Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The average medical student spends just five hours in medical school focused on health-care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals, according to a new Stanford University study that will be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is based on a survey of medical school deans. It found that about a third of medical schools devote no time to the issue. However, in what the researchers considered a positive sign, almost all medical students these days are taught, when taking sexual histories of patients, to ask whether they "have sex with men, women or both."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

A state auditor has found that Northwest Missouri State University has violated state law by extending some contracts for food services, facilities management and other functions without competitive bids, in exchange for gifts for stadium renovations, The Kansas City Star reported. University officials said that they were trying to move forward to correct any problems.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The board of Southern University on Tuesday deadlocked and failed to adopt a resolution allowing the Baton Rouge campus to declare financial exigency, the Associated Press reported. Some university leaders have said that such a declaration is needed to impose cuts, but faculty leaders have argued that sufficient spending shifts could be made without declaring exigency. A declaration of exigency could lead to cuts of tenured faculty positions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are trying to promote discussion of a statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Many students say that the statue -- dedicated in 1913 and known as "Silent Sam" -- is a symbol of white supremacy. Some students want it taken down, while others argue for moving it, changing its plaque, adding another statue or simply promoting more discussion of what the symbolism is. Last week, students taped a temporary notice to the statue that reads: "This memorial to Confederate soldiers who left the university perpetuates an incomplete and inaccurate history - one that intentionally neglects the vast number of North Carolinians who opposed secession and the Confederacy. The original supporters of this monument, both town and university leaders, were motivated by racism and were colluders in a statewide campaign to establish white dominance."

More information about the student movement is available on its Facebook page. Many other Southern colleges have debated Confederate symbols on their campuses.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

BPP University College, Britain's only for-profit, degree-awarding institution, will have a price advantage over nonprofit competitors. Times Higher Education reported that BPP will charge £5,000 (about $8,000) a year for tuition, compared to the £9,000 (about $14,300) rates being set by most other universities, which are losing much of their government support. The British shifts in higher education policy also allow students to borrow up to £6,000 to attend for-profit institutions, so BPP students will have access to loans that are large enough to cover tuition.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

National Louis University is offering a tuition discount on a course through the popular website Groupon, The Chicago Tribune reported. The three-credit graduate course in education normally would have a tuition rate of $2,232. Groupon will offer it for $950. A spokeswoman for Groupon said this was the first time a college had used Groupon to attract students with a discount.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Dalhousie University, in Canada, has decided to end use of Turnitin, saying that it was unhappy that student papers were being stored by the plagiarism detection service on servers in the United States, The Toronto Star reported. Student groups have long complained about the use of plagiarism detection software, but many faculty members are upset by the decision, saying that they lack a new system as the fall semester is starting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Elizabeth Furdell of the University of North Florida discusses how she
uses the historical record to diagnose ailments in individuals from the distant past. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

With economic issues playing a more important role than ever in medicine, more physicians are seeking M.B.A.s or taking courses in business, The New York Times reported. There are now 65 joint M.D./M.B.A. programs, up from 5 or 6 in the late 1990s.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Massachusetts officials plan to announce today that -- for the first time in decades -- some state funds for higher education will be distributed based on plans for certain goals, not on enrollment, The Boston Globe reported. Funds will be available to colleges for plans to raise graduation rates, to improve science education or to close racial gaps in student achievement. While only a small amount of money -- $2.5 million -- is involved, officials said that the shift represented an important philosophical move for the state.

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