The University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Friday approved a continuation of Salisbury University's policy -- first adopted five years ago as a pilot -- of letting students who graduate from high school with a 3.5 or higher grade point average opt out of submitting an SAT or ACT score. A study done by the university found that students who enrolled without submitting test scores outperformed those who submitted them in course completion and graduation rates, while the two groups were similar in grade-point averages at the university.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Donations to education increased by 5.2 percent in 2010 (3.5 percent when adjusted for inflation), according to "Giving USA," an annual report released today. The report notes that giving to elementary and secondary schools, and to colleges, rebounded in the late part of the year. The rate of growth for education exceeds that for all charitable giving for the year -- 3.8 percent (or 2.1 percent adjusted for inflation).
The College Board is today launching a new campaign to promote educational attainment and economic success of young minority males. The effort starts with the release of two reports -- one summarizing statistics and research, and the other featuring interviews with young minority males. A statistic that dramatizes the extent of the problem: Nearly half of young men of color age 15 to 24 who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.
The University of Alberta announced Friday that Philip Baker is stepping down as medical dean (although staying on as a professor). The move follows a dispute over his speech to graduates this month -- a talk that students discovered was nearly identical to one that Atul Gawande, a surgeon, gave to Stanford University medical students last year. Gawande's speech was subsequently republished in The New Yorker, and students said that one of the few changes made by Baker was leaving out a few lines about the U.S. Medicare system. In a statement Friday, Baker said he did not want to detract from the accomplishments of the graduating class. "My hope is that the university and the faculty will be able to put this unfortunate incident behind them, and that this will bring closure for the university, the faculty and my family," he said.
At a time of scrutiny for Ohio State University athletes, including questions about some athletes' alleged use of free cars, WBNS-10TV News reported that Ohio State's athletics director and director of compliance for athletes both have "courtesy" cars provided by local dealers. While the cars for the sports officials do not violate rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some observers said it was odd for the university to have officials charged with preventing the use of free cars driving them. Bret Adams, a sports agent, told the station: "I don't understand why -- given the scrutiny that is happening at Ohio State -- why the compliance office would risk this relationship?"
Advocates for Maryland's historically black colleges and representatives of the state have agreed to settlement discussions in a suit charging Maryland with bias against the colleges, The Baltimore Sun reported. The suit -- charging unfair treatment of the black colleges -- is five years old. Key issues in the settlement talks will be whether state funding formulas hurt black colleges, and the status of "duplicative" programs that the black colleges say the state should not have authorized at nearby predominantly white institutions.
Tihomir Petrov, a mathematics professor at California State University at Northridge, is facing two counts of urinating in a public place -- in this case on a colleague's office door. The Los Angeles Times reported that he's now a wanted man, after he failed to show up for a pre-trial hearing.
A survey of graduate program directors by the American Sociological Association has found that 17 percent believe their master's programs are very or somewhat likely to close, and another 21 percent said that their programs were "somewhat unlikely" to close. While a majority sees no immediate concern about closure, the significant minority that sees the possibility prompted analysis on funding patterns and curriculums in the master's programs.
A report being released today by the European University Association finds that international university rankings provide an “oversimplified picture," in part because their methodologies are focused on research, which is just one role of universities. The report says that rankings can promote accountability, but that the lack of transparency in rankings creates "unwanted consequences," with universities investing more in research than teaching, seeking to improve their rankings.