Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 10, 2013

A new report, "The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities," was released Thursday by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The report details the role of black colleges, outlines demographic trends in enrollments and discusses educational and financial challenges facing the institutions.
 

May 10, 2013

An associate professor of Arabic at Hunter College was being treated at a Cairo hospital on Thursday after being stabbed in the neck just outside the U.S. Embassy, NBC News reported. The broadcaster reported that Christopher Stone was challenged by a man who asked him twice about his nationality and then stabbed him. Stone received a  National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to study Sheikh Imam at the American Research Center in Egypt this academic year.

May 10, 2013

The University of Montana must make numerous, comprehensive changes to its sexual assault policies and procedures, under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The resolution agreement ends a year-long investigation into whether the university and its campus safety department had a systemic problem in responding to sexual assault allegations promptly and effectively.

The resolution agreement -- which officials said was tailored to Montana but should be heeded by other colleges as a model for sexual assault prevention and response -- indicates that the university, while it has made some progress, still must take several steps to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit sex discrimination and sexual assault and harassment in education programs. Those steps include educating students, employees and public safety officers on what constitutes sexual harassment, and how to report it; implementing a system to track sexual harassment complaints from initial report to final resolution; conducting annual student climate surveys and evaluating whether remedies are effective or more changes are needed; ensuring that campus safety officers, as first responders, meet victims’ needs immediately and make sure the justice system is known, open and available to them; and increasing efficiencies in the Office of Public Safety.

Federal officials acknowledged the positive work that Montana has already done. Last summer, it began requiring all students to take a sexual assault tutorial before registering for second-semester classes. The investigation followed nearly a dozen sexual assault reports at Montana, the most high-profile of which (and the one that prompted federal officials to enter the fray) involving athletes, and a university-commissioned report that determined Montana had “a problem” and should be investigated further. The Justice Department is still investigating city law enforcement in Missoula, and encouraged better cooperation between campus and local police.

May 10, 2013

Several major publishers will experiment with offering free course materials to Coursera users enrolled in the Silicon Valley-based company's massive open online courses. The partnership, which involves Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education, Oxford University Press, SAGE, and Wiley will deliver material using Chegg, a company that offers an e-book platform. According to Coursera, while professors teaching MOOCs on its platform have been able to assign free high-quality content, they will now be able to work with publishers to "provide an even wider variety of carefully curated teaching and learning materials at no cost to the student." Coursera has, however, generated some revenue from the Amazon.com affiliates program wherein users buy books suggested by professors.

May 9, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Zlatan Krizan of Iowa State University explains the role played by envy in creating a narcissistic personality. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

May 9, 2013

Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, has halted the search for a new president of Nassau Community College, pending a review of allegations of problems in the search. An editorial in Newsday outlined a range of concerns that were expressed prior to Zimpher's action, including charges of racial bias and of scheduling search committee meetings at times some members could not attend. The editorial also questioned the quality of the candidates that have emerged thus far.

 

May 9, 2013

WASHINGTON -- At a hearing Wednesday afternoon on the Internal Revenue Service's recently issued wide-ranging report on tax compliance at colleges and universities, lawmakers said they were disturbed that the report found a high degree of noncompliance on unrelated business income, revenue earned by nonprofit organizations in ways that are not directly related to their missions. The IRS told lawmakers on the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee's oversight subcommittee that the 34 colleges -- half public, half nonprofit private -- examined most closely during the audit shouldn't be considered a representative sample, and that there are plans to continue looking into how unrelated business income is handled across the sector.

May 9, 2013

WASHINGTON -- As the days tick down until the rates on subsidized student loans will double to 6.8 percent on June 1, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed a bill that would set the interest rate for federally subsidized student loans at the same rate as the Federal Reserve's discount rate to banks -- currently 0.75 percent. The rate would be good for one year, to give Congress time to come up with a long-term fix. The loans would be funded by the Federal Reserve.

Congressional Republicans and President Obama have called for a market-based interest rate based on the government's cost to borrow, but the interest rate from those solutions would be a few percentage points higher than Warren's proposed 0.75 percent.

May 9, 2013

An instructor at Barnard College has thrown out several quizzes and added a final exam in response to cheating allegations.  In a statement via e-mail, Barnard's vice provost, Hilary Link, said that "the college takes all allegations of cheating seriously. In this particular situation, college procedure was followed in that the professor, in consultation with relevant committees and her department chair, discounted quizzes because of a serious concern that academic integrity may have been compromised. In accordance with college policy, the professor supplemented the course assessment with a final exam. To date, no Barnard students have been identified as having cheated."

 

May 9, 2013

Students at Cooper Union took over the office of President Jamshed Bharucha on Wednesday, while he was not there. Students say that they are angry not only at the move to start charging tuition, but their sense that they have been left out of decision-making at the university. A spokeswoman for Cooper Union said that the protest was "a peaceful non-violent action and we continue discussions with students."

Here is a video made by students in the protest outlining their views:

 

 

The students are also documenting the protest on Twitter.

 

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