Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, February 22, 2013 - 3:00am

The College Humor website has announced the winners of its $5,000 Average Student Scholarships. The biographies of winners won't be confused for those who receive Rhodes Scholarships. One winner was lauded this way: "His G.P.A. of 2.083 barely hovers over the disgraceful 1.9, and one more misstep would send him tumbling down a cliff that'd be hard to climb out of." Another was praised for her culinary habits. "In her sad and slightly disturbing video entry, Jordan munches on a brick of uncooked Ramen like that's something normal people actually do." More information on the award winners may be found here.

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 4:11am

Some of the students most often targeted in the push to use online learning to increase college access are less likely than their peers to benefit from -- and may in fact be hurt by -- digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction, new data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College suggest.

"Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas," by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars, researchers at the center, examines the performance of nearly 40,000 Washington State community college students who took both online and on-ground courses, and finds significant differences in how various subgroups performed. Students of all types completed fewer courses and achieved lower grades online than they did in face-to-face classes, men, African-Americans, and academically underprepared students had the biggest gaps between the two mediums.

The performance of adult students was mixed: they completed slightly more courses online, but achieved slightly lower grades in them than they did in on-ground courses.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 4:32am

Coppin State University told its adjuncts on Monday that their February paychecks -- which were scheduled for Wednesday -- would not be arriving on time, The Baltimore Sun reported. The university, which has been struggling financially, released a statement saying that the delay was due to an "administrative processing delay." The university has not said when its adjuncts will be paid.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

A new conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II will comprise nine of the 12 member institutions of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is dissolving at the end of this academic year, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The Mountain East Conference will be made up of the University of Charleston, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Notre Dame College, Shepherd University, Urbana University, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Wheeling Jesuit University.

The Mountain East will conduct championships in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf,  men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 4:35am

Be careful about putting too much weight in the "report cards" various organizations issue about state education policies. A new analysis from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder has found that the grades are fairly predictable, based on the ideology of the group doing the evaluations. As a result, every state has earned a D or F on at least one of the report cards in recent years. An almost every state has earned an A or B on one of the report cards. The analysis was prepared by Sherman Dorn, an education professor at the University of South Florida, and Ken Libby, a doctoral student at Boulder.


Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

A University of Minnesota wrestler who posted original music videos on YouTube and songs on iTunes has been declared ineligible because National Collegiate Athletic Association rules prohibit athletes from using their name or image for commercial purposes, USA Today reported. Joel Bauman chose to forgo his athletic scholarship rather than singing under an alias or taking the music down because his goal is to inspire people, he said. (Below is the video for his chase-your-dreams song, "Ones in the Sky," which has more than 23,000 views.)  

Responding to an inquiry from Sports Illustrated, the NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said Minnesota chose to interpret the rule that way and that Bauman could seek a rules waiver with the university’s support. If Minnesota hadn’t declared Bauman ineligible and he’d continued making music under his own name, the university could have faced NCAA sanctions (which could include declaring Bauman ineligible). Bauman is also a motivational speaker. He told SI he has yet to break even financially on anything he's done.


Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Jean-Philippe Lessard of McGill University explains how modern techniques are being used to refine an iconic map of the world’s biodiversity. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

Ohio State University joins Morehouse College this year as site of a commencement speech by President Obama. Two other sitting presidents -- George W. Bush and Gerald Ford -- have addressed Ohio State graduates. Historically, presidents deliver commencement addresses at one public institution, one private institution and a U.S. service academy.


Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

Oxford Brookes University is becoming the first British university to use U.S.-style grade-point averages, although the institution will also still use the British style of grouping students by broad honors categories, Times Higher Education reported. Officials cited a number of reasons, including the way G.P.A.s allow for ranges, while British honors don't distinguish between those who just made a category and those who just missed it, resulting in "cliff edges" between students.


Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:00am

New data from the Association of American Medical Colleges show that while there has been diversification of the medical school student body, not all groups are showing the same kinds of gains. The percentage of medical school applicants who are white continues to fall (down 26 percent in the last three decades) such that 55 percent of 2011 applicants were white. Another 20 percent are Asian. Just over 7 percent of applicants were black. AAMC noted as an area of concern the gender split among black applicants, where 65 percent of first-time applicants are women. Other racial groups have much more gender balance.



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