Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 28, 2014

Western Governors University has unveiled a new website, dubbed CBEInfo, which seeks to be a discussion space for lessons from the nonprofit university's collaborations with community colleges. Western Governors, which offers competency-based credentials, has worked with 10 community colleges around the country to help them create competency-based associate degree programs. The website includes information about the development of those programs, and seeks input from faculty members and college administrators.

October 28, 2014

Hiring of college graduates this year is expected to reach levels not seen since the early 2000s, but the starting salaries of those positions are improving at a much slower pace, according to new reports authored by Phil Gardner, the director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. The number of internships -- and paid ones at that -- is also expected to increase. After several years of slow growth, hiring of recent college graduates will increase by 16 percent for the 2014-2015 school year, according to Gardner's report released earlier this month. According to a separate report, based on the same survey of 53,000 companies, 40 percent of employers say they will enlarge their intern pools this year, while only 4 percent say they will decrease the number of interns.

More than 70 percent of employers say they will pay their interns. Last year, that share was 67 percent. Starting salaries remain largely stagnant, Gardner said, with six in 10 employers saying they will not increase their starting pay and those who will offer salary increases will only do so by 3 to 5 percent. “Pressure on employers to increase starting salaries has been minimal since the market crash in 2008,” he said.

October 28, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Andrew Gallup, an assistant professor of psychology explains his theory that yawns are a mechanism designed to cool the brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 27, 2014

Three colleges in New York State have reached an agreement with the state's attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, to drop application questions on criminal records that Schneiderman and others said went too far, The New York Times reported. At St. John's University, the question read: “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony?” A statement from the attorney general said: “An arrest or police stop that did not result in a conviction, or a criminal record that was sealed or expunged, should not — indeed must not — be a standard question on a college application." The other colleges that agreed to drop similar questions are Dowling College and Five Towns College. The agreement with colleges says that they may consider a criminal record in evaluating an applicant if the record "indicates that the individual poses a threat to public safety or property, or if the convictions are relevant to some aspect of the academic program or student responsibilities.”

At some other campuses, asking questions about criminal records has been criticized by some student groups, although some colleges have also been criticized for not asking enough about applicants' criminal records. The Common Application poses the question in a way that would seem consistent with Schneiderman's criticisms. The Common Application question is: “Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime? Note that you are not required to answer 'yes' to this question, or provide an explanation, if the criminal adjudication or conviction has been expunged, sealed, annulled, pardoned, destroyed, erased, impounded, or otherwise ordered by a court to be kept confidential."

October 27, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has spent nearly as much money on lobbying efforts this year as it did the last three years combined -- and there's still a fiscal quarter to go. The NCAA has so far spent $470,000 on lobbying, both in-house and through the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, according to OpenSecrets.org. In the last three years, the association spent about $500,000 total.

The efforts were all related to concussions and athlete well-being, the website reported. Officials in Washington are increasingly interested in the NCAA's efforts -- or lack thereof -- to reform college sports. In the last year, lawmakers have held a Senate hearing, sent pointed questionnaires to member institutions, and began drafting legislation that would create a presidential commission on college sports.

October 27, 2014

Benedictine University, whose main campus is outside Chicago, plans to shift its Springfield campus away from undergraduate programs for new high school graduates, and to instead focus on adult students, The State Journal-Register reported. Officials cited the growth of the nontraditional population and the increased competition for the shrinking number of traditional students. As a result of the shift, 75 of the 100 Springfield campus employees will lose their jobs.

 

October 27, 2014

Faculty members at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania have voted no confidence in President Robert R. Jennings, citing declining enrollment and worsening financial conditions at the historically black institution, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The university declined to comment on the vote.

October 27, 2014

On the latest "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free weekly news podcast, the University of Minnesota's Nancy Sims joined Editor Scott Jaschik and the moderator Casey Green to discuss the implications for librarians and professors of a federal appeals court's decision about colleges' use of copyrighted materials in electronic reserves. And in our other segment, the University of Wisconsin at Madison's Craig Roberts weighed in on how colleges are -- and should be -- reacting (and not overreacting) to the threat of the Ebola virus. Sign up here for notification of new podcasts.

October 27, 2014

Four members of the FarmHouse fraternity at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln were arrested Thursday on suspicion of providing the alcohol that killed a freshman in early September. University officials are suspending the chapter indefinitely, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Clayton Real, 18, was found dead in his room after a night partying with the fraternity just two weeks into the academic year. His blood alcohol content was 0.378 -- more than four times the legal limit. Real was one of several freshmen across the country who died shortly after arriving on campus this year.

October 27, 2014

The massive no-show courses scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is attracting considerable attention from humorists. On "Saturday Night Live," the Weekend Update sketch quoted athletes at UNC as saying that the reports were "ungood" and "distrue." The New Yorker's Borowitz Report ran an article with the headline "UNC Boosters Outraged That Some Athletes Took Real Classes," and The Onion ran an infographic on "What Privileges Do Student Athletes Receive?" Among the benefits: "Early registration times allow scholar-athletes to enroll in the most in-demand fluff courses" and "At Ohio State, athletes receive complimentary transportation to and from crime scenes."

 

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