Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

The European University Association is today issuing a new "autonomy scorecard" that compares the autonomy given to university systems throughout Europe. The rankings are in four areas: organizational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy. Following are the countries where the higher education systems have the most and least autonomy.

Category 3 Most Autonomous (from top) 3 Least Autonomous (from bottom)
Organizational Britain, Denmark, Finland Luxembourg, Turkey, Greece
Financial Luxembourg, Estonia, Britain Cyprus, Hesse, Greece
Staffing Estonia, Britain, and three-way tie between Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland Greece, France and tie between Cyprus and Spain
Academic Ireland, Norway, Britain France, Greece, Lithuania

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Alex Rehding of Harvard University explains that monuments made of music can be just as durable as those built of marble. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Santa Clara University announced Monday that a hacker had managed to improve the grades of 60 undergraduates, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The university has asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help track down exactly what happened. An inquiry into the hacking began when a former student came forward to say that a grade on her transcript was better than the one she thought she had earned. The grade changes varied from minor boosts to major ones, changing failing grades to As.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Williams College canceled all classes and athletic activities Monday after an incident of apparent racial bias -- and the college's initial response to it -- agitated many students. The phrase “All Niggers Must Die” was found scrawled on a hallway wall in a campus dorm early Saturday morning, according to a statement released by Adam Falk, the college’s president.  An initial e-mail to the campus angered students who thought the message's wording was vague, said Colin Adams, a member of the college’s faculty steering committee and professor of mathematics. Students demanded the cancelation of classes to create time for reflection about the incident, said James Kolesar, assistant to the president for public affairs. He said a police investigation into the incident is continuing.

Students and faculty and staff members participated in a day’s worth of programming on issues of inequality and diversity.  The main event was held near midday, with about 1,000 students, faculty and staff members assembled for several speeches by administrators and student leaders. “As we together organize our individual, group, and college-wide responses, may that be with outrage at what has occurred and at what too many members of the campus community are continually burdened by, along with the resolute sense that in the end we will succeed in making this campus, nation, and world a place that is safe for all,” Falk wrote in his second statement to the campus Monday.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The Citadel on Saturday issued a statement in which it said that it investigated but did not report an allegation it received in 2007 that a summer camp counselor who was a cadet had inappropriate sexual activity with a camper in 2002 in a Citadel summer program. The statement said that the charges could not be corroborated and that the family of the camper was very concerned about its privacy. Nonetheless, the Citadel statement said, the institution has "regret that we did not pursue this matter further." The statement noted that the cadet -- Louis ReVille -- "was a highly respected cadet whose peers elected him chairman of the Honor Court, and at graduation he was presented the award for excellence in public service."

ReVille went on to become a coach and educator and worked with many schoolchildren in South Carolina until his arrest last month on charges of sexually assaulting five boys, The Post and Courier reported. More charges are expected. The Post and Courier filed an open records request last week for material related to the 2007 Citadel investigation of ReVille.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

A new report available for purchase from the British Council argues that students in different parts of the world have notably different motivations for using agents to help them find colleges and universities in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere to attend. Among the report's findings:

  • African students, many of whom lack reliable Internet access, use agents to obtain basic information.
  • South Asian students are most likely to use agents for help on obtaining visas.
  • Chinese students are most likely to use agents if they are seeking to enroll in English language or other basic educational programs abroad.
  • Indian students who have not studied outside of India are more likely to use agents than those who have already studied abroad.
Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Strayer Education, Inc., on Friday announced its purchase of the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online business college that is part of the financially struggling Chancellor University, a for-profit institution in Cleveland. Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, created the college in 2009 with a $2 million minority stake in Chancellor. He is reportedly buying his share back to transfer the school to Strayer. Michael Clifford, a sometimes controversial investor in for-profits, launched Chancellor in 2008 on the platform of the ailing Myers University. Strayer will pay about $7 million for the business college, Reuters reported.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

China is opening a new college that will be devoted to the study of tea, Xinhua reported. Officials hope graduates of the college will assume positions in sales, management and business development for the tea industry. The new college will award undergraduate degrees through the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.

 

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dora Clarke-Pine of La Sierra University examines the shockingly common problem of plagiarism in doctoral dissertations. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 4:26am

Some professors at Mississippi Valley State University are criticizing a Faculty Senate vote of no confidence this month in President Donna Oliver, The Clarion-Ledger reported. The Faculty Senate cited a number of problems, including poor relations between the president and the faculty, declining enrollment and budget problems. But faculty members who are not on the Faculty Senate say that they were not consulted about what they consider to have been an important vote. Further, some question the wisdom of such a vote with an accreditation review coming up.

 

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