Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Samuel Sober of Emory University reveals how birds listen to themselves to get their songs right every time. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:00am

About 45 percent of 18- to 24-year-old college graduates were living with their families in 2011, up from 31 percent a decade earlier, in 2001, according to an article in The Atlantic based on Census data mined by the Pew Research Center. The Atlantic article (and the compelling graphic that accompanies it) notes that 21 percent of graduates up to 34 years old were living at home in 2011, up from 13 percent in 2011, but that both sets of figures for college graduates are far lower than for all people those ages.
 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:00am

Wayne State University's faculty union and administration have reached a tentative contract agreement, which will soon be presented to union members for ratification. While officials are not discussing the salary details of the agreement, the union's leaders say that the deal does not include provisions proposed by the university last year that faculty leaders said would have effectively removed the protections of tenure. Professors said that the changes would have allowed for the dismissal of tenured professors any time that the university wanted to make budgetary reallocations. Charles Parrish, president of the faculty union, which is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, said via e-mail that the new contract "does not contain any of the odious proposals that the Administration began bargaining around" with regard to tenure rights.


 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Maryland University College on Tuesday announced a partnership with Walgreens that features a 25 percent discount on out-of-state tuition for all employees of the drug-store chain, as well as for their spouses and dependents. The university is also waiving application fees for Walgreens' employees. The company last week announced its Walgreens University, through which employees will have access to several higher education providers. And Walgreens is doubling its spending on employee education.

Partnerships between corporations and institutions with substantial online degree offerings appear to be on the rise, and the new agreement is similar in some ways to the relationship between the American Public University System and Walmart.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 3:00am

An in-depth study of black students in Los Angeles schools projects that, if current trends continue, only 1 in 20 African-American kindergartners will go on to graduate from high school and complete a degree at a four-year California university. The study was conducted by the Education Trust-West. Among its findings:

  • 1 in 5 African-American middle school and high school students are proficient in Algebra  I.
  • 63 percent of black students graduate from high school in four years.
  • 20 percent of black ninth-graders graduate in four years, having completed the courses required for admission to one of the state's public universities.

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Wayne Watson was hired as president of Chicago State University in 2009 over strong objections of faculty members, who noted that he had clashed with professors while leading the City Colleges of Chicago. Board members, however, said that he would improve enrollment figures and repair ties with the faculty. On Monday, the university announced Watson was leaving. Enrollment has dropped and the faculty voted no confidence in him last year, The Chicago Tribune reported. Board members said that they felt the university needed new leadership. Watson did not comment. He was midway through the fourth year of a five-year contract, and will now receive a one-year sabbatical at his $250,000 salary.

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 3:00am

The government of the United Arab Emirates on Monday released a statement explaining its decision to briefly detain Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, who teaches government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, when he arrived in Dubai for a conference his institution co-sponsored with the American University of Sharjah. He was barred from entering the country and was sent back to Britain -- at which point the London School of Economics called off the conference. Ulrichsen said he believed he was kept out because he has written critically about the government of Bahrain, and the government statement essentially confirmed this.

The statement: "Dr. Coates Ulrichsen was scheduled to speak on the current political situation in Bahrain. The UAE is a strong supporter of efforts by the Government of Bahrain and the opposition parties to resolve their situation through peaceful dialogue. Dr Coates Ulrichsen has consistently propagated views de-legitimizing the Bahraini monarchy. The UAE took the view that at this extremely sensitive juncture in Bahrain's national dialogue it would be unhelpful to allow non-constructive views on the situation in Bahrain to be expressed from within another GCC state. This decision in no way reflects the strong ties with both the AUS and LSE and their academic excellence, however, in this very specific case, it was important to avoid disruption at a difficult point in Bahrain's national dialogue process which we fully support."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Angel Yanagihara of the University of Hawaii reveals what makes the venom of the box jelly so deadly. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 3:00am

A prominent Singaporean academic who has been critical of the country's ruling party was denied tenure for a second time. Cherian George, an associate professor of journalism at Nanyang Technological University, has written about the restrictions on the press imposed by the People's Action Party. Although George was denied tenure on the ostensible basis that he did not meet NTU’s standards for teaching and research, one of his external reviewers, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen of Cardiff University, said she found that claim to be “blatantly absurd."

“His record is stellar in both respects, so much so that he could easily get a full professorship elsewhere in my estimation,” said Wahl-Jorgensen. "In addition to being a popular teacher and a well-known public intellectual, his academic profile demonstrates excellence in research and a significant international standing, as well as an extremely high degree of productivity.”

“To put it bluntly I am baffled by this decision and worried about what it means for academic freedom in Singapore,” she said.

As of Monday evening, more than 500 people had signed an online petition attesting to George’s "stellar teaching credentials." George declined to comment on the tenure denial. In a written statement, a NTU spokesman described the tenure review process as being "purely a peer-driven academic exercise" and said the university does not comment on specific cases. (Note: this article has been updated to incorporate NTU's response.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 4:18am

Arkansas legislators gave final approval Monday to a bill, expected to be signed into law by the governor, that gives public colleges and universities the option of allowing faculty and staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus, the Associated Press reported. The boards of colleges that don't give their employees that option would be required to reconsider the policy every year. Arkansas higher education leaders opposed an earlier version of the legislation, which would not have allowed colleges to opt out of concealed carry for campus employees. But the opposition was dropped after the bill was amended to make this an option, not a requirement, for colleges.

 

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