Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 14, 2012

St. Paul's College, a historically black college in Virginia, is suspending most operations for the fall semester, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. In the last month, the college has helped many of its students transfer to other institutions. The moves follow the decision in June of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to revoke St. Paul's accreditation. The college is appealing, and is also exploring possible mergers, but decided that suspending operations for the fall was the best course of action for now, officials said.

 

August 13, 2012

Faculty leaders and many professors at Australian National University are objecting to the way student evaluations of their teaching are being used, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The university has used student evaluations for years, but this is the first year that the results are being used as part of the institution's evaluation of faculty members. Almost 1,000 professors are being asked to explain why they received low grades from students, and faculty leaders say that this sends a message not to be rigorous, for fear of offending someone in class.

August 13, 2012

Authors have been telling the University of Missouri Press in the last week that they want the rights to their books returned, and that they don't believe new plans for the press live up to its obligations, The Kansas City Star reported. The university announced plans to phase out existing operations, but then said that the press would be kept alive as a way to teach students, in an all-digital format. For the last week, the Star reported, Missouri officials have been calling authors asking them not to demand their rights back, or not to turn over their rights to other presses.

 

August 13, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Catherine Sabiston of McGill University examines how readjusting goals about physical fitness can increase health in cancer survivors. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 13, 2012

The Indian government appears to be delaying legislation that would allow foreign colleges and universities to open campuses in India, The Economic Times reported. The higher education focus for the government in the next parliamentary session will be on other bills, such as one requiring accreditation for all institutions.

 

August 13, 2012

Stephen Bloom, the University of Iowa journalism professor who created a storm late last year by writing an article in The Atlantic that called rural Iowans “an assortment of wasteoids and meth-addicts,” will be teaching at the university again this fall. Bloom, whose essay was criticized by his colleagues and Sally Mason, the university's president, has been teaching in the University of Michigan communication studies department for the last year as a visiting professor. “Yes, he is scheduled to teach,” David Perlmutter, director of the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa, said in an e-mail.

August 10, 2012

Coursera, the company that provides support and Web hosting for massive open online courses at top universities, announced Thursday that more than 1 million students have registered for its courses. The company now serves as a MOOC platform for 16 universities and lists 116 courses, most of which have not started yet. The students registering for the courses are increasingly from the United States. Coursera told Inside Higher Ed earlier this summer that about 25 percent of its students hailed from the United States; that figure now stands at 38.5 percent, or about 385,000 students. Brazil, India and China follow, with between 40,000 to 60,000 registrants each. U.S. students cannot easily get formal credit through Coursera or its partners institutions, but some universities abroad reportedly have awarded credit to students who have taken the free courses.

August 10, 2012

Monday is the deadline for briefs backing the University of Texas at Austin in its Supreme Court defense of the consideration of race in admissions. On Thursday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill filed a brief, and included a new research study arguing for the educational value of diversity. The researchers, who looked at law school students, found that racial differences "contribute to learning because differences foster richer interactions and positive educational outcomes that benefit students, institutions and society," according to a summary by the university. "In addition, when a law school’s racial diversity was significant and group interaction was high, graduating law students perceived their law school as more open and respectful of diverse ideas."

Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a group that opposes the consideration of race in admissions, questioned the study. In an e-mail message, he said: "The issues chosen to show how racial diversity correlates with perspective diversity are deliberately narrow (Anything about property? How about tax? ....), and of course law itself is a discipline in which such correlation is more likely than most others (Is there a Latina perspective in chemistry? Mathematics? Economics? Engineering? Russian? Etc.) Even if there are some educational benefits to having racial diversity in a class on "Race and the Law," that would not justify racial preferences in undergraduate admissions to the University of Texas."

August 10, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Sandra Russ of Case Western Reserve University examines how the level of imagination in children’s play has responded to recent technology and time restrictions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 10, 2012

Spain's government has set up a special committee to consider reforms for Spanish universities, Times Higher Education reported. In part, the move was prompted by Spain's economic woes, which have already led to deep budget cuts, and are likely to lead to more. But the committee is also conducting its review at a time of increasing criticism about non-economic problems facing the universities. "[M]any critics claim that the real drag on Spanish university quality is the culture of politicization and cronyism," the article says. "Critics claim that the power structures in many universities are dominated by nepotistic networks that tolerate and even promote all manner of non-meritocratic and unethical practices among members, while coming down hard on those who dare speak out against them."

 

Pages

Back to Top