Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 14, 2014

The president of William Peace University in North Carolina plans to retire next summer after a tumultuous time in office. President Debra Townsley, who came to Peace from Nichols College in Massachusetts, helped make several major and controversial decisions. During her tenure, the college began admitting male students, changed its name and decided to invest one-third of its endowment in a nearby shopping center. Students have criticized her tenure -- a local newspaper took a picture of two students tossing roses into a campus fountain in celebration of Townsley's departure -- and so have faculty. While the influx of male students helped grow enrollment, her administration also got rid of faculty and prompted professors to write a letter to the university's board complaining about everything from staff turnover to lower graduation rates to spiders

October 14, 2014

The National Student Clearinghouse on Tuesday released a broad data set on students' transition from high school to college. The nonprofit group's report, which is the second annual installment, tracked 3.5 million students from public and private high schools over four years. It found that students from low-income high schools were more likely to attend community colleges, with almost half of that group's college enrollment being in the two-year sector.

October 14, 2014

When Beth Alford-Sullivan was hired to replace the University of Tennessee's recently fired women's track coach this summer, she publicly promised to keep all 16 of the program's newly recruited athletes.not sure that people will know what a "signing class" is. maybe "all 16 of the program's newly recruited athletes." or something like that? dl At the end of September, however, Alford-Sullivan released six members of the team after just two weeks of practice, the Knoxville News-Sentenial reported.

Parents of the six athletes said Alford-Sullivan told the women that they did not "fit into the direction her and her staff are going in." Three of the athletes had receivedjake -- seems like this is a word you misspell occasionally ... should be receive. please be careful. dl substantial athletic scholarships. The university said it will honor the scholarships through the end of the school year. The coach's decision to release the athletes comes at a time when many colleges in wealthier leagues -- including some in the Southeastern Conference, of which Tennessee is a member -- are vowing to end one-year renewable scholarships and the uncertainty that comes with them.  worth making the point that this comes as people are vowing to end the one-year renewable scholarship? dl

October 14, 2014

This month marks the 24th edition of Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest, in which we ask creative readers to get inside the heads of Matthew Henry Hall's hand-drawn characters.

You can suggest a caption for this month's cartoon, which you can find here.

Cast your vote here on your favorite from among the three nominees chosen by our panel of judges for last month's cartoon. Your vote will help choose the winner for the month.

And congratulations to Joe Valades, winner of our Cartoon Caption Contest for July. Valades -- who also won our May 2013 contest -- is director of the Student Success Center at Black Hills State University, in South Dakota. His caption for the cartoon at left -- "Hilda, subdue the Tabby. Ludwig, the Russian Blue. This fiend has crashed our system for the last time with his infernal kitty videos." -- earned the most votes from our readers. He will receive a gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by Matthew Henry Hall.

October 14, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Michele Coscia, a postdoc at Harvard University, discusses the importance of understanding memetics. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

October 13, 2014

Hundreds of people marched to Saint Louis University Sunday night -- as part of a series of protests in St. Louis over the way the police treat black people -- and started a sit-in, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The protest was not directed at the university, although there is a connection to the institution because the father of a teen fatally shot Wednesday works at the university. He spoke at the rally. Sit-in participants took to social media to post photographs (see below) and to appeal for blankets, food and other support. The university said on Facebook that the protest was peaceful and without incident. Some students took to social media to ask that classes be called off today because of difficulty navigating the campus.

October 13, 2014

Florida State University continues to face damning news reports about Jameis Winston, its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who has been accused of rape, and other members of the football team and their alleged crimes:

  • The New York Times reported Saturday on a pattern in which football players are accused of crimes and local police officers look the other way. "From criminal mischief and motor-vehicle theft to domestic violence, arrests have been avoided, investigations have stalled and players have escaped serious consequences," the article says.
  • Fox News, citing a lengthy investigation and documents obtained under open-records requests, reported that "Florida State University officials and Tallahassee police took steps to both hide, and then hinder, the criminal investigation into a rape allegation against" Winston. (Winston has said that the accusations stem from consensual sex.)
  • ESPN reported that Florida State, which has insisted that it did nothing to hinder the investigation and which has noted repeatedly that local authorities declined to charge Winston, notified him on Friday that he would face student disciplinary charges in the incident, which took place in December 2012.
  • Florida State on Friday issued a statement insisting that it "does not tolerate sexual assault," and criticizing media coverage. The statement noted that the university is constrained in what it can say because of federal privacy laws. While the statement does not name Winston, it appears to be a defense of the university's conduct in the case.

 

October 13, 2014

Jean Tirole was this morning named winner of the 2014 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Tirole, of Capitole University, in France, was honored “for his analysis of market power and regulation." More information about Tirole and his research may be found here.

 

October 13, 2014

The University of Chicago's Brian Leiter has announced that, after 2014-15, he is giving up the editorship of The Philosophical Gourmet Report, a rankings system he created for philosophy departments. Leiter has come under fire for his exchanges with some philosophers (which he has defended as frank, but which critics say have crossed a line to rude and demeaning). Many philosophers have pledged not to participate in the ratings if Leiter continues to run them. Leiter announced his move away from the editorship, based on the recommendation of the project's advisory board, and while a statement from Leiter said that he agreed with the shift, he also indicated frustration with his critics.

 

October 13, 2014

The U.S. Army War College has stripped U.S. Sen. John Walsh, a Montana Democrat, of his master's degree, the Associated Press reported. Walsh's office said Friday that the college had revoked his degree following an investigation into plagiarism allegations regarding a 2007 paper he wrote while he was student there. The allegations came to light this summer, when The New York Times reported that large chunks of his paper had been lifted from other sources, without proper attribution. Walsh said he disagreed with the college's findings, but accepts the decision.

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