Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, October 22, 2010 - 3:00am

Canadian medical schools, worried that women are being admitted at higher rates than men, are adjusting admissions criteria in ways that favor men, The Globe and Mail reported. McMaster University, for instance, decreased its emphasis on grades and saw its male admission rate go up.

Friday, October 22, 2010 - 3:00am

College seniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from the previous year, according to data released Thursday by the Project on Student Debt. At the same time, unemployment for recent college graduates climbed from 5.8 percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009 – the highest annual rate on record for college graduates aged 20 to 24. Details are available from the project's Web site.

Friday, October 22, 2010 - 3:00am

An anonymous Boston College law student has published an open letter asking his dean to let him leave the law school without a diploma this semester (two and a half years into the program) in return for getting his tuition money back. The student writes that he was convinced to go to law school by "empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career," and that now he faces the likely prospect of huge debts and no decent job. The deal he proposed, the student writes, would benefit both parties: "on the one hand, I will be free to return to the teaching career I left to come here. I’ll be able to provide for my family without the crushing weight of my law school loans. On the other hand, this will help BC Law go up in the rankings, since you will not have to report my unemployment at graduation to U.S. News. This will present no loss to me, only gain: in today’s job market, a J.D. seems to be more of a liability than an asset." The student's request comes in a year of increased scrutiny of the placement records of law schools. Boston College does not seem likely to agree to the proposal. A statement it released to The Boston Herald said that law schools can't guarantee anyone a job. "What we can do is provide the best education possible, and work together to provide as many career opportunities as possible," the statement said.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Christian Cutler, the former director of the art gallery at Stephen F. Austin University, says he was pressured to resign after he offended Rep. Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican known among other things for recently demanding federal action to crack down on "terror babies" that he claims are being born in the United States and then taken abroad with their U.S. citizenship, KLTV 7 reported. After Cutler turned down a request to jury an art show organized by the congressman, telling his office that he viewed the lawmaker as "a fear monger," Cutler says he was pressured to quit his job. University officials declined to comment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Leaders of Ontario's universities will soon be required to post all of their expenses, The Globe and Mail reported. The move comes amid demands for greater transparency by the universities. Another new requirement: a ban on spending tax dollars on lobbying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

The Bowling Green State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors on Wednesday declared that it had won the right to represent faculty members in collective bargaining -- for tenured, tenure-track and full-time non-tenure-track faculty members. Unofficial results from a union election show that 391 faculty members voted to unionize and 293 did not. The AAUP has been pushing hard to unionize faculty at universities, like Bowling Green, that have a range of doctoral programs. The university issued a statement saying: "The administration thanks everyone who took the time to vote in this election. While we would have preferred a different outcome, we respect the process and its result. We must all now commit to continuing the sound stewardship of the University in these difficult economic times."

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

The American system of higher education accreditation is broken, shrouded in secrecy and and mired in self-interest, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity says in a new report. The center's report acknowledges that eliminating the accrediting system is not likely, but suggests several ways in which the structure might be altered to make the process more transparent and competitive.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has started an investigation into whether five for-profit universities operating in the state are engaged in deceptive practices with regard to recruiting, enrollment and job placement, among other issues, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The investigation focuses on Kaplan Inc., the University of Phoenix, MedVance Institute, Argosy University and Everest University. Officials of the institutions said that they had not yet received requests for information, but would cooperate with the probe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Republican leaders in North Carolina are criticizing Winston-Salem State University after its office of student affairs sent all students and employees an e-mail, drafted by a student, urging support for Democrats in November's election, The Winston-Salem Journal reported. University officials said that an official did not review the student's e-mail before sending it out, and that it was a mistake to forward a political message of that nature to everyone at the university. The university has apologized and sent out an "equal time" e-mail on behalf of Republicans.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Virginia has released its inquiry into the management of the Virginia Quarterly Review, the award-winning journal that has been the subject of conflicting reports since the suicide this summer of Kevin Morrissey, the managing editor. Morrissey's death led some people (and some news reports) to say that he had been bullied in the work place by the top editor at the review, Ted Genoways. Others, however, said that Genoways was being unfairly made a scapegoat for a tragedy. The university's report does not cite evidence of bullying, and also finds that the university did not ignore evidence of serious problems. The university did observe that it had heard of personnel tensions at the Review, but said that many saw those issues as "conflicts between a creative, innovative manager and persons who did not share the editor's aspirations." The report notes that some actions taken as a result of the inquiry are not being made public as they involve personnel. And the report identifies problems with documentation of some spending and states that funds "arguably were not spent in a judicious manner."

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