Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 15, 2012

President Obama plans to speak at Yangon University Monday, during a trip to Myanmar. The New York Times reported that the visit is leading to a major effort to repair the facilities at the university, which suffered damage and disrepair (not to mention repression) during years of military rule. While the university is being spruced up, the article suggested that there is only so much that can be done in a few days, and that Obama will see "something of a Potemkin campus."

 

November 15, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Thomas Emerson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains a microscopic discovery that reveals big things about culture and ritual at one of North America’s largest pre-Columbian settlements. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 15, 2012

In a conference call with his major donors on Wednesday, Governor Mitt Romney attributed his presidential campaign loss in part to President Obama's "gifts" to various voting groups, including students, The New York Times reported. Romney cited the administration's positions on student loans and some provisions in the health care legislation. "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said. "Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

November 14, 2012

Just about every November features controversies in which photographs surface on Facebook or other social media sites featuring students in blackface Halloween costumes. This week, however, Duke University is apologizing for a such a photograph -- showing members of the women's lacrosse team, one in blackface -- that appeared on the university's official athletics site, The News & Observer reported. On Monday, the photograph was removed. A statement from the head coach, Kerstin Kimel, said: "The Duke women’s lacrosse program celebrates Halloween with an annual gathering. This year, some of our costume choices were insensitive and entirely inappropriate. No offense was intended, but that does not matter because we should have realized how these choices would be viewed by those outside of our program."

 

November 14, 2012

North Lake College held a training program last month on how to deal with a shooter if the Texas community college ever faced such a situation. But as WFAA News reported, students weren't told that a drill was going to be taking place, and many faculty members didn't read the e-mail telling them about the drill (and encouraging them to tell students). As a result, many students believed a real shooter was on the loose, and made frantic calls to 911.

November 14, 2012

Ohio State University is planning a huge and highly focused faculty hiring campaign, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Over the next decade, the university plans to add 500 top scholars in three fields: health, energy and the environment, and food production and safety. The fields were chosen as areas where the university already has research strength. When the hiring is done (at which point some existing faculty members will have retired), the university projects that the size of its tenured and tenure-track faculty ranks will be 8-10 percent larger than it is today.

 

November 14, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Walter Piper of Chapman University explains why territorial disputes among loons can become a battle to the death. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 14, 2012

The University of Virginia announced Tuesday several changes to its institutional governance policies made in the wake of the university's tumultuous summer in which members of the institution's governing board forced the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan only to reappoint her two weeks later after significant campus pushback. The changes were noted in a memo to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Colleges Commission on Colleges, which has been reviewing the university's policies since this summer. The changes are:

1) The board must hold a public meeting and a vote of the full board before making changes to a president's employment status. There was no vote about Sullivan's resignation and board members who supported Sullivan were surprised to learn others felt the same way.

2) The board instituted a quarterly presidential evaluation meetings to "review progress on goals and established benchmarks, and to advise the president on current priorities of the board," according to the memo. One of the issues raised this summer was whether there was sufficient agreement between the president and board about the university's direction and whether Sullivan was aware of board members' concerns.

3) The rector (the board chair) will, in consultation with the president, appoint one non-voting faculty member to each standing committee that doesn't have faculty representation. The university's faculty members, who were cut out of much of the resignation and reappointment discussion this summer, have been pushing for a larger role in governance.

November 13, 2012

Morehouse College on Monday announced that its next president would be John S. Wilson Jr., executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Wilson is a Morehouse alumnus who held administrative positions at George Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Obama administration. In that role, he argued that black colleges needed to move beyond a narrative about past oppression and to focus instead on the qualities of the institutions today that would appeal to students, philanthropists and government agencies. Morehouse, the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous leaders of the civil rights movement, has long played a crucial role in educating black men.

November 13, 2012

With the U.S. Supreme Court considering a case on the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, studies continue to appear to shed light on the issues. One released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research (abstract available here) looked at the performance of minority students before and after the University of California system dropped the consideration of race in admissions. Graduation rates of minority students went up, but the study finds that only a small share of that improvement can be attributed to better "matches" between students and the institutions in which they enroll. More important factors included the general increase in selectivity in the system, and an apparent effort by the university campuses -- facing declines in admission of minority students -- to do more to make sure those who were admitted were retained and prepared for graduation.

Pages

Back to Top