Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 9, 2013

Strayer University this summer will begin offering a scholarship under which undergraduates can earn a free senior year if they stick with their degree programs, the for-profit institution announced this week. Students will qualify for a free course credit for every three they compete, and can earn the full 25 percent discount on a degree as long as they do not take two consecutive quarters off. The "graduate fund" builds on a new tuition freeze and an existing, substantial scholarship program the university created last year. Several major for-profits have discounted their prices amid a general trend of declining enrollment.

May 9, 2013

Stephen Hawking on Wednesday stunned Israelis and set off a day of mixed reports about his motives for calling off plans to attend a major conference in Israel next month. But by the end of the day, it appeared clear that he was honoring the boycott of Israel set up by some pro-Palestinian groups. Early Wednesday, word spread that Hawking was going to skip the conference due to the boycott, but then a spokesman for the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is on the faculty, told The Guardian that the reason the visit had been called off was the scientist's health. Subsequently, the spokesman said he had been wrong, and that Hawking did want to honor the boycott.

The Guardian printed an excerpt from a letter Hawking sent to conference organizers in which he said: "I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."

The decision of Hawking to honor the boycott was greeted as a huge boost to the movement to encourage scholars and others to stay away from Israel. For Israelis and supporters, to have such a prominent scientist honor the boycott -- which has been criticized as antithetical to academic values by many American scholarly groups -- was a major blow.

 

May 9, 2013

A low level of educational attainment is the one common characteristic of California's working poor, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based advocacy group. About one in five adult Californians have not earned a high school degree or its equivalent, the report said, and the state is facing a workforce shortage of 2.3 million college graduates by 2025. To help fix the problem the group recommended better coordination between the state's K-12 and higher education systems as well as a statewide data system to track students' progress.

May 9, 2013

 

Time again for Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest. You can suggest a caption for a new cartoon or choose your favorite from among the three finalists nominated for best caption for last month's drawing. And we have news about the winner of March's contest, who hails from South Dakota.

To submit your captions for May's cartoon, please click here. The three entries that our judges find the smartest or funniest or just plain best will be put to a vote by our readers next month, and the winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by Matthew Henry Hall, the artist.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated as finalists for our April cartoon, which should have had special appeal for you Dracula fans.

And congratulations to the winner of the Cartoon Caption Contest for March, Joe Valades, director of academic advising in the Student Success Center at Black Hills State University, in Spearfish, S.D. Find out more about him and his submission here.

Thanks for playing along in any way you see fit.
May 9, 2013

Wealthy American universities are cutting way back on their endowments' holdings in U.S. debt, Financial Times reported. In some cases, Treasury securities represented as much as 30 percent of endowment holdings in 2008-9 and that figure is now down to zero in some cases, or very small percentages in others.

 

May 9, 2013

Indiana University last year approved -- and then quickly unapproved -- the release of a sex reporting app by its Kinsey Institute, long famous for cutting-edge sex research. Using the app, individuals could report promptly (and anonymously) on their own sexual activities, potentially giving researchers new information on exactly what people do and when and how they do it. The university denied it was being prudish and said it needed only to review privacy protocols. Following months of review, the university announced Wednesday that the app has again been approved for release -- with only one change. That change is that all reports will be placed on hold for geographically defined areas. Only when enough people from a given area respond so that reports could not be linked to any one individual will that information move into the database where it can be studied.

 

May 8, 2013

Colgate University will today formally transfer ownership of more than 100 pieces of art to Curtin University, in Australia, The New York Times reported. The collection consists of paintings and drawings by Aboriginal children who were living in a settlement camp in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s. The art is considered by experts to be "so distinctive and so technically sophisticated that it received considerable acclaim when it toured Europe in the 1950s," the Times reported. The collection came to Colgate when an alumnus donated it in 1966, but most of the art has been out of view. Colgate officials said that they saw the transfer as a just tribute to the artists and a way to build ties to an Australian university.

 

May 8, 2013

Generation Xers (people who are now in their late 30s) are embracing the idea of lifelong learning, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The study found that 1 in 10 GenXers are currently enrolled in classes to continue their educations. And 48 percent of the 80 million GenXers take continuing education courses, in-service training or workshops required for professional licenses and certifications.

 

May 8, 2013

The president of Hebrew University of Jerusalem is leading a delegation to China, where the university anticipates signing several agreements, including a cooperation agreement with Peking University to establish a Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-funded center for Chinese language and cultural education that will be the second in Israel. The university also expects to sign an agreement with a donor who has committed $8 million for scholarships for Chinese students.

May 8, 2013

Overall rates of gambling among male college athletes decreased from 66 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2012, according to a new National Collegiate Athletic Association study, despite a “noticeable increase” in the number of sports wagering cases investigated by the NCAA. Gambling by female athletes stayed constant, though at the significantly lower rate of 39 percent. However, the survey of 23,000 athletes also found that male athletes are still betting and wagering more on sports than they were in 2004, the first year the NCAA published this study. In 2004, 23.5 percent of male athletes said they bet money on sports in the last year, compared to 25.7 percent in 2012. Rates of gambling for money by men also rise by division; in 2012, from 50 percent in Division I, to 56 percent in Division II, to 65 percent in Division III. And more male athletes wagered something on sports in 2012 -- 18.7 percent in Division I, 25.9 percent in Division II and 31.9 percent in Division III. In 2008, those figures were 17.1, 20.6, and 30.7 percent, respectively. allie -- is difference b/w next sentence and previous sentence that it is betting money on ANYTHING, where lower rates in previous sentence are betting on sports? can we make that slightly clearer? distinction was lost on me first read through ... dl *** rearranged some stuff here. Wagering is betting anything; betting is betting money. -ag

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