Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York approved Monday the creation of the system’s first new community college in 43 years. The new institution, which has been in development since 2008, will adopt strict policies aimed at producing high student retention and graduation rates. All its students must enroll full time and take a predetermined core curriculum; they will have only 12 majors to choose from, all of them career-oriented.

The institution will open in Manhattan in the fall of 2012. It will initially enroll just 500 students, with the eventual goal of having up to 3,000. The Board of Trustees also approved the new community college’s first eight degree programs: associate’s degrees in business administration, energy services management, environmental science, health information technology, human services, information technology, liberal arts & sciences, and urban studies. Now that the trustees have approved the new college, the proposal goes to the New York State Board of Regents for final review of the institution and its initial set of academic programs.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Six higher education groups are urging the U.S. Senate to pass long-delayed legislation this week to overhaul federal patent laws. In a letter to senators, the Association of American Universities and five other associations express their support for the measure, S. 23. The legislation would more closely align U.S. patent laws with those in Europe and Asia in several ways, including by granting patents for a particular innovation to the first inventor to file a patent for it, rather than, necessarily, to the creator of the innovation. An amendment is expected this week that would eliminate the legislation's "first-inventor-to-file" provision, which some lawmakers say would tilt the system against individual inventors and entrepreneurs. The college groups urge senators to reject the amendment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University of the Pacific's Ken Albala dissects the competing claims concerning meat content in some popular fast foods. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of the District of Columbia is facing questions about first class air travel by its president, Allen Sessoms, following the release of records on the travel to a Fox 5 reporter. One of the trips (this one business class) was to Egypt, and UDC would provide only limited and redacted records about what he did there, spending a few hours a day visiting a sister university and spending other time on tourist activities and shopping. On the same trip, he stopped in Britain on the way back (spending $1,000 there,) but the university said it had no documentation for why he was there. Sessoms declined to comment.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

A Texas State University student has founded a new group dedicated to raising money for scholarships for white males. The Former Majority Association for Equality says on its website that its goal is to "financially assist young Americans seeking higher education who lack opportunities in similar organizations that are based upon race or gender. In a country that proclaims equality for all, we provide monetary aid to those that have found the scholarship application process difficult because they do not fit into certain categories or any ethnic group." The group says that it will award five $500 scholarships on July 4. Colby Bohannan, the founder of the group, told The Austin American-Statesman that he noticed many scholarships for female or minority students, but none reserved for white men. "I felt excluded," he said. "If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?"

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

In the latest fallout from the British government's decision to raise tuition substantially at the country's universities, a leading secondary school there is encouraging its students to apply to foreign universities, The New York Times reported. Students are looking abroad both to save money and because of a shortage of slots this year in entering classes.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Governor Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut has proposed that his budget office review all non-faculty hiring by the state's public colleges and universities, The Mirror reported. "It's an added control mechanism that we make sure we are actually spending as much money as we possibly can in classrooms as opposed to in administration positions," the governor said. Higher education officials are opposing the idea, saying that it would cause needless delays.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Many Australian academics worry that the availability of online tools is encouraging more students to skip class, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The article cites professors who talk about lots of empty chairs in their classes -- and there are surveys to back up their impressions. One survey found that 19 percent of students spend more than 20 hours on campus each week, down from 32 percent in 1994.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Dustin Morrow of Temple University explains the manipulation of time, through the art of film editing. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Research published Sunday in the journal BMC Public Health finds that higher levels of education are correlated with lower blood pressure and lower incidence of other factors -- such as smoking and weight gain -- associated with health problems.

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