Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

About 1 million additional 19- to 25-year-olds obtained health insurance in the first three months of 2011, at least in part thanks to a provision in President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation, which raised by six years the age at which young adults are no longer eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. The total of young adults with health insurance rose from 66.1 percent of the relevant age group in 2010 to 69.6 percent in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday; however, it is unclear how many of these newly covered 19- to 26-year-olds are college students. The news was celebrated by Young Invincibles, the health care advocacy group that has backed Obama’s legislation, which would also subject student health plans provided through colleges and universities to additional provisions beginning in the 2012 academic year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

St. Francis University, in Pennsylvania, has withdrawn an invitation to Ellen Goodman, the columnist, to give a talk about civility. The reason for the nixed invitation, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, is that Goodman supports abortion rights, a view that did not go over well with leaders of the Roman Catholic institution. "After careful consideration, the university feels that the body of your work has reflected statements that are not in close enough alignment with some Catholic teachings and with the values and mission of the university as required for an event of this stature," Provost Wayne Powel wrote to Goodman. Her reply: "Imagine my disappointment at having my plea for civility returned with a pie in the face."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Kinney of the State University of New York at Buffalo examines the evidences for and against the existence of a sibling universe. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The Modern Language Association has released some moderately good news about the job market. In January, the MLA projected (in an improvement from recent years) that job listings would be relatively level for 2010-11. Now the association has released a detailed analysis of the year's findings. According to a new report, the number of jobs listed with the MLA in 2010-11 rose by 8.2 percent in English and by 7.1 percent in foreign languages. Still, however, the number of jobs listed in 2010-11 remains below the peak in 2007-8.

Via e-mail, Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the MLA, said: "While the increase is modest, it is nevertheless good news to see that there were more opportunities for employment in the fields of English and other modern languages than in the previous year. We've noticed in recent hiring cycles that departments announce positions later in the academic calendar, so the early fall listings are not necessarily a good indication of the year-end total."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Anna Maria College has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. “After reviewing students’ academic preparation and how it effects their ability to succeed at AMC for the past several years, we found that merit and achievement in high school were becoming the major determining factors in academic success, as well as in the admissions decision making process,” said a statement from Mary Lou Retelle, executive vice president of the Massachusetts college. It will keep the test requirement for those seeking admission to its paramedic science program.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates would refuse for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system search committee for each campus's search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits would "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

When Burlington College's Board of Trustees meets next week, one item on its agenda will be the fate of President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Normally, at a private college like Burlington, which isn't subject to open-meetings laws, potential consideration of dumping a president would be kept top secret. But the Burlington Free Press reports that an agenda for the upcoming meeting contained a not-very-subtle item: "Removal of the President." Sanders, whose husband is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, confirmed to the newspaper that the "leadership of the board and I are engaged in ongoing discussions regarding the future of Burlington College and its leadership.” The board's chairman, Adam Dantzscher, also confirmed that the phrase had appeared on the written agenda, but declined to discuss the matter further.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Harvard University welcomed the Navy's Reserve Officers Training Corps program back to its campus after 40 years on Tuesday, as the Obama administration formally ended the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gay service members in the military, The Boston Globe reported.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The playwright Tom Stoppard has joined a campaign in Scotland against what humanities professors say is the gradual elimination of university programs in Russian, Czech and Polish, The Scotsman reported. Stoppard, who is Czech, said he does not speak the language and that his reaction is based not on his personal ties, but his view of the intellectual contributions of a broad language program. A proposal by Glasgow University to eliminate its Slavonic studies department has set off the latest efforts on behalf of language and culture programs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department on Tuesday published a report on the status of military service members and veterans in higher education just before the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect, providing a baseline from which the growth in veterans' involvement in higher education can be measured. The report offers a statistical portrait of the service members and veterans enrolled as undergraduates and graduate students in 2007-8 and compares them to their non-military peers. In total, service members and veterans made up about 4 percent of all enrolled students at that point, they were more likely to be male than were other students, and they were more likely than others to study at private nonprofit four-year institutions, pursue bachelor’s degrees, take a distance education course, and study computer and information sciences.

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