Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 26, 2013

Three Pennsylvania institutions -- Marywood University, Keystone College and Lackawanna College -- have removed Robert J. Mellow's name from their buildings, The Times Leader reported. Mellow was previously a powerful state legislator. But he is now in jail, after he pleaded guilty last year to under-reporting his income for his 2008 tax return, and committing mail fraud by using his Senate staff members to perform political duties for himself and others.

 

April 26, 2013

WASHINGTON -- As Congress begins the long process of renewing the Higher Education Act, the leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce published an open letter to higher education "stakeholders" Thursday, asking for suggestions on rewriting the sweeping law governing federal financial aid programs. Representatives are especially interested in a few areas, they wrote: empowering "students as consumers"; simplifying student aid and loans; increasing affordability, accountability and completion; reducing costs; and balancing "the need for accountability with the burden of federal requirements."

In a statement, the committee's chairman, Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, emphasized paring regulations, simplifying financial aid and providing families with better information. Representative George Miller, a California Democrat, said he hoped to focus on the increasing price of higher education, student debt, barriers to completion, and community colleges.

The committee said it welcomes suggestions -- the more specific the better -- at HEA.Reauth@mail.house.gov.

April 26, 2013

The University of Central Florida has suspended Hyung-il Jung, an instructor, over a comment about "a killing spree," but students say that he posed no danger and was misunderstood, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Jung told a group of students, he said, something along these lines: "This question is very difficult. It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these questions. Am I on a killing spree or what?" Some students have sent a joint letter to the university saying that there is no need for the investigation Central Florida says it is conducting, and that the comment was clearly a joke.

 

April 25, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Hans Larsson of McGill University discusses the evolutionary pressures that influenced the development of flight in birds. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 25, 2013

While many educators and politicians say that colleges need to increase science and technology enrollments to meet workforce demands, a study being released today suggests that there is no shortage of STEM workers. The study -- by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan but liberal leaning think tank -- finds that:

  • Students have already responded to the interest in STEM by majoring in science and technology fields in sufficient numbers to meet workforce demands.
  • Only one of every two STEM graduates finds a job in a related field.
  • In computer and information science and in engineering, colleges in the United States are graduating 50 percent more students each year than there are jobs in those fields.
  • Of computer science graduates who do not enter the IT workforce, 32 percent say it is because they could not find an IT job, and 53 percent say they found better jobs outside of IT.

 

April 25, 2013

Montana State University will decertify its faculty union after the affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association conceded defeat in a referendum brought by faculty members who wanted to end collective bargaining. The union had challenged four ballots after a preliminary results showed the faculty members favoring decertification held a five-vote lead. The Montana Board of Personnel Appeals has yet to release an official notice of decertification.

April 25, 2013

The University of Indianapolis is shutting down its campus in Greece. "[E]conomic conditions in Greece have made it very difficult to continue [operations] according to the high standards of the university and the expectations of our accrediting agency," said a statement from the university. The university will continue an M.B.A. program it operates in Greece for students from Saudi Arabia, and plans to "use that financially viable program as a model for developing new programs on a contract basis," the statement added.

 

April 25, 2013

WASHINGTON -- When choosing a college, most prospective students are more in need of help navigating already-available data than they are of more disclosures from colleges and universities, witnesses told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training during a hearing Wednesday. The hearing, on college transparency, focused less on what colleges should be telling prospective students and more on what can be done to make that information accessible and understandable. Witnesses, including Donald Heller, dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University, said they doubted information on students' salaries after graduation was enlightening, although requiring colleges to provide those data has received bipartisan support in Congress in recent months. Students need "better information, not just data," Heller said.

April 25, 2013

Robert Shearer, formerly the director of environmental health and occupational safety at San Francisco State University, has been charged with 128 felonies related to allegedly taking bribes to award a waste-disposal contract that cost the institution millions of dollars, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The bribes allegedly included $183,000, plane tickets for international travel and a Volvo. Shearer has appeared in court, but has not entered a plea in the case.

April 25, 2013

Only 28 percent of students at Taiwan's universities say that they interact with faculty members, and only 36 percent participate in class discussions, according to a new study, Taipei Times reported. The study comes at a time that some educators in the country want to encourage students to move beyond memorization to a more active concept of learning. Professors are being urged to ask more open-ended questions in class, so students would be less fearful of having an incorrect answer.

 

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