Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 2, 2018

The University of Arizona has decided to let its men's basketball coach return to the team after he strongly disputed allegations in an ESPN report that he was captured on tape talking about paying players, the Arizona Daily Star reported. Sean Miller decided not to coach his team's game last weekend after ESPN reported details of Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretaps that reportedly caught Miller discussing payments with a representative of a sports agent at the center of a broad federal inquiry into college basketball corruption.

Arizona's president, Robert C. Robbins, said after a closed-door special meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents that he and the university's athletics director had no reason to believe Miller had broken NCAA rules. "Coach Miller is our coach, he has a contract and we'll be moving forward," he said, according to the Daily Star.

ESPN corrected some facts in its article after it was originally published, but the organization has stood by the story over all.

March 2, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Marsha Gordon, professor of film studies in the department of English at North Carolina State University, says a nuclear disaster movie from the 1980s rings true today. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


March 1, 2018

The president of Bates Technical College, in Washington State, will apparently hold on to his job but will not return from his suspension until a "disciplinary directive" is handed down by the college, The News Tribune reported. The president, Ron Langrell, has been on leave after a college investigation found that he had engaged in unwanted hugging and other behavior that was unsettling to many female employees. Langrell has said he is sorry and that he wishes he had been aware earlier of the discomfort he caused.

March 1, 2018

The Obama Foundation, supporting the work and ideals of the former president, is creating an Obama Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Chicago. Full scholarships -- for tuition and living expenses -- will be provided in its first year to 25 students pursuing master's degrees at the university's Harris School of Public Service. Students will be recruited from around the world, and their master's program will focus on international development and policy, combined with a range of outside-the-classroom leadership activities.

March 1, 2018

The University of Rochester’s Faculty Senate voted this week to censure Florian Jaeger, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences accused of harassing female graduate students and creating a hostile work environment. The university cleared Jaeger of wrongdoing, as did a recent independent investigation funded by the university. Student and faculty critics have called the investigations flawed, pointing to the fact that even the outside review determined Jaeger had engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional -- if not illegal or policy-violating -- behavior between 2007 and 2013. The censure motion says, in part, that Jaeger’s behavior “resulted in significant harm to students, the affected department and the broader university community. We condemn this behavior in the strongest possible terms.” The resolution includes a vow to evaluate and revise relevant policies and procedures to ensure student and employee safety going forward.

The senate also voted to condemn the university’s having searched the email accounts of Jaeger’s faculty critics and shared them with their department chair. Sara Miller, university spokesperson, told the Democrat & Chronicle Jaeger remains on paid leave for the semester but will be continue his research, “including working with students in his lab so that they may complete their graduate studies.”

Steve Modica, Jaeger’s attorney, said in a statement that the senate’s vote is “the result of an alarming rush to judgment. It was based on emotion, rumor and a well-designed public relations campaign” on the part of Jaeger’s critics, some of whom are suing the university over its handling of the case. “Senate members have made themselves arbiters of morality” on campus, enmeshing themselves in the ongoing civil case, he said.

March 1, 2018

Canada's new budget includes almost 4 billion Canadian dollars (about $3.1 billion) in new funding for science and research over the next five years, Nature reportedThis includes 354.7 million Canadian dollars (about $276 million) each in new funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and 215.5 million Canadian dollars (about $168 million) for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The three councils will share an additional $275 Canadian dollars ($214 million) for research characterized as "international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and higher-risk."

The umbrella association for university presidents, Universities Canada, described the investments as "historic." The group said in a statement that the 2018 budget "marks the biggest investment in science and university research in Canadian history." 

March 1, 2018

College and university athletics departments have achieved modest success in their hiring practices around race and gender, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport graded both the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its member institutions on their hiring practices around race and gender.

Over all, college sports departments earned a C-plus for both racial and gender-related hiring practices. The NCAA fared better, with a B-plus in race for NCAA senior leadership and B for other professional positions, and an A-plus for both types of employees in the gender category.

March 1, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Nicholas Syrett, professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Kansas, explores why child marriage is still allowed in every state in the U.S. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 28, 2018

A large majority of faculty members at Lehigh University have voted to revoke the honorary degree presented to Donald Trump in 1988. The issue has been periodically debated since Trump became a national political figure. Many students, faculty members and alumni called for the degree to be revoked after Trump suggested that there were two equal sides in the violence last year in Charlottesville, Va. In October the university's board rejected the idea.

Of the 472 faculty members eligible to vote on the measure, which is not binding on the university, 357 voted. Of them, 83 percent voted to revoke. Lehigh issued this statement after the vote was announced: "Though the faculty motion has not yet been formally submitted to the trustees, Lehigh University affirms the right of community members to express their views, as free inquiry and expression are essential to a thriving academic community."

February 28, 2018

A new study from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness has found that an increasing number of public, two-year colleges are using multiple measurements beyond standardized tests to place students in college-level math and reading courses. 

Figure 1: Use of measures other than standardized tests for assessment among public two-year colleges. Bar chart compares percentages of colleges using other measures in 2011 compared to 2016. For math, 27 percent of public two-year colleges were using other measures in 2011, increasing to 57 percent in 2016. In reading, 19 percent were using other measures in 2011, increasing to 51 percent in 2016. Source for 2011 data: Fields and Parsad (2012). Source for 2016 data: CAPR institutional survey. Note: The Fields and Parsad reading statistics are for reading placement only, whereas the CAPR survey data are for both reading and writing. Because many colleges are combining reading and writing course, the CAPR survey grouped them together.

Research has shown for years that using multiple measures, such as high school performance, to determine college readiness provides colleges with a more accurate measurement to determine college success. The survey found that in 2016, 57 percent of two-year colleges used multiple measures for math placement, compared to 27 percent in 2011. When it comes to reading and writing placement, 51 percent of colleges used multiple measures in 2016, compared to 19 percent in 2011. 

The report also examined the types of developmental education two-year institutions offered. For instance, 76 percent of colleges reported offering traditional remedial math courses, and 53 percent reported doing the same in reading and writing. However, more than half the colleges surveyed reported using a reformed type of developmental education, like compressed courses, flipped classrooms and corequisite remediation. 


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