Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The City of Chicago and the University of Chicago announced a deal on Friday that is intended to speed development -- by the city and the university -- of the university's Hyde Park neighborhood. Pledges about mutual planning and communication are designed to prevent zoning and other delays that have hindered construction projects. The announcement, from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said that the deal came out of informal discussions he started with the leaders of universities in the city. The university currently has a $1.7 billion capital program for the next five years.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Twenty-five colleges and universities in Boston -- public and private -- are starting a campaign to make sure that more graduates of Boston high schools finish college, The Boston Globe reported. The effort was prompted by a study two years ago finding that most graduates of Boston's public high schools who start college don't graduate. Efforts being tried by various colleges include scholarship aid, special (and free) summer programs and "learning communities" in which cohorts of students take multiple courses together.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Kaplan has abandoned plans to create a university in Adelaide, Australia, The Australian reported. Kaplan officials said that they would explore other ways to increase the for-profit university's presence in South Australia. A for-profit competitor, Laureate, is exploring a campus in the region as well.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

A professor has been removed from his job at Peking University, following an affair that led to a blackmail attempt, Xinhua reported. The university investigated after a report appeared in The Beijing Times about a professor who had an affair with a woman, who then tried to blackmail him when he did not keep a promise to help her gain admission to the university.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dan Caldwell of Pepperdine University outlines the relationship between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Indonesia is facing considerable criticism for awarding an honorary degree to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, The Jakarta Post reported. The university says that the honor was appropriate because of the king's work on behalf of moderate Islamic teachings, interfaith dialogue and various humanitarian efforts. But Saudi Arabia has become deeply unpopular in Indonesia since the beheading, two months ago, of an Indonesian maid who was working in the country and was accused of murder. Her execution has focused attention on what many see as the abuse of impoverished Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia, many of whom say they have no rights.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Southern California on Sunday announced a $6 billion fund-raising campaign, which would be the largest ever in higher education, The Los Angeles Times reported. Half of the funds would be used to increase the size of the university's endowment (to support faculty hiring and student aid in particular) and the rest would support construction and research. In December, Columbia University upped its campaign total to the then-record of $5 billion. Harvard University is currently planning a campaign that could top the USC goal.

Friday, August 26, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Sarbajit Banerjee of the State University of New York at Buffalo explains his efforts to create a window coating that will hold back heat on warm days, while allowing it to pass through during the winter months. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, August 26, 2011 - 3:00am

New state policies have excluded from the University of Georgia immigrants who lack legal documentation to live in the United States. So five University of Georgia professors are starting "Freedom University," a weekly seminar in which they will offer instruction for high school graduates who are barred from the university because of the new policy, the Associated Press reported. "This is not a substitute for letting these students into U.Ga., Georgia State or the other schools," said Pam Voekel, a history professor at Georgia and one of the program's initiators. "It is designed for people who, right now, don't have another option."

Friday, August 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Hurricane Irene is already leading some colleges to plan closures and many others to adjust schedules. In the Southeast, closures for today or tomorrow have been announced by such institutions as Cape Fear Community College (for tomorrow), Mount Olive College (also calling off a graduation ceremony planned for Saturday) and Norfolk State University.

Many colleges in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast -- where Irene's force is expected late Saturday or Sunday -- faced other logistical challenges. At several institutions, Irene's expected arrival coincides with when either new or continuing students are supposed to move in. Ursinus College had scheduled continuing students to return Sunday, but has told them they can come back Saturday to avoid driving during the worst of the storm. Haverford College, Rutgers University and the University of New Hampshire were among many announcing similar changes.

Towson University, meanwhile, is offering shelter to 600 international students who are working in Ocean City and other Maryland areas that are being evacuated, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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