Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Duquesne University has sued Highmark Inc., its insurer, saying that it has been reimbursing employees for some forms of birth control, despite a contract with the Roman Catholic college not to do so, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The company did not return calls seeking comment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Phyllis M. Wise was on Wednesday named as the next chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wise is currently provost at the University of Washington, where she also served as interim president. She is among a very small number of Asian-American academics named to the top position on an American campus.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The Texas Workforce Commission has ordered ATI Enterprises not to enroll new students in 16 career schools in the state, the Associated Press reported. The move follows questions raised by WFAA-TV about the accuracy of the chain's job placement rates. A company official declined to comment, saying that ATI would respond on Friday. The blog Higher Ed Watch features a review of the criticism of ATI.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Phyllis M. Wise was on Wednesday named as the next chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wise is currently provost at the University of Washington, where she also served as interim president. She is among a very small number of Asian-American academics named to the top position on an American campus.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University at Albany's Nina Marinello examines the conflicting nutritional information found in the media and how to tell good information from the bad. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, on Tuesday announced that it was purchasing Carnegie Learning, which has created adaptive learning tools that have been particularly successful in teaching remedial mathematics. The company is a spinoff of research conducted at Carnegie Mellon University. Apollo will pay $75 million to buy the company and another $21 million to Carnegie Mellon for related technology rights that it still owns.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Anya Kamenetz, whose 2010 book DIY U heralded the "edupunks" who were seeking alternatives to higher education and the entrepreneurs who aimed to provide those alternatives, has published a new book (downloadable free) designed as a practical guidebook to navigate the nontraditional pathways to higher learning. The book -- which Kamenetz calls "the first ever sponsored" by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- lays out the many sources of content and (to the extent practicable) credentials that can be found online to help create a "personalized path to an affordable credential using the latest innovative tools and organizations."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 3:00am

China is seeing a growth in Jewish studies, with 10 universities now having Jewish studies centers, The Jewish Chronicle reported. The centers are organizing conferences, offering courses and publishing Nanjing University's Institute of Jewish Studies produced an 800-page Chinese translation of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, which is considered the standard reference work on Judaism in the country

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Four in 10 public school teachers hired since 2005 entering teaching through alternatives to traditional teacher education programs, up from 22 percent of new teachers hired between 2000-2004, according to a new study from the National Center for Education Information. Those figures are also up from 8 percent in the 1990s and 4 percent in the 1980s. With the new cohorts' impact on the teaching population as a whole, the proportion of teachers who entered the field through traditional teacher ed has dropped from 95 percent 15 years ago to 67 percent.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Ohio University has moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Princeton Review's most talked-about annual ranking: top party school. Ohio displaced the University of Georgia for the top spot.

Students at Ohio reported high rates of beer-drinking (it was tops in this category), liquor consumption (second place), and participation in fraternities and sororities (# 11).

OU officials released a statement saying they were "disappointed" in the ranking and felt it did not reflect the experience of most students. To back up this claim, the statement cited the university's biennial alcohol and drug use survey, which was released in June and showed a 2 percent decrease in "high-risk" or "binge" drinking since 2009, and an 8 percent decrease since 2007.

Of the 1,101 respondents, all undergraduates, about 70 percent reported consuming five or more drinks on one occasion within the past two weeks in this year's survey, compared to about 73 percent in 2009 and 78 percent in 2011. Kent Smith, vice president of student affairs, attributed the decline to the university efforts to curb drinking, including a mandatory online alcohol education course and a public relations campaign called "Stop at the Buzz." Drinking is still a problem, he said, but the university is "moving in the right direction."

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