Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 17, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America, an online repository of the nation's historical and cultural riches, will launch as scheduled tomorrow, though its formal opening event has been canceled by Monday's attacks in Boston, the project's director announced Tuesday. In the statement, Dan Cohen noted that the bombings took place in close proximity to the Boston Public Library, where the opening event was to be held. (That is also right near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the target of the attacks.) The fact that the area near the library has been closed, and the need for the library's staff members, "like so many other honorable public servants in Boston, ... to be there for the surrounding community first," make canceling the event the obvious choice, he said. A larger event will be held in the fall.

But "[t]he new DPLA site will still go live at noon ET on Thursday as planned, and we look forward to sharing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. Although we have canceled all of the formal events, DPLA staff will be available all day online, and informally in person in the late afternoon in the Boston area (at a location to be determined), for those taking their first look," Cohen said. "I see the building of a new library as one of the greatest examples of what humans can do together to extend the light against the darkness. In due time, we will let that light shine through."

April 16, 2013

At least three students are among those injured Monday in the bombings at the Boston Marathon. A Boston University student was critically injured, said a statement from Robert A. Brown, president of the university. He said he couldn't yet identify the student, and that BU police were staying on duty Monday night to provide extra security on the campus. Brown asked all students to remain in their residence halls or homes Monday night. Tufts University announced that two students who had been watching the marathon "sustained non-life-threatening injuries and are being treated at area hospitals." And the University of Massachusetts at Boston closed Monday night as a "precautionary measure" because of investigations of a possible incendiary device at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, which is at one end of the university's campus.

Many colleges have groups of runners in the marathon and were issuing press releases Monday night reassuring friends and family members that their students were safe.

 

 

April 16, 2013

Budget panels in California's Legislature have rejected a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that would have increased tuition for community college students who exceed 90 lifetime credits, The Sacramento Bee reported. The plan, which sought to increase efficiency in the system, would have required students to pay four times the standard tuition rate of $46 per credit. Brown had recommended the caps as part of his budget plan.

April 16, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN on Monday that international students – in particular those from Japan -- are scared of coming to the United States because of fears of gun violence. "We had an interesting discussion about why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States, and one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents here is that they're actually scared. They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come," Kerry told the broadcaster.

The number of international students from Japan is on the decline, but, as CNN noted, there are also other demographic and economic explanations.

April 16, 2013

The American Political Science Association has named Steven Rathgeb Smith as its next executive director. Smith will succeed Michael Brintnall, who is retiring, on September 1. Smith currently holds the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. His research areas include nonprofit organizations, public management and social policy.

 

April 16, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Leonard Mermel of Brown University discusses how small germs can cause big problems for astronauts on long-term missions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

April 16, 2013

When Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, spoke to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors last week, much of his talk focused on issues of efficiency. But he also asked the leaders of the UNC system to focus more on issues of drug and alcohol abuse, The Herald-Sun reported. "There’s a serious drug and abuse of alcohol problems on your college campuses right now," he said. "There’s binge drinking. There’s a serious cocaine problem. There’s a serious heroin problem on every one of your campuses. You go ask the any student and you go ask sheriffs in any county.”

The governor said, "I’m just telling you as the Board of Governors and chancellors that we’re not going to hide it anymore. We’ve got to let it be known that there is a serious addiction issue that’s kind of being swept under the rug."

April 16, 2013

The University of Missouri Board of Curators is preparing to change a rule that has, until now, stated that donors to the system's campuses could have only one building named after them, The Kansas City Star reported. Officials believe that lifting the rule may encourage some major donors to give even more, enticed by the possibility of having their names on multiple buildings.

 

April 16, 2013

Colleges need to start tracking retention rates not only by various factors widely considered today (race, gender, socioeconomic background) but by sexual orientation, according to a paper released by ACPA: College Student Educators International and by Campus Pride. The paper notes that, to do so, colleges need to start finding out how many students of different orientations they have -- and many colleges don't ask that question. But the report says that, given various pressures on gay students, it is wrong not to consider whether they are graduating at different rates from straight students.

"Colleges and universities are responsible for the education and safety of all students, including their LGBT students," the paper says. "Colleges and universities need to know and count their out LGBT students to provide necessary services and/or maintain proper safety and campus climate. Demographic questions asking students about their sexual orientation and gender identity give administrators the data they need to properly implement LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. Doing so will not be easy as different from other identity groups, LGBT student identity is fluid and often evolves during the college years. But, if our institutions of higher learning can achieve complex tasks like landing a spacecraft on Mars, we can certainly figure out this challenge."

 

April 16, 2013

Fredrik Logevall, a Cornell University historian, and Sharon Olds, a professor of poetry at New York University, were among the recipients Monday of Pulitzer Prizes for their written works.

Logevall, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and Professor of History at Cornell and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, won one of the coveted awards for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam (Random House), his study of how U.S. leaders enmeshed the country in a fateful war. Olds, who teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University, received her Pulitzer for Stag's Leap, (Alfred A. Knopf), which her citation describes as a "book of unflinching poems on the author’s divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge."

The two authors each receive $10,000.

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