Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 18, 2013

Minerva Schools at KGI, the ambitious (and still heavily theoretical) project that aims to educate some of the world's best students online but in residential settings, said this week that it would give its first group of undergraduates four years of free tuition when they enroll next fall, but ultimately charge $10,000 in annual tuition and under $30,000 in total costs. The project, which is seeking accreditation through Keck Graduate Institute, part of the Claremont University Consortium, aims to enroll students who could qualify for Ivy League and other highly competitive universities but would opt for an experimental alternative. The project has been the subject of both significant interest (and support from powerful friends, such as Bob Kerrey and Lawrence Summers) and a good bit of skepticism.

Minerva's founder, Ben Nelson, said in the news release that it would ultimately charge $10,000 a year in tuition and $18,850 in room and board, and that it would offer scholarships and low-interest loans.

 

 

September 18, 2013

Among the more notable pieces of recent education research was a study finding that most of the high-ability, low-income students in the country never apply to a single competitive college, even though they would likely be admitted and be offered aid. The research found that active outreach, explaining to such students what their options are, and providing application fee waivers, can encourage more of them to apply. Today, state officials in Delaware, together with the College Board and representatives of Ivy League universities, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are announcing a plan to reach all such students in Delaware and to provide the kind of counseling that the research says could make a difference. Other Delaware high school students -- who may not be at as high levels of academic ability -- will also receive outreach, with college options that might work for them.

 

 

September 18, 2013

Grand Valley State University administrators have removed a sculpture of a wrecking ball from campus, and Miley Cyrus played a role, MLive reported. Students had noticed a similarity between the sculpture and a prop in the new Cyrus video for her song "Wrecking Ball." Students -- at least one of them nude -- were reenacting the video on the real sculpture at Grand Valley State. Officials took away the artwork, saying that they were not sure it could support the students.

 

September 18, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Jordan Okie of Arizona State University explains why some species have evolved to tremendous sizes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 18, 2013

The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted Tuesday to add political affiliation and gender identity to the categories on which the university system bars discrimination, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Some regents have repeatedly charged that conservatives suffer discrimination, especially at the Boulder campus. The board earlier approved a plan to survey people in the university system on the political climate. Many faculty members have said that the regents incorrectly assume that having a majority of faculty members in some departments -- even large majorities -- equates with discrimination.

September 18, 2013

Georgetown University is today announcing the largest gift in its history, $100 million from Frank H. McCourt Jr., a former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, The Washington Post reported. The funds will be used to elevate a public policy program to a full-fledged school at the university.

 

September 18, 2013

As Congress debates over a stopgap spending measure to keep the government open past October 1, the group representing America’s elite research universities on Tuesday issued a statement protesting efforts by Congress impose restrictions on or ban federal funding for social and behavioral science research.

The Association of American Universities said called those efforts “disturbing” and “inappropriate,” arguing that they would “relegate such research to second-class status in federal research funding.”

Congress in March approved a ban on the use of National Science Foundation funds for political science research. Proponents of the measure, which was sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a Republican, argued that federal dollars should flow only to research projects that involve the physical or biological sciences or technology fields. A House subcommittee earlier this year approved a measure barring economic health research at the National Institutes of Health, but it was not included in this year’s legislation to fund the government.

“Even in the context of federal budget constraints, we believe that actions by Congress to de-fund or stigmatize entire disciplines of research would severely cripple, in principle and practice, the federal government’s historically productive commitment to the funding of basic research across all disciplines,” the statement said. It also said that social and behavioral science research was important to addressing the nation’s challenges in a variety of areas such as national security, public safety and transportation. 

September 17, 2013

This summer, the Associated Press revealed that Mitch Daniels, while governor of Indiana, tried to discourage the use of the books of the late Howard Zinn, a leftist historian, in the state. In a new effort to defend Zinn's legacy, scholars have announced plans for a "read in" of Zinn's work, to take place at Purdue University, where Daniels is now the president. Efforts are under way to organize readings at other colleges and universities in the state that day to give Zinn's work more visibility. The events will take place on November 5, the 158th anniversary of the birth, in Indiana, of Eugene Debs, the socialist leader.

September 17, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Blob of Clemson University explains why the evolutionary migration to land was dominated by limbed species. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 17, 2013

Duke University’s controversial campus in Kunshan has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education, the university announced on Monday. Duke Kunshan University, a joint venture institution with Wuhan University, will accept its first students in 2014. It initially plans to offer master’s programs in global health and management studies; a proposed graduate program in medical physics is pending approval. The campus will also offer a liberal arts-oriented, semesterlong study abroad program for undergraduates. 

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