A study being released today by the American Enterprise Institute found that, in a sample of parents asked to choose between two public colleges on the basis of their own knowledge and accurate information provided about graduation rates, the parents did care about graduation rates. Providing information about graduation rates increased by 15 percentage points the chance that the parents would prefer the institution with better rates, the study found. The significance of the finding, the report says, is that one way to help more Americans earn degrees is to encourage the enrollment of more students at institutions with better graduation rates than others.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Seton Hall University on Tuesday named A. Gabriel Esteban, provost and interim president, to the position of president. Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic University, originally tried to select a priest as its president, and re-opened its search last year to include lay candidates after pressure from faculty members who were not happy with the original finalists. Esteban, who is Catholic, told The Star-Ledger that he expected no change in the university's Catholic mission as a result of his appointment.
The Alliance Defense Fund on Tuesday charged Vanderbilt University Medical Center with violating a law that prevents federally funds from going to institutions that discriminate against applicants who do not want to assist in abortions. The dispute stems from Vanderbilt's Nurse Residency Program in the Women’s Health Track application (pdf), which says nurses “will be expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy.” It continues: “If you feel you cannot provide care to women during this type of event, we encourage you to apply to a different track of the Nurse Residency Program to explore opportunities that may best fit your skills and career goals.”
In a statement released this morning, Vanderbilt University Medical Center North’s director of communications John Howser said that the allegations “have arisen due to a misunderstanding.” In a separate e-mail, he clarified the intention of the application: “The applicant must acknowledge … that he or she understands they may be asked to care for these patients at some point during their care. However, this DOES NOT mean the applicant will be required to participate in performing terminations as a requirement for training, but may be called upon to provide assistance at some point in the continuum of care.” Howser says that as of now, Vanderbilt University Medical Center cannot comment on whether it will change the language of the Nurse Residency application. Matt Bowman, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, responded, "Their description of the letter contradicts the letter itself. They're denying."
The subscription-based research database JSTOR, which contains backlogs of scholarly articles going back centuries, has announced plans to begin adding full-length books to its catalog. Scholars using JSTOR’s recently revamped search interface will be able to access relevant book content from certain university presses with whom the organization has partnered -- a list that currently includes the Princeton University Press, the University of Chicago Press, the University of Minnesota Press, and the University of North Carolina Press. Ithaka, JSTOR’s parent organization, has advocated for more collaboration among university presses in the digital age; Ithaka researchers foreshadowed this week’s move in a 2007 report suggesting that making book content available through searchable online repositories could help ensure that long-form scholarly content finds a way to customers. The JSTOR announcement comes just days after the Oxford University Press unveiled its own plan to expand its existing repository for long-form content, Oxford Scholarship Online, to include content from other university presses.
A new study in the Journal of Personality finds that college students crave boosts in self-esteem -- such as receiving praise or a good grade -- above all other activities. Students ranked such ego boosting as more pleasing than having sex, eating favorite foods, drinking alcohol or seeing a best friend.
Board members at Montreal's Concordia University, after two weeks of silence, acknowledged Monday that they had forced out their second president in three years, saying that Judith Woodsworth did not fit with the university's ambitious plans, the National Post reported. Concordia announced in late December that Woodsworth was leaving for personal reasons, but were forced to concede -- after she went public with charges that she had been forced out -- that they had paid her $700,000 to leave. Woodsworth, president since 2008, replaced Claude Lajeunesse, who also had a run-in with the Board of Governors, the Post reported.
Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in the shootings of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday, withdrew from Pima Community College in October, after the college had suspended him. A statement from the college said that he was suspended after five contacts with college police officers and after the college discovered a YouTube video, made on a Pima campus, in which Loughner claimed that the college was an illegal organization under the U.S. Constitution.
A student died in a track and field tryout at North Carolina A&T University, with his sickle cell trait blamed in the death, two days after a university official discouraged athletic officials from testing students for the trait until they made teams, The News & Record reported. Roland Lovelace, the chief athletic trainer, sent an e-mail to coaches saying that the tests cost too much to conduct on those just trying out. “Please do not send your student athletes to get a sickle cell test if they are participating in tryouts,” Lovelace wrote in an e-mail. “Please make sure they are actually on the team before this test is done. The reason for this is that the student health center is charging the athletic department for this test to be done.” Following criticism over athlete deaths linked to sickle cell, the National Collegiate Athletic Association required the test of athletes and those trying out, unless they sign a waiver, which the dead student did not do.