Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 20, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Lauren Dutra, postdoctoral scholar at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, explains the correlation between usages of these different tobacco products. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


May 19, 2014

Oral (Nick) Hillary, head men's soccer coach at Clarkson University, was arrested last week and charged with murdering a 12-year-old boy in 2011, The Watertown Daily Times reported. The boy was suffocated and strangled. Hillary said that he was innocent and did not commit the crime. Clarkson has placed Hillary on administrative leave.

May 19, 2014

Bridgepoint Education on Friday announced in a corporate filing that it would pay $7.25 million to Iowa's attorney general for consumer restitution and fees related to an investigation of Ashford University, which the for-profit chain owns. The office of the attorney general, Tom Miller, had been investigating whether Ashford had violated the state's consumer protection laws. The university did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

May 19, 2014

The Faculty Senates at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota have passed resolutions objecting to a requirement that professors sign an oath of loyalty to the state's constitution, The Forum reported. They object because the constitution includes a definition of marriage as applying to only relationships between a man and a woman. The senates are asking to create a way for faculty members to state their objections to that provision, as conscientious objectors.

May 19, 2014

At the 25 public universities where presidents earn the most, student debt is rising faster than at other public universities, according to a report issued Sunday evening by the Institute for Policy Studies. The report also found that they are increasing the use of non-tenure-track faculty members at rates greater than those of other state universities.

May 19, 2014

The Young Invicibles held a media event on Capitol Hill last week during which the student advocacy group and four Democratic Senators called for stronger regulation of the for-profit sector. Dymond Blackmon, a former student, spoke at the event. He said he racked up more than $90,000 in debt while earning an associate degree from the International Academy of Design and Technology, which is owned by Career Education Corp., a for-profit chain.

Some readers questioned how Blackmon spent that much money on a two-year degree, particularly given that the academy's annual tuition and fees were $12,000 or less when he attended it. Blackmon, through a Young Invincibles spokesman, declined to sign a waiver for federal privacy requirements, which would have allowed Career Education to release more detail about his time at the academy. But the company was able to provide some additional information without violating privacy rules.

Blackmon first enrolled at an academy campus in Orlando in January of 2005. He attended that campus for two years before transferring to another academy location in Tampa Bay. He said he was forced to transfer because the Orlando campus did not offer courses he needed for his major. But it's impossible to verify that claim without more information. Blackmon attended the Tampa campus for another 2.5 years. After 4.5 years he earned an associate of science in digital photography. The total tuition and fees for that time period would be far less than the $90,000 in debt and additional loans Blackmon said his mother took out to pay for the degree, so it's likely he used a substantial portion of those loan amounts for living or other expenses.

May 19, 2014

Students in Kerry Cronin's Boston College course on philosophy and ethics have an unusual way to earn extra credit: go on a date. The Boston Globe described how Cronin responded to student questions about the concept of dating but encouraging them to actually do so. She said most students seem comfortable going out in groups and having hook-ups, but not dating. To qualify for credit, the dates must focus on personal interaction. Dates must be 45-90 minutes, must be with a person of potential romantic interest, the invitation must be made in person (not electronically), and the date can't involve alcohol, kissing or sex.


May 19, 2014

A student who had dropped out of Quinnipiac University called in bomb threats in a failed attempt to cancel commencement so her family wouldn't learn that she hadn't attended classes, The New Haven Register reported. University officials moved the ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences to a different location after the threats were phoned in by the former student, who later told police that she had "panicked" when her relatives did not see her name among the listed graduates. She was charged with threatening and falsely reporting an incident.

May 19, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Raj Morey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, discusses the potential harm that may arise even from indirect exposure to explosions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


May 16, 2014

Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Education is "deeply dismayed" at the recent promotion of Ravi Shankar, an associate professor at Central Connecticut State University, to the rank of full professor, it said in a statement Thursday. "We believe that faculty and staff must be held to the highest standards inside as well as outside the classroom."

Shankar, a professor of poetry, was promoted by the board earlier this week, following a recommendation for promotion from the university, the Hartford Courant reported. But the board was unaware that Shankar is serving a two-week portion of a longer, pre-trial jail sentence. The charges against Shankar involve violating probation for past credit card fraud and drunk driving. "As a result of the information that came to our attention earlier this week, the Board of Regents has asked the CCSU administration for an immediate and full investigation surrounding the process resulting in the recommendation to promote Dr. Shankar," the board said, adding that the university is "engaged" in the investigation and preparing a report on the case. Shankar could not immediately be reached for comment. Jack Miller, university president, said in a statement that it was ultimately his duty to inform the board of Shankar's incarceration, but that he did not, due to the complex nature of the professor's legal case. He said the university is investigating the circumstances surrounding Shankar's promotion at this time.


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