Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 23, 2014

Some students at Suffolk University are criticizing the selection of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, as commencement speaker, The Boston Globe reported. The students object to Foxman's refusal to back a push in Congress to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide. Others say he has defended the ethnic profiling of Muslims. Foxman could not be reached for comment. The university released a statement that said that “Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition.... It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”

April 23, 2014

American University officials are investigating a unrecognized campus "brotherhood" that has become the subject of debate because of leaked emails from members that appear to show them joking about raping or sexually assaulting women, The Washington Post reported. Cornelius M. Kerwin, president of the university, sent a message to the campus saying that the emails “not only conflict with our values and standards, but also may represent breaches of our student conduct code and of the law.” The website Jezebel published many of the emails.

April 23, 2014

Community college students who earn an associate degree before transferring to a four-year institution are more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their peers who transfer without one, according to new research from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. After controlling for background characteristics, the study found that transfer students with associate degrees were 49 percent more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within four years, and 22 percent more likely to earn one within six years.

April 23, 2014

A month after The Boston Globe reported on bullying allegations against Kelly Greenberg, the head women's basketball coach, she is resigning. The university conducted a review of the allegations, failing to confirm some of them, but still finding problems. At least four players quit the team in the last year, the university said. BU released a statement from Todd Klipp, senior vice president and senior counsel, in which he said that “a compelling case was made, based on interviews with the team as a whole, that the manner in which Coach Greenberg interacted with many of her players was incompatible with the expectations and standards for university employees, including our coaches.” Klipp added that “when we shared these conclusions with Coach Greenberg, she determined that it would not be possible for her to continue coaching at Boston University.”

The university statement also included this comment from Greenberg: “I do not agree with some of the findings of the review panel regarding my coaching style, which was intended to produce well-rounded athletes and a winning team. However, given all that has transpired, I do not believe that it will be possible for me to continue as an effective coach at Boston University.”

April 23, 2014

Mesa, Ariz., attracted considerable attention in academic circles by recruiting established colleges from the East and Midwest to set up branches there. On Tuesday, Westminster College, in Missouri, announced that it is shutting down its operations after only one academic year. "Demand did not meet the student numbers necessary to sustain Mesa operations as quickly as we had anticipated, and it is not financially prudent for our college to proceed," said a statement from Westminster. The college said it would try to help students find new ways to continue their educations.

April 23, 2014

Faculty and student groups are criticizing the leadership of Debra Townsley, president of William Peace University, The News & Observer reported. A letter sent by faculty members to the board cited problems such as "staff turnover, dropping graduation rates, unsecured student records and university buildings with malfunctioning heat, asbestos problems and infestations of poisonous spiders." The letter said: “Peace has become an institution driven by mediocrity, suspicion, and fear, a university desperate for tuition dollars but entirely unwilling to provide students with the support and encouragement they need to complete their degrees." And students who circulated a petition criticizing Townsley now say they are facing retaliatory disciplinary proceedings.

Townsley defended her record, noting that William Peace, like many small colleges, is undergoing change and that such transitions are difficult. Townsley led a controversial shift under which the former women's college started to admit men.

 

 

April 22, 2014

In 2012 the proportion of American adults who held a college degree crept up 0.7 percentage points, to 39.4 percent, according to the Lumina Foundation's fifth annual progress report on the national college completion agenda. The small jump was the largest of the last five years, the foundation said today, and the rate of increase is accelerating.

Lumina also released data on racial and ethnic achievement gaps. While the college-going rates for blacks and Hispanics are increasing, the report found that degree attainment levels for both groups lag far behind those of whites and Asians. For example, only 20 percent of Hispanics adults hold a degree compared to 44 percent of whites.

April 22, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Joanne Dickson of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool, discusses her survey on the personal goals of people with depression and people who have never suffered from the mood disorder. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 22, 2014

A new poll by Gallup has found that paying for college or paying student loans is the top financial problem for adults who are 18-29 years old, with 21 percent citing the issue. That issue beats out lack of money/low wages (15 percent) and housing costs (14 percent). Paying for college or students was also the top issue cited by those 30 to 49 years old, but the percentage citing the issue was smaller (14 percent).

April 22, 2014

A new study in Education Next argues that the primary impact of the "10 percent" plan in Texas -- under which those in the top 10 percent of high school graduating classes are assured admission to the public university of their choice in Texas -- has been more on where students enroll, not whether they enroll. The study looks at students in a large urban district, comparing those who just made it into the top 10 percent and those who didn't. The student found those in the top 10 percent are much more likely than the other group to enroll in a flagship university, but they do so at the expense of enrolling at private colleges, and were likely headed to college either way.

 

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