Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

The British Council released new research today regarding factors that deter students in the United States and United Kingdom from studying abroad. Of the 10,800 people surveyed, 20 percent of U.K. respondents said they are considering study abroad, while 56 percent of U.S. students said the same. U.S. students cited barriers including concerns about cost, language ability and the difficulty of leaving family and friends.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

One of the country's top digital humanists has been tapped to lead one of an ambitious effort to create a national home for the country's digital riches. The Digital Public Library of America, an effort to "make the cultural and scientific record available to all," announced the hiring Tuesday of Dan Cohen, director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and an associate professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, as its founding director. The digital public library, which in its nascent form has been housed in Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will formally launch as a freestanding nonprofit entity on April 18.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON — Carmel Martin, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development at the Education Department for the past four years, is leaving that post for the Center for American Progress, the center announced Tuesday. Martin will become executive vice president for policy at the liberal think tank, overseeing its policy development.

Martin, whose departure was bemoaned by former department higher education staff on Tuesday, had been considered likely to play a larger role in shaping the department's higher education policy in Obama's second term. She focused heavily on K-12 education in the first term but had played key roles in efforts to bolster state data systems, among other things. And she had reportedly been a more visible presence in postsecondary-related meetings in recent months.

Instead, she joins what has become something of a departmental exodus in recent months. Since before the election, observers have warned that departures of key political appointees and career staff members have left a policy making void on higher education. David Bergeron, the acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education, said in February that he would leave his job at the department. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

A donor to the law school at Georgetown University is suing to get millions in gifts refunded, The Dallas Morning News reported. According to the suit, on which Georgetown is not commenting, the gifts were supposed to result in a fitness center named for the donor, Scott K. Ginsburg. After a jury found him guilty of insider trading, the suit says, the university suggested that it would be best not to name a facility for him. But he says he never agreed to a change in the gift terms, so now he's suing.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

Authorities are unsure of whether someone dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb was walking near the Afrikan Heritage House at Oberlin College, The New York Times reported. The report that someone in a Klan-style robe was walking on campus, following various other incidents of hate speech on the campus, led Oberlin to call off classes for a day. But police officers said that they have not been able to confirm the Klan report. At the same time, they have received a report of someone walking, wrapped in a blanket, raising the possibility that the latter report was the accurate one.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

The large college enrollment growth seen in the post-recession period leveled off between 2011 and 2012, but continued state budget cuts meant that public colleges and universities saw a 9 percent decline in per-student state appropriations between 2011 and 2012, according to a report released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The report, a followup to one released in January, finds that while spending increased in three of every five states, those increases were small, and when coupled with large decreases in states like California, amounted to an overall decline.

Public colleges and universities have tried to make up the difference through tuition increases. Net tuition revenue as a share of general operating revenues (excluding grants for research and auxiliary functions) grew from 31.6 percent in 2008 to 42.5 percent in 2012. Since 2002, enrollment at public universities has increased 28 percent, according to the report.

“One year does not make a trend, but SHEEO’s annual studies document a long-term trend toward shifting more of the burden of financing higher education onto tuition and fees," said SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter in a press release. "In light of these trends, policymakers should give more attention to the size and effectiveness of state and institutional student assistance programs in providing access and adequate support for full-time enrollment in postsecondary education.

As with similar studies, the overall trend masks deep differences between states. While some states, such as Iowa, have seen significant declines in per-student appropriations that tuition hikes have not been able to compensate for, other states, particularly North Dakota, have seen robust growth in enrollments, per-student spending and tuition prices that leave them in much better positions than in 2000.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:44am

The government of British Columbia proposed Tuesday that the Canadian province adopt a unified system of quality assurance across all types of postsecondary education, which would replace separate systems that now exist and extend oversight to language schools that to date have gone without meaningful review.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

Quinnipiac University has made “some effort” toward coming into compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal judge ruled Monday, but not enough to lift the injunction preventing the institution from eliminating its women’s volleyball team. This marks the third judicial loss for Quinnipiac stemming from history of providing adequate opportunities for female athletes, which Title IX requires to be equitable to those of males. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed that Quinnipiac erred in 2010 when it attempted to replace volleyball with competitive cheerleading, which cannot be counted as a varsity sport under Title IX.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, T. Florian Jaeger reveals how language is universally shaped by the inner workings of the human brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 4:07am

The head of the University of Virginia's governing board responded sharply Tuesday to faculty criticism in the wake of a Washington Post article suggesting that she was micromanaging the work of President Teresa Sullivan by barraging her with dozens of goals for the year, The Washington Post reported. In her letter, which came after Virginia's Faculty Senate cited the Post article in criticizing her, Dragas noted that the Board of Visitors is not permitted to discuss such "confidential personnel matters" as the goal-setting process for the president. “This reality inevitably leads to incomplete or one-sided coverage, making it even more difficult to fairly judge," she wrote. She went on to say that the entire board had been invited to participate in the process of setting goals for Sullivan, and that she was committed to working effectively with the president.


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