Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, March 8, 2013 - 4:17am

Dozens of prominent law professors and deans have urged an American Bar Association panel studying the state of legal education to consider drastic changes to "alter the economics" of law schools, because "legal education cannot continue on the current trajectory." In a letter drafted by a group called "Coalition of Concerned Colleagues," the 67 professors and deans describe the litany of problems facing law schools and their graduates -- rising student debt, a dearth of jobs, and increasing socioeconomic and racial stratification within law schools -- and calls on legal educators to "grapple with these issues before our institutions are reshaped in ways beyond our control."

Among the possible solutions they cite: admitting students to law schools after three undergraduate years, awarding law degrees after two years of law school (and committing the third for electives or internships), diminishing the role of rankings, and expanding Internet-based legal education.

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

After growing opposition from coaches and athletics directors to measures adopted in January by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Board of Directors, the NCAA has suspended two of the proposals and will reconsider modified versions before the board's next meeting in May.

The rules, part of NCAA President Mark Emmert’s broad reform effort, deregulated recruiting through two dozen proposals. The two that have been put on hold are Prop. No. RWG-11-2, which vastly expanded the number and type of athletic staff who could recruit, and Prop. No. RWG-13-5-A, which allowed for unlimited printed recruiting materials to be sent to prospects. Colleges are concerned that the new rules will accelerate the athletics arms race, even though the idea behind the deregulation was to recognize that some programs have more resources available to them and the NCAA should not attempt to ensure that no one program has an advantage over another.

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Rollins College has decided to strip the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of official recognition as a student group because it requires leaders to be Christian and support certain views, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Representatives of the fellowship, which has faced similar policies at other colleges, complained that the Florida independent college is intolerant of students with evangelical and other strong religious views. But the Rollins Board of Trustees rejected the group's request for an exemption from the college's anti-discrimination policy, which bars student groups from discriminating based on factors such as religion, race and sexual orientation.

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

A transgender student at Emerson College, first turned down by his student health insurance for the breast removal survey he sought, will be covered by the college's insurer after all, The Boston Globe reported. Donnie Collins's story went viral after his fraternity raised nearly $20,000 to pay for his surgery after he found out it would not be covered by insurance. But Emerson officials confirmed with its insurer, Aetna, that its policy did cover such an operation.
 

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of State is investigating claims of exploitative living and working conditions faced by guest student workers at three McDonald’s franchises in central Pennsylvania, The Patriot-News reported. The students, who came to the U.S. on J-1 visas, staged a protest on Wednesday, and have petitioned McDonald’s for restitution and improved conditions for guest workers.  McDonald’s said it is investigating the situation.

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971, has doubled its enrollment in the last six years -- twice -- to become the largest private university in the country, The Washington Post reported. Much of the growth has been online. Total enrollment at Liberty is now 74,000, with 62,000 enrolled online. (The 74,000 figure is more than 30,000 more than the enrollments at other large private nonprofit institutions, such as New York University, the University of Southern California and Brigham Young University.) A 2010 article in Inside Higher Ed explored Liberty's online strategy.

 

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Students were terrified Wednesday when an intruder came into a law school class at Seattle University and engaged in bizarre behavior, The Seattle Times reported. A man in a trench coat, eating ice cream, entered the classroom, sat down at a table at the front of the classroom and refused the professor's request that he leave. Authorities said he turned over tables and other classroom furniture and that some students thought he might pull a gun (he didn't). The man was arrested on trespassing charges.

 

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 4:13am

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights plans to investigate how the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill handles sexual assaults on the campus, the Associated Press reported. The agency said in a March 1 letter that it would conduct an inquiry into a complaint filed on behalf of 64 women in January that alleged, among other things, that said the individuals who run the campus judicial system mistreated victims and that upper-level administrators pressured them to underreport sexual assault statistics to the federal government.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 3:00am

It's that time: a new month, a new Cartoon Caption Contest.

Click here to suggest a caption for March's cartoon, the latest drawing by Matthew Henry Hall. The three entries deemed most clever and creative by our experts' panel will be put to a vote by our readers, and the winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated by our judges as finalists for our February cartoon. 

And congratulations to the winner of our January contest: Aaron J. Moore, director of alumni relations for the California State University System's chancellor's office and executive director of the CSU Alumni Council. Find out more about him and his submission by visiting this link.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 4:36am

The University of Michigan will today announce a $50 million gift for its graduate program in writing, AnnArbor.com reported. The gift is believed to be the largest ever for a writing program, and comes at a time that mega-gifts have become much more common for science and business programs than for those in the humanities. The gift is from Helen Zell, a Michigan graduate and longtime supporter of the program.

 

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