Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 24, 2014

A number of student newspapers that once produced daily print editions have dropped a day or two, but The Columbia Daily Spectator plans to switch to a weekly print format with daily news online only, Capital New York reported. Editors say that this will allow for better coverage.

 

 

April 24, 2014

Two dozen Democratic members of Congress on Wednesday called on the Education Department to enact tighter regulations on campus debit cards. In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the lawmakers urged the department to create rules that would prohibit any college-affiliated debit cards that students use to access federal student aid from charging fees. They also urged the department to enact a ban on revenue-sharing arrangements between debit card providers and colleges.

A negotiated rule making panel is meeting in Washington this week for the second of four scheduled sessions aimed at hammering out rules on campus debit cards, among other issues.  If the panel does not come to unanimous agreement on the package of rules, the Education Department is free to proceed with new regulations on its own. 

April 23, 2014

Faculty and student groups are criticizing the leadership of Debra Townsley, president of William Peace University, The News & Observer reported. A letter sent by faculty members to the board cited problems such as "staff turnover, dropping graduation rates, unsecured student records and university buildings with malfunctioning heat, asbestos problems and infestations of poisonous spiders." The letter said: “Peace has become an institution driven by mediocrity, suspicion, and fear, a university desperate for tuition dollars but entirely unwilling to provide students with the support and encouragement they need to complete their degrees." And students who circulated a petition criticizing Townsley now say they are facing retaliatory disciplinary proceedings.

Townsley defended her record, noting that William Peace, like many small colleges, is undergoing change and that such transitions are difficult. Townsley led a controversial shift under which the former women's college started to admit men.

 

 

April 23, 2014

A new analysis of available jobs finds that the highest demand (among openings for college graduates) is for white-collar professional occupations (33 percent) and science and technology occupations (28 percent). The analysis -- by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce -- is consistent with that center's past research, in finding many more opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree than for those without a college degree.

The new study is based on online job advertisements. The most in-demand professional jobs are accountants/auditors and medical/health service managers. In STEM, the most in-demand jobs are for applications software developers and computer systems analysts.

April 23, 2014

James Kilgore, who has earned good reviews as a lecturer in global studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was told his contract would not be renewed this year, shortly after it became widely known that he had once been a fugitive and had later served jail time for his role in the Symbionese Liberation Army, The News-Gazette reported. That same newspaper reported on his past associations in February, prompting local discussion. The SLA is the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst and robbed banks in the 1970s. Kilgore and the university declined to comment on the situation. The American Association of University Professors sent a letter to the Phyllis Wise, chancellor at Illinois, raising concerns about why Kilgore would not be renewed. The AAUP is "troubled" by the "sequence of events" in which someone was receiving good reviews, with the expectation of continued employment, only to have that change after publicity over his past. The AAUP letter states that Kilgore disclosed his felony conviction and six-plus years in prison when he was hired.

April 23, 2014

Charles Murray, the controversial conservative writer best known for The Bell Curve, is accusing Azusa Pacific University of lacking the courage to bring him to campus. He was scheduled to appear today, and was called and told not to come. In an open letter to Azusa Pacific's students, Murray suggested that fear of controversy was behind the decision. He questioned the stated reason -- that it is late in the semester -- given that Murray said the visit has been planned for some time. He urged students to make up their own minds about him. "You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right?," Murray wrote. "OK, then do it. Don’t be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources. Explore for yourself the “full range” of my scholarship and find out what it is that I’ve written or said that would hurt your faculty or students of color. It’s not hard."

The university released a statement from Jon Wallace, the president: "Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation. We want to host robust discussions. We have a long history of being in the middle of conversations that matter, but those take time and careful planning. As we value open discourse and varying viewpoints, we do so not merely for freedom’s sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Our approach to all topics must be in light of a biblical worldview. In doing so, we strive to model civic virtue for our campus community and encourage spiritual unity in Christ. We look forward to an opportunity to gather around the table for thoughtful and meaningful dialogue with Dr. Murray in the 2014–15 academic year."

April 23, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Susan Thomson, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Colgate University, examines life in the African nation since the genocide in Rwanda. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 23, 2014

Public historically black colleges are playing a key role in educating black and non-black students, but are "under siege" by many state policies, according to a new report from the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. The report finds that many states are adopting funding mechanisms that disadvantage black colleges. The report focuses on Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

 

April 23, 2014

Some students at Suffolk University are criticizing the selection of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, as commencement speaker, The Boston Globe reported. The students object to Foxman's refusal to back a push in Congress to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide. Others say he has defended the ethnic profiling of Muslims. Foxman could not be reached for comment. The university released a statement that said that “Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition.... It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”

April 23, 2014

American University officials are investigating a unrecognized campus "brotherhood" that has become the subject of debate because of leaked emails from members that appear to show them joking about raping or sexually assaulting women, The Washington Post reported. Cornelius M. Kerwin, president of the university, sent a message to the campus saying that the emails “not only conflict with our values and standards, but also may represent breaches of our student conduct code and of the law.” The website Jezebel published many of the emails.

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