While minority institutions remain crucial to educating minority students in science, they appear to be producing smaller proportions of new minority scientists than in the past, according to data released Wednesday by the National Science Foundation. In 2008, historically black colleges awarded 20 percent of the bachelor's degrees earned by black students in science and engineering, down from 26 percent in 2000. In 2008, colleges with high Latino enrollments awarded 32 percent of bachelor's degrees in science and engineering that went to Latino students, down from 35 percent in 2000.
Higher Education Quick Takes
More than 200 students staged a sit-in in the administration building at Dickinson College to protest what they view as insufficient policies to prevent sexual assaults, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Students said that they were frustrated by the slow and non-public response of the college to allegations of sexual assault -- with several of the incidents involving women who said they knew their attackers. College officials said that they in fact have most of the policies that students are demanding and take all such allegations seriously, but that cases of "acquaintance rape" can be difficult to investigate.
Higher education groups stepped up their campaign Wednesday against the latest round of regulatory steps made by the U.S. Education Department. In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, 60 college associations urged the department to withdraw its October 2010 rule that would require states to specifically authorize institutions to offer postsecondary education, to have a process whereby an institution can be subject to adverse action by the state, and to have a process to review and act on complaints. According to the groups’ letter, rather than address their earlier concerns that the rule encouraged state "overreach" in regulating independent colleges, the Education Department added in the final rule an "entirely new and problematic provision regulating distance education programs." The state authorization rule is the second that the groups have urged the department to withdraw; the first was on a new federal definition of the credit hour.
President Obama on Wednesday signed legislation that funds the federal government through the middle of March, averting a threatened government shutdown but cutting several programs, including the $64 million Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program, which provides federal matching funds to states that provide need-based financial aid to students. The measure also cuts $129 million in earmarked funds distributed in 2010 through the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. But it does no damage to the Pell Grant Program.
Brandon Davies, a key player on the men’s basketball team at Brigham Young University, was dismissed from the team Tuesday for a violation of the institution’s strict honor code. BYU has enjoyed high-profile success so far this basketball season; it is currently ranked third in the nation. University officials did not comment on the nature of Davies's offense, though they confirmed Wednesday he was not involved in anything criminal. BYU’s honor code is known for its all-encompassing nature. For example, it stipulates that students “live a chaste and virtuous life,” “use clean language,” “abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse,” and “observe the dress and grooming standards,” among other provisions. This is not the first time that a high-profile athlete has been dismissed at BYU. Last fall, Harvey Unga was suspended from the football team for an honor code violation; he was the team’s leading rusher at the time.
A joint investigation by Sports Illustrated and CBS News has found that 7 percent of the players on 25 top college football teams had been charged with or cited for a crime in their pasts. Reporters for the magazine and TV network conducted criminal background checks on all 2,837 players on the preseason rosters of the 25 teams that were ranked before the 2010 season that concluded in January, and found that 204 of them had a criminal record, involving a total of 277 incidents. Of those, "nearly 40 percent involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3)," the report on the investigation said. Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, told a CBS reporter that the results were "a set of facts that obviously should concern all of us."
The relative roles of and relationships between research universities and state college systems are in the state policy spotlight as governors trot out their 2012 budgets. On Tuesday, as expected, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin called for splitting off the flagship University of Wisconsin at Madison from the statewide public college system. Walker said giving Madison "public authority" status -- which he said could also soon be granted to the university's other major research campus, in Milwaukee -- was necessary to give Madison "the tools it needs to remain a world leader in research and instruction -- while continuing to be a driver of economic development for our state." Walker said he was "open to working with lawmakers from both political parties on expanding this concept to the other campuses throughout the University of Wisconsin system," many of whose leaders have opposed the prospect of separating the system's most visible and prestigious campuses from the rest.
Also Tuesday, legislators in Connecticut challenged a proposal by that state's governor, Dannel P. Malloy, that would create a statewide system, but leave the flagship University of Connecticut on its own, The Connecticut Mirror reported. "I feel the UConn system needs to be in the same umbrella," the newspaper quoted State Representative Toni E. Walker as saying. "I want to see another model, and that model includes the University of Connecticut.... If we're going to do this let's not isolate the other universities." Connecticut's commissioner of higher education, Michael Meotti, said at the legislative hearing that treating the institutions differently made sense, given their different student bodies and missions. "That sets them worlds apart. If you put them together then you run too great a risk that one institution's issues will dominate over another."
An archaeology professor at Loyola University Chicago was sentenced by a federal judge to one year of probation Tuesday after admitting that he stole artifacts from an excavated site in New Mexico, The Chicago Tribune reported. The professor, Daniel Amick, pledged to return the artifacts. Amick and Loyola declined comment. Amick's lawyer said that he took the items for research purposes and would have been eligible for a research permit to work on the site, but had not obtained one.
President Obama on Tuesday named the 10 winners of the National Humanities Medal for 2010. They are:
- Daniel Aaron, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of English and American Literature Emeritus at Harvard University.
- Bernard Bailyn, Adams University Professor at Harvard University.
- Jacques Barzun, former dean and provost at Columbia University.
- Wendell E. Berry, the poet and novelist.
- Roberto González Echevarría, Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literatures at Yale University.
- Stanley N. Katz, director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.
- Joyce Carol Oates, the author.
- Arnold Rampersad, biographer and professor and former associate dean at Stanford University.
- Philip Roth, the novelist.
- Gordon S. Wood, the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University.