Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

After a year in which many law students have been complaining about poor job prospects, applications to law school are down 11.5 percent from this point a year ago, according to data provided by the Law School Admission Council to The Wall Street Journal. "When the economy first went down, students saw law school as a way to dodge the work force," Ryan Heitkamp, a pre-law adviser at Ohio State University, told the newspaper. "The news has gotten out that law school is not necessarily a safe backup plan."

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Preisdent Obama has picked the University of Kansas to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament. In preparing his bracket for ESPN, the president selected the top seed in each region to advance to the Final Four.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Advocates for community colleges are not always happy with the way they are portrayed in popular culture. Witness the debate over NBC's "Community." Critics from the community college world may want to start getting ready for Larry Crowne, a film due out this summer in which Julia Roberts plays a community college professor and Tom Hanks her student (who, like many community college students, enrolls when he loses his job). The last movie featuring Roberts as a professor was Mona Lisa Smile, in which she played an art historian trying to challenge her students and colleagues at Wellesley College in the 1950s. The image of Wellesley didn't go over well with the college.

Here is the trailer for the new film:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Federation of the Blind, in a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, on Tuesday asked Northwestern University and other colleges and universities to stop using Google Apps for the Blind, charging that the tools discriminate against blind students and faculty members by failing to allow easy use by those with visual impairments, the Chicago Tribune reported. The complaint follows others about various technology tools used in education. Some of the past complaints have led to significant changes in those services. Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president of engineering and research, issued a statement Tuesday stating that Google had met on the issue with the association for the blind, and "left the meeting with a strong commitment to improving our products."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Bard College's Eban Goodstein explores the role that green technology could play in the economic recovery. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The March 2011 edition of The Pulse features an interview with Steve Anderson, director of the Media Arts + Practice Ph.D. Program and assistant professor of interactive media at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. He discusses the prospects of a more rational future for fair use in publishing and teaching.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

Louisiana's Board of Regents, as expected, on Tuesday approved a proposal that would consolidate the University of New Orleans and historically black Southern University at New Orleans into a single institution (with separate campuses) within the University of Louisiana System, The Times-Picayune reported. The vote was 9 to 6 after an intense discussion dominated by passionate pleas from students and other supporters of Southern, who said the creation of the University of Greater New Orleans would undermine the historically black campus's tradition of serving low-income and minority students. But the national consultants who advised the regents and recommended the consolidation as one of two options said the plan would sustain the current Southern campus as an urban access institution. The newspaper cited complaints from some local officials that Governor Bobby Jindal, who had championed the study of the consolidation, had endorsed the plan Monday before the regents voted.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The Indiana Department of Labor on Tuesday found that the University of Notre Dame knowingly assigned a student to life-threatening situations when he was told to climb a scissor lift during a wind storm last year that sent the lift toppling, killing the student, The Wall Street Journal reported. The university was fined $77,500 for six safety violations. Notre Dame is finishing its own investigation of the incident, and has pledged to release the results.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into a professor's complaint that the University of California at Santa Cruz allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students on the campus. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Santa Cruz lecturer, filed a 2009 complaint about the university's sponsorship of events that she believed had a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel slant. In a March 7 letter to Rossman-Benjamin, Arthur Zeidman, who heads the civil rights office's San Francisco office, said it would investigate whether Santa Cruz failed to fulfill its requirements under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- a move applauded by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, which is championing her cause. In a prepared statement, Santa Cruz's general counsel, Carole Rossi, said: "We will, of course, fully cooperate with such an investigation. And as OCR noted in its communication with the campus, that office's decision to review an individual's allegations in no way implies that the agency has determined that the allegations have merit."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Michigan's attorney general has taken a side in Eastern Michigan University's legal dispute with a former student over the right of public universities to enforce anti-bias rules as a requirement for recognition of student organizations -- the student's side. Bill Schuette, the state's top lawyer, has filed a friend of the court brief in a federal appeals court siding with Julea Ward, who was dismissed from Eastern Michigan's counseling program in 2009 for declining to advise gay students in an affirming way -- in conflict, the university said, with its own anti-bias rules and the standards of national counseling associations. A federal judge last summer upheld Eastern Michigan's right to dismiss Ward, rejecting her claims that it had infringed her religious freedom. University officials said in a statement Monday that the arguments in the attorney general's brief relied on "factual distortions" made by Ward.

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