Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The Record has exposed more cases of New Jersey colleges reporting incomplete information on SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report to inflate rankings. Ramapo College has been excluding about 22 percent of its new students (generally the most disadvantaged students) when reporting average SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report. As a result, the SAT average reported by Ramapo was more than 50 points higher than it should have been. New Jersey City University has also been inflating its SAT scores, the Record reported. Ramapo, shortly after the article was published Friday, said it would start reporting the averages for all students. New Jersey City University officials said that they were unaware of the practice.

 

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

What's so funny about a 68-year-old classics and religious studies professor -- decked out in a blue flannel shirt, navy dress pants pulled up to a generous height and sporty black shoes -- cruising around campus on a skateboard? Tom Winter still isn't sure, but the University of Nebraska at Lincoln instructor is playing along now that a photo of him riding an Arbor Pocket Rocket skateboard has gone viral, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. The picture, apparently taken by a Nebraska student, was the most-viewed item on Reddit.com one day last week and has been the subject of dozens of mock captions on Imgur.com.

Winter, who rides his bike to work every day, opts for a skateboard when he moves around campus. "I'm 19, but my joints are all of 68 years old," he told the Journal Star. "Sometimes, walking is simply unpleasant."

Imgur caption writers wrote "He has a Ph.D. in epicness" and "Tony Hawk in his senior years." Others were less kind: "Suddenly, broken hip," reads one comment. Sights of Winter weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic as his gray hair and decorative ties flap in the wind have long made him a cult celebrity in Lincoln. But the former roller skating champion who has spent more than 40 years on the Nebraska faculty seems to be taking his newfound global fame in stride.

"It's a pretty good photo," he told the Lincoln newspaper.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Jorge Gilbert, who formerly taught South American history and politics at Evergreen State College, was fined nearly $120,000 last year by the Washington State Executive Ethics Board for failing to account for $50,000 in student payments he received from student for a study abroad program in Chile. With that debt looming, the state attorney general's office reported last week that Gilbert has disappeared, The Olympian reported.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Student journalists might not be as funny as they think. The latest mea culpa, from the University of Missouri at Columbia's campus newspaper editor, centers around the retitling of The Maneater's April Fool's edition as The Carpeteater.

In a lengthy statement released Friday, Editor Abby Spudich explains that she "truly did not know that 'carpet eater' is a derogatory term used for a lesbian." She also apologized for other April Fool's jokes that fell on deaf ears, including a series of vulgar references to women. The paper won't publish an April Fool's edition next year, Spudich wrote. "Our April Fool’s issue serves as a cautionary warning about the consequences of ignorance," she writes, "but I hope the actions we will take in the near future will serve as an example of how to take steps forward to promote an inclusive campus for all."

If only there had been a cautionary tale available a couple weeks ago. It's been a tough month for America's student press, as an April Fool's edition at Boston University that made light of rape led to an editor's resignation.

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Student Veterans of America on Thursday announced that it had revoked chapter memberships at 40 for-profit colleges for violating the group's policies and "using the SVA brand to legitimize their programs." The group did not name the 40 institutions. (The Associated Press reported that the association has 417 campus chapters.)

Chapters must be run by students, according to the association's rules, but a review turned up for-profits that had administrators, rather than students, listed as primary contacts at campus chapters. Michael Dakduk, the group's executive director, said in addition to that violation, some colleges lost their membership because they used primary institutional websites or pages devoted to recruiting military students as chapter websites, another no-no under association policies. "Chapter websites are organization websites devoted the group and not meant to be a promotion of the university," he said in an e-mail.

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The Florida Atlantic University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine angered many at the institution by placing fake eviction notices (complete with a county seal, but also a notice that they were not real) on several hundred dormitory rooms. Several student groups said that it was unfair to use people's room doors as a political platform without the permission of those who live there. The student group did not respond to questions, but has told local reporters that the eviction notices were designed to draw attention to the way Israel treats Palestinians. Pro-Israel groups meanwhile said that the student group was distorting Israeli policy.

Charles L. Brown, senior vice president for student affairs at the university, issued a statement that said that "the distribution of printed material on university property is subject to FAU policy and regulation. These policies require that printed material be distributed only at reasonable times and places and in reasonable manners. These policies are designed to ensure that the manner in which material is distributed is consistent with the educational mission of the University, its uninterrupted orderly operation, the safety of the university community, and the protection of university property and that of its students, faculty and staff. The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed."

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

While Mitt Romney appears to have a commanding lead in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum had been besting him in the category of higher ed-bashing. Perhaps hoping to go after Santorum fans, Romney yesterday attacked President Obama for ... having spent time at Harvard University. One possible problem is that Romney has two Harvard degrees himself (law and business) while Obama has only one (law).

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut explains the biochemistry of highly targeted chemotherapy drugs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Although negotiated rule-making on teacher preparation programs isn't yet complete, the Education Department plans to announce another round soon on distance education fraud. Department officials said at negotiations Thursday that plans for more rule-making are underway, and higher education lobbyists said it will focus on financial aid fraud rings. The rings  use "straw students" who enroll with no intention of attending classes, usually in online courses at open-access institutions. They then apply for federal aid and split the proceeds. The fraud rings have become a growing problem as online education has boomed, but some worry that a crackdown could endanger legitimate students' access to federal aid.

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 4:24am

The board of Santa Monica College has scheduled an emergency board meeting for today to consider the fate of the college's controversial two-tiered tuition plan, The Los Angeles Times reported. The plan would charge more for some high-demand courses, and has set off student protests and concern from educators nationwide. The chancellor of the California community college system this week asked Santa Monica to hold off on the plan.

 

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