Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 4, 2014

The British Columbia Law Society, reversing an earlier decision, has revoked recognition of the new law school at Trinity Western University, The Globe and Mail reported. At issue is Trinity Western's ban on students and faculty members having sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage. Critics say that the policy violates principles of equal rights for gay people. Earlier this year, in a non-binding referendum, members of the law society recommended that its governing council withdraw recognition, and it has now done so. A legal fight could follow. Trinity Western has argued that it should be allowed to have rules consistent with its Christian beliefs. A statement from the university said that it was reviewing its options.

November 4, 2014

Students using Blackboard Learn will soon have access to Chegg's tutoring and career planning services, the companies announced on Monday. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said Chegg and Blackboard will share revenue for every student who signs up for Chegg's services. Also on Monday, Chegg announced $13.3 million in gross profits on revenue of $81.5 million, a 32 percent increase from the third quarter of last year.

November 4, 2014

The University of Texas System on Monday announced a plan to create a broad, competency-based education program in the medical sciences. The system-wide curriculum will be aimed at learners from high school through post-graduate studies, according to a news release. The forthcoming competency-based credentials will be personalized, adaptive and industry-aligned, the system said. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which opens next year, will offer the curriculum's undergraduate degree. 

November 4, 2014

Nearly two-thirds of all colleges and universities are using a customer relationship management system for services such as admissions and recruitment, but only one-quarter of institutions say they are fully taking advantage of those systems, according to a report from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. While most respondents said day-to-day tasks were easier to complete with a system in place, many institutions reported that the time and effort required to get a system up and running prevented them from maximizing their use. Another 62 percent of respondents said they don't import data from their CRMs into their student information systems, which could help with institutional planning. Of the institutions that have yet to implement a system, nearly half, or 42 percent, said they are considering it.

November 4, 2014

The Colorado Conference of the American Association of University Professors has published a 23-article "Bill of Rights" for faculty in the Colorado Community College System. The document seeks to end the "two-tier" faculty system, recommending that colleges treat everyone with teaching responsibilities as a member of the faculty, pay them on the same pay scale and increase access to shared governance, among other rights.

November 4, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Michele Gelfand, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland at College Park, discusses American regionalism and politics. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 3, 2014

Faculty member at Yale University are angry over the university's handling of a harassment case in which the cardiology chief is accused of punishing a young Italian researcher at the medical school and her boyfriend when she rebuffed the advances of Michael Simons, the cardiology chief, The New York Times reported. A Yale committee that investigated what happened recommended that Simmons lose his position as cardiology chief and be barred from senior roles for five years, but Yale largely ignored the recommendations, letting Simons stay in office and hold other senior positions. Faculty familiar with the case say that Yale effectively let serious misconduct go unpunished. Simmons, in a statement to the Times, admitted pursuing the woman, but denied misconduct in the use of his position. Of seeking the relationship, he said, “for this error in judgment I have apologized, and I genuinely regret my action."

 

November 3, 2014

Faculty members in the main undergraduate college at the University of California at Los Angeles voted narrowly on Friday -- 332 to 303 -- to require all undergraduates in the college to take a course on diversity. In 2012 and 2004, the faculty rejected diversity requirements. Additional reviews are necessary before Friday's vote becomes final, but this takes the idea further than has been the case previously. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has endorsed the idea and issued this statement: “A diversity-related course requirement for UCLA College undergraduates is an important component of our commitment to expose students to beliefs and backgrounds other than their own. It would help prepare our students for work in a multicultural world, in part by engaging them in difficult but crucial conversations for our campus and society as a whole.”

November 3, 2014

Dante Martin, a former member of the Florida A&M University marching band, was found guilty on Friday of manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of Robert Champion, another band member at the time, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The defense had contended that Champion knew about the traditions of the band and voluntarily submitted. But jurors apparently rejected that argument.

 

November 3, 2014

The comedian Bill Maher says he still plans to address the December commencement at the University of California at Berkeley. Thousands signed a petition calling for the university to rescind the invitation because of statements Maher has made about Islam, and the student group in charge of commencement invites tried to take back its request that he speak. But Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor at Berkeley, said that the university would stand by the invitation, and that to do otherwise would violate important principles of free speech. Throughout a week of intense debate, Maher was silent except to say he would address the issue Friday night on his show on HBO.

In a segment on that show, he said that he is still planning to go to Berkeley and that he isn't a bigot, and he added a few politically incorrect jokes. He expressed disappointment with students objecting to his appearance and asked who "told you that you only had to hear what didn't upset you." But he also pledged that he would make his commencement speech relevant to students, and try to keep the focus on them. Maher urged college students nationwide to weigh in against blocking speakers. "Please, weigh in on this," he said. "My reputation isn't on the line. Yours is."

 

 

 

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