Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 31, 2014

The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education on Thursday released model legislation on how states can best provide college scholarships to recruit highly talented students to become teachers in high-need public schools.

January 31, 2014

Franklin Pierce University has announced that it will stop offering degrees in American studies, theater and dance, graphic communications, fine arts, math and arts management, The Sentinel reported. A statement from the university said that the changes would allow the university to “attract, retain and prepare students for the personal and professional futures that await them."

 

January 31, 2014

Columbia University announced Thursday that its fund-raising campaign -- which started in 2006 and ended at the close of 2013 -- had brought in $6.1 billion. That total is second only to Stanford's $6.2 billion completed campaign. However, Harvard University last year started a $6.5 billion campaign.

 

January 31, 2014

Black student and faculty groups at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities have asked the institution to stop using racial descriptions in crime alerts, CBS Minnesota reported. "[We] unanimously agree that campus safety should be of the [police department's] utmost importance; however, efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted. In addition to causing black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims," said a joint letter from the groups. The letter responded to the the incorrect identification of a student as a suspect in an attempted robbery at the university.

Pamela Wheelock, vice president of university services. responded at a forum this week by saying that while racial profiling is inappropriate, full descriptions of crime suspects -- including race -- are appropriate. “I firmly believe that a well-informed community is an asset to public safety," she said. "I believe that sharing more information in our crime alerts, not less, is most beneficial in terms of public safety, especially when that information is available."

January 31, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Sallie Han of the State University of New York at Oneonta discusses what the items we accumulate during pregnancy say about our culture. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

January 31, 2014

A federal judge has rejected a massive lawsuit against Yeshiva University by victims of sexual abuse at a high school run by the institution, The New York Times reported. The judge did not rule on the claims of the students, who said that university officials ignored complaints of abuse. Rather the judge said that the abuse took place decades ago -- from the 1960s through 1980s -- and that the statute of limitations has passed. The plaintiffs, who have vowed to appeal, argue that the statute of limitations shouldn't have applied because the university covered up the abuse. A statement from the university said that it was “gratified that the federal court recognized the validity of our arguments.” The statement added that "our thoughts and remorse remain with those affected and harmed.”

January 31, 2014

The federal government this week announced the launch of a new online complaint system for college students who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The Education Department and Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are participating in the interagency effort to protect students and Post-9/11 GI Bill investments. The complaint system will be a way for students report negative experiences with colleges and universities. Veterans groups called the announcement a "game changer," according to Stars and Stripes.

January 31, 2014

Swarthmore College plans to expand trainings and consent workshops, finalize its interim sexual assault and harassment policies, and establish more comprehensive and integrative prevention and education programs in accordance with the final report from an independent firm commissioned to review the college’s response to sexual harassment. Swarthmore President Rebecca Chopp shared an interim version of the report in July, less than a week after the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights announced it would investigate a federal complaint against Swarthmore. While Chopp’s request for the review preceded OCR’s announcement, her proactive approach will likely work in Swarthmore’s favor because OCR tends to view action taken before and during an investigation as an indicator that a college is committed to complying with the law. Swarthmore has already hired new staff to work on sexual assault issues and expanded educational programming for incoming students. During the spring and summer, it will continue to refine and improve adjudication processes, data collection and nonalcoholic social options, and will publish an annual report summarizing judicial cases.

January 30, 2014

The U.S. Senate's education committee on Wednesday advanced several of President Obama’s nominees to key roles at federal agencies that work closely with colleges and universities.

The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions approved and sent to the full Senate the Education Department nominations of Ericka M. Miller as assistant secretary for postsecondary education; Ted Mitchell to under secretary of education; James H. Shelton to deputy secretary of education; and James Cole Jr. to general counsel of the department.

If confirmed by the full Senate, the nominations will largely complete out the team that will carry out the administration’s higher education agenda over the next several years. The nominees will fill a number of roles that have been left vacant since an exodus of staffers after the administration’s first term.

The committee also approved Wednesday the president’s nominee to lead the National Science Foundation, France A. Cordova. (The nominations of both Cordova and Cole had previously been approved by the committee before Congress recessed in December, but they had to be re-nominated due to the Senate’s procedural rules.)

 

January 30, 2014

About 600,000 books from the library of the University of Missouri at Columbia -- stored at an off-campus facilities -- have been damaged by mold, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported. The university plans to remove the mold from some of the books, but the high cost of that process (about $3 per book) probably means that all of the books can't be saved.

 

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