Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The Massachusetts Community College Council's Delegate Assembly voted 74 to 26 on Saturday in favor of granting part-time members a full vote in electing chapter and statewide leaders. Support for a measure to amend the MCCC's bylaws has increased in recent years and this year crossed the two-thirds majority required for adoption. Previously, each adjunct was granted one-quarter of a vote in elections of leaders.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Queen's University in Canada is ending a boycott of the international rankings of Times Higher Education, citing last year's change in methodology by the publication, and the impact of staying out of those and other international rankings. A statement from Queen's noted that appearing in international rankings is key to attracting students from China and India. The statement quoted Chris Conway, director of institutional research and planning, as saying that “Queen’s is still concerned because the rankings focus mainly on research volume and intensity, and although Queen’s is one of Canada’s top research universities, our quality undergraduate student experience and out-of-classroom experience are not fully captured."

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Many law schools in recent years have increased spending on merit scholarships, hoping to attract top students and to boost rankings. But an article in The New York Times noted why some of the recipients feel that the law schools are playing a game of bait and switch. Many of the scholarships have grade-point-average requirements that recipients assume they can meet, but some of the law schools use curves on grading that make it virtually impossible for a good number of scholarship recipients to hold on to their grants. This means they end up enrolling at expensive institutions, and are faced with unexpectedly high bills their second or third years.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks is appealing to students to stop flushing socks down the toilets of the fine arts complex, The Daily News-Miner reported. Officials say that a recent trend of sock-flushing has caused $15,000 in damage and extra labor costs. The university recently posted signs in bathrooms, asking people not to flush socks, and 40 socks quickly turned up. University officials say that they are mystified by the trend, but those posting comments on the newspaper's website have offered several theories.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Princeton University suspended a Spanish instructor four days before he killed himself, The New York Times reported. The suicide of Antonio Calvo last month left many students and some colleagues demanding more information about how the university treated Calvo. The university acknowledged that Calvo was on leave at the time of his death, and it was known that he was the subject of a review on whether he could keep his job, but little else has been clear. Documents obtained by the Times showed that the university suspended him with pay, and barred him from campus, writing to him that officials had "received information from multiple sources that you have been engaging in extremely troubling and inappropriate behavior in the workplace." The letter did not specify the nature of that behavior, but sources have said that while Calvo was popular with the undergraduates he taught, he clashed with graduate students whose teaching he supervised and sometimes considered inadequate.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Last month's corrections to the National Research Council's controversial rankings of doctoral programs turned out not to fix all the errors. As early as today, the NRC will be announcing additional corrections. Data on time-to-degree and completion rates for programs in the history of art, architecture and archaeology were incorrect in the "corrected" version of the database posted last month. A spokeswoman said that the data for 57 programs have been changed as a result of discovering the error. In another correction, data for a number of Harvard University programs on "tenured faculty as a percentage of total faculty" were incorrect and are being fixed.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Amar Bose, the founder of the company with his name that makes high-end audio products, has donated a majority of the corporation's stock to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stipulating that MIT will benefit from dividends, but will not vote on company direction. The New York Times reported that the gift has raised the eyebrows of some tax experts, who note that MIT cannot vote or sell the stock. Some experts told The Times that more detail should be released on the gift, and that it may not be fair to call it a full gift, given the limits on MIT's use of the stock.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Ohio University on Saturday announced a $105 million grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. The funds will be used to expand the class size of Ohio University's osteopathic medical college, and to create a satellite campus for the college in central Ohio.

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 3:00am

President Obama used a commencement speech Friday at Miami Dade College to renew support for legislation that would create a path to U.S. citizenship for college graduates who were brought to the United States as children without documentation to live in the country. Republicans blocked passage of the legislation last year, and Obama acknowledged the political difficulties facing a similar bill this year.

"I know this last issue generates some passion. I know that several young people here have recently identified themselves as undocumented. Some were brought here as young children, and discovered the truth only as adults. And they’ve put their futures on the line in hopes it will spur the rest of us to live up to our most cherished values," he said. "I strongly believe we should fix our broken immigration system. Fix it so that it meets our 21st-century economic and security needs. And I want to work with Democrats and Republicans, yes, to protect our borders, and enforce our laws, and address the status of millions of undocumented workers. And I will keep fighting alongside many of you to make the DREAM Act the law of the land."

Also at the ceremonies, Obama received his first honorary associate degree.

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 3:00am

More than one million community college students in 31 states do not have access to federal student loans because their institutions choose not to offer them, according to a new report by the Project on Student Debt. (The report is a followup to a 2008 study by the group, and finds modest changes since then.) Many community college administrators fear that participation in the federal loan program would put their students at risk of losing federal financial aid if too many students at the institutions do not repay their loans. The report notes that there are “persistent racial and ethnic disparities,” with nearly one in five Native American students and one in six African-American students attending community colleges that do not participate in the federal loan program. In addition, the report notes that California “now has the largest number of community college students -- about 214,000 -- without access to federal loans.”

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