Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 9, 2013

Strayer University this summer will begin offering a scholarship under which undergraduates can earn a free senior year if they stick with their degree programs, the for-profit institution announced this week. Students will qualify for a free course credit for every three they compete, and can earn the full 25 percent discount on a degree as long as they do not take two consecutive quarters off. The "graduate fund" builds on a new tuition freeze and an existing, substantial scholarship program the university created last year. Several major for-profits have discounted their prices amid a general trend of declining enrollment.

May 9, 2013

Stephen Hawking on Wednesday stunned Israelis and set off a day of mixed reports about his motives for calling off plans to attend a major conference in Israel next month. But by the end of the day, it appeared clear that he was honoring the boycott of Israel set up by some pro-Palestinian groups. Early Wednesday, word spread that Hawking was going to skip the conference due to the boycott, but then a spokesman for the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is on the faculty, told The Guardian that the reason the visit had been called off was the scientist's health. Subsequently, the spokesman said he had been wrong, and that Hawking did want to honor the boycott.

The Guardian printed an excerpt from a letter Hawking sent to conference organizers in which he said: "I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."

The decision of Hawking to honor the boycott was greeted as a huge boost to the movement to encourage scholars and others to stay away from Israel. For Israelis and supporters, to have such a prominent scientist honor the boycott -- which has been criticized as antithetical to academic values by many American scholarly groups -- was a major blow.

 

May 8, 2013

Higher One, a company best known for streamlining the process by which colleges channel federal aid funds to students, said Tuesday that it has agreed to purchase the Campus Solutions arm of Sallie Mae that two years ago sought to compete with it. Higher One valued the purchase of the Sallie Mae business -- which works with campus business offices on billing payment solutions, refund disbursement services, and tuition payment plan administration -- at $47.25 million. Higher One has been growing; last year it bought Campus Labs, a student affairs analytics company.

May 8, 2013

Many faculty members and students are expressing outrage at the Sigma Chi fraternity at Willamette University after a blog posted information about what fraternity brothers were posting on what they thought was a private Facebook page, The Statesman Journal reported. One post called for a female administrator to be kicked in the genitals. Another post discussed the need to "beat" a female student. Another said that "women's rights are the biggest joke in the U.S." On Monday, some students protested, while local police responded to reports of a car's tire being slashed on the campus. Stephen Thorsett, the president, sent an e-mail to the campus denouncing the tire slashing and the Facebook posts.

 

May 8, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, JeffriAnne Wilder of the University of North Florida explains the continued existence of colorism and skin tone bias within minority communities. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

May 8, 2013

Colgate University will today formally transfer ownership of more than 100 pieces of art to Curtin University, in Australia, The New York Times reported. The collection consists of paintings and drawings by Aboriginal children who were living in a settlement camp in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s. The art is considered by experts to be "so distinctive and so technically sophisticated that it received considerable acclaim when it toured Europe in the 1950s," the Times reported. The collection came to Colgate when an alumnus donated it in 1966, but most of the art has been out of view. Colgate officials said that they saw the transfer as a just tribute to the artists and a way to build ties to an Australian university.

 

May 8, 2013

Generation Xers (people who are now in their late 30s) are embracing the idea of lifelong learning, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The study found that 1 in 10 GenXers are currently enrolled in classes to continue their educations. And 48 percent of the 80 million GenXers take continuing education courses, in-service training or workshops required for professional licenses and certifications.

 

May 8, 2013

The president of Hebrew University of Jerusalem is leading a delegation to China, where the university anticipates signing several agreements, including a cooperation agreement with Peking University to establish a Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-funded center for Chinese language and cultural education that will be the second in Israel. The university also expects to sign an agreement with a donor who has committed $8 million for scholarships for Chinese students.

May 8, 2013

Overall rates of gambling among male college athletes decreased from 66 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2012, according to a new National Collegiate Athletic Association study, despite a “noticeable increase” in the number of sports wagering cases investigated by the NCAA. Gambling by female athletes stayed constant, though at the significantly lower rate of 39 percent. However, the survey of 23,000 athletes also found that male athletes are still betting and wagering more on sports than they were in 2004, the first year the NCAA published this study. In 2004, 23.5 percent of male athletes said they bet money on sports in the last year, compared to 25.7 percent in 2012. Rates of gambling for money by men also rise by division; in 2012, from 50 percent in Division I, to 56 percent in Division II, to 65 percent in Division III. And more male athletes wagered something on sports in 2012 -- 18.7 percent in Division I, 25.9 percent in Division II and 31.9 percent in Division III. In 2008, those figures were 17.1, 20.6, and 30.7 percent, respectively. allie -- is difference b/w next sentence and previous sentence that it is betting money on ANYTHING, where lower rates in previous sentence are betting on sports? can we make that slightly clearer? distinction was lost on me first read through ... dl *** rearranged some stuff here. Wagering is betting anything; betting is betting money. -ag

May 7, 2013

Some legislators and civil liberties groups are asking why Governor Chris Christie's administration in New Jersey is planning to award $10.6 million in funds from a voter approved bond issue for college facilities to Beth Medrash Govoha, an all-male, orthodox rabbinical seminary, The Star-Ledger reported. The article notes increasingly close ties between the college's leaders and the Christie administration. The bond vote explicitly included private colleges, and many private colleges in New Jersey have religious affiliations. Critics say that Beth Medrash Govoha -- unlike the Roman Catholic colleges in New Jersey -- appears to have religious tests for admission. College officials deny any religious tests. But critics say that requirements -- such as knowing Hebrew, knowing sacred Jewish texts and agreeing not to date for the first six months enrolled -- suggest a strong religious orientation for all students.

 

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