Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 1, 2013

WASHINGTON – The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday and now headed to President Obama’s desk to be signed, includes the Campus SaVE Act, a provision that will require more crime reporting and sexual assault prevention measures. Higher education and civil rights groups have been pushing Congress since last year to pass a version of the bill that would expand more protections to college students.

The House’s vote to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA ends a long, contentious political battle over whether to include LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims (the House didn't want to). With the passage of the SaVE Act, colleges will be required to report instances of dating violence and stalking in addition to other crimes they must already report under the Clery Act. They must also strengthen procedures for notifying victims of their legal rights and maintain campuswide policies for addressing and preventing sexual assault.

February 28, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Wednesday that people injured by a terrorist attack financed by Iran cannot make a claim on Iranian antiquities held in a Harvard University museum. Several Americans with claims against Iran have tried to collect money owed by that nation by going after antiquities at various American institutions. But the appeals court ruled -- as other courts have ruled -- that there are very limited circumstances in which artifacts can be seized as assets, and that this is not one of them. The legal challenges to ownership of these antiquities have worried many museum officials who have feared that they would be unable to obtain loans of art from other countries if that art might be seized.

February 28, 2013

Colleges and universities should be allowed to set borrowing limits for students lower than the cost of attendance, and underwriting standards should be tightened for Parent PLUS loans, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators recommended in a report released today. The report, the final recommendations of the association's task force on student loan indebtedness, also recommends income-based repayment as the automatic option for all borrowers and a fixed interest rate for new loans, a rate that would vary from year to year with market conditions.

February 28, 2013

A nationwide survey of 40,000 students, mostly freshmen, on their financial habits recommends mandatory financial literacy education for all college students, scattered at different points throughout their careers and with a different focus depending on students' ages. The survey looked at financial attitudes and behavior, and found that despite widespread concern about student loan debt, many students also have high-risk habits such as carrying a credit card balance. It also calls for more research into financial literacy best practices and the outcome of better education.

The survey, Money Matters on Campus, was conducted by EverFi, a technology company, and sponsored by Higher One, which provides campus banking services.

February 28, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, William Wright of Chapman University explains how limpets battle it out for the best section of the tidepool. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 28, 2013

Many colleges routinely ignore adjuncts when it comes to providing technology used for teaching. This year at Houston Community College's Southwest Campus, 200 adjuncts were given iPads to help in teaching, The Houston Chronicle reported. Next year, another 200 will receive them. Officials said that they wanted the non-tenure-track faculty members to have appropriate tools.

February 28, 2013

Many faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill remain embarrassed by a recent scandal involving "no show" classes in which students -- many of them athletes -- were receiving credit for courses that didn't require anything. Now UNC professors are being reminded of the scandal's impact. To prepare for an accreditor's visit, the university is trying to show that its classes are real. So administrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place, The News & Observer reported. Lewis Margolis, a faculty member in public health, said of the surprise visit campaign: "It was more than irritating. As I spoke to some colleagues about it, they looked at me and said, 'This is ridiculous. What the heck’s going on here?'"

February 28, 2013

Eleven master's students in a counseling program are suing Concordia University Chicago for consumer fraud, The Chicago Tribune reported. The students say that they had been promised the program would be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, and that their degrees will have less value because Concordia decided to no longer seek recognition by that group. The university did not respond to attempts to reach it for comment.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs - See more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/oak_park_river_forest_f...
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs - See more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/oak_park_river_forest_f...
February 27, 2013

A new institute dedicated to Israel studies has opened in Washington. The Israel Institute, to be led by Itamar Rabinovich, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the president of Tel Aviv University, was established with funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. It plans to fund doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, research grants, and visiting professorships, as well as fellowships for students enrolled in Israel studies programs at Israeli universities, residences for Israeli artists, and internships at Washington think tanks for policy-oriented Ph.D. candidates. Other planned activities of the institute, including support for academic conferences, are outlined here. The members of the institute's advisory board can be found here

Ariel Ilan Roth, executive director of the Israel Institute, said its goals are to “bring coherence” to the growing but “jumbled” field of Israel studies, and to serve as a source of funding and support for scholars pursuing Israel-related scholarship.

“We want to provide financial and structural opportunities for people to develop a skill-set and to do so under the most rigorous academic conditions,” Roth said. “We’re talking about serious study: we’re not talking about political advocacy, we’re not talking about political lobbying. We’re talking about applying the best tools of academic exploration to whatever aspect of the modern Israeli experience the scholar sees fit to explore.”

Nathan J. Brown, president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association and a professor of politics at George Washington University, said he was pleased to see the establishment of a new scholarly institute dedicated to the region (albeit one country within it): "This is a time when for example, funding for Title VI programs has been cut, so to have new support for anything related to Middle East Studies is good," he said.

February 27, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Samuel Sober of Emory University reveals how birds listen to themselves to get their songs right every time. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

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