Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Cornell University and New York University were the top education employers in this year's analysis of the best places to work for people who adopt. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption examines policies of large workplaces for the annual ratings. Both Cornell and NYU provide their employees with up to $6,000 per adoption and six weeks of paid leave.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 3:00am

The law school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has posted correct data about the class of 2014, replacing inflated data that were online previously. The university continues to investigate how the incorrect data were placed there. While the data had not yet been reported to the American Bar Association when the errors were discovered, they were visible to prospective applicants. And had the data not been corrected, they likely would have boosted the law school's rankings in various systems that use ABA data. The accurate data, which the university had independently verified, said that the class had a median score of 163 on the Law School Admission Test and a grade-point average of 3.7. The earlier data had the LSAT median at 168, and the G.P.A. as 3.8.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Donors who believe in social media have pledged $1 for each person (up to $50,000) who either friends the University of Wisconsin at Madison or its alumni association on Facebook, or who becomes a Twitter follower. Will Hsu, who graduated from UW-Madison in 2000 and is one of the donors, said that he views social media as "a powerful way for younger alums and current students to get connected and stay connected with the university.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 3:00am

The blogosophere was abuzz Monday with a post at a blog at the University of Pennsylvania about how some political science students were sitting in class for 15 minutes before receiving an e-mail telling them that the course had been canceled over the summer because the professor, Henry Teune, had died. The incident may be a good illustration of the value of updating Web pages. The political science department's home page prominently features a notice about a memorial service for Teune. But he remains on the faculty list, and the course list for the fall lists him for two courses. He died in April.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Australian universities have been experiencing major security flaws with Blackboard Learn, potentially leaving systems vulnerable to students who want to change their grades, or others seeking private information, SC Magazine reported. According to the magazine, university officials in Australia had to threaten to issue a security alert to get Blackboard to do so.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The Internal Revenue Service formally declared last week that employers -- including colleges and universities -- can provide cell phones to workers for business purposes without the worker paying any tax on the benefit. The issue has been raised in IRS audits of several major universities, and colleges had been hopeful that this change was coming in the wake of a provision included in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 last fall, which removed cell phones from the definition of listed property, a category that normally requires additional recordkeeping by taxpayers. But the IRS declaration provides a formal measure of relief to college officials.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Chris Impey of the University of Arizona explores ancient light in an effort to better understand the lifecycle of supermassive black holes. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

A Canadian scientist has been stripped of a federal research grant after authorities found that his application materials and C.V. included claims that he had conducted research and published findings about the research -- even though the research and publications did not exist, Postmedia News reported. The Canadian research agency that took action against the scientist declined to identify him.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Greg Mortenson has declined this year's Grawemeyer Award for contributions to education. The University of Louisville makes the annual award and selected Mortenson -- author of Three Cups of Tea and a philanthropist who has promoted the development of schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- just before questions were raised on "60 Minutes" about his book and about the management of his philanthropy. A university press release quoted Mortenson as saying that the award was a great honor, but that he was declining nonetheless. “I wish to humbly decline the Grawemeyer Award as a way to acknowledge the dedication and sacrifice of all those who have gone before us and those who continue to promote peace through education,” Mortenson said. The scandal over Mortenson's work has put many colleges in an awkward position because they assign his work and he is a popular speaker on campuses.

Monday, September 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday unveiled a new website to assist international students interesting in studying in the United States. Secretary Janet Napolitano said it will be a "one-stop shop" for questions about visas, visa renewals and qualification requirements for students looking to come to the United States to study. She said it is part of the department's initiative to encourage international involvement in higher education. John Morton, director of immigration and customs enforcement, said. "We want to be welcoming and to encourage the best and the brightest with a system marked by integrity."

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