Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate of South Carolina State University last week voted no confidence in President George Cooper, The Post and Courier reported. Faculty leaders cited significant financial problems, a lack of commitment to principles of shared governance and the absence of a vision for the future of the university. Cooper's lawyer told the newspaper that "Dr. Cooper takes the position that the Faculty Senate does not reflect the full faculty at South Carolina State University."

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

A University of Rochester undergraduate was stabbed fatally at a fraternity party and another student has been charged in the murder, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Authorities said that the two students had a disagreement that predated the party. Officials at California State University at Northridge, meanwhile, think they may have averted a tragedy with the arrest of a student found to have a shotgun and bomb-making materials in his dormitory room, Reuters reported. In another incident that could have been a tragedy, someone with a gun fired five shots into a glass door of a dormitory at Baker University, in Kansas, early Sunday morning, but students were not injured, The Kansas City Star reported. Authorities are investigating whether the former boyfriend of a resident of the dormitory is responsible.

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Nicolaus Ramos paid his tuition bill at the University of Colorado at Boulder in an unusual way -- with more than $14,000 in one-dollar bills, The Sacramento Bee reported. The idea behind this nearly 30-pound payment was to draw attention to the rising cost of higher education.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Harold Koh, legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, has written a letter to a number of academic and civil liberties groups pledging that federal officials will make every effort not to apply ideological tests in deciding which foreign scholars can have visas for academic trips to the United States. "In evaluating the reasons for the proposed travel, the department will give significant and sympathetic weight to the fact that the primary purpose of the visa applicant's travel will be to assume a university teaching post, to fulfill teaching engagements, to attend academic conferences, or for similar expressive or educational activities," the letter says. The American Association of University Professors and other groups that have been pushing for such assurances praised the letter.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

A George Mason University policy barring the carrying of guns in campus facilities and at campus events does not violate the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment or the Virginia Constitution, the state's Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by a state resident who uses the suburban Washington university's library, among other facilities, and it upheld a state judge's earlier decision. "The regulation does not impose a total ban of weapons on campus," the Supreme Court said. "Rather, the regulation is tailored, restricting weapons only in those places where people congregate and are most vulnerable -- inside campus buildings and at campus events. Individuals may still carry or possess weapons on the open grounds of GMU, and in other places on campus not enumerated in the regulation. We hold that GMU is a sensitive place and that [the policy] is constitutional."

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In a statement published in this week's issue of Science magazine, a group of biologists call on universities to embrace a set of policies that will encourage faculty members to pay as much attention to their teaching as to their research activities. The essay (for which a subscription is required to read the entire text), by scholars at 11 major universities, says that "[t]o establish an academic culture that encourages science faculty to be equally committed to their teaching and research missions, universities must more broadly and effectively recognize, reward, and support the efforts of researchers who are also excellent and dedicated teachers." It urges the adoption of a set of policies and practices -- including making more real the purported emphasis on teaching in tenure reviews, and increasing professors' training in the science of teaching and learning -- that could help change that picture.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The governing board of University College of the North, a Canadian institution committed to aboriginal students and cultures, decided not to renew the president's contract because she sided with academics concerned about a mandatory two-day course "traditions and change" course and because she hired two non-aboriginal senior administrators, The Winnipeg Free Press reported. Critics have said that the course is about promoting "white guilt," the newspaper reported, but the board has made it a requirement for all students and staff members. Denise Henning, the president, has since accepted as president of Northwest Community College, in British Columbia.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

It's that time of year. The most competitive private colleges in admissions typically announce their application totals and typically set records. Stanford University is up 7 percent; Duke University is up 10 percent; Dartmouth College is up 16 percent.

While these and similar institutions are dealing with a flurry of applications, a literal blizzard in the Southeastern United States is leading some institutions to extend application deadlines that the winter weather may have made difficult to meet. Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia are all extending deadlines, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Educators have long worried about students who "choke" on key exams. A University of Chicago study, published this week in Science, finds that if such students are given the opportunity to write about the worries 10 minutes before the test, their anxiety is reduced and their performance on the test improves substantially.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

SAN ANTONIO — The National Collegiate Athletic Association released Thursday at its convention the results of its second comprehensive survey of athletes, revealing their opinions about myriad academic and athletic issues. The Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College (or GOALS) study noted, among other findings, that the opportunity to play a certain sport was the most-reported reason for choosing a specific institution. Academics was second, followed closely by the institution’s proximity to home. Most athletes felt that their “pre-college expectations regarding academics and time demands were generally accurate” but that their “perceptions of the athletics and social experience in college were less accurate.”

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