Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Subscribe to Inside Higher Ed | Quick Takes
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 4:33am

Indian lawmakers are considering another round of changes in legislation -- closely watched by universities in the United States and other countries -- that would allow non-Indian universities to open degree-granting campuses in India, Indian Express reported. Some of the changes would make it easier for prominent institutions, by allowing those deemed "reputed" to bypass some of the regulatory processes being created. Other changes may be challenging for some institutions' plans. For example, one change would require Indian officials to make sure that the addition of foreign institutions does not exacerbate inequities between rural and urban areas, given the concentration of universities today in urban areas. Many foreign institutions are likely to want to be in urban areas as well, but the bill would encourage the government to give preference to institutions locating in rural, less developed parts of the country.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Matthew Girton of Lock Haven University reveals the variety of psychological motivations that fuel persistent conflicts between family members.  Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Rebuffing a request by Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, the board of Florida A&M University decided Monday not to suspend James Ammons as president, The Miami Herald reported. The governor has pushed for the suspension amid an investigation into hazing in the university's marching band, hazing that has led to several arrests in recent weeks and that has been blamed in the death of a student. The board has already reprimanded Ammons, but resisted the governor's request. “We will stand firm against outside influence regardless of how well intended,” said the board chair, Solomon Badger.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong have teamed up to recruit top students from China, Times Higher Education reported. Students will be recruited to the University of Hong Kong with the promise that the best among them, after a successful year there, will be offered a spot at Cambridge.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The Houston Athletics Foundation, an endowment that supports athletics programs at the University of Houston, lost more than 40 percent of its assets to a Ponzi scheme, the Associated Press reported. More than $2.2 million of the endowment's $5.1 million had been invested with a financial adviser for college basketball coaches who is believed to have set up the scheme and who committed suicide last summer.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Michigan on Friday promoted news coverage of an open letter on college costs by Mary Sue Coleman, president of the institution, to President Obama. "Higher education is a public good currently lacking public support. There is no stronger trigger for rising costs at public universities and colleges than declining state support," Coleman wrote. In the letter, she praised Obama for recently gathering a small group of college presidents to talk about college costs. But in offering this public advice to Obama, Coleman didn't note that she was one of the presidents invited to the White House, but sent her regrets. A spokeswoman said that Coleman's "schedule wouldn't permit" her to join the White House meeting.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The faculty, key administrators and the board of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have all now approved a new system for faculty governance, potentially ending a long conflict between faculty leaders and President Shirley Ann Jackson. The dispute over faculty governance started in 2006, when the Faculty Senate voted to extend voting rights to non-tenure-track faculty members and the administration objected, saying that the Faculty Senate could not do so, given the role of faculty committees in topics such as tenure review. As the dispute escalated, RPI killed the body, replaced it with a new interim body, and was widely criticized by faculty groups such as the American Association of University Professors. The new constitution for faculty governance authorizes the election of non-tenure-track faculty members for some seats in the Faculty Senate and on some (but not all) committees.

The Albany Times Union reported that the adoption of the new constitution may signal an improvement of relations between professors and Jackson, although the article noted that the student government at RPI recently asked the institute's board to remove Jackson (a request the board rejected). The Times Union also noted that RPI's accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has been pushing for a restoration of a faculty governance system.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Missouri State University officials are apologizing for the actions of their band, which played "Dixie" at the dedication of a park where three black men were lynched in 1906, The Springfield News-Leader reported. Black leaders complained that the selection was offensive. Missouri State officials said that the band leader did not understand the historical significance of the song, and that it would not again be performed at public events.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Illinois State University allows five nonprofit groups in the state to be counted as employees of the university, gaining them access to the state's pension system for university employees, The Chicago Tribune reported. The university defends the practice as a way to help the groups (which include several education-related associations and the Special Olympics), and says that the policy doesn't cost the state money. The university doesn't pay these employees and the organizations make contributions to the pension fund. But others say that those payments don't cover costs for all employees, and that the practice is inappropriate at a time of concern about the financial stability of the pension system.


Monday, December 19, 2011 - 4:28am

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- which pioneered the idea of making course materials free online -- today announced a major expansion of the idea, with the creation of MITx, which will provide for interaction among students, assessment and the awarding of certificates of completion to students who have no connection to MIT.

MIT is also starting a major initiative -- led by Provost L. Rafael Reif -- to study online teaching and learning.

The first course through MITx is expected this spring. While the institute will not charge for the courses, it will charge what it calls "a modest fee" for the assessment that would lead to a credential. The credential will be awarded by MITx and will not constitute MIT credit. The university also plans to continue MIT OpenCourseWare, the program through which it makes course materials available online.

An FAQ from MIT offers more details on the new program.

While MIT has been widely praised for OpenCourseWare, much of the attention in the last year from the "open" educational movement has shifted to programs like the Khan Academy (through which there is direct instruction provided, if not yet assessment) and an initiative at Stanford University that makes courses available -- courses for which some German universities are providing academic credit. The new initiative would appear to provide some of the features (instruction such as offered by Khan, and certification that some are creating for the Stanford courses) that have been lacking in OpenCourseWare.




Search for Jobs

Back to Top