Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 1, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Thalia Wheatley, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College, scientifically deconstructs the way humans use figurative language to convey abstract ideas. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 1, 2014

The hiring of "star" professors -- defined by their research output -- results in improvement in the research productivity of the departments they join, according a study published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, The study (available to subscribers; abstract available here), by scholars at the University of Toronto, Georgia Institute of Technology, and National University of Ireland, Galway, finds that the recruitment of research stars does nothing to lift the productivity of those already in the department (and actually leads to reduced productivity of some of them). But the productivity of researchers who join the department after a star joins increases significantly -- for scholars who work in related and unrelated fields alike. The study finds that the effects are most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions.

 

March 31, 2014

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown called off all indoor social events over the weekend and closed cafeteria service because of an apparent outbreak of a norovirus, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. Prepackaged meals are being provided to students. Student symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

March 31, 2014

A new study by College Board researchers and published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis finds that Maine saw an increase in college-going rates after requiring all high school students to take the SAT.  Statewide, the requirement was linked in the study to a 2-3 percentage point increase in the college-going rate of those graduating from Maine high schools. Of those who based on various patters otherwise were found unlikely to have taken the SAT, about 10 percent who would not have gone to four-year institutions did so.

ACT has reported similar findings in Colorado and Illinois, following statewide use of the ACT.

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a critic of the College Board, said via email that even if the results of the Maine experiment are positive, that doesn't mean that the test is a good thing. "An unanswered question is how much of the apparent increase in college going (a good thing) is attributable to taking the test and how much results from the process of thinking about higher education, signing up for the exam (especially filling out the Student Descriptive Questionnaire which provides tons of academic and demographics data admissions offices use for recruitment), getting mail from schools, etc.," he said.

 

March 31, 2014

Police at Columbus State University, in Georgia, shot and killed a man they said was loading a gun near student apartments. The man did not have any connection to the university.

March 31, 2014

Bay Path College, a private women's college in Longmeadow, Mass., last week drew criticism for a mailer that advertised a new online degree program for adult learners with the headline "If you can shop online, you can learn online." The advertisement also showed a magazine-like spread of items such as a cap and gown, a diploma and a pair of high heels featuring legends such as "Take a step up. Or two." (heels); "College degrees. Tailored around you." (gown); and "Hold your head up. High." (gown). The news was first reported by Jezebel.

March 31, 2014

This is the time of year that colleges and universities release their acceptance rates, and those of Ivy League universities get lower each year, prompting much discussion and angst. Wonkblog at The Washington Post, however, argues that there are long odds for lots of things that people want, and that elite college admissions aren't quite so unique in American society. For example, while only 8.9 percent of all applicants were admitted to Ivy League institutions, only 2.6 percent of those who applied to work at Walmart's new Washington store were hired. And Google hires one half of one percent of its applicants.

The blog's analysis: "Parents and students - particularly those from a certain socio-economic background -- tend to obsess a lot over the college admissions process. The danger, of course, is that this single-minded focus on preparing kids for college -- the extra-curriculars, test prep, admissions coaching, and the like -- is coming at the expense of prepping them for the job market hurdles that come after."

 

March 31, 2014

The online education company 2U's stock prices rose 7.54 percent after its first day of trading on Friday. The company had priced its initial public offering at $13 a share, and ended the day at $13.98. CEO Chip Paucek rang the opening bell to signal the start of trading Friday morning.

March 31, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Craig Vierra, professor and assistant chair of the University of the Pacific's College of Biological Sciences, discusses his work on a way to replicate spider silk. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

March 31, 2014

A Michigan Senate subcommittee has proposed taking $500,000 away from Michigan State University's budget if it continues to run a training program for unions, The Lansing State Journal reported. Language in the budget bill would punish universities that if they “participate in any instructional activity that encourages or discourages union organizing of employees.” A number of public universities have such programs, and supporters note that most universities offer extensive programming for business leaders on a range of topics, including labor relations. The blog of the American Association of University Professors calls the budget provision a "major attack on academic freedom in Michigan."

 

 

Pages

Back to Top