Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 28, 2013

A nationwide survey of 40,000 students, mostly freshmen, on their financial habits recommends mandatory financial literacy education for all college students, scattered at different points throughout their careers and with a different focus depending on students' ages. The survey looked at financial attitudes and behavior, and found that despite widespread concern about student loan debt, many students also have high-risk habits such as carrying a credit card balance. It also calls for more research into financial literacy best practices and the outcome of better education.

The survey, Money Matters on Campus, was conducted by EverFi, a technology company, and sponsored by Higher One, which provides campus banking services.

February 28, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, William Wright of Chapman University explains how limpets battle it out for the best section of the tidepool. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 28, 2013

Many colleges routinely ignore adjuncts when it comes to providing technology used for teaching. This year at Houston Community College's Southwest Campus, 200 adjuncts were given iPads to help in teaching, The Houston Chronicle reported. Next year, another 200 will receive them. Officials said that they wanted the non-tenure-track faculty members to have appropriate tools.

February 28, 2013

Many faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill remain embarrassed by a recent scandal involving "no show" classes in which students -- many of them athletes -- were receiving credit for courses that didn't require anything. Now UNC professors are being reminded of the scandal's impact. To prepare for an accreditor's visit, the university is trying to show that its classes are real. So administrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place, The News & Observer reported. Lewis Margolis, a faculty member in public health, said of the surprise visit campaign: "It was more than irritating. As I spoke to some colleagues about it, they looked at me and said, 'This is ridiculous. What the heck’s going on here?'"

February 27, 2013

A task force convened by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, which is the primary trade group of the for-profit sector, today issued a report on how colleges can better serve students who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The recommended "best practices" touch on career services, pedagogy and student recruitment. Steve Gunderson, the association's president, said the report should be useful to all of higher education. The association plans to release three other reports on quality standards in coming months, he said.

February 27, 2013

Regent's College, a nonprofit British institution, has purchased for-profit American Intercontinental University London from the latter's owner, Career Education Corporation, Times Higher Education reported. The purchase is the first of its kind in Britain. Regent's will run American Intercontinental as a for-profit subsidiary initially but plans to subsume it within Regent's within a year.

 

February 27, 2013

Two years after they rescinded a deanship offer to a lesbian, prompting a debate about sexuality at the institution, Marquette University officials have again flip-flopped on their support – this time of a student group – because it was at odds with the Roman Catholic institution's mission and identity. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Marquette’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is no longer chartering the student-run workshop FemSex, after a student alerted the provost and president to the workshop’s curriculum. Officials say that they were not initially aware of the workshop’s content. The resource center is in its first year, a spokesman said, and is working with administrators to clarify its student program approval process.

The center’s charter states that it “maintains fidelity to the University’s Catholic Jesuit heritage and character by attending to the needs of its students, both social and intellectual, and fostering knowledge and justice on issues having to do with gender and sexuality.” The more potentially contentious contents of FemSex’s curriculum include fostering safer sex, abortion, masturbation, and homosexuality. The group was also scheduled to discuss the intersection of faith and sexuality.

In a statement sent to Inside Higher Ed, FemSex at Marquette co-founder Claire Van Fossen said the workshop does not push an ideology or morality. The group’s mission statement: “FemSex provides a safe space for exploration, encourages honest dialogue, and facilitates collective learning. It engages and grapples with the social forces that inform individual experiences, and seeks to build allyship.” FemSex evolved from unrelated but identically named groups at Brown University and the University of California at Berkeley.
 

February 27, 2013

More than 60 percent of colleges and universities expect the cost of providing residential network computing access to go up, but only 39 percent saw an increase in their budgets in the last year and 10 percent saw a decrease. These are among the statistics in a new report by the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The report may be found here.

February 27, 2013

A new institute dedicated to Israel studies has opened in Washington. The Israel Institute, to be led by Itamar Rabinovich, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the president of Tel Aviv University, was established with funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. It plans to fund doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, research grants, and visiting professorships, as well as fellowships for students enrolled in Israel studies programs at Israeli universities, residences for Israeli artists, and internships at Washington think tanks for policy-oriented Ph.D. candidates. Other planned activities of the institute, including support for academic conferences, are outlined here. The members of the institute's advisory board can be found here

Ariel Ilan Roth, executive director of the Israel Institute, said its goals are to “bring coherence” to the growing but “jumbled” field of Israel studies, and to serve as a source of funding and support for scholars pursuing Israel-related scholarship.

“We want to provide financial and structural opportunities for people to develop a skill-set and to do so under the most rigorous academic conditions,” Roth said. “We’re talking about serious study: we’re not talking about political advocacy, we’re not talking about political lobbying. We’re talking about applying the best tools of academic exploration to whatever aspect of the modern Israeli experience the scholar sees fit to explore.”

Nathan J. Brown, president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association and a professor of politics at George Washington University, said he was pleased to see the establishment of a new scholarly institute dedicated to the region (albeit one country within it): "This is a time when for example, funding for Title VI programs has been cut, so to have new support for anything related to Middle East Studies is good," he said.

February 27, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Samuel Sober of Emory University reveals how birds listen to themselves to get their songs right every time. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

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