Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The worsening crisis in Japan is prompting varied reactions from colleges with students in study abroad programs there. The California State University System is bringing back about 45 students who are there and calling off the plans of another 50 students to travel there soon, the Associated Press reported. Stanford University announced that all 35 of its students in Japan have returned. Students from the University of North Dakota have already returned, Valley News Live reported. While students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison studying in Japan were given the option to come back, most plan to stay, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into a professor's complaint that the University of California at Santa Cruz allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students on the campus. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Santa Cruz lecturer, filed a 2009 complaint about the university's sponsorship of events that she believed had a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel slant. In a March 7 letter to Rossman-Benjamin, Arthur Zeidman, who heads the civil rights office's San Francisco office, said it would investigate whether Santa Cruz failed to fulfill its requirements under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- a move applauded by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, which is championing her cause. In a prepared statement, Santa Cruz's general counsel, Carole Rossi, said: "We will, of course, fully cooperate with such an investigation. And as OCR noted in its communication with the campus, that office's decision to review an individual's allegations in no way implies that the agency has determined that the allegations have merit."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Federation of the Blind, in a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, on Tuesday asked Northwestern University and other colleges and universities to stop using Google Apps for the Blind, charging that the tools discriminate against blind students and faculty members by failing to allow easy use by those with visual impairments, the Chicago Tribune reported. The complaint follows others about various technology tools used in education. Some of the past complaints have led to significant changes in those services. Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president of engineering and research, issued a statement Tuesday stating that Google had met on the issue with the association for the blind, and "left the meeting with a strong commitment to improving our products."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Bard College's Eban Goodstein explores the role that green technology could play in the economic recovery. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The March 2011 edition of The Pulse features an interview with Steve Anderson, director of the Media Arts + Practice Ph.D. Program and assistant professor of interactive media at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. He discusses the prospects of a more rational future for fair use in publishing and teaching.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

The Indiana Department of Labor on Tuesday found that the University of Notre Dame knowingly assigned a student to life-threatening situations when he was told to climb a scissor lift during a wind storm last year that sent the lift toppling, killing the student, The Wall Street Journal reported. The university was fined $77,500 for six safety violations. Notre Dame is finishing its own investigation of the incident, and has pledged to release the results.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 3:00am

Louisiana's Board of Regents, as expected, on Tuesday approved a proposal that would consolidate the University of New Orleans and historically black Southern University at New Orleans into a single institution (with separate campuses) within the University of Louisiana System, The Times-Picayune reported. The vote was 9 to 6 after an intense discussion dominated by passionate pleas from students and other supporters of Southern, who said the creation of the University of Greater New Orleans would undermine the historically black campus's tradition of serving low-income and minority students. But the national consultants who advised the regents and recommended the consolidation as one of two options said the plan would sustain the current Southern campus as an urban access institution. The newspaper cited complaints from some local officials that Governor Bobby Jindal, who had championed the study of the consolidation, had endorsed the plan Monday before the regents voted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Every year there are new complaints about the college admissions process being too complicated and confusing to families. But surveys of students and parents released by the College Board Monday indicated that most in both groups said that the process was relatively clear -- for public and private colleges alike. National surveys like this one tend to be less weighted than much media coverage toward the small minority of students who apply to many competitive colleges, which may explain the differences. On a score of 1-10, with 1 being "very clear" and 10 being "very confusing," parents and students both gave median scores of 3 for knowing how admissions decisions are made. Medians were lower (meaning that respondents said things were more clear) for such issues as knowing whom to call with questions, being able to find needed information on colleges' websites, and completing applications.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Council on Education, which administers the GED testing program, announced today that it will join with Pearson PLC, a British-based media company, to develop a new GED test that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and better-equipped to prepare students for college and careers. ACE and Pearson will create a joint corporation to develop and administer the new test, which is expected to be ready in 2014. Starting in April, the new ACE-Pearson entity will begin to overhaul select sites from its 3,400 testing stations in California, Florida, Texas and Georgia so they can offer the existing GED in a computer-based format. That process will eventually extend nationwide, making the GED strictly a computer-based test by 2013. Nearly 800,000 GED tests are taken each year, according to the American Council on Education.

Independently of Pearson, ACE will begin to offer “a transition network that connects GED test takers to career and postsecondary educational opportunities” in conjunction with the test. Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, said that such a network will include “a portal or personal counseling to assist in [the] decision to go on in higher education or to go directly into a job.”

The new GED is expected to be released sometime in 2014.

"This bold, far-sighted and innovative partnership will provide a new, fresh approach toward solving an old and pernicious problem -- the incredible waste of human talent represented by the millions of Americans who lack a high-school diploma," said Broad in a press release.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Leaders save all the really tough decisions until right before they head out the door. The retiring president of Tufts University, Lawrence Bacow, announced in an op-ed in the student newspaper Monday that he was bringing the curtain down on the decades-old tradition of the "Naked Quad Run," citing physical and alcohol-related dangers that befall student participants in the annual event. Bacow said that when he became president a decade ago, he decided to try to "manage" rather than end the event, but that he had concluded over time that that was no longer possible. "Given that we can no longer manage the run, we cannot allow this 'tradition' to continue," he wrote. "Even if I did not act now, NQR would end some day. The only question is whether a student has to die first. We cannot allow this to happen, and the Naked Quad Run will not continue."

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