Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Clark University announced Monday that it will make the SAT or ACT optional for undergraduate admissions. Officials said that the decision followed a study by the faculty and the admissions office, which concluded that the university could make admissions decisions based on such factors as high school grades, rigor of the high school courses taken and extracurricular activities.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The best give-aways at the book exhibit of the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association this year -- to judge by how many people were wearing them -- were two buttons distributed by Oxford University Press. The buttons were a reply to Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who has angered many anthropologists by saying that Florida doesn't need any more of them. One button reads "Florida Anthropologists: We Support You." The other says: "Actually Rick, Florida could use a few more anthropologists."

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 4:28am

The Utah Board of Regents on Friday voted to require all public colleges to have systems in place for period post-tenure reviews of faculty members, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy responds to complaints from some legislators who have sought to ban tenure.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Among new developments and articles of note on the Pennsylvania State University scandal:

  • Rodney Erickson, who was named interim president last week when Graham Spanier stepped down, is no longer interim. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the board has removed the word "interim" from his title, and no longer plans to conduct a national search for a replacement for Spanier. A spokeswoman said: "Under normal circumstances a national search would be conducted over a period of a year or more, with the help of an executive search committee. Under our current situation, which is obviously unprecedented, the board has taken the action to name the president who they believe will lead us forward."
  • Michael Bérubé, the Paterno Family Professor in Literature and director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about Joe Paterno's contributions to academic advances at the university (including creation of the chair Bérubé holds) and the need for a greater faculty role in decision-making such that "shared governance" becomes meaningful at the institution.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association told Penn State officials last week that it would investigate whether the sex abuse scandal indicates a failure by the university to exercise "institutional control" over the sports program. While allegations of sexual abuse of children might seem outside the NCAA's normal purview of academic dishonesty and improper payments to players, Mark Emmert, the NCAA's president, noted in a letter to Erickson that the NCAA's rulebook contains a broad prohibition against unethical conduct, and cited a specific provision that campus officials must do more than just "avoid improper conduct or questionable acts." They have an "affirmative" obligation, too, the rulebook states; "[t]heir own moral values must be so certain and positive that those younger and more pliable will be influenced by a fine example."
Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

At least seven additional people are expected to turn themselves in in a Long Island scandal in which some people are accused of paying others to take the SAT or ACT for them, The New York Times reported. An additional round of arrests in September sparked considerable debate about the adequacy of test-taking security.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Thirty-two American students were named Saturday as Rhodes Scholars. As is typically the case, many students who won attended elite private universities, with more than one winner each from Brown, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford Universities. But this year's winners also include two from the University of Washington and one each from California State University at Long Beach, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Kansas. The winners receive funds for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford.

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A report released today finds that colleges are sharing more information with the public about their efforts to measure student learning, but that they are not presenting the information in easy-to-understand ways and are providing little evidence that they are using the results to change their teaching practices. The report is the latest by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment to examine how transparent colleges are being about their efforts to gauge how successfully they are educating their students.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Joan Teno of Brown University examines the usefulness of the stressful transitions faced by the elderly in the last stage of life. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Parents are encouraging the growth of programs in China that enroll prodigies in universities many years before traditional college age, China Daily reported. Zhang Xinyang currently holds the record for youngest college student. He was 10 when he enrolled and is now, at 16, pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at Beihang University. About 1,400 high school students applied this year for just over 100 slots in a program for gifted youths at Xi'an Jiaotong University. The number of applicants has been increasing by 200 to 300 annually in recent years. The University of Science and Technology of China receives about 3,000 applications for the School of the Gifted Young each year, admitting only about 50 a year.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A plane crash Thursday night killed Kurt Budke, the women's basketball coach at Oklahoma State University, and the assistant  women’s basketball coach, Miranda Serna. The crash took place in Arkansas, where they were on a recruiting trip.


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