Israel's Council for Higher Education has given Ben-Gurion University's political science department three weeks to correct what the council sees as various failings, or to risk being shut down, Haaretz reported. The council has cited a review calling for the department to expand its offerings. But many in the department and many academics all over the world who have signed petitions on the issue believe that the alleged quality concerns are a cover for political concerns. Ben-Gurion's politics department is home to prominent critics of Israeli government policies and right wing groups in Israel have accused the program of being "anti-Zionist."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Public colleges and universities have an obligation to work on improving college readiness, and a special responsibility to focus on areas of concentrated poverty, a task force of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities says in a new report. "Serving America’s Future: Increasing College Readiness" argues that more aggressive efforts to strengthen not only academic preparation but also personal and social readiness for college is in institutions' self-interest as well as the national interest.
The Institute of International Education released a report on Monday on the first year of the Brazil government’s Science Without Borders scholarship program. The 1,954 Brazilian undergraduate students who have come to the United States so far have studied at 238 host institutions. Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) are enrolled in engineering or computer science courses.
The program has sparked unprecedented interest in collaborations with Brazilian universities. More than 2,500 scholarship recipients are expected to come to the U.S. every year for the next five years.
In a surprise move, Grand Canyon University this week said it would not accept the gift of a 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass., according to a corporate filing. Five weeks ago the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores announced that it had selected the for-profit institution after a lengthy search for a Christian owner for the property. Grand Canyon said it planned to spend an estimated $150 million to develop a second, 5,000-student residential campus at the new location. The filing revealed little about the about-face, noting only that the company had determined that accepting the campus would not be in its "best interest." However, in an interview with the Religious News Service, Grand Canyon's CEO said the city of Northfield had resisted the planned campus.
Halloween season tends to bring outrage over blackface costumes at campus parties -- and this year the discussion is at the University of Florida. Some students came to a "rock stars and rappers" party at a fraternity not only in blackface, but with black paint over their bodies, and their costumes also featured gold chains and saggy pants, The Gainesville Sun reported. The university's chapter of the NAACP posted a photo of the students on its Facebook page with the statement: "Students at UF had a party last night, and guess who they came dressed as? Whose party this is is not the issue but the fact that this is seen as acceptable is where the problem lies!"
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a case that explores whether re-sellers can hawk cheaper versions of textbooks, produced for students overseas, to U.S. students. The case, the second the court has heard in two years involving what is known as the "first sale" doctrine, could have major implications for how much publishers charge for their textbooks, both in the United States and abroad. Accounts in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal of the court's hearing in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. described justices divided over the arguments made by publishers and by the former graduate student whose resale of foreign-made textbooks earned $1 million in sales a year and brought the wrath of the publishers. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct factual errors.)
The University of Chicago on Monday announced new efforts to make it easier for students who go to high school in Chicago to attend the university. Application fees for the students will be waived. Loans will no longer be part of aid packages. And the university is creating an Admissions Academy that will help high school students navigate the application process, regardless of whether they are applying to Chicago or elsewhere.
A new report from World Education Services identifies four key emerging markets for international students: Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Vietnam and Turkey (listed in order of importance).
A main message of the report is that American colleges should diversify their international student recruitment efforts beyond China, India and South Korea (which, collectively, are the source of almost half the international students in the United States today). The report also identifies key opportunities and challenges in each of the four emerging markets. In both Saudi Arabia and Brazil, massive government scholarship programs promise a continuous stream of sponsored students, but significant percentages require intensive English training before they can begin college-level coursework. In Vietnam, rapid economic growth and a large youth population have fueled demand, but financing remains a challenge. In Turkey, building on collaborations is key: the country is host to the third-largest number of joint or dual degree programs with U.S. universities. Yet, cracking the Turkish recruitment market – which is heavily oriented toward graduate students -- seems to be particularly difficult.
Colleges in several Eastern states announced plans to be closed today (and in some cases tomorrow and Wednesday) as a result of anticipated damage from Hurricane Sandy. Among the institutions closing are: Atlantic Cape Community College, Christopher Newport University, City University of New York (all campuses), Cumberland County College, Delaware State University, Drew University, Drexel University, Maritime College of the State University of New York, Monmouth University, Montgomery College, New York University, Norfolk State University, Princeton University, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Rowan University, Virginia State University and the Universities of Delaware, Hartford and New Hampshire.