Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge is working with a local microbrewery, Tin Roof Brewing, to launch a beer, the Associated Press reported. The blonde ale should be available during the next football season. The name has not been revealed yet. It will relate to LSU but not be called LSU Beer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Council of Independent Colleges announced Tuesday that it received a $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to expand the council's leadership development programs. The council operates several programs -- some individually, some with partners including the American Academic Leadership Institute, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Aspen Institute, and Academic Search, Inc. -- to discuss issues of leadership and prepare prospective leaders to become chief officers and chief academic officers to become presidents.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ed Stander of SUNY Cobleskill explains why astronomers must consider
scale when applying the laws of physics to any object beyond Earth. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A new study by University of Rhode Island researchers found that more than half of college students have received sexually suggested images via text messages, while nearly 80 percent had received suggestive messages. Most messages were sent back and forth between people in a relationship, but 10 percent of the messages were forwarded to someone who did not consent to the additional sharing of the image.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Justice Department and nine college associations have filed briefs backing the University of Illinois in its attempt to overturn a judge's ruling that documents requested by The Chicago Tribune are not covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Tribune requested the documents -- which deal with applicants' grades, test scores and parents -- as part of an inquiry into the university system's pattern (since abandoned) of favoring politically connected applicants in admissions. The ruling that Illinois is appealing left open the possibility that various privacy provisions might block the release of some records, but college associations are backing the University of Illinois appeal, which states that the ruling leaves public colleges open to pressure to release extensive information about students, possibly in violation of FERPA. The brief on behalf of college associations was filed by the American Council on Education.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities sued the U.S. Education Department Wednesday, charging that the agency's recently enacted regulation aimed at ensuring that vocational programs prepare students for "gainful employment" is unconstitutional. The gainful employment rule, a final version of which was published last month, applies to nonprofit and for-profit colleges alike that have vocationally oriented programs, but for-profit institutions would be disproportionately affected, and a lawsuit by their chief lobbying group had been expected.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Higher education advocates are again on the defensive in the ongoing battle over Pell Grants, which Congressional Republicans are hoping to cut in deficit reduction talks. Eight college presidents joined student activists and U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both Maryland Democrats) at a rally Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill to criticize proposals to cut Pell's budget back to pre-stimulus levels.

Tuesday’s event was the result of some last-minute organization – the presidents were in town for a joint meeting of the Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities this week. Staffers for Mikluski, Cardin, and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who was unable to attend the rally, invited the presidents to come participate.

The universities represented in this week's meeting, which are all public research institutions, have a lot to lose if Pell is cut next year because large percentages of their students rely on their grants. At Florida International University, for example, 37 percent of the 43,000-member student body received Pell Grants last year. More than half of those students – 54 percent – received the full grant amount of $5,500.

Mikulski asked students to be more vocal in their opposition to proposed Pell cuts, which could keep many low-income students from being able to afford a college education.

“We need you to flood the airwaves and the broadband,” she told the audience of students and education lobbyists. Student activists responded by talking about their plans to flood lawmakers’ Twitter and e-mail accounts on Monday – which they’ve dubbed “Save Pell Day” – to call attention to their campaign to preserve the program.

Pell Grants were spared major cuts in April, when Republicans agreed to preserve the maximum award amount while cutting the summer grant program -- shielding most of the program's 9.4 million recipients from cuts. But Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal for the upcoming fiscal year would reduce the maximum award by $845 and render 1.7 million current students ineligible to receive the grants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Campus Crusade for Christ, a major evangelical movement on colleges and universities, is changing its name officially to "Cru," which is the way some of its members refer to it already. Cru was selected among 1,600 names considered. In part, the name change reflects the group's many non-campus operations. But there was also a desire to remove the word "crusade." "It's become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East," Steve Sellers, the group's vice president, told Christianity Today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Marc Hauser, a prominent Harvard University psychology professor whose research has come under scrutiny, has resigned, The Boston Globe reported. An internal investigation found that he committed multiple instances of scientific misconduct, one paper he published was retracted and two others were corrected -- but many observers have pushed for more details on the nature of what was incorrect in his work. Hauser was not available for comment on his resignation, which was confirmed by a university spokesman.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Gerald Lang, the former provost of West Virginia University, has dropped a suit against the institution, after reaching an undisclosed settlement, the Associated Press reported. Lang resigned in 2009 amid a scandal over an inappropriately awarded degree -- a situation for which he said he was a scapegoat. Officials did not comment on the settlement.

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