Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 27, 2013

The University System of Maryland will this fall launch a pilot project to gauge the efficiency of open educational resources (OER), James Jalandoni, president of the system's student council, said on Monday. 

"We have made it a priority to start tackling the issue of textbook costs and the impact they have on college affordability," Jalandoni said. "We have gotten a lot of enthusiastic support throughout our system and the state, from faculty to administrators. Obviously our students are really passionate about this." Though he did not mention specifics, Jalandoni said the student council has spoken to organizations and universities that have experimented with OER "to create a model that is best suited for Maryland."

"Within the new couple of weeks, we hope to be finalizing when everything’s going to be happening," Jalandoni said.

August 27, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Molly Losh of Northwestern University examines what studies of identical twins have to say about the causes of autism. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 27, 2013

George Washington University last week removed Doug Guthrie as dean of its business school, after determining that the school had spent $10 million more than authorized, The Wall Street Journal reported. “It had become increasingly clear that the financial management and operational differences between the dean and the administration were too great to surmount,” said a university spokeswoman.

 

August 27, 2013

A report by an outside law firm -- commissioned by Yeshiva University -- has confirmed reports of numerous incidents of sexual abuse of students at the university's high school for boys. "The investigative team has concluded that multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place at [the high school] during the relevant time period. This conduct was carried out by a number of individuals in positions of authority ... including, in certain instances, after members of the administration had been made aware of such conduct. In addition, the investigative team found that, during the relevant time period, sexual and physical abuse took place at other schools comprising the university as well.... The
investigative team found that, up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the university either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all." The report noted improvements after 2001 and since the scandal over the sex abuse charges became public.

Originally, the university said that the entire report would be released, but it provided only a summary, citing issues raised by suits filed against Yeshiva.

A statement from Richard M. Joel, the president (who was not president at the time of the abuse allegations), said: "There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims."

August 27, 2013

In unveiling his ambitious higher education plan last week, President Obama once again framed his desire to make college more affordable as a personal mission, reminding the audience at the State University of New York at Buffalo of his own experience with a hefty load of student loan debt.  

Obama took out $42,753 in loans to pay his tuition at Harvard Law School, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. First Lady Michelle Obama went $40,762 in debt to finance her Harvard Law education. It was not until after Obama signed a $1.9 million book deal in 2004 -- the year he was elected to the U.S. Senate -- that the couple paid off all of their student loans, according to the Sun-Times. The Obamas’ law school debt came on top of their existing undergraduate loans (he from Occidental College and Columbia University and she from Princeton University) add of undergrad institutions ok? dl ** yes, thanks -ms and pushed their combined outstanding balance at graduation above $120,000, Obama has previously said.

Both the president and first lady also attended law school for three years -- an amount of time that Obama last week urged law schools to consider shortening to two years to reduce the cost for students. nice. dl

August 27, 2013

Temple University announced Monday that it will no longer sponsor the annual "Spring Fling," a festival of games and special events that has been held on campus each spring and that has also been a date for off-campus parties -- including one at which a student died last year. "A dangerous culture of high-risk drinking has infiltrated the event, undermining our academic mission and our duty to safeguard student health and wellness," said a statement from Stephanie Ives, dean of students. The university statement noted that the event started at a time that the university was largely a commuter institution, and that the university has changed considerably since then.

In April, during the last Spring Fling, Ali Fausnaught, 19, a freshman at West Chester University, fell three stories to her death at an off-campus house party, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. She had been visiting her boyfriend, a Temple student, and rooftop parties have become part of the off-campus tradition.

 

August 27, 2013

Lynn University has announced that it will no longer require the SAT or ACT from undergraduate applicants. Via e-mail, Gareth P. Fowles, vice president for enrollment management, said that while the university "recognizes that standardized tests are able to accurately measure the aptitude for a certain group of students ...  we believe that standardized tests do not always reflect the true potential of all students." Applicants who are home schooled or who plan to participate in intercollegiate athletics will continue to be required to submit test scores.

August 26, 2013

New York State has sued Trump University for making false claims and operating as an unlicensed educational institution from 2005 to 2011, The New York Times reported. Trump University earlier changed its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative after the New York State Education Department said it was deceptive for the for-profit institution to call itself a university. The lawsuit announced Saturday says that the Donald Trump led organization encouraged people "to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got." As an example of a false claim, the suit says that Donald Trump claimed in promotional materials that he selected instructors to teach a curriculum he devised. In reality, the state attorney general says, Trump didn't pick the instructors or create the curriculum. A lawyer for Trump said that the suit was politically motivated and that the vast majority of students were satisfied with their courses.

 

August 26, 2013

In another sign of tightening Chinese oversight of higher education, the government has barred a law professor -- Zhang Xuezhong of the East China University of Political Science -- from the classroom, the Associated Press reported. Zhang has been faulted by Chinese authorities for advocating that the country have a constitution under which the Communist Party would operate rather than having the constitution (as is currently the case) operate only within the rules of the party. Officials have said that Zhang's positions are unconstitutional.

August 26, 2013

An article in The New York Times explores the role of ESPN in college football and how the network has arguably become more influential than conferences, the National Collegiate Athletic Association or (not that there was much doubt) faculty members at various institutions. The article traces the network's role in picking match-ups, scheduling game times and encouraging trends such as games that are not on Saturday.

 

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