Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 15, 2013

New York City officials on Wednesday issued a report card evaluating the effectiveness of teacher education programs that educate the teachers in the city's public schools. The New York Times reported that some of the results were not favorable to the most prestigious programs. For instance, one in five graduates of Columbia University and New York University received low grades for improving student test scores. But the figure was 1 in 10 for City College of the City University of New York. Evaluating teachers (or their alma maters) in this way is controversial, but city officials said it was important to share the data and raise questions about results.

 

August 15, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Robert Scherrer of Vanderbilt University lays out a hypothesis that could explain dark matters elusive nature. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 15, 2013

Chapman University on Wednesday announced a $55 million gift for its law school. The gift is believed to be the second largest ever for a law school.

 

August 15, 2013

Public colleges and universities saw their revenue growth fall by more than half and their median expenses grow at almost double the rate of inflation in 2012, Moody's Investors Service said in a report Wednesday. The analysis, which examined median financial data, showed that revenues for public institutions grew by 1.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent in 2011, and that expenses grew at 3.3 percent, a combination that the ratings agency called "unsustainable." "Future expense reductions will likely need to be more significant and include re-evaluation of existing business models to maintain long-term financial health," a Moody's analyst said in the report.

A second report from the service, about median financial data for private colleges and universities, found a slightly more positive picture, as operating margins remained in the 4-5 percent range. "Governing boards and management teams continue to exhibit fiscal stewardship of private colleges and universities by holding median operating margins relatively constant over the last five years even as revenue declined," a Moody's official said.

August 14, 2013

The Central Intelligence Agency has for years denied that it had a file on Noam Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor known both for his contributions to the field of linguistics and (perhaps of more interest to the CIA) his criticism of the U.S. government across many administrations. Now, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, documents have confirmed that the CIA did have a file on Chomsky, and that it may have been scrubbed. The details are in Foreign Policy.

 

August 14, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, William Marling of Case Western Reserve University explains the initial and continuing popularity of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 14, 2013

The rector (or board chair) of the College of William and Mary has sent a letter to leaders of public colleges and universities in Virginia warning that the state's lack of gay marriage has created "a substantial incentive for our gay and lesbian faculty and staff to leave the Commonwealth’s public universities and colleges," The Washington Post reported. Jeff Trammell sent the letter after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling that paved the way for gay couples in states that recognize single-sex marriage to have the full federal tax advantages of marriage that heterosexual couples receive. Trammell noted that some state officials have been hostile even to awarding partner benefits to gay employees.

August 14, 2013

Growing consumer reluctance to pay rising tuition rates are threatening to drive up private colleges' tuition discount rates, limit net tuition revenue, and lower matriculation rates and enrollments in ways that could hurt their financial ratings, Standard & Poor's said in a report issued Tuesday. The report, which like most of S&P's reports is available only to subscribers, says that the pressure on institutions will come particularly in the most competitive markets; data in the report find tuition discount rates rising fastest in the Northeast (from 31 to 34 percent since 2008), but net tuition levels and matriculation rates fell most sharply in the West.

August 14, 2013

Judges are speaking out against two law professors -- once a couple -- whose divorce and post-divorce litigation has taken up court time for the last 17 years, USA Today reported. The parties are Christo Lassiter, a law professor at the University of Cincinnati, and his former wife, Sharlene Boltz, a law professor at Northern Kentucky University. Judges have criticized both for their approach to the divorce, for allegedly breaking court rules and for using up court time. In a hearing last month, one Ohio judge said, "I am really shocked, because when I was in law school my professors were outstanding. They never would have told me that behaving the way you all have, both of you, over the past 20 years, is acceptable behavior."

August 14, 2013

Three private colleges are speaking out against a plan by the University of Massachusetts to start a satellite campus in Springfield, The Republican reported. The university says that it will be better able to meet education needs in the area. "UMass officials as well as others outside of the system who are proponents of the center are fully aware of our belief that any duplication of programs already existing in the local private colleges, as well as at the strong public community college already right within the city (and another in nearby Holyoke), results in unnecessary and costly replication of what is already being successfully offered. We continue to object to any duplication of effort that might flood an already mature market in the areas where we have programs," says the statement, from American International College, Springfield College and Western New England University.

 

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