Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 10, 2014

Authorities are blaming a University of Southern Mississippi fraternity -- and have arrested one pledge -- in the deaths of two flamingos at a local zoo, The Hattiesburg American reported. The pledge is charged with grand larceny for stealing a flamingo, which was recovered later, injured, and had to be euthanized. The flamingo's mate was then discovered dead at the zoo, with injuries suggesting it tried to protect its partner from being taken.The university has suspended the fraternity.

 

October 10, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Erika Berg, a professor of animal science at North Dakota State University, discusses her research on the therapeutic benefits of horses. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 9, 2014

Patrick Modiano, a French author, was this morning named winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation." A biography released by the Swedish Academy said of his work: "Modiano’s works center on topics such as memory, oblivion, identity and guilt. The city of Paris is often present in the text and can almost be considered a creative participant in the works. Rather often his tales are built on an autobiographical foundation, or on events that took place during the German occupation."

Among his works that have been published in English translation are two that were released by university presses, Dora Bruder (University of California Press) and Out of the Dark (University of Nebraska Press).

Yale University Press is about to publish Suspended Sentences, three novellas by Madiano.

 

October 9, 2014

U.S. News and World Report announced Wednesday that some data that two colleges had submitted for the most recent rankings was incorrect. For one of the institutions, Lindenwood University, the correct data would have resulted in a different rating, so the magazine moved the institution to its "unranked" category. In Lindenwood's case, it added the numeral 1 in front of the correct number of alumni donors used in the magazine's calculation of the alumni giving rate. When the correct figure of 2,411 was used, instead of 12,411, the giving rate dropped from 37.5 percent to 11.9 percent. The correction for the other institution -- Rollins College -- did not change its ranking. Rollins had reported admitting 2,233 students, when it really admitted 2,783. That change increased the acceptance rate from 47.2 percent to 58.8 percent.

In recent years, several colleges have admitted to sending U.S. News incorrect data intentionally. But via email, Robert Morse, who leads the rankings effort at U.S. News, said that these were "honest mistakes" caused by "one-off, one-time sloppy reporting."

October 9, 2014

Virginia Wesleyan College allowed a student accused of sexual assault to voluntarily withdraw from the institution so that he could attend college elsewhere, the Virginian-Pilot reported. The student was originally dismissed after the college found him to have sexually assaulted another student, but the college later decided to allow him to withdraw instead, which "may assist him in seeking further studies," according to a letter written by the college's vice president that was included in a lawsuit filed by the victim. The woman, who said she was raped for five hours in 2012, is suing the university for $10 million.

"While the college sympathizes with Jane Doe, Virginia Wesleyan denies any allegation of improper conduct and will vigorously defend this lawsuit," Mark C. Nanavati, Wesleyan's lawyer, stated. "The safety of the college's students is of paramount importance and something Virginia Wesleyan strives to accomplish on a daily basis."

October 9, 2014

City officials in Boston are urging area colleges to cut in half the number of students who live off campus, The Boston Globe reported. Under a new city housing plan, colleges are being encouraged to work with developers to collectively add more than 18,000 new dormitory beds by 2030. The plan comes amid growing concerns that many students live off campus in unsafe housing.

 

October 9, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Ying Xu, a computational biologist at the University of Georgia, discusses hypoxia, an affliction thought to be related to the development of cancer. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 8, 2014

Many public colleges and universities in Virginia and other states that have had bans on same-sex marriage or benefits for same-sex couples have been blocked by state officials from offering benefits to same-sex couples. The day after the Supreme Court effectively killed many of those state bans, including one in Virginia, the University of Virginia announced a change in its policies. University employees who have same-sex marriages that were performed outside the state are immediately eligible to have their partners covered. And the university said that, going forward, same-sex couples married in Virginia will have the same health benefits as straight couples, and that children of same-sex partners of university employees are now eligible for coverage as stepchildren.

 

October 8, 2014

The College Republican National Committee this week released a new ad criticizing Democrats’ student loan proposals, which many Democrats have been featuring prominently in their campaigns.

The video parodies the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors.

The ad features a “Democrat politician” pitching her student loan plan to a panel of “investors.”

“Our plan is to charge more for college, but lower the payments,” she says. “Students will think they’re getting a great deal. They won’t even notice how much more they’ll pay in the long run.”

The panel rejects that idea as not innovative enough. “It’s clear we need Republicans to create jobs and lower the cost of college,” says one of the panelists.

 

October 8, 2014

Three researchers were this morning named winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy." The winners are: Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stefan W. Helll of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the German Cancer Research Center, and William E. Moerner of Stanford University.

 

 

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