Higher Education Quick Takes
The parents of two Chinese students at the University of Southern California who were shot and killed while in a parked car near the campus have sued the university, charging it misled them about safety issues, The Los Angeles Times reported. The suit says that the university incorrectly claims on its website that it is "ranked among the safest of U.S. universities and colleges, with one of the most comprehensive, proactive campus and community safety programs in the nation." After the two were murdered last month, the university continued to provide "clearly misleading" information on safety, the suit says. A lawyer for the university said that the institution is "deeply saddened by this tragic event, which was a random violent act not representative of the safety of USC or the neighborhoods around campus. While we have deep sympathy for the victims' families, this lawsuit is baseless and we will move to have it dismissed."
Employees of the eight universities of the Ivy League have donated $375,932 to President Obama's re-election campaign, and $60,465 to the campaign of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. One unit of one university -- Harvard Business School -- has employees who give more to Romney than Obama ($14,000 to $11,400).
Harold Raveché, the former president of Stevens Institute of Technology, has received more than $5 million since he quit under fire for alleged financial mismanagement, The Star-Ledger reported. University officials said that they were legally obligated to pay the money, which came in the form of consulting fees, severance pay, retirement benefits and other cash.
Latino students are likelier than students from other racial groups to be deterred from enrolling in graduate school because of debt, says a report from the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education. The report argues that reducing undergraduate debt is essential to increasing the number of Latino students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
College athletes in contact sports such as football and ice hockey were more likely than peers in non-contact sports to perform worse than expected on tests measuring the ability to absorb new learning, according to a study published this week in the journal Neurology. The study, by Thomas McAllister of Dartmouth College's medical school, did not find differences in test results between the two groups of athletes at the beginning of the season, suggesting that head impacts from previous seasons did not appear to diminish thinking and memory skills in contact-sport athletes.
But where just 4 percent of the athletes in non-contact sports (such as crew, track, and skiing) performed worse than expected on the test of new learning after their playing season, 22 percent of contact-sport athletes did. (Players who had suffered concussions were excluded from the study.) Concerns about cognitive impairment due to head impacts has been escalating, most notably in football and most intensely at the professional and high school levels.
- Tracy W. Barlok, associate vice president for advancement at Skidmore College, in New York, has been selected as vice president for development and alumni relations at College of the Holy Cross, in Massachusetts.
- David Markwardt, assistant professor of zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University, has been promoted to associate professor of zoology there.
- John J. McCarthy, distinguished professor and special assistant to the provost at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has been promoted to vice provost for graduate education and graduate school dean there.
- Jeremy Ryan, director of development at Anthem Worldwide, has been named vice president of digital services at Lipman Hearne.
- Robert A. Schapiro, interim dean and professor of law at Emory University School of Law, in Georgia, has been appointed as Dean and Asa Griggs Candler professor there.
- Mary Todd, founding dean of the honors college at Marshall University, in West Virginia, has been chosen as executive director of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, in Louisiana.
- Ed Weis, dean of the business division at Molloy College, in New York, has been named dean of the School of Business at Mercy College, also in New York.
People with higher degree attainment and their families have healthier lives, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the findings:
- In 2007-2010 in households where the head of household had less than a high school education, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese. In households where the head had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11 percent for males aged 2-19 years and 7 percent for females were obese.
- In 2007-2010, women 25 years of age and over with less than a bachelor’s degree were more likely to be obese (39 percent - 43 percent) than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (25 percent).
- In 2010, 31 percent of adults 25-64 years of age with a high school diploma or less education were smokers, compared with 24 percent of adults with some college and 9 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Between 1996-2006, the gap in life expectancy at age 25 between those with less than a high school education and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 1.9 years for men and 2.8 years for women. On average in 2006, 25-year-old men without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 9.3 years less than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Cuba's universities have cut enrollment by nearly 26 percent, The Miami Herald reported. The cuts are largely motivated by the country's need to cut spending. The programs seeing the largest cuts are in the social sciences.
Just three months after Susan Hockfield announced her plans to retire as president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT's board said Tuesday that it had hired Provost L. Rafael Reif to succeed her. The remarkably quick (for major research universities) succession came about not for a lack of candidates -- MIT considered more than 100, said its board chairman, John S. Reed -- but because Reif emerged so clearly as a "uniquely qualified candidate," Reed said. Reif was centrally involved in many of the institute's most innovative efforts in his seven years as provost, including the creation of MITx and its recent expansion, with Harvard University, into EdX. “I cannot tell you that this is a dream come true,” Reif told reporters after his selection, “because this is a dream I never dared to imagine.”