Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Last month's corrections to the National Research Council's controversial rankings of doctoral programs turned out not to fix all the errors. As early as today, the NRC will be announcing additional corrections. Data on time-to-degree and completion rates for programs in the history of art, architecture and archaeology were incorrect in the "corrected" version of the database posted last month. A spokeswoman said that the data for 57 programs have been changed as a result of discovering the error. In another correction, data for a number of Harvard University programs on "tenured faculty as a percentage of total faculty" were incorrect and are being fixed.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

President Obama used a commencement speech Friday at Miami Dade College to renew support for legislation that would create a path to U.S. citizenship for college graduates who were brought to the United States as children without documentation to live in the country. Republicans blocked passage of the legislation last year, and Obama acknowledged the political difficulties facing a similar bill this year.

"I know this last issue generates some passion. I know that several young people here have recently identified themselves as undocumented. Some were brought here as young children, and discovered the truth only as adults. And they’ve put their futures on the line in hopes it will spur the rest of us to live up to our most cherished values," he said. "I strongly believe we should fix our broken immigration system. Fix it so that it meets our 21st-century economic and security needs. And I want to work with Democrats and Republicans, yes, to protect our borders, and enforce our laws, and address the status of millions of undocumented workers. And I will keep fighting alongside many of you to make the DREAM Act the law of the land."

Also at the ceremonies, Obama received his first honorary associate degree.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Ohio University on Saturday announced a $105 million grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. The funds will be used to expand the class size of Ohio University's osteopathic medical college, and to create a satellite campus for the college in central Ohio.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Holly Tucker of Vanderbilt University explains early modern Europe's cultural resistance to attempts at blood transfusion. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The tornado devastation that hit Tuscaloosa last week largely ravaged non-campus areas of the Alabama college town, but it has resulted in the deaths of two students -- one from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and one from Stillman College. The campuses in town are reopening some functions today, but also have called off or delayed final exams and commencement ceremonies, given the destruction in the area. Here are links to the updates from Tuscaloosa colleges:

The impact is also being felt beyond Tuscaloosa. The University of Alabama at Huntsville, for example, is closed until Wednesday, and final exams have been suspended, because of continuing power outages.

Sunday was the official date for college applicants to let institutions that have admitted them know whether they will enroll, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling is urging institutions to be flexible in dealing with students and institutions from areas that have been hit by the natural disasters in the last week.

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Stanford University's Faculty Senate voted Thursday to invite the Reserve Officer Training Corps back to the campus, The Los Angeles Times reported. ROTC has been absent since the Vietnam era. In recent years, faculty members have opposed its return while the military continued its policies discriminating against gay people, but the passage of a law authorizing the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" cleared the way for Thursday's vote.

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

More than one million community college students in 31 states do not have access to federal student loans because their institutions choose not to offer them, according to a new report by the Project on Student Debt. (The report is a followup to a 2008 study by the group, and finds modest changes since then.) Many community college administrators fear that participation in the federal loan program would put their students at risk of losing federal financial aid if too many students at the institutions do not repay their loans. The report notes that there are “persistent racial and ethnic disparities,” with nearly one in five Native American students and one in six African-American students attending community colleges that do not participate in the federal loan program. In addition, the report notes that California “now has the largest number of community college students -- about 214,000 -- without access to federal loans.”

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The Modern Language Association has announced the creation of an office of scholarly communication, which will expand the association's publications program and also explore new forms of scholarly communication. The office will be led by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who is currently professor of media studies at Pomona College, and a co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons. Her next book is Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, forthcoming from New York University Press this fall.

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Quinnipiac University's Paul Janensch discusses the radio roots of a rapidly disappearing entertainment genre, the soap opera. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

In the wake of reports of corruption in management of the Fiesta Bowl, Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has formed a task force to review the process the organization uses to license postseason football bowl games. Unlike with Division I men’s basketball, the NCAA does not officially run the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) postseason. Instead, it simply affirms whether bowls meet certain criteria before allowing them to host member teams. In the past, the financial management of bowls has largely dominated the approval process. Emmert said in a teleconference with reporters Thursday that he would like to expand NCAA oversight of bowls to include a review of their “governance,” “conflict of interest policies” and “advertising standards.” Emmert also announced that, until the task force’s work in revising approval criteria is complete, there is a moratorium on the NCAA’s certification of any new bowl games for “no more than three years.” He noted that the task force -- to be chaired by Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln -- is scheduled to report back to the NCAA Board of Directors at its October meeting.

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