Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

McGill University cancer researchers have come up with an unusual way to raise money -- by dancing on YouTube. The video is attracting considerable attention in Canada and elsewhere, and university officials hope that gifts will follow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Leaders of the Madison Area Technical College Part-Time Teachers' Union are floating an unusual idea to transform the union in the wake of Wisconsin's law largely barring or limiting the rights of most public sector unions, Madison.com reported. Under the idea being discussed (and not picking up widespread support to date), the union would be replaced by a private corporation that would sign a contract with the college to provide instructors and fill various other roles.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michelle Bower of Landmark College explains how a teacher’s perception of a student's math ability can negatively influence actual ability. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The practice at elite M.B.A. programs of not reporting student grades is popular but may not be achieving its stated goals, according to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The theory, believed by many students, is that the policy of keeping grades secret encourages students to take risks in their educations, and to take challenging courses. But at several of the business schools with the policy, reports suggest high levels of apathy and little evidence of the intellectual risk-taking proponents cite, the study found.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The winner or winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics will be announced this morning. This item will be updated as soon as information is available.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Three researchers will share the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae." The three are:

  • Saul Perlmutter, head of the Supernova Cosmology Project and professor of astrophysics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Brian P. Schmidt, head of the High-z Supernova Search Team and distinguished professor at the Australian National University.
  • Adam G. Riess, professor of astronomy and physics at Johns Hopkins University.
Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which recently gathered hundreds of complaints about federal regulation for a draft report on regulatory burdens, heard more from college administrators about those burdens at its meeting Friday. The committee is charged with identifying federal regulations that are redundant, unnecessary, inconsistent or “overly burdensome," and those that need to be changed or eliminated, and a survey of more than 2,000 college officials found plenty of suggestions.

At the committee, panels of executive officers and office administrators continued that refrain, saying that Higher Education Act regulations are so sprawling that no one person on any campus can keep track of them all and judge which are the most costly or burdensome. Information disclosures came in for particular criticism: Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College, read a laundry list of information that colleges are required to disclose annually, including reports on fire safety, peer-to-peer file sharing, net price and many others.

Participants had a few suggestions for reducing the burden of regulations, although both the committee and the panelists acknowledged that the pace of increased regulation is faster than deregulation would be. Ungar suggested a system in which for every new regulation added, another would have to be eliminated. Others advocated for sector-based regulation, where different rules would apply to different types of colleges.

And while many respondents in the committee's report supported further study, a comprehensive review will be lengthy and costly, said Troy Johnson, vice provost for enrollment at the University of North Texas. "It's fine to study further, yet in the meantime we should immediately seize all of the knowledge and recommendations" and make some progress on deregulation, Johnson said.

The committee is on track to deliver a final report to Congress by the end of the year, the chairman, Allison Jones, said.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Three researchers who focus on immunity were today awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann will share half of the prize "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity." The other half of the prize goes to Ralph M. Steinman "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity."

Beutler is professor of genetics and immunology at the Scripps Research Institute. He formerly did research at Rockefeller University in New York and the University of Texas at Dallas. Information about his lab at Scripps may be found here. Hoffman formerly was director of the Institute for Molecular Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France, and during 2007-8 was President of the French National Academy of Sciences. Steinman is professor of immunology and director of the Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases at Rockefeller University. More information about his work may be found here.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which recently gathered hundreds of complaints about federal regulation for a draft report on regulatory burdens, heard more from college administrators about those burdens at its meeting Friday. The committee is charged with identifying federal regulations that are redundant, unnecessary, inconsistent or “overly burdensome," and those that need to be changed or eliminated, and a survey of more than 2,000 college officials found plenty of suggestions.

At the committee, panels of executive officers and office administrators continued that refrain, saying that Higher Education Act regulations are so sprawling that no one person on any campus can keep track of them all and judge which are the most costly or burdensome. Information disclosures came in for particular criticism: Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College, read a laundry list of information that colleges are required to disclose annually, including reports on fire safety, peer-to-peer file sharing, net price and many others.

Participants had a few suggestions for reducing the burden of regulations, although both the committee and the panelists acknowledged that the pace of increased regulation is faster than deregulation would be. Ungar suggested a "pay-go" system, where for every new regulation added, another would have to be eliminated. Others advocated for sector-based regulation, where different rules would apply to different types of colleges.

And while many respondents in the committee's report supported further study, a comprehensive review will be lengthy and costly, said Troy Johnson, vice provost for enrollment at the University of North Texas. "It's fine to study further, yet in the meantime we should immediately seize all of the knowledge and recommendations" and make some progress on deregulation, Johnson said.

The committee is on track to deliver a final report to Congress by the end of the year, chairman Allison Jones said.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Private higher education has expanded rapidly in Malaysia in the last 15 years, but with reports of wide variations in quality, the government is stepping up scrutiny of the institutions, The New York Times reported. The government imposed a record number of fines on institutions this year -- even as many credit the private institutions with increasing access to higher education.

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