Higher Education Quick Takes
State leaders in Texas have set admirably ambitious goals for its public colleges and universities, but some of those goals are not compatible, and huge inequities persist across the system, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Higher Education Research. Texas has also failed to understand the "policy tradeoffs" required to make needed improvements, the report said. For example, the state's push to expand the research capacity of its "emerging" universities is an expensive venture at a time when state financial aid has not kept pace with tuition increases. The report is the fourth of a five-state study from the institute.
Complete College America today released a report that diagnoses the failure of the current national approach to remedial education. The study, which includes self-reported data from 31 states, found that students who place into remediation are unlikely to eventually earn a degree or even complete associated college-level courses. Across all sectors, the report found that 30 percent of students who complete remediation don't even attempt credit-bearing "gateway" courses within two years.
Among the fixes proposed by the group, which is at the forefront of the college completion movement, is the report's recommendation that states and colleges end traditional remediation and instead use "co-requisite models." Under this approach, colleges place remedial students into "redesigned first-year, full-credit courses with co-requisite built-in support, just-in-time tutoring, self-paced computer labs with required attendance and the like."
A U.S. Senate panel approved legislation Tuesday that would increase spending on the National Science Foundation by $240 million, or about 3.2 percent, in the 2013 fiscal year. The bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, science, and related agencies would provide $7.3 billion for the NSF. The legislation would also provide a slight cut in funds for science programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and a slight increase for the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California's 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state's borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system said Tuesday. The university, like many public institutions, has sought to help offset budget cuts by enrolling more students who pay full tuitions, leading to increases in non-state residents in many places. Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.
The University of California at Berkeley sports program has fallen $270 million short of its fund-raising goal for a renovation of its football stadium, and the university may have to borrow -- and pick up the bond payments -- out of general campus funds, The Wall Street Journal reported. While Berkeley administrators say that any such payments are years away, the prospect of another athletics-related drain on the university's budget agitates faculty members, who have bristled in recent years at significant budget deficits in the athletics program.
The College Board will subsidize Advanced Placement classes in about 200 California high schools in hopes of bringing more of the college-level courses to poorer communities. In part a response to a new state law asking high schools to offer at least five AP classes, the program will provide teacher training and course supplies. The College Board will identify potential new AP classes based on students’ PSAT scores.
Students receive credit (or at least place out of requirements) for high AP test scores at many colleges. But the test takers tend to be whiter and wealthier than the population at large, leading critics to suggest that AP can place poor or minority students at a greater disadvantage. This project targets schools with a high number of students whose test scores suggest they can succeed in AP courses that aren’t offered.
Participating schools must offer the new AP classes for three years starting this fall or next fall. The College Board will then study the results to see if students in those classes are better prepared for college and then consider expanding the program elsewhere.
A Michigan court has fined a 61-year-old woman for assaulting her instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Michigan Live reported. The woman has also been expelled from the college. The altercation took place in class. "We are disappointed the student did not receive jail time," said Stephen Louisell, faculty grievance officer. "It sends the message that teachers are not valued."
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday, and a number of the winners have higher education connections.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News won the local reporting prize for "courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky." And John Sullivan, a senior lecturer in journalism at Northwestern University, co-led the team at The Philadelphia Inquirer that won the public service award for "exploration of pervasive violence in the city’s schools."
Academics tend to be well-represented among the winners in the Pulitzer's cultural categories, and this year was no exception:
- The late Manning Marable, who was the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and a professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University when he died last year, won the prize for history for Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking).
- John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History at Yale University, won the prize for biography for George F. Kennan: An American Life (The Penguin Press).
- Tracy K. Smith, of the creative writing faculty at Princeton University, won the prize for poetry for Life on Mars (Graywolf Press).
- Stephen Greenblatt, the Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, won the prize for general nonfiction for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W.W. Norton and Company).
- Kevin Puts, who is on the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, won the prize for music for "Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts."