Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Yale University is very proud of the popularity of Open Yale Courses, a program in which online videos are available of selected courses. But the university was less than pleased -- and has its lawyers objecting -- to a book published by a university in China that is based on the lectures in some courses, including material copied from translations prepared by a nonprofit group. An article in The Yale Alumni Magazine details the university's concerns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Maksud I. Sadikov, rector of the Islamic University of the North Caucasus, was shot to death Tuesday, The New York Times reported. Sadikov has been a leading voice against violence in southern Russia.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

President Obama will focus on job training programs during a visit today to Northern Virginia Community College. One idea he will propose is a series of certifications for various manufacturing jobs so someone studying a skill at one community college could indicate common competencies when seeking jobs in other areas, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the University of Oxford have voted "no confidence" in the higher education policies of Britain's government, Times Higher Education reported.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

New research out of Ohio State University suggests a silver lining to the cloud of loan debt faced by many students. For young adults aged 18 to 27, the more credit card and student loan debt they hold, the higher their self-esteem. Only once the young adults hit 28 do they start to realize that debt may have a downside. "Debt can be a positive resource for young adults, but it comes with some significant dangers." said Rachel Dwyer, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State and lead author of the study. "Young people seem to view debt mostly in just positive terms rather than as a potential burden." The study is being published in the journal Social Science Research.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Nevada is the latest state in which legislation to permit concealed weapons on campuses has died. The Nevada Senate passed the bill -- over the objections of faculty leaders. But The Las Vegas Sun reported that the bill died when a divided Assembly Judiciary Committee failed to take it up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a California Supreme Court ruling that upheld a state law letting some undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges. The California court's decision last November upheld AB 540, which allows students whose parents came into the United States illegally to pay resident tuition rates if they graduated from an in-state high school and had attended one for three or more years. By declining to hear the appeal, which was sought by a group of students from outside California who said the law discriminated against them because they were forced to pay non-resident rates at California public colleges, the U.S. Supreme Court lets the state ruling stand. California community college and university officials applauded the U.S. court's stance.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Houston police officers are criticizing Rice University for dismissing a member of its police force after he left campus to assist law enforcement dealing with a man who shot two police officers in a non-campus incident, The Houston Chronicle reported. The Rice officer who lost his job said he rushed to assist when he heard about the incident on a police scanner, and local police officers are calling him a hero. Rice declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but said in a statement that the fired officer "left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour, which could have endangered the safety of our students and campus."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Net price calculators, which attempt to show students and parents how much they will pay for college after financial aid, are useful tools but suffer from limitations, the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance wrote in a report issued Monday.

The committee, which advises the Education Department on matters related to financial aid, summarized the conclusions of two panel discussions held in March in its report, "The Bottom Line: Ensuring that Students and Parents Understand the Net Price of College." The report concluded that students and families need to use net price calculators early in a college search, but that the calculators are limited by several factors, including their inability to calculate whether students are likely to receive a merit scholarship. Financial aid award letters need to be standardized so students can better compare institutions, the report's authors wrote. "Financial aid award letters may prove a cautionary tale for net price calculators, unless a consensus about uniformity can be built within the community to avoid confusion and complexity for families," they wrote. But in lieu of additional legislation or regulations, the committee recommended that institutions voluntarily adopt more standardized versions of each tool.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Goshen College, which last year started playing an instrumental version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before athletic events, will stop doing so and will seek an alternative way to honor the country in ways consistent with the college's pacifist, Mennonite faith. Goshen students, faculty members and alumni have a range of views (and a range of faiths). But the news Monday that the college will stop playing the anthem follows criticism from some alumni and others that it glorifies war and a kind of nationalism that is inconsistent with the college's values.

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