Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

The European University Association is today issuing a new "autonomy scorecard" that compares the autonomy given to university systems throughout Europe. The rankings are in four areas: organizational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy. Following are the countries where the higher education systems have the most and least autonomy.

Category 3 Most Autonomous (from top) 3 Least Autonomous (from bottom)
Organizational Britain, Denmark, Finland Luxembourg, Turkey, Greece
Financial Luxembourg, Estonia, Britain Cyprus, Hesse, Greece
Staffing Estonia, Britain, and three-way tie between Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland Greece, France and tie between Cyprus and Spain
Academic Ireland, Norway, Britain France, Greece, Lithuania


Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Alex Rehding of Harvard University explains that monuments made of music can be just as durable as those built of marble. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The Citadel on Saturday issued a statement in which it said that it investigated but did not report an allegation it received in 2007 that a summer camp counselor who was a cadet had inappropriate sexual activity with a camper in 2002 in a Citadel summer program. The statement said that the charges could not be corroborated and that the family of the camper was very concerned about its privacy. Nonetheless, the Citadel statement said, the institution has "regret that we did not pursue this matter further." The statement noted that the cadet -- Louis ReVille -- "was a highly respected cadet whose peers elected him chairman of the Honor Court, and at graduation he was presented the award for excellence in public service."

ReVille went on to become a coach and educator and worked with many schoolchildren in South Carolina until his arrest last month on charges of sexually assaulting five boys, The Post and Courier reported. More charges are expected. The Post and Courier filed an open records request last week for material related to the 2007 Citadel investigation of ReVille.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

A new report available for purchase from the British Council argues that students in different parts of the world have notably different motivations for using agents to help them find colleges and universities in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere to attend. Among the report's findings:

  • African students, many of whom lack reliable Internet access, use agents to obtain basic information.
  • South Asian students are most likely to use agents for help on obtaining visas.
  • Chinese students are most likely to use agents if they are seeking to enroll in English language or other basic educational programs abroad.
  • Indian students who have not studied outside of India are more likely to use agents than those who have already studied abroad.
Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Strayer Education, Inc., on Friday announced its purchase of the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online business college that is part of the financially struggling Chancellor University, a for-profit institution in Cleveland. Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, created the college in 2009 with a $2 million minority stake in Chancellor. He is reportedly buying his share back to transfer the school to Strayer. Michael Clifford, a sometimes controversial investor in for-profits, launched Chancellor in 2008 on the platform of the ailing Myers University. Strayer will pay about $7 million for the business college, Reuters reported.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

China is opening a new college that will be devoted to the study of tea, Xinhua reported. Officials hope graduates of the college will assume positions in sales, management and business development for the tea industry. The new college will award undergraduate degrees through the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.


Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dora Clarke-Pine of La Sierra University examines the shockingly common problem of plagiarism in doctoral dissertations. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 4:26am

Some professors at Mississippi Valley State University are criticizing a Faculty Senate vote of no confidence this month in President Donna Oliver, The Clarion-Ledger reported. The Faculty Senate cited a number of problems, including poor relations between the president and the faculty, declining enrollment and budget problems. But faculty members who are not on the Faculty Senate say that they were not consulted about what they consider to have been an important vote. Further, some question the wisdom of such a vote with an accreditation review coming up.


Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The following are the latest developments from Pennsylvania State University as it struggles to move forward amid a sex-abuse scandal:

  • Moody's Investors Service announced that it will conduct a review that could lead the agency to downgrade the university's bond rating (currently Aa1). A statement said: "Moody's will evaluate the potential scope of reputational and financial risk arising from these events. While the full impact of these increased risks will only unfold over a period of years, we will also assess the degree of near and medium term risks to determine whether to downgrade the current Aa1 rating. We will monitor possible emerging risks emanating from potential lawsuits/settlements, weaker student demand, declines in philanthropic support, changes in state relationship and significant management or governance changes."
  • Thousands of Penn State students and others attended a candlelight vigil Friday night to express sympathy with victims of sexual abuse and to vow to help such individuals, The Centre Daily Times reported. And at Saturday's football game against the University of Nebraska, fans participated in a moment of silence for the abuse victims, and players from the two teams kneeled together to recognize the victims. The emphasis and tone of the events were in contrast to the protests earlier in the week against the firing of Joe Paterno as football coach.
  • The top recruiting prospect for Penn State's football team announced that he was backing away from a pledge to attend the university, ESPN reported.
  • For those seeking perspective on how the Penn State scandal compares to other major athletics scandals, Slate has assembled links to some of the better long-form journalism on such scandals in the past, as well as some more recent coverage.


Monday, November 14, 2011 - 4:28am

Patrick Witt, Yale University's star quarterback, has withdrawn his application for a Rhodes Scholarship, citing his desire to play "the Game" against Harvard University on Saturday, Reuters reported. Witt's Rhodes interview was scheduled for the same day, but he opted to focus on the football game against Yale's arch-rival. In an interview last week, Witt noted that “in the description of the Rhodes, leadership is a major facet of who they select as candidates and finalists,” and that "in some ways, if I were to attend the interview and miss the game, I wouldn’t be acting as the leader that they selected to interview."


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