Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

A Kaplan University recruiting manual for admissions officials dealing with veterans who might enroll suggests creating “fear, uncertainty, doubt” about competing colleges, according to an investigation by Bloomberg News, which obtained a copy of the manual. The article discusses how a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq was pressured to enroll by telling him that his spot might be lost to another student -- even though the program for which he was being recruited was online and didn't have any capacity limit. The veteran -- who says the university kicked him out when his federal grant didn't materialize and he couldn't afford tuition -- also says he was told that he could trust Kaplan because it is owned by The Washington Post Company.

A spokeswoman for Kaplan said that the university's approach is to help veterans who may be overlooked by others in higher education. Melissa Mack, the spokeswoman, told Bloomberg: “Active-duty military personnel and veterans are often under-served by traditional institutions.... Kaplan has received significant interest from veterans because of our military-friendly practices.”

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Authorities suspect that an Ohio State University law student stole more than 200 books from the law library and sold or tried to sell them online, bringing in more than $10,000, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The student, who has not been identified, has posted online listings to sell more than 1,000 books. He was discovered when a Brazilian lawyer who bought a book reported to Ohio State that her new purchase had a crossed-out Ohio State ink stamp.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Photo: Bernardo Guzman

We can't be sure, but we think this sign spotted by a friend of Inside Higher Ed at the Rally to Restore Sanity may have come from an academic.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Iowa has admitted to violating National Collegiate Athletic Association recruiting rules in part by allowing two basketball recruits to meet Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at a football game, The Des Moines Register reported. Kutcher is considered a representative of the university's athletic interests, so the high school students should not have been introduced to him.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

An investigation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers has found that Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo allowed the first director of a new academic center they jointly sponsored to be ousted unfairly and in violation of principles of academic freedom. The center, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, was jointly created by the universities and the Center for International Governance Innovation, a think tank created by Jim Balsillie, the Blackberry creator and the major financial backer of the academic venture. The CAUT found that Ramesh Thakur was forced out of the directorship of the new international affairs school for objecting to the pressure being placed on it by the corporate think tank CIGI. The two universities were faulted in the report for "a serious lapse of judgment and loss of commitment to institutional autonomy, academic integrity, due process, and natural justice." The two universities issued a statement to The Globe and Mail in which they said that they objected "strenuously" to the faculty group's findings.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Council of Independent Colleges and the Foundation for Independent Higher Education on Friday announced their merger. The two organizations have historically worked closely together, and had been talking for some time about a possible merger. The council has 600 private liberal arts colleges and universities as members and runs a variety of programs to help them with all parts of their missions. The foundation is a network of state fund-raising associations on behalf of private higher education.

Monday, November 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the operations and management of the Alabama A&M University Research Institute, through which the university receives grants from federal agencies, The Huntsville Times reported. The institute has had significant turnover among top officials, and a former janitor was recently named as the institute's chief compliance officer, the article said.

Friday, October 29, 2010 - 3:00am

The post-racial society does exist … on Facebook. This according to researchers at Harvard University and the University of California at Los Angeles, who found that shared racial background is not an important factor for students when deciding whom to connect with on the popular social networking site. The paper, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Sociology, bases its finding not just on whether students extended or accepted friendship requests from students of another race, but whether they were tagging those students in photo albums on Facebook — an act that implies not only a deeper level of virtual connection, but also that the students hung out in real life, too, the researchers say. Although the sample is limited to a single college class at a top-tier university, the researchers say the findings demonstrate that “past research might have exaggerated the role of race in social relationships,” according to a UCLA news release. Based on the rate at which students from prep-school backgrounds tended to connect on Facebook, the authors note that socioeconomic class could be a far more salient factor.

Friday, October 29, 2010 - 3:00am

A new report by Jobs for the Future outlines how the Hidalgo Independent School District, which serves an economically depressed area along the Texas-Mexico border, was able to graduate more than 95 percent of its most recent high school graduating class with college credit. About two-thirds of its graduating seniors earned at least a full semester of college credit. The school district opened the Hidalgo Early College High School in 2005 with help from the University of Texas System and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Unlike many early college high schools that serve less than 400 students, the Hidalgo model serves all of the 900+ high-schoolers in the district. The high school has strong partnerships with South Texas College and Texas State Technical College, so that students can transfer onward to earn a postsecondary credential. John Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Texas High School Project, said of the project, “Hidalgo [Independent School District] shows that obstacles impeding high school and postsecondary success can be overcome. The success of early college high schools is being replicated in districts throughout Texas. We need to create more Hidalgos in our country, more districts where the lessons of early college are spread to all students.”

Friday, October 29, 2010 - 3:00am

The State University of New York at Binghamton said Thursday that it had agreed to pay $1.2 million in a settlement that will lead to the departure of its suspended men's basketball coach, Kevin Broadus. The coach was in the thick of a basketball controversy last fall that focused on the admission of academically underprepared athletes and numerous high-profile arrests of players, and Broadus was put on paid leave for his role, which included accusations that he pushed for the admission of players with poor academic credentials and known behavioral problems. But a decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association this month to end its investigation into possible wrongdoing by Binghamton led Broadus's lawyer to insist that his client had been maligned, and the university's interim president, C. Peter Magrath, said in announcing the settlement Thursday that the university wanted to move on. Broadus will receive about $820,000 to buy out his remaining contract and about $380,000 from the SUNY system to cover the coach's legal fees.

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