Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A new study by University of Rhode Island researchers found that more than half of college students have received sexually suggested images via text messages, while nearly 80 percent had received suggestive messages. Most messages were sent back and forth between people in a relationship, but 10 percent of the messages were forwarded to someone who did not consent to the additional sharing of the image.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Justice Department and nine college associations have filed briefs backing the University of Illinois in its attempt to overturn a judge's ruling that documents requested by The Chicago Tribune are not covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Tribune requested the documents -- which deal with applicants' grades, test scores and parents -- as part of an inquiry into the university system's pattern (since abandoned) of favoring politically connected applicants in admissions. The ruling that Illinois is appealing left open the possibility that various privacy provisions might block the release of some records, but college associations are backing the University of Illinois appeal, which states that the ruling leaves public colleges open to pressure to release extensive information about students, possibly in violation of FERPA. The brief on behalf of college associations was filed by the American Council on Education.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities sued the U.S. Education Department Wednesday, charging that the agency's recently enacted regulation aimed at ensuring that vocational programs prepare students for "gainful employment" is unconstitutional. The gainful employment rule, a final version of which was published last month, applies to nonprofit and for-profit colleges alike that have vocationally oriented programs, but for-profit institutions would be disproportionately affected, and a lawsuit by their chief lobbying group had been expected.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A new report, "Consequences of Neglect: Performance Trends in California Higher Education," documents the impact of years of budget cuts on colleges and universities in the state. The report, prepared by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, of California State University at Sacramento, notes the extent to which California was once considered a higher education leader. The report finds that the state is currently struggling to be average in many higher education measures. The study examines six categories, rates current performance compared to other states and offers a seven-year trend.

Category Current Performance 7-Year Trend
Preparation Worse than most states Up
Affordability Average Down
Participation Better than most states Down
Completion Average Level
Benefits Average Level
Finance Average Down

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Campus Crusade for Christ, a major evangelical movement on colleges and universities, is changing its name officially to "Cru," which is the way some of its members refer to it already. Cru was selected among 1,600 names considered. In part, the name change reflects the group's many non-campus operations. But there was also a desire to remove the word "crusade." "It's become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East," Steve Sellers, the group's vice president, told Christianity Today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Marc Hauser, a prominent Harvard University psychology professor whose research has come under scrutiny, has resigned, The Boston Globe reported. An internal investigation found that he committed multiple instances of scientific misconduct, one paper he published was retracted and two others were corrected -- but many observers have pushed for more details on the nature of what was incorrect in his work. Hauser was not available for comment on his resignation, which was confirmed by a university spokesman.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Gerald Lang, the former provost of West Virginia University, has dropped a suit against the institution, after reaching an undisclosed settlement, the Associated Press reported. Lang resigned in 2009 amid a scandal over an inappropriately awarded degree -- a situation for which he said he was a scapegoat. Officials did not comment on the settlement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Moody's Investors Service published two reports Tuesday that underscore the ratings agency's perception of a growing divide between the fortunes of wealthy private colleges -- and the rest. The more substantive of the two reports, which are available only to Moody's clients, focuses on "divergent credit trends" and finds that institutions that were highly dependent on tuition and "weaker market positions" were more likely than "high-reputation institutions" to experience declines in the agency's ratings metrics. A second report on private gifts anticipates a continued rebound in donations in 2011, but mostly benefiting "“highly rated, market-leading universities."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

A former assistant football coach at Louisiana State University violated National Collegiate Athletic Association recruiting rules by making excessive telephone calls to prospective players and tried to cover up his rule breaking, the Division I Committee on Infractions said Tuesday in punishing the institution. Despite the penalties, which included recruiting restrictions, the association praised LSU officials for uncovering and aggressively investigating the violations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

he Ivy League will announce today that it is imposing new limits on full-contact football practices. The New York Times reported that the limits, designed to minimize head injuries to players, go beyond the rules of any other athletic conference. Many studies have suggested that limits on full-contact practices may be a key step to minimizing concussions and associated brain trauma experienced by many football players. Studies have found that many football players receive more hits to the head in practice than in actual games. Under the new Ivy rules, only two full-contact practices per week during the season will be permitted, compared with a maximum of five under guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

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