Higher Education Quick Takes
The number of associate degrees earned by adult students is growing faster than those earned by traditional-age students, according to the new data from the National Student Clearinghouse's research center. The report, which is based on data from 3,300 institutions, found that the number of two-year degrees awarded by public institutions to students who were at least 25 years old increased by 22 percent in the three years after 2008, when the recession began, compared to a 17 percent increase for younger students.
Germany's education minister, Annette Schavan, is under scrutiny following an investigation by the University of Düsseldorf that suggested she plagiarized her Ph.D. dissertation, Spiegel Online reported. "Not only because of a pattern recurring throughout the work, but also because of specific features found in a significant plurality of sections (in the work), it can be stated that there was a clear intention to deceive," said a report on the investigation.
A significant number of passages in Schavan's dissertation "show the characteristics of a plagiaristic approach," the report added. Schavan, who until now has not commented specifically on the charges, told Südwest Presse: "It is rather striking that a confidential report written by a university professor is given to the press before the person concerned even knows of its existence. I completely reject the charges."
Merging campus civic engagement and economic development can create "engaged learning economies," which are a boon to both colleges and local communities, according to a new report from Campus Compact, a national coalition of 1,200 college and university presidents. The report describes 25 examples where this has worked, including efforts by Widener University to work with local groups to help improve the economy of low-income Chester, Pa., which is home to the university.
Mexican authorities on Monday raided three teachers colleges in the state of Michoacan, where students have been hijacking buses and trucks to protest changes in the curriculum, the Associated Press reported. In clashes Monday, 176 protesters -- who have been trying to take over the campuses -- were detained, and 10 police offers were injured.
This month the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges issued a report calling on trustees to meet their responsibilities for making sure athletics programs are run with integrity, consistent with the educational values of their institutions. It's not clear that all trustees have read the report about where they should focus their attention. The Tampa Bay Times used open-records requests to obtain the e-mail message John Ramil, the board chair of the University of South Florida, sent out after USF lost a football game to Temple University. "Disgusting and unacceptable. We have major problems with our football program," he wrote in an e-mail to the president's chief of staff. That e-mail in turn was forwarded to the athletics director, with a suggestion that he have a talk with the board chair. Asked about the e-mail, Ramil told the newspaper that "I was expressing the same feeling of frustration as all the USF fans are feeling.... I personally want what's best for all the USF programs, whether academic or sports. I also believe in candid feedback, and I think the president and the athletic director and the coaches need to have that kind of feeling of feedback from all the fans. I've given them feedback on good stuff, too."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association followed through last Monday on its vow to bar the staging of championship events in New Jersey, citing the state's passage in July of a law that permits sports gambling. NCAA policies prohibit the association from holding events in any state that allows betting on individual college games, and there were five regional and national championships planned for the state in this academic year. “Consistent with our policies and beliefs, the law in New Jersey requires that we no longer host championships in the state," said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. "We will work hard in the days ahead to find new suitable host locations which will allow the student-athletes to have the best possible competitive experience.”
Blackboard announced Monday that Michael Chasen will be stepping down as its CEO at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Jay Bhatt, who is president and CEO of Progress Software. Chasen was the co-founder of Blackboard in 1997, and saw huge growth in the company's size and influence in higher education. The company dominates the learning management system market, and has also seen its share of controversies while gaining that position and acquiring many other companies in related fields. Chasen posted this open letter about the change.
Upcoming changes to income-based repayment for student loans will benefit graduate students with high debt and high salaries, according to a new report from the New America Foundation. The report, "Safety Net or Windfall?", argues that changes to the income-based repayment system, which will lower monthly payments to 10 percent of a borrower's income (down from 15 percent) and confer loan forgiveness after 20 years (down from 25 years), will encourage graduate schools to increase tuition because high-debt borrowers might not have to repay all of their loans. Low-income borrowers will see only a modest benefit, write the report's authors, Jason Delisle and Alex Holt of the Federal Education Budget Project. They suggest maintaining the new benefits only for borrowers with income at less than 300 percent of the poverty line.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Bridgepoint Education Inc. over the compensation of admissions staff members, the company announced Monday in a corporate filing. The for-profit is also facing a serious accreditation challenge for its Ashford University, which is scrambling to retain regional accreditation.