New data from the U.S. Department of Education show that students at 82 percent of high schools in the United States are enrolled in dual credit courses. The report, which is based on 2010-11 and comes from the department's National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, also found that 69 percent of high schools reported enrollments in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. The data include information on whether high school instructors taught the courses by themselves, and who covered expenses for the courses.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Florida Atlantic University has agreed to name its football stadium for a company, GEO Group, that runs private prisons, The New York Times reported. University officials are defending the deal, saying that they need private money for athletics and that GEO officials have strong ties to the institution. A number of groups have over the years raised questions about GEO Group's management of prisons, and some say that the university should not be using a major facility to promote the company.
Jean-Lou Chameau announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down as president of the California Institute of Technology, and will take a position leading the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia. In a letter to the campus, Chameau said that he and his wife had until recently "believed we would complete our careers at Caltech and retire in Pasadena. It would be difficult not to feel that way when working in such a special place and community. We did not expect, however, to be presented with a unique and life-changing opportunity: to lead the recently created King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. As I considered accepting the position at KAUST and as I spoke with individuals involved in its founding, I was struck by the attention paid to establishing a culture of excellence, and how its planning had been influenced by great institutions from around the world, including Caltech."
Texas legislators are rallying around Bill Powers, the University of Texas at Austin president who may be the target of another ouster attempt by regents close to Governor Rick Perry, the Associated Press reported. Lieut. Governor David Dewhurst on Tuesday announced plans for Senate hearings on whether the UT Board of Regents is meddling too much into the decisions Powers makes. Further, he denounced what he called "character assassination" of Powers and his family in the form of anonymous letters he said are circulating among board members. Dewhurst did not offer specifics on the letters.
A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that there may be an economic payoff to attending a diverse college. The study compared individuals who answered questions in the Add Health database (which covers a wide range of issues). The analysis finds "a positive link" between attending colleges with more diversity and higher earning levels and family income levels. No link was found to greater rates of voting or higher levels of education.
The presidents of 17 Sisters of Mercy colleges, along with educators at 32 secondary schools and 9 elementary schools affiliated with the order, have issued a letter calling for new measures to promote "a culture of non-violence" in American society. "The unspeakable use of a military assault weapon to massacre elementary school children compels us as leaders in Mercy education to speak, to say 'enough.'" says the letter. It calls for "sensible gun control measures" and "robust funding of mental health services." Further, it says that "for the sake of our children and young adults, we reject the overly simplistic belief that increasing armed security personnel in schools will increase student safety."
The letter was signed by the presidents of these colleges and universities: Carlow University, College of St. Mary (Nebraska), Georgian Court University, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Maria College (New York), Marian Court College, Mercyhurst University, Misericordia University, Mount Aloysius College, Mount Mercy University, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Saint Xavier University (Illinois), Salve Regina University, Trocaire College, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Saint Joseph (Connecticut) and Mercy College of Health Sciences (Iowa).
Harvard University's investment arm has created a new position -- vice president for sustainable investing -- which will focus on the environmental, social and corporate governance issues related to Harvard's investments, The Boston Globe reported. While various groups have over the years urged Harvard to refrain from or sell certain kinds of investments, the university has generally focused on obtaining the greatest return.
Another sign of the competition among MOOCs (massive online open courses) for the global student population: The all-British MOOC provider on Monday announced an expansion and British Prime Minister David Cameron promoted the offerings during a trip to India. Cameron said that the expansion of Futurelearn (as the MOOC provider is called) "will mean that Indian students can access some of the best teaching and learning online from their home in Mumbai or Delhi." And a statement from Simon Nelson, CEO of Futurelearn, noted the international competition. "Until now, this market has been dominated by companies based in the U.S., but with 18 U.K. partners, we are determined to provide the smartest and most engaging online learning experiences and revolutionize conventional models of education."
The new members of Futurelearn are the British Library, Queen's University Belfast and the Universities of Bath, Leicester, Nottingham and Reading.
Catawba College has announced that some applicants no longer have to submit SAT or ACT scores. The option will be available to those with a high school grade-point average of at least 3.25. Those who opt not to submit SAT or ACT scores will need to submit additional materials, including an "extracurricular and leadership résumé," as well as a personal statement.