Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 8, 2014

Ellucian, a major higher education technology company, announced Tuesday that its new president and CEO is Jeff Ray, who previously was CEO of the tech companies Ventyx and DS Solid Works. He succeeds John F. Speer III. who is now Ellucian's board chair.

October 8, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Kristin Malecki, an assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, discusses her research on the lack of green space awareness. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 7, 2014

The University of North Alabama is starting its fall break on Thursday, a day earlier than planned, due to a threat to the campus. A threat found last week said that four people would die on campus on Thursday. A statement from the university said: "UNA President John Thornell said cancelling classes and closing campus a day early will not make the threat go away, but it sends a message that the university takes threats seriously and our first priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff."

 

October 7, 2014

Three professors this morning were named winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” The winners are Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Nagoya University, in Japan; Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University; and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Details on the winners and their research may be found here.

 

 

October 7, 2014

Both Arizona State University and Starbucks are reporting a rush of new applicants after the coffee giant announced it would reimburse employees who took their junior and senior years through the institution's online arm. The university has already accepted 1,800 Starbucks employees (whom it referred to as "partners" in a press release), among whom about 1,000 have enrolled in the second fall session.

The university noted the applicants, who represent every state and every retail role at Starbucks, are scattered across its 40 degree programs, although psychology, lifestyle coaching, mass communication and media studies and English ranked as the most popular. About 70 percent of the students will enroll as juniors or seniors, meaning they will be covered by Starbucks' tuition reimbursement plan.

The university previously reported 4,000 Starbucks employees applied to the university. A spokeswoman for ASU also said Starbucks "received a significant increase in job applications" after the program was unveiled this summer.

October 7, 2014

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro last week fired three employees who were subsequently arrested and charged with felonies, unsettling the campus, The Greensboro News-Record reported. The three longtime employees worked in the photography department and are charged with using university equipment and time to run a freelance photography business. Some on campus are questioning whether the university and local authorities overreacted. The university says it had no choice but to act when it found out about the freelance work being done, it says, on university time.

October 7, 2014

The opportunity for institutions to attempt an override of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's decision to grant the five wealthiest conferences' new governing autonomy has passed without the call for a vote.

In August, the Division I Board of Directors granted a greater level of autonomy to the 65 member universities of the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 12, and Southeastern Conferences, granting them the ability to make their own rules concerning issues such as allowing full-cost-of-attendance stipends, offering four-year scholarships, and providing better health care for athletes. At least 75 universities were required to call for an override vote by Oct. 6. Despite a handful of organizations urging institutions to request a vote and several college presidents expressing concern about the new structure, only about 20 -- including the entire Colonial Athletic Association -- did so.

Last week, the five conferences submitted to the NCAA a list of the areas and topics they would like to address using their newly granted autonomy. Full-cost-of-attendance stipends topped the list, with four of the five conferences submitting that topic under the area of financial aid. Other topics include "ensuring nutritional needs" of college athletes, updating policies governing the health and safety of athletes, and exploring career-related insurance options for athletes.

October 7, 2014

The University of California at San Francisco -- a leading medical institution -- is about to start a massive open online course about abortion. The MOOC is believed to be the first to focus on the topic. "Despite its universality, abortion remains controversial and inaccessible for many women. Both the clinical and public health contexts of abortion are often excluded from curricula in medicine, nursing, and other health professions," says the course description. The program aims to help health providers in the United States and around the world both with patient care and the public health aspects of abortion. More than 20 faculty members are participating in the six-week course, offered through the web platform Coursera.

 

October 7, 2014

The University of Florida has suspended its backup quarterback, Treon Harris, "from all team activities" after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female student on campus early Sunday. The University of Florida Police Department is investigating the incident with forensic assistance from the Gainesville Police Department. No charges been filed yet, but the university said it has initiated its student conduct code process.

“We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus,” Bernie Machen, the university's president, said in a statement. “The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the UF community. We must strive to protect all of our students from sexual harassment and assault, and do everything in our power to promote a safe learning environment.”

October 7, 2014

The media company Univision and an online service provider plan to help Hispanic-serving institutions develop their distance education offerings. The announcement was made by Integrated Education Solutions, an arm of DeVry Education, which will work with Univision to help Hispanic-serving institutions develop and market their online academic programs. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct errors.)

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