Higher Education Quick Takes
In today’s Academic Minute, Dan Caldwell of Pepperdine University outlines the relationship between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The University of Indonesia is facing considerable criticism for awarding an honorary degree to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, The Jakarta Post reported. The university says that the honor was appropriate because of the king's work on behalf of moderate Islamic teachings, interfaith dialogue and various humanitarian efforts. But Saudi Arabia has become deeply unpopular in Indonesia since the beheading, two months ago, of an Indonesian maid who was working in the country and was accused of murder. Her execution has focused attention on what many see as the abuse of impoverished Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia, many of whom say they have no rights.
The University of Southern California on Sunday announced a $6 billion fund-raising campaign, which would be the largest ever in higher education, The Los Angeles Times reported. Half of the funds would be used to increase the size of the university's endowment (to support faculty hiring and student aid in particular) and the rest would support construction and research. In December, Columbia University upped its campaign total to the then-record of $5 billion. Harvard University is currently planning a campaign that could top the USC goal.
Nearly half of those who've graduated college in the last decade report having taken a course online, but only 28 percent of Americans under 30 say that a course taken online "is equal in value to a course taken in person," according to a report on online education published Sunday by the Pew Research Center. The report is based on a survey of 2,142 adults last spring.
The California Supreme Court will decide whether the State Bar must release data that might show racial patterns in performance on the state's bar exam, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, wants the information (with demographic information but not the names of test-takers) to test theories about the impact of affirmative action at private law schools in the state. Sander has argued that affirmative action policies at the law schools result in the admission of students who cannot perform well on the bar exam.
The University of California at San Diego, facing budget cuts, is in the midst of selling 150,000 books, California Watch reported. The books will be sold where possible or donated. The university's libraries are currently facing a cut of 12 percent (around $3 million), on top of $5 million in cuts since 2008.
The City of Chicago and the University of Chicago announced a deal on Friday that is intended to speed development -- by the city and the university -- of the university's Hyde Park neighborhood. Pledges about mutual planning and communication are designed to prevent zoning and other delays that have hindered construction projects. The announcement, from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said that the deal came out of informal discussions he started with the leaders of universities in the city. The university currently has a $1.7 billion capital program for the next five years.
Twenty-five colleges and universities in Boston -- public and private -- are starting a campaign to make sure that more graduates of Boston high schools finish college, The Boston Globe reported. The effort was prompted by a study two years ago finding that most graduates of Boston's public high schools who start college don't graduate. Efforts being tried by various colleges include scholarship aid, special (and free) summer programs and "learning communities" in which cohorts of students take multiple courses together.
Kaplan has abandoned plans to create a university in Adelaide, Australia, The Australian reported. Kaplan officials said that they would explore other ways to increase the for-profit university's presence in South Australia. A for-profit competitor, Laureate, is exploring a campus in the region as well.
A Pew Hispanic Center analysis of Census Bureau data has found that Hispanic enrollments in higher education increased by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010. During that year, the number of Hispanic young adults enrolled in college grew by 349,000, compared with an increase of 88,000 young blacks and 43,000 young Asian Americans and a decrease of 320,000 young non-Hispanic whites. With these combined shifts, Latino enrollment would be larger than black enrollment.