Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Bryant University has announced that it will no longer require the SAT or ACT for admission. The shift will start as a four-year pilot, in which applicants who do not wish to submit test scores will instead provide two or three short answer questions. "As an institution committed to developing the student as a whole, this was a natural progression in our admission process as it allows students more opportunities to demonstrate their strengths and talents," said a statement from the university. "While we recognize that standardized tests accurately measure aptitude for many students, there are many still whose talents are not measured by such tests."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Donna Reittinger of the College of Saint Rose explains how the language we use about death can induce needless stress. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act Tuesday morning, nearly 10 years after the proposal -- which would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by pursuing a college degree or joining the military -- was first introduced. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of Defense Under Secretary Clifford Stanley in endorsing the act before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stanley will be talking about the military benefits of passing the act.

In a telephone news conference with reporters on Monday, Duncan acknowledged that the main purpose of the hearing -- which has failed numerous times and is widely seen as unlikely to pass until Congress takes up broader immigration legislation -- is to raise awareness. He emphasized the need to “educate Americans” on the benefits of bringing some undocumented immigrants into the work force. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced in every Congressional session since its first introduction in 2001 -- sometimes as a standalone bill, and sometimes as a part of other legislation -- and failed each time. It was re-introduced by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in May.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Rutgers University has spent more than $115 million in university funds and student fees on athletics since 2006, more than any other public university, according to an analysis by USA Today. The 2009-10 total was $26.9 million, also in first place, followed by the University of Connecticut ($14.6 million), the University of South Florida ($14.2 million), the University of Maryland at College Park ($13.7 million), and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville ($13.6 million). The article notes that the spending at Rutgers has come during a period that the university has said that money is so tight that it must skip raises negotiated with employee unions.

Rutgers declines to have its senior executives talk to USA Today and instead issued a statement: "Requests for funding for the Rutgers athletics department, whether through student fees or other institutional resources, are reviewed annually by the university's administration. These requests, along with those from other units throughout the institution, are considered in the development of a comprehensive working budget for the university, traditionally adopted in July by the Board of Governors.… Members of the Rutgers community are invited to comment on budgetary matters at a number of meetings and public forums throughout the year, including an annual open hearing on tuition and fees, usually held in April."

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

An article in The Chicago Tribune examines the issues associated with the awarding of a merit scholarship -- a taxpayer-funded full ride for four years -- to the granddaughter of a public university president. There are no allegations that Maddie Poshard is anything but a top student, or that Glenn Poshard, her grandfather and the president of Southern Illinois University, interfered in the process. But several of those quoted suggest that, strictly from a perception perspective, others would have discouraged her from applying.

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Leading academics are threatening to resign from peer review panels of Britain's Arts and Humanities Research Council unless it removes references to the "Big Society" from its agenda, Times Higher Education reported. The Big Society is a policy term coined by the governing Conservative Party to reflect its goals of encouraging local decision-making (as opposed to national), voluntarism and other values. Critics of the Big Society say it is window dressing for a policy of ignoring many problems, and critics of its mention in the humanities council's agenda say that it effectively favors grant proposals consistent with the Conservative philosophy.

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

President Obama on Friday announced a series of efforts involving research and education to promote advanced manufacturing. In one program, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture will create a $70 million fund to support research on next generation robots. In another program, Carnegie Mellon University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley and University of Michigan will create "a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation." The universities will also work with businesses and government agencies "to define research opportunities and build a collaborative roadmap for identify key technology priorities."

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Two students at Syracuse University are facing disciplinary charges after a video of them shouting racist slurs was posted to YouTube, The Post-Standard reported. The incident took place after the two students called up the stairs at an apartment complex for students to hang out with them. When no one responded, they started shouting slurs. One student filmed the taunts. He has since taken the video down from YouTube, at the request of one of the students, who apologized.

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Preppies (of the male variety) can now buy their blazers and their college polo shirts in one shopping trip. Brooks Brothers has announced that, for the first time in its nearly 200-year history, it will sell college apparel, Bloomberg reported. Clothing will be available only from 15 colleges, and this won't be the place to buy college logo boxers. Only sweaters, dress and polo shirts and ties will be sold. "The key for us is re-establishing our connection with what we call the college community -- students, faculty and alumni," Karl Haller, vice president of strategy and business development for Brooks Brothers told Bloomberg. "We have a pretty well-educated customer and there’s a built-in opportunity with alumni who are already our customer base." The 15 colleges: Boston College; the U.S. Naval Academy, Auburn, Cornell, Havard, New York, Ohio State, Princeton, Stanford, and Vanderbilt Universities and the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame and Virginia.

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 3:00am

The New York Legislature has approved a plan to allow each campus of the City University of New York and the State University of New York to raise tuition by $300 a year for five years. The plan was a priority of Governor Andrew Cuomo and university leaders. The pattern in New York State has been for some years without tuition increases, followed by other years with large increases. Supporters of the plan said it would make it easier for both the universities and families to plan.

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