Higher Education Quick Takes
Stanford University today will release a plan to revise undergraduate education requirements. "Breadth" requirements (those outside the major) would focus on "Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing." This approach deals both with the content of courses, but also their format. In terms of content, students would be required to study courses to teach them seven skills: aesthetic and interpretive inquiry; social inquiry; scientific analysis; formal and quantitative reasoning; engaging difference; moral and ethical reasoning; and creative expression. In terms of course format, the report calls for freshmen to have courses that include lectures, discussion sessions and small seminars.
Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, on Wednesday again bashed colleges in a campaign appearance, urging those at a campaign event to stop giving contributions to colleges, CBS News reported. "It's no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college," he said. "The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn't one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?" Santorum also accused colleges of being anti-religion, and of turning students against religion. "If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them. Because you know 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it." (Several recent studies contradict Santorum's ideas on the relationship between higher education and faith. One study in fact found that while many young adults become less religious, the declines are greater among those who don't attend college than those who do.)
Authorities in Tunisia on Tuesday broke up a sit-in that started in November to protest the policy of the University of Manouba banning the niqab, or the full face veil worn by some observant Muslim women, AFP reported. University officials said that they asked for police help to have the protesters -- many of whom are not students at the university -- removed. The university has said that there are security issues in having students enroll when they can't be seen at all because of the niqab.
Government programs aimed at encouraging more students to complete degrees in science, mathematics, education or technology should be better coordinated across agencies, a report issued Friday by the Government Accountability Office recommended. The report, undertaken after a request from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, found that the 209 STEM programs across 13 agencies frequently overlap but that fewer than half of those programs coordinate with similar efforts. Just because programs overlap doesn't mean they are redundant, the GAO wrote in its report. Still, the office recommended that the Office of Science and Technology Policy create a strategy and plan for STEM programs, including how the programs should share information across agencies, and evaluate the programs based on their outcomes.
About one-third of South Korean universities have announced tuition cuts, The Korea Herald reported. The government has been urging the cuts, in a year in which student aid is being increased, to make higher education more affordable for Korean families.
John Chadima resigned suddenly this month as senior associate athletic director at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Tuesday night, the university revealed the reason (which has been the subject of much speculation). According to an investigation commissioned by the university, Chadima made an unwelcome sexual advance on a student employee and threatened to fire him if he reported the incident, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. The advance took place after a Rose Bowl party for students who worked for the athletic program. The student said he was asked to stay after the party to drink with Chadima. Through his lawyer, Chadima released a statement in which he said that the incident "is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am, my lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs.... However I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life," the statement continued. "I am taking steps to correct that problem in my life at this time."
An influential New York State senator has introduced legislation to create new felony charges of "facilitation of education testing fraud" and "scheming to defraud educational testing," as well as a new misdemeanor charge of "forgery of a test," the Associated Press reported. While authorities have brought charges against students accused of paying others to take the SAT for them in Long Island, Senator Kenneth LaValle said Tuesday that more tools were needed to combat cheating. LaValle was the prime sponsor of testing legislation in the past that spread to other states, and he said that he hopes New York State will again play that role.
Israel's Higher Education Council has ordered all universities to turn over information about people without bachelor's degrees who have been admitted to graduate programs that require (at least in theory) completion of a bachelor's degree, Haaretz reported. The move follows a report in Haaretz that an anchorman-turned-politician, who lacks a bachelor's degree, was admitted to a graduate program at Bar-Ilan University.
By a vote of 128-58, members of the Faculty Senate at Pennsylvania State University voted down a proposal Tuesday to express no confidence in the trustees of the university, StateCollege.com reported. Many of those who spoke against the motion did so despite frustrations over the way the university's leaders have handled the sex abuse scandal. Jean Landa Pytel, a former Faculty Senate chair, said that it was important for faculty leaders to act in a "meaningful, constructive manner." She said that the vote would have been "seeking revenge for actions which we may not agree with as individuals," and that trustees are already aware of the way professors feel.