Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 8, 2012

Clair Willcox was named Friday to his former job as editor-in-chief of the University of Missouri Press, The Columbia Missourian reported. In recent months, the press was slated for elimination and Willcox was laid off. When the press survived, supporters said that they would not be satisfied until Willcox's job was restored.

October 8, 2012

The University of Tokyo, Japan's most prestigious university, is starting its first four-year undergraduate degree in English, The New York Times reported. Officials said that they want to attract more international students to the university, and that they want to expand their pool beyond countries such as South Korea and China where many people become fluent in Japanese. The inaugural class includes students from Australia, Britain, Finland, Poland, the United States and Vietnam.

October 5, 2012

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Thursday appointed himself and several aides to the board of the Community College of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The board has not previously had a mayor among its members. "What's at work here very simply is that Mayor Nutter has been, from the start of his term as mayor, deeply concerned about and invested in the issues of education and job training and workforce development," a spokesman for the mayor said. "At the nexus, really, of all those issues is Community College of Philadelphia."

October 5, 2012

A survey of admissions officers by Kaplan Test Prep has found that they are increasingly likely to find on social media material that may hurt some applicants' chances of admission. Only a minority of admissions officers say that they consult Google or Facebook on applicants. But the percentage of admissions officers who reported that something they found there had negatively affected an applicant's chances of admission increased in the last year from 12 percent to 35 percent. Some of the material that the admissions officers found: essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photographs and "illegal activities."
 

October 5, 2012

An update to the student loan system that revealed some borrowers' personal information to other borrowers was inadvertent and did not disclose borrowers' birth dates or Social Security numbers, the Education Department said Thursday. A glitch in a new feature allowing students to download their student loan information gave students access to other borrowers' information instead, the department said, but the problem involved only "a small number' of borrowers (two borrowers reported the problem to the department) and was fixed "within hours."

The affected borrowers had access to others' addresses and loan amounts. "While we regret any inconvenience this may have caused, we have no reason to believe that any fraudulent activity resulted from this error," department spokesman Justin Hamilton said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed.

 

October 5, 2012

Private colleges increased their tuition by an average of 3.9 percent in 2012-13, the smallest rise in four decades, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced Thursday. The association said its survey, which included responses from 445 of its 960 members, also found that the average institution's financial aid budget rose by 6.2 percent. The data come at a time of heightened pressure from politicians and the public for colleges to keep their charges within reach of students and families.

October 5, 2012

The State Higher Education Executive Officers, in an open letter Thursday, laid out a suggested agenda for the next presidential administration (whether President Obama or Mitt Romney) in keeping with many of higher education's requests. The next administration, wrote Paul Lingenfelter, the group's president, should stay focused on increasing the number of Americans with college degrees and keeping college affordable, supporting research while making it more efficient, and facilitate cooperation between higher education and elementary and secondary education. The letter also highlighted the role state funding cuts have played in tuition growth, but didn't suggest that the federal government should do anything (such as maintenance-of-effort provisions in legislation) to reverse the trend.

October 5, 2012

WASHINGTON -- A National Collegiate Athletic Association committee charged with finding ways to address campus violence and prevention as it relates to athletes has a clearer idea of how it might do so after a two-day think tank here wrapped up Thursday. While the committee won't formulate any recommendations until its meeting at the end of this month (at the soonest), and won't present those until the Division I Board of Directors meets in January, the NCAA staff, athletics administrators and university officials at the think tank discussed the importance of cross-campus collaboration in violence prevention, and the need to identify best practices and institutional models that are effective in preventing victimization.

Reports of athletes involved in "acts of violence" (and other cases that went unreported in the media) prompted the NCAA to address this issue, said Deborah Wilson, chair of the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct and associate athletic director at George Mason University. But no specific cases triggered the initiative, she said.

"This is a huge problem; it's not just an athletic problem, it's really a societal problem, and it's coming onto our campuses and into our athletics departments," Wilson said in an interview Friday. "We want to be very mindful, be respectful and very caring about the true costs to the victims of these incidents. This is not an issue that athletics can address by itself."

October 5, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University describes how DNA analysis can be used to trace anthrax outbreaks to their original sources. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

October 5, 2012

Faculty leaders at the University of Kentucky issued a letter Thursday to President Eli Capilouto charging that he has created a "false crisis" to justify budget shifts, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The letter acknowledges that the state has cut appropriations, but argues that only $20 million of a $43 million budget deficit can be attributed to those cuts. The rest of the cuts -- which have led to 140 layoffs -- were necessary because of the administration's budget priorities, the faculty letter said. Capilouto told the newspaper that he welcomes "constructive feedback."

 

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