Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 7, 2012

Baylor University is investigating a party at which students dressed as Mexican immigrants, KXXV News reported. Photographs of the party appeared on students' Facebook pages, showing women in sombreros, fake dirt on their faces and with signs (in green) labeled "green cards." Pennsylvania State University officials are currently investigating a similar incident.

 

December 7, 2012

In April, the Department of Defense said it would issue a revised version of the memorandum of understanding that colleges and universities must sign to participate in military tuition assistance programs in order to address concerns from some in higher education. On Thursday, after months of delay, a draft of the new version of the memorandum was officially announced.

The memorandum, first proposed in March 2011, was intended to crack down on abuses and raise the standard for participating in the military tuition assistance programs. But some selective institutions of higher education protested requirements that they conform to the principles of Servicemember Opportunity Colleges, a voluntary association. That would have required more lenient residency and transfer of credit requirements (such as giving credit for military training) than some colleges wanted to accept, and the American Council on Education argued that it would interfere with colleges' right to set their own academic policies. The new version requires that colleges either join the voluntary association or disclose their policies before service members enroll.

Institutions must sign the memorandum by March 1 in order to participate in tuition assistance programs.

December 7, 2012

Utah's Dixie State College, founded in a part of the state that attracted settlers from the South who once dreamed of turning the area into a cotton-producing region, is debating whether its name suggests support for Confederate causes. While that debate continues, the university has removed a statue from campus that shows a Confederate soldier with the Confederate battle flag, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The statue has been the site of some rallies calling for the university to change its name. "The statue has become a lighting rod. We feel bad about that," said Stephen Nadauld, president of Dixie State. "It’s a beautiful piece of art. We are nervous something might happen to the statue. It might be vandalized."

Jerry Anderson, the Utah sculptor who created the work, told the Tribune that the university should not have removed it. "It looks like they have succumbed to the adversary," Anderson said. "They are a bunch of wusses. That’s the first action taken to get rid of it. The other people are winning. That’s the way it is in the world. We are giving in to people who really aren’t Americans."

December 7, 2012

Faculty members at several universities in Ukraine say that they are being urged by their bosses to give low grades to students, Kyiv Post reported. The professors say that they have been told that the government doesn't have enough money for all the student stipends that have been awarded, and that low grades will disqualify some recipients. The Education Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

 

December 7, 2012

A federal district judge on Thursday upheld a bankruptcy court's ruling last summer that an accrediting agency had made false representations to the U.S. Education Department that helped lead to the demise of Decker College, a for-profit college that closed in 2005. The Council on Occupational Education had appealed the bankruptcy court's July 2012 decision to a federal district court in Kentucky, arguing that the bankruptcy judge had erred in concluding that the agency's officials had misled federal officials by reporting that Decker had delivered three of its programs online without the agency's approval. But Judge John G. Heyburn II's 13-page ruling said: "The bankruptcy court reasonably found COE to be dishonest when it told the department it did not approve the hybrid programs to be offered in such a manner."

 
December 6, 2012

The University of Notre Dame on Wednesday announced that it would create a recognized gay-straight alliance as a student organization at the Roman Catholic university, one result of a review of the college's policies on gay and lesbian students. Students and faculty have pushed for more resources for gay and lesbian students, including both the gay-straight alliance and the addition of sexual orientation to the university's nondiscrimination clause. While the plan announced Wednesday includes a range of changes, including a new advisory committee on gay and lesbian issues and a full-time staff member to oversee resources for gay students, it does not include any new plans for dealing with faculty issues or action on the nondiscrimination clause.

December 6, 2012

The National Science Foundation on Wednesday announced an expansion of its graduate fellows program that will allow selected graduate students to work for 3-12 months in one of eight countries. The idea is to encourage international collaboration early in researchers' careers. The countries are Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Sweden.

December 6, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, James Tabery of the University of Utah explains how a psychological diagnosis of a defendant can influence the length of their sentence if convicted. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

December 6, 2012

The American Historical Association, trying to build buzz for its annual meeting in January in New Orleans, is asking historians for names of drinks to be served at hotel bars during the meeting. Among the nominees that have come in so far: ABD, Postmodern Turn, Oral History ("your mouth will never forget it"), the Jacobite Rebellion ("Scotch with just a soupcon of haggis floating in it") and the Dead White Male.

 

December 6, 2012

Roger Williams University has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. "While we recognize that standardized tests accurately measure aptitude for many students, there are many others whose talents are not measured by such tests and they can serve as an artificial barrier to many highly qualified students, preventing them from even considering an RWU education," said a statement from the university.

 

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