Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

After a year in which many law students have been complaining about poor job prospects, applications to law school are down 11.5 percent from this point a year ago, according to data provided by the Law School Admission Council to The Wall Street Journal. "When the economy first went down, students saw law school as a way to dodge the work force," Ryan Heitkamp, a pre-law adviser at Ohio State University, told the newspaper. "The news has gotten out that law school is not necessarily a safe backup plan."

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Advocates for community colleges are not always happy with the way they are portrayed in popular culture. Witness the debate over NBC's "Community." Critics from the community college world may want to start getting ready for Larry Crowne, a film due out this summer in which Julia Roberts plays a community college professor and Tom Hanks her student (who, like many community college students, enrolls when he loses his job). The last movie featuring Roberts as a professor was Mona Lisa Smile, in which she played an art historian trying to challenge her students and colleagues at Wellesley College in the 1950s. The image of Wellesley didn't go over well with the college.

Here is the trailer for the new film:

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The Idaho House of Representatives voted Wednesday to allow guns -- concealed or visible -- on public college and university campuses, Reuters reported. The measure now heads for the Senate. Critics said that campuses would become less safe if more people had guns there. Legislation to loosen gun regulations on public campuses in Texas passed out of a House of Representatives committee there on Wednesday, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

A new website -- Armed Campuses -- has been created by groups opposed to guns on campus. The site lists colleges that permit guns, so that prospective students and their families have information about those institutions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

As colleges move to comply with a new federal requirement to give students and families a way to calculate an institution's net price, they are doing so in greatly varying ways and to varying degrees of effectiveness, the Institute for College Access and Success says in a new report. The advocacy group for students analyzed the first crop of net price calculators that colleges have put online to comply with the requirement that takes effect in October, and finds that some of the tools are more accessible, easier to use and are more protective of student privacy than are others. The group also offers a series of recommendations for institutions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Students and administrators at the University of Utah are voicing concern over the racial nature of attacks in the student government elections that are wrapping up this week on the campus, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. One of the parties seeking election is close to the university's Greek system while the other party is racially diverse.

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.

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.

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