Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 12, 2013

Hundreds of employees at Bergen Community College apparently overpaid their New Jersey and federal taxes for years, The Bergen Record reported. The overpayments were the result of incorrect calculations about life insurance policies that are covered by the W-2 forms employees receive to do their taxes. The college has issued new W-2 forms and is advising employees that they may want to file amended returns for prior years.

April 12, 2013

The University of North Carolina board is expected today to name Carol Folt as the next chancellor of the flagship campus at Chapel Hill, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Folt is currently interim president of Dartmouth College, where she has served as provost. She will succeed Holden Thorp, who is becoming provost at Washington University in St. Louis. Thorp has been well respected as an academic leader at UNC, but is leaving the chancellorship after a series of scandals in athletics.

 

April 12, 2013

Authorities have charged that about 20 people become fake students at Contra Costa College, applied for and received Pell Grants, and never attended classes, The Contra Costa Times reported. The ringleaders are alleged to have recruited people to participate, and to have taken a cut of the funds from each participant. The scheme (a problem faced by other colleges) is known as a "Pell runner" scam.

 

April 12, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Evie Malaia of the University of Texas at Arlington reveals what features of American Sign Language have to say about how the brain processes language. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

April 12, 2013

The European University Association has released a new analysis of the state of global university rankings. Various evaluation systems continue to proliferate and existing ones refine their methodologies, the report says. But some things do not change. The study notes "biases and flaws" that favor elite universities. Further, the report says that most rankings -- which tend to focus on research - "still not able to do justice to research carried out in the area of arts, humanities and social sciences."

April 11, 2013

The University of Arizona Faculty Senate has approved a broadening of the definition of research to explicitly state that faculty members being considered for tenure may receive credit for technology transfer, not just traditional forms of scholarship. The change comes at a time the university leaders have vowed to increase the institution's efforts to promote economic growth and to find new sources of funds. The new definition of research states: "The university values an inclusive view of scholarship in the recognition that knowledge is acquired and advanced through discovery, integration, application and teaching. Given this perspective, promotion and tenure reviews, as detailed in the criteria of individual departments and colleges, will recognize original research contributions in peer-reviewed publications as well as integrative and applied forms of scholarship that involve cross-cutting collaborations with business and community partners, including translational research, commercialization activities and patents."

 

April 11, 2013

Voice for Life, an anti-abortion student organization, has won official recognition from the Student Government Association at Johns Hopkins University, reversing an earlier decision that was criticized as punishing the group for its views, The Baltimore Sun reported. The group's planned activities are designed to discourage Hopkins women from having abortions, and to convince those training to become doctors not to perform abortions.

April 11, 2013

North Korea has been warning foreigners to leave South Korea. But early indications are that American students and those leading American programs in South Korea are monitoring developments, but not changing their plans. WKYT News covered a group of students from Eastern Kentucky University who are in South Korea and who reported nervous families at home, but no problems more serious than that. And The Times Beacon Record reported on how officials at the State University of New York at Buffalo, which recently opened a campus in South Korea, say that everything is continuing there, despite the threats from the north. By not leaving the country, the American students and academics are following the advice of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, which is not recommending changes in travel plans to South Korea.

 

April 11, 2013

Boston University has demonstrated the success of "holistic" admissions for medical school, according an analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Under such admissions, grades and test scores aren't accorded the same dominant role they have traditionally played in admissions decisions, and factors such as empathy, strength of character and cultural sensitivity receive more attention. At BU's medical school, such a policy was adopted in 2009. As officials had hoped, the new approach led to more diversity in the class -- with the percentage of underrepresented minority students increasing from 11 to 20 percent. But the article noted that traditional measures also showed gains. The average college grade-point average has increased from 3.57 to 3.66, and the average score on the Medical College Admission Test increased from 31.68 to 33.62.

 

April 11, 2013

San Jose State University last fall began offering its students an online engineering course from edX, a provider of massive open online courses. The course was designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hosted on the edX platform, but taught by faculty from San Jose State. Now that course will be available to students from as many as 11 other campuses in the California State University System, the university announced Wednesday. San Jose State is also creating a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning to train faculty members from other campuses. And the university will soon offer other edX courses to its students, university officials said, including ones in the humanities, business and social sciences.

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