Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 3:00am

Going to college can provide students with the opportunity to abuse alcohol, but new research from Pennsylvania State University finds that, long term, going to college does not increase and may decrease the chances that in adulthood someone will regularly abuse alcohol. The research -- being published in the journal Structural Equation Modeling -- looks at characteristics of various cohorts of adults and then compares those who did and did not go to college.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 4:21am

The University of Texas Board of Regents, already accused of micromanaging the president of the University of Texas at Austin, has ordered him not to delete any e-mails, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Some regents have been gathering information on Bill Powers, the president, and are widely believed to want to force him out of office. Powers has backing from the faculty, student and alumni leaders. A spokesman for Powers said he was complying with the request. But State Senator Kirk Watson called the regents' order "extraordinarily disappointing," adding that "its breadth under the guise of a specific review begs the question for the motivation of the request. What’s the purpose? Why the global reach?”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 3:00am

In the middle of 2011, the regional accrediting agency for California threatened to yank approval from Trident University International unless the online for-profit institution could reassure the accreditor that it had overcome serious problems involving transfer students that raised questions about its integrity. Last month, the senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges said it had been largely persuaded that Trident had turned the situation around. In a letter to the institution's president, Lucille Sansing, Ralph Wolff, president of the Western agency, said that after dropping TUI from "show cause" status (in which institutions are required to prove why their accreditation should not be stripped) in March 2012, the commission had taken the university off of probation last month, citing "significant progress" on a range of problem areas.

Trident, which was Touro University's online arm before being sold to a private equity firm in 2007, fell into disfavor with WASC after it failed to ensure that students transferring in had fulfilled their general education requirements and, more importantly, failed to tell the accreditor about the problem.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 4:25am

A new analysis from California Watch suggests that California's cash-strapped community colleges could save millions of dollars by sharing administrators. "More than half of the state’s community college districts are within 20 miles of another district. And the vast majority of those districts have a single college," says the report. Some of those quoted in the report say that such colleges should be combined into new districts at the same time, saving time and money on governing boards as well.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 4:28am

Columbia University on Monday announced two winners of the Bancroft Prize for books about history. The winners are:

  • W. Jeffrey Bolster, associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, for The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012).
  • John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale University, for Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (Free Press, 2012).


Monday, March 18, 2013 - 4:33am

Colleges and universities are "dropping the ball" on the needs of gay and lesbian athletes, according to a new report from Campus Pride, which advocates on behalf of gay students. The report -- based on surveys of gay and straight athletes -- finds that the former are more likely to experience harassment, and much more likely to experience harassment based on their sexual orientations. The report finds a contrast on many campuses between open discussion of inclusiveness issues in general, but relative silence with athletics programs.


Monday, March 18, 2013 - 3:00am

China's leading universities are dropping English as one of the required subjects on the required admissions examinations, Xinhua reported. At most universities, English is being dropped as a requirement for the test taken by prospective science and engineering majors (who will be tested in math and physics) and for art students (who will be tested in Chinese and math). Yu Han, an enrollment officer at Tsinghua University, told Xinhua that English was eliminated in order to attract more students with exceptional talent in the subjects they plan to study.



Monday, March 18, 2013 - 3:00am

Three students at Senegal's largest university, the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, set themselves on fire Friday, as protests escalated over the way credits are counted in the geography department, the Associated Press reported. The students survived because friends threw sand on them to put out the fires. The changes in the credit rules have the effect, the students said, of forcing them to spend another year at the university, instead of graduating. Other students are on a hunger strike over the issue.


Monday, March 18, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Stephen Pirog of Seton Hall University explains the strong bond between many young people and their smartphones. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Monday, March 18, 2013 - 3:00am

Bev Kearney, a highly successful women's track coach at the University of Texas at Austin, has filed complaints alleging gender and racial discrimination in her ouster, The Dallas Morning News reported. Kearney resigned under pressure in December after disclosing that she had a relationship with an athlete in her program in 2002. The complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission. Supporters of Kearney have argued that she is being held to a higher standard than are male coaches. While the university recently announced it was studying policies about coaches and their relationships with students, it did not seek the resignation of an assistant football coach who admitted that he had a one-night-stand with a student athletic trainer four years ago.




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