Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 11, 2013

San Jose State University last fall began offering its students an online engineering course from edX, a provider of massive open online courses. The course was designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hosted on the edX platform, but taught by faculty from San Jose State. Now that course will be available to students from as many as 11 other campuses in the California State University System, the university announced Wednesday. San Jose State is also creating a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning to train faculty members from other campuses. And the university will soon offer other edX courses to its students, university officials said, including ones in the humanities, business and social sciences.

April 11, 2013

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi -- already under fire over the scandal over an abusive basketball coach who many think should have been fired before he was -- is facing "a growing revolt" at the university's Newark campus, The Star-Ledger reported. Students and faculty members say that Barchi has favored the New Brunswick campus, denying Newark the resources that it needs. At an open forum at Newark on Monday, Barchi planned to talk about the development of a new strategic plan for the university. But he was interrupted by attendees who said they were unimpressed by his presentation and tired of their concerns not being addressed. Some at the meeting carried signs calling for Barchi's ouster. He said that he fully supports the Newark campus, although he didn't seem to convince the audience.

 

April 11, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Kevin Rockmann of George Mason University explores how the practice of telecommuting alters the relationship between a company and its employees. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

April 11, 2013

Russia’s education and science minister is facing calls to resign, The Moscow Times reported. Among other things, Dmitry Livanov has attracted controversy for seeking to shut down “ineffective universities” and decrease the number of state-funded placements, and for calling Russia’s Academy of Sciences futureless and unsustainable. One critic quoted by the paper said of Livanov that "he is not an education minister; he is a minister of the liquidation of education."

April 11, 2013

Federal programs to promote science and technology education need better coordination and better analysis of their effectiveness, says a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. There are 209 programs in all, the GAO found, and the number of programs within an individual federal agency range from 3 to 46.

"Agencies' limited use of performance measures and evaluations may hamper their ability to assess the effectiveness of their individual programs as well as the overall STEM education effort," the report said. "Specifically, program officials varied in their ability to provide reliable output measures--for example, the number of students, teachers, or institutions directly served by their program. Further, most agencies did not use outcomes measures in a way that is clearly reflected in their performance planning documents."

 

April 11, 2013

Federal spending on the Pell Grant Program declined slightly during the first half of the 2012-13 award year compared to the same period during the previous two years, according to new data released by the American Association of Community Colleges. Almost all of the spending decrease is for Pell recipients who attended community colleges and for-profit institutions. The number of recipients at public two-year institutions declined by 193,339, according to the association, with Pell spending on that sector dipping by $358 million. Recipients at for-profits were down 115,322 with a corresponding decrease of $131 million in spending. The program's cost also declined in the previous fiscal year.

April 11, 2013

Two students were arrested Wednesday on charges related to the beating of a professor at Washington State University last month, The Spokesman-Review reported. The attack on the professor -- which took place when he intervened in an argument -- has stunned the Washington State campus. The professor remains in critical condition. One of the students arrested was charged with rendering criminal assistance and making false statements. The other was charged with first-degree assault.

 

April 11, 2013

The University of Arizona Faculty Senate has approved a broadening of the definition of research to explicitly state that faculty members being considered for tenure may receive credit for technology transfer, not just traditional forms of scholarship. The change comes at a time the university leaders have vowed to increase the institution's efforts to promote economic growth and to find new sources of funds. The new definition of research states: "The university values an inclusive view of scholarship in the recognition that knowledge is acquired and advanced through discovery, integration, application and teaching. Given this perspective, promotion and tenure reviews, as detailed in the criteria of individual departments and colleges, will recognize original research contributions in peer-reviewed publications as well as integrative and applied forms of scholarship that involve cross-cutting collaborations with business and community partners, including translational research, commercialization activities and patents."

 

April 10, 2013

London Metropolitan University’s license to sponsor visas for international students has been restored. Citing “systemic failures” in the university’s verification and monitoring of students’ English proficiency levels, visa status and course attendance, the UK Border Agency stripped London Met of its ability to host foreign students last August. This led to a court battle and concerns about the fate of the 2,600 foreign students then enrolled. 

The UK Border Agency said in a statement that a series of inspections over six months revealed that London Met had improved its processes. The university will be subject to a probationary period during which it will be limited on the number of international students it can enroll.

“This is excellent news for our students and our University, which looks forward to welcoming students from around the world who want to study at one of London’s most diverse academic institutions,” London Met’s vice-chancellor,  Malcolm Gillies, said in a statement. The university reported that it has already attracted nearly 5,000 applications from international students for fall 2013 and will begin “a four-month promotional tour across 17 countries.” 

April 10, 2013

An analysis released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics found that students who took out federal loans but later dropped out had a median federal debt load equal to 35 percent of their annual income, and that dropouts from for-profit colleges borrowed the most per credit earned: $350 per credit, compared with less than $120 per credit for students in other sectors. The report looked at student debt for students who enrolled in college in the 2003-04 academic year but did not complete within six years. It also found that 21 percent of noncompleters from four-year private nonprofit colleges, and 31 percent of students from for-profit colleges who did not earn a credential, had student loan debt greater than their annual income.

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