Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 24, 2013

Four men have been charged with hazing in the drowning deaths in the Appomattox River of two freshmen at Virginia State University, The Richmond Times Dispatch reported. Two of the men charged are also Virginia State students. The students were apparently completing an initiation for "Men of Honor," an unrecognized student group. University officials said that they can't bar students -- who are legal adults -- from joining unrecognized groups.

 

April 24, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Martin of DePaul University explains the growth of Chinese social media sites and the government’s attempts to control them. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 24, 2013

Dartmouth College has called off classes for today to discuss the college's "commitment to fostering debate that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions." A series of programs, featuring faculty members and a diversity and social justice consultant, will be held. The college's decision follows a series of threats received by students online -- some citing the students' sexual orientation or race, college officials told the Associated Press. The threats followed a protest in which some students interrupted a program for high school students who have been admitted to Dartmouth. The protesters chanted "Dartmouth has a problem," and said that the college wasn't doing enough to prevent homophobia, racism and sexual assault on campus. The online threats were subsequently posted -- some against students who had participated in that protest, and some against other students.

 

 

April 24, 2013

The Cooper Union, an art, engineering and design college in New York City, announced Tuesday that its board voted to charge tuition to undergraduates for the first time since 1902. That decision is likely to spark controversy among the institution's alumni, who have been fighting the idea since it was raised in 2011. The college will cut in half the full tuition scholarships it offers its students starting in the fall of 2014, leaving a tuition bill of about $20,000 a year, but administrators said they would continue to provide need-based aid, including full tuition scholarships for students eligible for federal Pell Grants.

The move toward charging tuition began 18 months ago, when newly installed Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha announced that the college would seek new revenues to make up for an escalating structural deficit that had grown to about a quarter of the institution's operating budget. The deficit was driven by a combination of an increase in the cost of educating students and a decrease in the average return on the institution's endowment, which includes rents on the Chrysler Building.

A year ago Bharucha announced that the college could start a series of fee-based graduate, online and continuing education programs, as well as ramp up fund-raising, to generate the needed revenue. But given the size of the deficit and the minimal revenue potential of those programs, many Cooper Union students and alumni felt like the college was moving toward charging undergraduates.

 

April 24, 2013

Lone Star College has seen two violent incidents this year: the stabbings of 14 (a student has been charged) and the shooting of three. On Tuesday, college officials pledged that if Houston voters approve a bond referendum next month, some of the funds will be used to improve security. Among the improvements planned: more video surveillance, enhanced lighting, improved public address systems and automated door locking systems.

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2013

The president of Kappa Delta sorority at Indiana University at Bloomington has issued an apology for a party at which attendees mocked the homeless with costumes and signs, and rubbed dirt on their faces to appear homeless. "I want to express my sincere apology to the campus community and public for the actions of our chapter at a social event this week that made light of those who are homeless. Our choice was a poor one. We know that it was not acceptable and does not align with our values," said a statement from Aubrey McMahon, the chapter president. The website Jezebel published photos of the party, drawing attention to its theme.

April 23, 2013

The presidents of the 15 universities that compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference said Monday that they had signed a "grant of rights" that would effectively block any of them from leaving the conference for 15 years, which could slow what has been an overheated series of conference-switching moves. The agreement would mean that any institution that left the conference would forfeit to the ACC its rights to television and other media payments over that period, which would presumably block any of the institutions from leaving for a better deal from another conference. The fact that the Atlantic Coast has joined several other major conferences in signing such agreements, according to Sports Illustrated, reduces the likelihood of major league swapping, although other conference could still be raided by the ACC, Big Ten and Pacific-10 leagues.

April 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, David Frayer of the University of Kansas reveals evidence of handedness among Neanderthals and discusses what the new data imply about their capacity for language. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

April 23, 2013

Public universities have a long history of adapting to technological change, but they must speed up their embrace of online education -- and work together to do so -- to remain at the forefront of educating the citizens of their states and the country, argues a new report from two Washington research groups. "State U Online," from the New America Foundation and Education Sector, traces the history of public universities and of online education and suggests that major public universities have been slower than other sectors -- especially for-profit higher education -- to incorporate digital learning into their offerings. The author, Rachel Fishman of New America, argues that the institutions are best positioned to offer a high-quality, affordable digital education that is "grounded in public values," and offers a roadmap for doing so, including creating a clearinghouse where state institutions can "collaborate to provide an easy-to-search library of online courses and degrees," sharing contracts for digital platforms and online support services to meet multiple institutions' needs, and sharing credentialing beyond state borders.

April 23, 2013

California would move aggressively into performance-based funding for higher education under a draft plan being circulated by Governor Jerry Brown, the Los Angeles Times reported. Under the draft of a revised budget blueprint for higher education, which the newspaper obtained weeks before the governor is due to release it, the state would provide annual budget increases of 4 or 5 percent over the next several years, but tie the money to meeting goals such as significant increases in the number of students transferring from community colleges to public universities and in graduation rates, the Times reported. University officials responded coolly to the reported plan, with one saying: "We'd like to go back to the drawing board."

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