans to add tuition charges to more academic programs, and to change student loan programs in ways that would make it hard for graduates to work outside the country.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 3:00am

The Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences, on Monday announced the election of 65 new members, and 5 foreign associates. Election to the institute is considered among the highest honors in health and biomedical research. A list of new members may be found here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 3:00am

The skills students learn from a vocational education may ease their transition into the labor market, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. However, those initial labor-market advantages fade as workers age. The study found that individuals with a general education are more likely to be employed at age 50 than are those with a vocational education. A general education was particularly helpful in countries that experienced faster economic growth and larger technological change.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Council on Education announced Monday that it and the other "presidential" higher education associations have created a new Commission on Higher Education Attainment. Among the issues the panel will address:

  • The changing nature of students seeking a degree or credential.
  • The ability of higher education to attract, retain and graduate the increasing number of adults seeking a degree or credential.
  • The current capacity of higher education to accommodate the large number of students who will need to enroll if we are to increase the number of graduates.
  • The opportunities to increase efficiency and enhance productivity in meaningful ways.

E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, will serve as chair. There are also three vice chairs: Andrew K. Benton, president of Pepperdine University; Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York; and George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College.

Currently, there are no faculty members on the panel. Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said that the members named thus far will be holding an organizational meeting and may well decide to add other members. He said it was "quite possible" that faculty members would be named at a later date.

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Two Football Bowl Subdivision conferences announced Friday that they would combine their football programs to form one 22-team league. The members of the two leagues, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference, have often been on the outside looking in when it comes to the high-profile Bowl Championship Series that crowns the national champion in big-time football. And the recent rounds of cannibalism involving other big-time-football playing leagues has left Conference USA and Mountain West vulnerable to raiding by some of the conferences whose own members have been wooed away by other leagues. "Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept," Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West, said in a news release. "The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future."

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Six people were shot in the legs and buttocks Saturday at an off-campus party of an unrecognized University of Akron fraternity, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Authorities said that six people crashed the party, were thrown out and returned to shoot some of the guests. Six people were subsequently arrested.

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

When Illinois adopted a civil unions law this year, Northwestern University decided to grant full partner benefits to same-sex couples who have civil unions, but not opposite-sex couples, who have the option of getting married to receive benefits, The Chicago Tribune reported. An opposite-sex couple is complaining that the policy is unfair, and the university said that it will be reviewing the policy down the road.

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dana Washington of Lock Haven University compares the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot with American Thanksgiving and other cultural analogs around the world. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Two U.S. senators -- Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, and Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat -- have asked the U.S. Department of Education to gather information about the accuracy of key law school data, such as figures on job placement, student loans and other topics. The letter from the senators comes amid lawsuits and considerable public debate over whether some law schools are being less than honest about the odds of students landing good jobs. A statement from Senator Boxer notes that the request to the Education Department follows "repeated calls" from her "to the American Bar Association to provide stronger oversight of reporting by law schools and better access to information for students."

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Seymour Schulich, a Canadian philanthropist, is setting up a $100 million fund to provide scholarships for undergraduates in Canada and Israel who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields, The Globe and Mail reported. Five Israeli universities and 20 Canadian universities have been invited to nominate potential recipients from 1,600 high schools.

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