Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The Association of American Colleges and Universities is today announcing a new project to work with state systems and individual colleges and universities so that faculty members and state system leaders and assessment experts can test ways to assure that students demonstrate achievement of key competencies. Funds for the program come from the Lumina Foundation for Education, and the project represents a beta test of Lumina's Degree Qualifications Profile.

The state systems in the new effort are in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of British Columbia has started a campaign to raise $1.5 billion -- more than has been raised in any Canadian university campaign -- by 2015. The university has already raised just over half of that amount in the quiet phase of the campaign. Other Canadian universities are also the midst of major campaigns. McGill University is nearing its goal of $750 million.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members who staged a one-week strike returned to work Friday at Cincinnati State Community College, The Middletown Journal reported. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, says that it always planned for a strike of only a week -- not wanting to disrupt students' educations. The main issue dividing the union and the administration is faculty workload.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

A proposal to create a center on constitutional law at North Carolina Central University has been withdrawn amid criticism of the source of funds, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The money would have come from the John William Pope Foundation, which is led by Art Pope, who has spent large sums of money funding conservative organizations and Republican politics. Some faculty and alumni of the university have questioned whether it should take funds from Pope or entities he leads.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The nation's educators must work to improve college completion rates for Latino students if the United States is to remain economically competitive in the world, according to a report released Friday by the College Board. While Latinos make up the fastest growing group of students in the nation, they are behind the national average for college completion by more than half. At present, 19.2 percent of Latinos who enter college complete college, while the national average hovers around 40 percent, according to the report.

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, said the report is a "call to action." “Our nation will not become No. 1 again in college completion unless we commit ourselves to giving these students the support they need to achieve their full potential,” Caperton said.

To attain better completion rates for Latino students, the report recommends making voluntary preschool education available to low-income students, improving middle and high school counseling and simplifying the financial aid system, among other things.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Robert Thacker of St. Lawrence University explains Canada’s role as the
second largest supplier of oil used in the United States. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association last week punished the University of Cincinnati for violations in its women's basketball and football programs. The violations, which the university uncovered and investigated, involved improper telephone calls to recruits by coaches in the two sports, with the vast majority made by a former women's basketball coach. Penalties include restrictions on recruiting and coaching duties.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine will be announced this morning. This item will be updated as soon as information is available.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The nation's education leaders must work to improve college completion rates for Latino students if it is to stay competitive on the world state, according to a report compiled by College Board. While Latinos make up the fastest growing group of students in the nation, they are behind the national average for college completion by nearly half. At present, 19.2 percent of Latinos complete college, while the national average hovers around 40 percent, according to the report. At a conference in Miami on Friday, College Board unveiled its report and action plan to improve educational attainment for Latinos.

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, said the report is a "call to action." “Our nation will not become number one again in college completion unless we commit ourselves to giving these students the support they need to achieve their full potential,” Caperton said.

The report is one step in ensuring College Board's goal of increasing completion of associate's degree or higher to 55 percent by 2025.

"There is work to be done to ensure every student, regardless of background, zip code or parents’ salary level, is equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in today’s global economy," said Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation of Excellence in Education.

To attain better completion rates for Latino students, the report recommends voluntary preschool education that is available to low-income students, improving middle and high school counseling and simplifying the financial aid system, among other things.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which recently gathered hundreds of complaints about federal regulation for a draft report on regulatory burdens, heard more from college administrators about those burdens at its meeting Friday. The committee is charged with identifying federal regulations that are redundant, unnecessary, inconsistent or “overly burdensome," and those that need to be changed or eliminated, and a survey of more than 2,000 college officials found plenty of suggestions.

At the committee, panels of executive officers and office administrators continued that refrain, saying that Higher Education Act regulations are so sprawling that no one person on any campus can keep track of them all and judge which are the most costly or burdensome. Information disclosures came in for particular criticism: Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College, read a laundry list of information that colleges are required to disclose annually, including reports on fire safety, peer-to-peer file sharing, net price and many others.

Participants had a few suggestions for reducing the burden of regulations, although both the committee and the panelists acknowledged that the pace of increased regulation is faster than deregulation would be. Ungar suggested a system in which for every new regulation added, another would have to be eliminated. Others advocated for sector-based regulation, where different rules would apply to different types of colleges.

And while many respondents in the committee's report supported further study, a comprehensive review will be lengthy and costly, said Troy Johnson, vice provost for enrollment at the University of North Texas. "It's fine to study further, yet in the meantime we should immediately seize all of the knowledge and recommendations" and make some progress on deregulation, Johnson said.

The committee is on track to deliver a final report to Congress by the end of the year, the chairman, Allison Jones, said.

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