Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 11, 2013

Remember Susan Patton? She's the 1977 Princeton University alumna and mother of two Princeton (male) students who wrote a letter to the editor of the student paper urging female students to grab husbands while still in college. An uproar ensued but then died down. Well, Patton is coming back -- and with a broader audience in mind. A Simon & Schuster imprint announced Wednesday that it will publish an advice book by Patton for all young women (not just those at Princeton) to be called Smarten Up: Words of Wisdom From the Princeton Mom. The news release announcing the book included a quote from Patton suggesting she is not backing down on any of her points.

"In this 'politically correct' world where the topics of marriage and motherhood for educated girls are taboo, somebody has to talk honestly with young women about finding husbands, getting married and having babies," Patton said. "That might as well be me! The advice I offered in The Daily Princetonian was intended for the women on the campus of my beloved alma mater, but it is applicable to educated women everywhere who want a traditional family. To avoid an unwanted life of spinsterhood with cats, you have to smarten up about what’s important to you."

July 11, 2013

A Chinese scientist accused of stealing three vials of a potential anti-cancer drug compound from the Medical College of Wisconsin has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of illegally accessing a computer; a charge of economic espionage was dropped, NBC News reported.  Hua Jun Zhao faces up to a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.

July 11, 2013

The University of Phoenix's regional accreditor has placed the for-profit institution "on notice," a lesser sanction than the probation recommended by a site team earlier this year, the university's holding company said Wednesday. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools determined that governance and administrative problems could lead to the university being out of compliance within two years. The university said it had submitted updated information to the commission about changes it made after receiving the site team's report.

July 10, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Ryan Sullivan of Carnegie Mellon University explains why California snow is dependent on dust from across the Pacific. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 10, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Eight days after the interest rate on new, federally subsidized student loans increased to 6.8 percent, the two parties in Congress seemed further away than ever on a compromise that could retroactively undo the increase. A bipartisan coalition of Senate Republicans, Independents and Democrats have put forward a bill for market-based interest rates that has much in common with President Obama's plan, but the Senate Democratic leadership would rather extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate for another year -- a proposal that's a nonstarter with Republicans in the House and Senate. 

The Senate will vote on the one-year extension bill today.

July 10, 2013

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about retention. The articles aren't today's breaking news, but reflect long-term trends and some of the forward-looking thinking of experts on the changes colleges are making to focus not just on admitting students but on keeping them on track to a degree. The goal is to provide these materials (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here. This is the second in a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Tuesday, July 23, at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed's editors will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles and essays, as well as the latest developments involving student retention and persistence. To register for the webinar, please click here.

 

July 10, 2013

A fire that killed a student Monday at Saddleback College, a community college in California, was set deliberately, The Los Angeles Times reported. Authorities have not figured out whether the male student who died was a victim of the fire or set it.

July 10, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday held a wide-ranging hearing on innovation in higher education. Members from both sides of the aisle expressed interest in competency-based education and prior learning assessment. The continued relevance of the credit hour standard was also discussed. Speakers included representatives from the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning, StraighterLine, the University System of Maryland, and Western Governors University. 

July 10, 2013

A number of colleges are currently facing complaints that they do not adequately investigate charges of sexual assault. A male student who was suspended by Saint Joseph's University is suing the Philadelphia institution under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Bloomberg reported. The student says that he was accused of rape (over what he says was consensual sex, and says he has text messages that back his version of events) and that the university's system of investigating such accusations is designed to assure findings of guilt against accused males. That, he says, is sex discrimination. The university declined to comment on the accusations.

 

July 10, 2013

Amherst College spent $19 million on architectural and other expenses for a planned $245 million science building that the college has now decided not to build, The Boston Globe reported. Amherst officials say that they still need and plan to find a way to build a new science facility, but that the planned building was creating too many problems. The Globe article uses the Amherst situation to discuss competing pressures on colleges as the plan the best spaces for scientists. In the Amherst case, some science professors say that the project grew more expensive and more complicated in part because of a desire for architectural details (a light filled atrium, for example) as opposed to focusing on the basic lab spaces that the professors need.

 

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