Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 29, 2014

Some students at Brigham Young University are protesting a ban on beards, The Deseret News reported. The student group notes that many religious men have beards, and that key leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have worn beards. (See illustration below from the students' webpage.) Brigham Young officials have said that the rule is not about Mormon teachings, but about how students have historically wanted their fellow students to present themselves.

September 29, 2014

On "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free weekly news podcast, the University of California at Berkeley's David A. Hollinger joined Editor Scott Jaschik and the moderator Casey Green to analyze how differently the academy's "two cultures" -- the humanities and the sciences -- have responded to Stephen Salaita and other recent controversies. And Dartmouth College's Joshua Kim participated in a discussion of the changing landscape for learning management software.

September 29, 2014

Draft legislation in Egypt would give university leaders the power to fire professors and others without, critics say, anything resembling due process, Ahram Online reported. The proposed legislation follows a new law allowing the government to appoint university heads, and that law has added to concerns about the new legislation.

 

September 29, 2014

In today's Academic MInute, William Alex Pridemore, a criminologist at Georgia State University, discusses the health risks that prisoners face. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 26, 2014

College enrollments dropped for the second straight year in 2013, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But those drops are but a fraction of the large gains that came first. Enrollments fell by nearly half a million -- 460,000 -- between 2012 and 2013. That brought the two-year decline to 930,000, which was larger than enrollment drop before the recent recession. But enrollments grew substantially -- by 3.2 million -- as the economic downturn hit. Between 2006 and 2011, enrollment grew by 3.2 million. In the last year analyzed (2012 to 2013), community colleges saw the largest enrollment drops (10 percent), while four-year institutions saw a very small increase.

 

 

September 26, 2014

PLEASE NOTE DATE OF PUBLICATION BELOW -- THIS IS EMBARGOED FOR FRIDAY, SEPT. 26 The Student and Exchange Visitor Program is expected to post new draft guidance regarding the certification of pathway programs for international students today. The guidance, which is the second such draft, defines a pathway program as a “postsecondary program of study combining nonremedial and remedial coursework to prepare a student who is unable to meet the requirements for admission into a degree program.” It specifies that SEVP can certify a pathway program only if it consists of at least one nonremedial course per session and if all the student’s nonremedial courses are applicable toward graduation requirements. The guidance also stipulates that in pathway programs that consist of an English as a Second Language component, all schools involved the ESL portion of the program must be in compliance with the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act.

As Inside Higher Ed has reported, many universities have turned to third-party corporate partners to help administer and deliver their pathway programs for international students.

SEVP will be accepting public comments on the draft guidance for a 45-day period. 

September 26, 2014

The inflation rate calculated specifically for higher education institutions was 3 percent for the fiscal year that ended for most colleges this summer. That's nearly double inflation rate of the previous year, according to a new report by the Commonfund Institute. The Higher Education Price Index includes salaries, fringe benefits, "miscellaneous services," utilities, supplies and materials. HEPI, as it's known, is also higher than the Consumer Price Index, the more commonly talked-about inflation rate, which was about 1.6 percent over the same period.

September 26, 2014

Gordon College has a year to prove to a regional accrediting agency that its policies on gay people meet the accreditor's standards for non-discrimination, Boston Business Journal reported. Gordon's policies barring sex outside of heterosexual marriage have generated significant controversy in recent months, and the policies have drawn the attention of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, which considered the college at its meeting this month.

A joint statement by the accreditor and the college said that the commission found information presented by Gordon about its policy on "homosexual practice" to be "thorough and pertinent," and that the commission applauded Gordon's plan to engage in up to 18 months of study. The statement said Gordon would report back by next September to ensure that its "policies and processes are non-discriminatory and that it ensures its ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds, consistent with the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation." (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct the focus of the accreditor's scrutiny.)

 

September 26, 2014

Only a handful of colleges and universities have optional questions on their undergraduate applications in which applicants may share their sexual orientation or gender identity. On Thursday, the Graduate School at Northwestern University (which does not ask the question of undergraduates) announced that it will add a question on whether applicants "consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community." Dwight McBride, dean of the Graduate School, said: “It's important for us but also for others to move in this direction, as well. If we don't ask the question, we are not building a data archive and, therefore, have no way of knowing what the needs of our populations and sub-populations in our communities are -- beyond guessing and anecdote.”

September 26, 2014

The University of Oregon is ending a community art class in which members of the public could draw figures from nude models, The Register-Guard reported. The university says that as the program has become well-known, the university believes it must provide better security for the models, but cannot afford to do so. Some participants in the program say that they don't believe there are any real security issues involved.

 

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