Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 3, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Anders Garm of the University of Copenhagen reveals what starfish vision can teach us about the evolution of more complex eyes. 

And if you missed Monday's Academic Minute because of the Labor Day holiday, you can catch up on it here.

Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 3, 2013

The trend of college newspapers shifting more editions from print to online is growing, Poynter reported. Publications are noting that they save money and that campus readers increasingly prefer to get information online, not in print. Among the publications that have recently announced shifts: The Daily Illini of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Maneater of the University of Missouri at Columbia and The Aztec of San Diego State University.

 

 

September 3, 2013

Geraldo Rivera, the media personality, took to Twitter last week to report that Duquesne University had revoked an invitation for him to participate in a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. "Just heard Duquesne Univ cancelled my appearance at JFK assassination panel because of 'selfie'. Fact I first aired Zapruder film less impt.," Rivera wrote. The "selfie" reference is to a naked photograph of himself (primarily of top half of his body) that he recently posted online (click here only if you want to view the photo). A spokeswoman for the university confirmed the report, and via e-mail cited the university's Roman Catholic heritage. "The administration felt that Mr. Rivera’s decision to post a nearly naked picture of himself on social media was inappropriate and inconsistent with who we are as a Catholic Spiritan university and therefore withdrew the invitation," she said.

The spokeswoman added: "We warn our students not to post questionable material on social media due to the possibility of negative consequences -- you could consider this teaching by example."

 

August 30, 2013

A student at St. Louis Community College was arrested Wednesday for a "violent" threat against the financial aid office, authorities said, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The Twitter message said that she was so frustrated with the financial aid office that she wanted to kill someone. The tweet didn't name an individual. College officials discovered the post through regular monitoring of social media about the college.

 

August 30, 2013

The board of the Educational Testing Service announced Thursday that Walt MacDonald will become the next president and CEO. MacDonald is currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of ETS. He will succeed Kurt M. Landgraf, who has been president since 2000.

August 30, 2013

Towson University has suspended its cheerleading squad from competing for the full academic year, citing an alleged incident of hazing, The Baltimore Sun reported. The Maryland university provided no details about the incident involving the team, which won a national championship award last year. But Towson's vice president for student affairs, Deb Moriarty, said in a statement that "hazing in any form will not be tolerated at Towson University. We hold high expectations for all of our students and their conduct as leaders, both on and off campus."

 

August 30, 2013

An external review released to Westfield State University's Board of Trustees Thursday found that President Evan Dobelle used his foundation-provided credit card for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, but several board members rallied behind him, The Republican of Springfield reported. The accountant's review, prepared in March, found that the president had charged $68,000 in personal expenses to the card, in violation of university rules. But in remarks to the board, Dobelle noted that no fraud had been discovered, and that he had repaid all of the personal charges, the newspaper said. The Boston Globe reported that Dobelle challenged the validity of the audit report, citing the fact that it had been approved only by an executive committee of the board.

Several board members praised Dobelle at the meeting. “When you are a visionary and want to do something great, you’re going to have detractors,” said one. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct statements about the nature and timing of the report.)

August 30, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Kelly Mix of Michigan State University reveals the connection between math ability and visual spatial training. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 30, 2013

A federal program that provides student veterans with on-campus educational and career counseling will nearly triple its footprint across the country this fall, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday. Under a program called VetSuccess on Campus, the V.A. plans to provide 62 more campuses with counselors, on top of the existing 32 institutions already participating in the program.

The counselors help veterans navigate their educational and medical benefits. The institutions selected for expansion include about a dozen large public universities, some community colleges and several private institutions.

As large numbers of veterans have returned home from Afghanistan and Iraq, veterans' groups have been pushing for more support services and better consumer protection for veterans using their educational benefits such as the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. A majority of money from that benefit is spent at for-profit colleges (followed closely by public universities), according to a recent government report. The Obama administration, Congressional Democrats and a slew of state attorneys general have also been stepping up their scrutiny of how colleges, especially for-profit institutions, recruit and serve veterans. 

August 30, 2013

African-American studies in the United States is "alive and well," according to a new report issued by scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The report surveyed 1,777 colleges and universities and found that 76 percent have some type of black studies. While some college offer only a course or two, 20 percent of those surveyed have full departments or programs.

 

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