Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 23, 2013

The presidents of the 15 universities that compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference said Monday that they had signed a "grant of rights" that would effectively block any of them from leaving the conference for 15 years, which could slow what has been an overheated series of conference-switching moves. The agreement would mean that any institution that left the conference would forfeit to the ACC its rights to television and other media payments over that period, which would presumably block any of the institutions from leaving for a better deal from another conference. The fact that the Atlantic Coast has joined several other major conferences in signing such agreements, according to Sports Illustrated, reduces the likelihood of major league swapping, although other conference could still be raided by the ACC, Big Ten and Pacific-10 leagues.

April 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, David Frayer of the University of Kansas reveals evidence of handedness among Neanderthals and discusses what the new data imply about their capacity for language. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

April 23, 2013

Public universities have a long history of adapting to technological change, but they must speed up their embrace of online education -- and work together to do so -- to remain at the forefront of educating the citizens of their states and the country, argues a new report from two Washington research groups. "State U Online," from the New America Foundation and Education Sector, traces the history of public universities and of online education and suggests that major public universities have been slower than other sectors -- especially for-profit higher education -- to incorporate digital learning into their offerings. The author, Rachel Fishman of New America, argues that the institutions are best positioned to offer a high-quality, affordable digital education that is "grounded in public values," and offers a roadmap for doing so, including creating a clearinghouse where state institutions can "collaborate to provide an easy-to-search library of online courses and degrees," sharing contracts for digital platforms and online support services to meet multiple institutions' needs, and sharing credentialing beyond state borders.

April 22, 2013

Princeton University on Sunday named Christopher L. Eisgruber, provost for the past nine years, as the university's next president, effective July 1. He will succeeds Shirley M. Tilghman, who is stepping down after 12 years in office. Eisgruber joined the Princeton faculty in 2001 as director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the University Center for Human Values.

 

April 22, 2013

A federal judge has ruled that college and university housing is covered by the Fair Housing Act, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The ruling came in a lawsuit by the federal government against the University of Nebraska at Kearney over a student's request to have a therapy dog live with her in university housing. The university maintains that it should not be governed by the Fair Housing Act, and that the judge is extending the law to higher education for the first time. But the judge said that if Congress had wanted to exempt higher education, it could have (or could in the future). The judge's ruling could be appealed and delay the rest of the trial on whether the university violated the act.

April 22, 2013

The American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman is creating a $300 million scholarship program that he hopes will be a Chinese counterpart to the Rhodes, The New York Times reported. The scholarship would annually support 200 students enrolling in yearlong master’s programs at Tsinghua University, in Beijing. 

It’s anticipated that 45 percent of the Schwarzman Scholars will come from the U.S., 20 percent from China, and 35 percent from other countries. The students will live in a new residential college facility, Schwarzman College, for which ground breaking is scheduled for later this year.

Schwarzman said he is personally committing $100 million and is raising the additional funds from private donors, including Bank of America, Boeing, BP, Caterpillar, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal foundation. The Times notes that the endowment for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which supports study at Oxford, is currently about $203 million.

April 22, 2013

A group of experts on African higher education, meeting under the aegis of the African Union this month, has agreed to develop a system of quality assurance for higher education across the continent, a statement released after the meeting announced. Participants in the meeting, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said African nations should collaborate to create the African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council for Higher Education and a quality assurance framework to help students transfer among African universities.

 

April 22, 2013

Officials at the Alberta College of Art and Design are investigating the killing by a student of a chicken in the cafeteria of the college, Maclean’s reported. The student said that he was completing an assignment to film a public protest, and he wanted to create the protest by cutting off a chicken’s head. Richard Brown, chair of the School of Visual Arts, said that “we do not condone the killing of animals in this way.” He added that some who were in the cafeteria weren’t bothered, but that others were “very traumatized.”
 

April 22, 2013

A former student who created a website that harshly criticized Thomas M. Cooley Law School is protected by the First Amendment and should not have his identity revealed, a Michigan state appeals court ruled this month. Cooley, a freestanding law school in Michigan, had sued the former student in state court, saying that the site the ex-student created, Thomas M. Cooley Law School Scam, defamed the institution. Cooley officials obtained a California subpoena compelling the company that hosted the website to reveal his identity, and a lower state court refused to block the subpoena. But the appeals court ruled that Michigan law protects such speech, and sent the case back to the lower court for further review.

 

April 22, 2013

Student journalists at Lewis & Clark College are criticizing administrators for forcing them to hold for four days an article about a lecture on campus by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The college said that it wanted to clear the article with the Supreme Court press office before permitting publication. “[T]he college should have refused to send in any independent student publication for prior approval,” said an editorial in The Pioneer Log, the newspaper. Supreme Court officials said that they hadn’t insisted on review of the article, and the college has apologized for insisting that the article await review.

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