Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 3:00am

Under a new agreement between Pearson and the Eminata Group, students at three for-profit colleges in Canada will begin getting their course content exclusively via Apple iPads, the companies announced on Monday. Beginning in September, all new students enrolled at CDI College, Vancouver Career College and Reeves College will get iPads from Eminata, which operates the colleges, and will buy e-textbooks from Pearson. Over the next three years, all programs at the colleges will deliver their course content via Pearson's iPad-optimized e-texts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 3:00am

Sprint has sued Blackboard, claiming that the latter company isn't living up to its end of a deal in which Sprint thought it would have advantages in marketing the use of Blackboard learning management systems on smartphones, Seeking Alpha reported. (Seeking Alpha is a news service focused on stock and business trends.) Blackboard disputes Sprint's assertions. Mobile use of Blackboard services is popular with students and has been a growth area for the company.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 3:00am

A former graduate student has sued Webster University, arguing that he was unfairly dismissed from a master's program in counseling for his lack of empathy, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The suit also alleges that he may have been punished for criticizing the program. The student says that his grades were good, and that he was not given a chance to improve when questions were raised about his ability during work in the field to show empathy. The university declined to comment on the case.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 3:00am

This month saw one of the more unusual college firings in recent years, with an order of nuns dismissing the president and the board of Our Lady of Holy Cross College, in Louisiana. In his first interview since the dismissal, the Rev. Anthony De Conciliis, the ousted president, said he was given no reason for the dismissal, that he had received good reviews, and that he still doesn't know why he and the board members were fired, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Myles Seghers, the interim president, said in a statement that he also couldn't explain the dismissal.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Indonesia is facing considerable criticism for awarding an honorary degree to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, The Jakarta Post reported. The university says that the honor was appropriate because of the king's work on behalf of moderate Islamic teachings, interfaith dialogue and various humanitarian efforts. But Saudi Arabia has become deeply unpopular in Indonesia since the beheading, two months ago, of an Indonesian maid who was working in the country and was accused of murder. Her execution has focused attention on what many see as the abuse of impoverished Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia, many of whom say they have no rights.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Southern California on Sunday announced a $6 billion fund-raising campaign, which would be the largest ever in higher education, The Los Angeles Times reported. Half of the funds would be used to increase the size of the university's endowment (to support faculty hiring and student aid in particular) and the rest would support construction and research. In December, Columbia University upped its campaign total to the then-record of $5 billion. Harvard University is currently planning a campaign that could top the USC goal.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Nearly half of those who've graduated college in the last decade report having taken a course online, but only 28 percent of Americans under 30 say that a course taken online "is equal in value to a course taken in person," according to a report on online education published Sunday by the Pew Research Center. The report is based on a survey of 2,142 adults last spring.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The California Supreme Court will decide whether the State Bar must release data that might show racial patterns in performance on the state's bar exam, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, wants the information (with demographic information but not the names of test-takers) to test theories about the impact of affirmative action at private law schools in the state. Sander has argued that affirmative action policies at the law schools result in the admission of students who cannot perform well on the bar exam.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of California at San Diego, facing budget cuts, is in the midst of selling 150,000 books, California Watch reported. The books will be sold where possible or donated. The university's libraries are currently facing a cut of 12 percent (around $3 million), on top of $5 million in cuts since 2008.

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The City of Chicago and the University of Chicago announced a deal on Friday that is intended to speed development -- by the city and the university -- of the university's Hyde Park neighborhood. Pledges about mutual planning and communication are designed to prevent zoning and other delays that have hindered construction projects. The announcement, from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said that the deal came out of informal discussions he started with the leaders of universities in the city. The university currently has a $1.7 billion capital program for the next five years.

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