Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, November 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Colleges have long tried (with limited success) to make sure classes are in fact held on the Wednesdays before Thanksgiving break or the Fridays before various weeks off, but many professors have reported that they call off class in part because few students show up.

At the University of Florida this year, for the first time, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be an official holiday, but the university is now campaigning to be sure classes are held today and tomorrow. Some students are planning to be away for all of this week. But The Gainesville Sun reported that Bernard Mair, associate provost, told faculty members last week that they should not let vacations start early. "I'd just like to encourage you to reinforce that with your students and spread the word in your departments that Monday and Tuesday are not holidays," he told the Faculty Senate. "If students start to try to make that such, you should disabuse them of that idea."

 

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 3:00am

The Association of American University Presses on Friday named Peter Berkery Jr. as its next executive director. Berkery is currently serving as the vice president and publisher of the U.S. law division of Oxford University Press. He has previously worked as a lawyer and as an association official at the National Society of Accountants, the National Paint and Coatings Association, and the American Trucking Association.

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Today Inside Higher Ed publishes the latest entry in its Cartoon Caption Contest -- please weigh in in our comments section here with your witty, pithy entries. Also, here, we give you a chance to vote on the three finalists chosen by our panel from among the many dozens of entries for October's cartoon -- vote here.

And, trumpets blaring, we are also pleased to announce the first winner of our contest, who crafted the caption for our September cartoon that most impressed our judges and won the most votes from our readers. Congratulations to Bonnie Gardner, executive assistant to the president at East Central College, in Union, Mo. Her caption suggestion for September's cartoon was: "My adviser told me all my grades were below C level...." She will receive a $100 gift certificate from Amazon and a signed copy of the cartoon from Matthew Henry Hall. (Which should be incentive to the rest of you to enter November's contest.)

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:00am

California State University at Chico on Thursday suspended all Greek activities, following the alcohol-related death of a student, The Chico Enterprise Record reported. Discussing the incident, President Paul Zingg told a gathering of fraternity and sorority leaders that students don't get "a free pass" for allowing a student to drink 21 shots on his 21st birthday, and "pass out in his vomit."

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Sayette of the University of Pittsburgh explains how alcohol influences social interactions between strangers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:00am

The Data Quality Campaign today released its latest annual assessment of the quality of education data collected by states, with a particular emphasis on efforts that link vital stats on K-12, higher education and the workforce. Other factors considered in the analysis were if states make education data public and whether that information is used in student-level progress reports. The group singled out Kentucky, Delaware, Maine, Indiana and Ohio for making noteworthy strides on data.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The job market for new college graduates is expected to increase by only 3 percent, according to "Recruiting Trends," the annual report prepared at Michigan State University and based on a national survey of employers. The report characterizes the growth as "sluggish." Phil Gardner, director of Michigan State's College Employment Research Institute, said that many employers remain uncertain about the direction of the economy and concerned that events such as the European financial crisis or the "fiscal cliff" facing Congress may damage the economy. Gardner said that the "most troubling" survey results were those finding that many employers believe new graduates have a sense of entitlement and unrealistic salary expectations.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 3:00am

U.S. News & World Report has announced that it has moved George Washington University to the category of "unranked" colleges. The announcement follows an admission by the university last week that it had been for years inflating the percentage of new students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes. A blog post by Robert Morse, who directs rankings surveys for the magazine, explained the rationale for the switch in the university's category. But the blog post did not explain -- and Morse declined to explain -- why George Washington was moved to the "unranked" group while that has not happened to other colleges that have in the last year admitted sending the magazine incorrect data.

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 3:00am

President Obama plans to speak at Yangon University Monday, during a trip to Myanmar. The New York Times reported that the visit is leading to a major effort to repair the facilities at the university, which suffered damage and disrepair (not to mention repression) during years of military rule. While the university is being spruced up, the article suggested that there is only so much that can be done in a few days, and that Obama will see "something of a Potemkin campus."

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Thomas Emerson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains a microscopic discovery that reveals big things about culture and ritual at one of North America’s largest pre-Columbian settlements. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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