Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am

African-American scholars who earned their Ph.D.s at highly research intensive universities are significantly less likely than white, Latino and Asian peers to be employed at similar universities, a new National Science Foundation study finds. The NSF study examines numerous characteristics of minority Ph.D. recipients in science, engineering and health fields -- from where they earned their doctorates, where they work now, and their rank, status and fields of study at those institutions, among other things -- and the finding on black Ph.D.s is among the most interesting.
While 41.5 percent of all professors who earned doctorates in science, engineering and health fields at American universities with "very high" research activity are were employed by such institutions in 2008, the figure was much lower (30.8 percent) for African-Americans. (No other racial group was below 39.1 percent, the figure for Latino scholars.) The study finds that the black scholars were likelier than others to work instead at master's granting universities, and attributes the finding, in part, to the fact that meaningful numbers of them work at historically black universities, which by and large are master's institutions. That probably accounts for about a third of the gap, estimates Ansley Abraham, director of the Southern Regional Education Board's SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program, and while some of those professors are at HBCUs by choice, because they believe in the institutions' mission, "we don't know how many ended up there because they didn't have other good choices."
Among the study's other findings:

  • Black scholars were significantly less likely than science and health Ph.D. recipients of other races to have earned their doctorates from U.S. universities with very high research activity (63 percent vs. 80 percent for white Ph.D. recipients, 77.1 percent for Hispanics, and 79.3 percent for Asians).
  • About one third of black, 37 percent of Latino, 91 percent of Asian and 11 percent of white recipients of science, engineering or health Ph.D.s from American universities were not born in the United States.
Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am

French officials have pledged to loosen rules on work permits to be granted to foreign students from outside the European Union, The New York Times reported. Higher education officials complained that the tough rules were unfair to foreign students or would-be foreign students.

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am

A new study tracking 1,300 mostly Hispanic college students who participated in intensive "summer bridge" programs found that the students were less likely to need remediation and more likely to take and pass college-level math and writing courses during their first year of college. The students, who were enrolled at seven community colleges and one four-year university in Texas, still had relatively low passage rates, but made progress compared to the control group. The National Center for Postsecondary Research and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board conducted the research.

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Emily Stark of Minnesota State University at Mankato reveals how the presence of a weapon can greatly diminish an eyewitness’s ability to identify the perpetrator of a crime. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am

African-American scholars who earned their Ph.D.s at highly research intensive universities are significantly less likely than white, Latino and Asian peers to be employed at similar universities, a new National Science Foundation study finds. The NSF study examines numerous characteristics of minority Ph.D. recipients in science, engineering and health fields -- from where they earned their doctorates, where they work now, and their rank, status and fields of study at those institutions, among other things -- and the finding on black Ph.D.s is among the most interesting.

While 41.5 percent of all professors who earned doctorates in science, engineering and health fields at American universities with "very high" research activity were employed by such institutions in 2008, the figure was much lower (30.8 percent) for African-Americans. (No other racial group was below 39.1 percent, the figure for Latino scholars.) The study finds that the black scholars were likelier than others to work instead at master's-granting universities, and attributes the finding, in part, to the fact that meaningful numbers of them work at historically black universities, which by and large are master's institutions. That probably accounts for about a third of the gap, estimates Ansley Abraham, director of the Southern Regional Education Board's SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program, and while some of those professors are at HBCUs by choice, because they believe in the institutions' mission, "we don't know how many ended up there because they didn't have other good choices."

Among the study's other findings:

  • Black scholars were significantly less likely than science and health Ph.D. recipients of other races to have earned their doctorates from U.S. universities with very high research activity (63 percent vs. 80 percent for white Ph.D. recipients, 77.1 percent for Hispanics, and 79.3 percent for Asians).
  • About one-third of black, 37 percent of Latino, 91 percent of Asian and 11 percent of white recipients of science, engineering or health Ph.D.s from American universities were not born in the United States.
Friday, October 14, 2011 - 3:00am
  • 2011 Annual Meeting, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Nov. 13-15, San Francisco.
  • 2011 ASHE Conference, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Nov. 16-19, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Annual Meeting, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Dec. 3-6, Orlando, Fla.
  • National Meeting, American Mathematical Society, Jan. 4-7, Boston.
  • Annual Meeting, American Historical Association, Jan. 5-8, Chicago.
  • National Legislative Summit, Association of Community College Trustees, Feb. 12-15, Washington.
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    These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.

     

    To submit a listing, click here.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    How financially risky are some international branch campuses? The Boston Globe reported, in explaining why some American colleges are having second thoughts on the outposts, that Suffolk University lost $10 million on a branch in Senegal. When the university shut down the campus this year, it decided it would be easier to educate the remaining 104 African students by moving them to Boston than by keeping the operation in Senegal. Suffolk is hardly the first American college to reconsider branch campuses. Here is an article from Inside Higher Ed about the decision of Michigan State University to pull out of Dubai.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Wednesday that it had concluded its long investigation into possible recruiting violations involving Auburn University's former star quarterback, Cam Newton. Although the association's terse statement (reproduced in its entirety below) didn't specifically say so, the clear implication was that the inquiry had ended without any findings of wrongdoing. The investigation explored allegations that Newton's father, Cecil, had told Mississippi State University that his son would enroll there for a mere $180,000 payment, which prompted speculation that he might have accepted money to enroll, as he ultimately did, at Auburn. Other players reported that they were paid to attend Auburn, too. But the inquiry was unable to confirm those allegations, the association said.

    The NCAA's statement: "After conducting more than 80 interviews, the NCAA has concluded its investigation into Auburn University. The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding. As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted."

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    Many anthropologists remain furious at Governor Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, for saying this week that his state doesn't need more graduates in anthropology. Now the Associated Press reports that the governor's daughter, Jordan Kandah, has an anthropology degree from the College of William & Mary. Kandah's career path backs the view of anthropologists that their discipline can be preparation for a variety of fields. She was formerly a special education teacher and recently enrolled in an M.B.A. program.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    Legislative scholarships in Illinois -- in which state lawmakers get to give out some funds for college to just about anyone in their districts -- have been the source of many scandals, and regular calls for their elimination. They continue, however, to survive. The Chicago Tribune reported that this year, Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, tried to kill the scholarships, by using his authority to extend legislation barring them from being awarded to lawmakers' relatives, to instead kill the entire program. But legislative leaders said that the governor went beyond his power, so they are refusing to go along with the plan to kill the program.

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