Higher Education Quick Takes
Last month's corrections to the National Research Council's controversial rankings of doctoral programs turned out not to fix all the errors. As early as today, the NRC will be announcing additional corrections. Data on time-to-degree and completion rates for programs in the history of art, architecture and archaeology were incorrect in the "corrected" version of the database posted last month. A spokeswoman said that the data for 57 programs have been changed as a result of discovering the error. In another correction, data for a number of Harvard University programs on "tenured faculty as a percentage of total faculty" were incorrect and are being fixed.
The tornado devastation that hit Tuscaloosa last week largely ravaged non-campus areas of the Alabama college town, but it has resulted in the deaths of two students -- one from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and one from Stillman College. The campuses in town are reopening some functions today, but also have called off or delayed final exams and commencement ceremonies, given the destruction in the area. Here are links to the updates from Tuscaloosa colleges:
The impact is also being felt beyond Tuscaloosa. The University of Alabama at Huntsville, for example, is closed until Wednesday, and final exams have been suspended, because of continuing power outages.
Sunday was the official date for college applicants to let institutions that have admitted them know whether they will enroll, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling is urging institutions to be flexible in dealing with students and institutions from areas that have been hit by the natural disasters in the last week.
Ruth J. Simmons, Brown University's president, announced Friday that its board will not vote to eliminate four athletic teams later this month, and that the squads are safe for at least another year. A Brown committee, convened at Simmons’ behest, made a recommendation two weeks ago that the university eliminate the men's and women's fencing, wrestling, and women's skiing teams due to budget constraints. Since then, athletes and coaches have criticized the recommendation, arguing that a decision on the fate of their teams was being rushed through the governance process. Simmons wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff, “While delaying the decision on the outcome for these teams is not ideal, I am persuaded that the committee’s [new] recommendation to allow students to complete the semester’s work without the burden or stress of addressing this issue is sound and compassionate.” Simmons wrote that she “will return to this matter in the fall."
Ohio University on Saturday announced a $105 million grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. The funds will be used to expand the class size of Ohio University's osteopathic medical college, and to create a satellite campus for the college in central Ohio.
The Massachusetts Community College Council's Delegate Assembly voted 74 to 26 on Saturday in favor of granting part-time members a full vote in electing chapter and statewide leaders. Support for a measure to amend the MCCC's bylaws has increased in recent years and this year crossed the two-thirds majority required for adoption. Previously, each adjunct was granted one-quarter of a vote in elections of leaders.
Queen's University in Canada is ending a boycott of the international rankings of Times Higher Education, citing last year's change in methodology by the publication, and the impact of staying out of those and other international rankings. A statement from Queen's noted that appearing in international rankings is key to attracting students from China and India. The statement quoted Chris Conway, director of institutional research and planning, as saying that “Queen’s is still concerned because the rankings focus mainly on research volume and intensity, and although Queen’s is one of Canada’s top research universities, our quality undergraduate student experience and out-of-classroom experience are not fully captured."
The artist Jon McNaughton has pulled his prints from the bookstore at Brigham Young University, saying that it was too "liberal" after it refused to continue displaying one of his works called "One Nation Under God," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The painting features Jesus holding the U.S. Constitution, various presidential heroes to the artist, and a corner depicting people whom the artist sees as hurting the country: a Supreme Court justice, a politician, a Hollywood producer, a professor, a "liberal news reporter." The bookstore says it removed the painting because it was seen as political, not religious.
The Modern Language Association has announced the creation of an office of scholarly communication, which will expand the association's publications program and also explore new forms of scholarly communication. The office will be led by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who is currently professor of media studies at Pomona College, and a co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons. Her next book is Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, forthcoming from New York University Press this fall.
More than one million community college students in 31 states do not have access to federal student loans because their institutions choose not to offer them, according to a new report by the Project on Student Debt. (The report is a followup to a 2008 study by the group, and finds modest changes since then.) Many community college administrators fear that participation in the federal loan program would put their students at risk of losing federal financial aid if too many students at the institutions do not repay their loans. The report notes that there are “persistent racial and ethnic disparities,” with nearly one in five Native American students and one in six African-American students attending community colleges that do not participate in the federal loan program. In addition, the report notes that California “now has the largest number of community college students -- about 214,000 -- without access to federal loans.”