Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, August 27, 2010 - 3:00am

Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said Thursday that a continuing inquiry into its football program had uncovered evidence of "possible academic misconduct" by a former undergraduate tutor and an as-yet-undetermined number of players. At a hastily called news conference last night, Chancellor Holden Thorp, clearly troubled by the burgeoning evidence of troubles in the Tar Heel sports program, said that the extent of the academic wrongdoing remained unclear. But he promised a thorough investigation by a team of faculty members and administrators. "Academic achievement and fairness are at the heart of the University of North Carolina and the Department of Athletics," said Thorp. "We are treating this issue with the seriousness that you would expect. It's a privilege to put on the North Carolina uniform and to represent this University, and it's our job to make sure that the people who do so have earned that privilege."

Friday, August 27, 2010 - 3:00am

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday that he plans to host a Chicago forum on for-profit higher education on Tuesday. Speakers will include two former for-profit students, the presidents of two public institutions, and executives from Career Education Corporation, Devry, Inc. and Kaplan University. The forum will consider "whether some for-profit colleges are exploiting rather than educating Illinois students" and include discussion of the industry's growth, reliance on the federal financial aid program and the value of the sector's degrees and certificates.

Durbin has been the most vocal member on the issue who is not on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. Earlier this summer, he delivered a speech questioning the for-profit college business model. He was one of a half-dozen Democrats to sign onto a June letter asking the Government Accountability Office to initiate a wide-ranging investigation of the sector, and he wrote to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs earlier this month asking for information on how federal tuition assistance for current and former members of the military is being spent at for-profits.

Friday, August 27, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of California has appointed an official to manage the costs associated with the home of Mark G. Yudof, president of the university, The New York Times reported. The move followed reports of hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and the involvement of senior university officials in disputes over his previous rented home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Thomas Ross, president of Davidson College since 2007, is expected to be named today as the next president of the University of North Carolina System, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Prior to being named to the Davidson post, Ross's career was outside of higher education. He worked as a lawyer, judge and foundation leader. Ross would succeed Erskine Bowles, whose career also was outside of higher education until being named UNC president.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Three national groups are teaming up to create an online portal where adult students with previously earned academic and work force credits can have that "prior learning" assessed by independent faculty evaluators to facilitate the acceptance of that work by colleges. The portal will be a joint project of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the American Council on Education, and the College Board, and is being established with $2.2 million from the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Kresge and Joyce Foundations.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Colorado at Boulder on Wednesday announced two reviews -- one on possibly eliminating its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the other on creating a new program in information and communication technology. Officials stressed that no final decisions had been made, but that they believed -- and a previous review had suggested -- that significant changes are needed in the university's approach to journalism and communication education. "We want to strategically realign resources and strengths currently existing on the CU-Boulder campus to ensure that course and degree offerings meet the needs of students, the labor market, our campus mission and the communications needs of a rapidly changing global society," said a statement from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Carnegie Mellon University has suspended a master's program in information networking that it has run in Greece since 2002, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. University officials cited the impact of the recession, in Greece as well as in the United States.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 3:00am

Apple released data on Tuesday demonstrating the dramatic growth of iTunes U. In three years of operations, downloads have topped 300 million. More than 800 colleges and universities have active sites, with more than 350,000 audio and video files posted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 3:00am

Fidel Castro has apparently taken an interest in Beloit College's annual "mindset list" designed to help professors (in a humorous way) reflect on the experiences they and their new students don't share. The college released this year's list last week. Beloit officials were surprised to learn that the list was cited in a column by the Cuban leader, who took the list quite seriously. After citing some of the items on the list, Castro writes: "I was stunned to realize to what extent education could be distorted and prostituted in a country with more than 8 000 nuclear weapons and the most powerful means of war in the whole world."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 3:00am

Graduate programs in business saw mixed trends in applications in the last year, according to survey data being released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Only 44 percent of full-time M.B.A. programs saw applications increase this year, compared to 66 percent reporting such an increase last year and 77 percent the year before that. A similar percentage of part-time programs reported an increase, relatively level compared to results a year ago. Executive M.B.A. programs may be a key growth area for business schools. Of those surveyed, 59 percent reported gains in applications this year, compared to only 37 percent a year ago.

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