Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 3:00am

Anger continues to grow over the decision of Middlesex University, in Britain, to shut down philosophy programs. In the latest escalation, critics from around the world are now pledging a boycott of the university, saying that they will refuse to act as outside examiners for Middlesex or to attend meetings at the university. A university statement on the controversy may be found here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Kaplan Higher Education is apologizing for the actions of an instructor in one of its California campuses who told students that Spanish could not be spoken in class, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Kaplan officials said that while their policies state that courses are taught in English, there is no ban on students talking in Spanish.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

College lobbyists and union officials are hoping that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will come through with emergency funds to fend off budget cuts and to close a multi-billion shortfall in the Pell Grant Program, now that Senate leaders have made clear that they won't back such efforts in their own supplemental spending bill. Reuters reported that Sen. Tom Harkin had agreed to abandon an effort to add $23 billion to the Senate legislation to help states avoid layoffs of teachers and college instructors, saying he had been unable to solicit necessary Republican support for the amendment. The Hill reported that House Democrats will include in their version of the emergency spending bill not only that money, but also $5.7 billion to plug a projected shortfall in the Pell Grant Program for the 2011 fiscal year. The supplemental spending legislation is supposed to fund short-term defense needs and emergencies such as weather-related catastrophes, and if the education-related spending stays in the House bill over likely objections from budget hawks, it would need to be reconciled with a Senate bill that lacks the funds.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

More than 40 years after two students in the Black Panthers were killed at the University of California at Los Angeles, students organized to unveil plaques in their honor in the building where they were murdered, the Los Angeles Times reported. The gunman viewed as responsible for their deaths has never been apprehended.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

A Wyoming judge on Tuesday lifted a ban on The Wyoming Tribune Eagle publishing an article about a report on the president of Laramie County Community College and his actions during a student trip to Costa Rica. The college won an injunction last week, claiming that federal privacy protection laws would be violated by printing material based on the report that the newspaper received. The judge said that there was no evidence to back up that claim. The newspaper is expected to publish its article as early as today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

The student speaker at Columbia University's School of General Studies graduation ceremony included a joke that was taken from the comedian Patton Oswalt, ABC News reported. Oswalt posted online links to the graduation speech and his original joke and a Columbia statement says that the student has apologized.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Jefferson Community and Technical College has agreed to award full academic credit for courses taken through StraighterLine, an online course provider, the company announced Tuesday. Under the arrangement, students who take one of nine general education courses from StraighterLine can apply those courses for credit toward their associate degrees at the two-year institution in Louisville. The college says on its page on StraighterLine's Web site that a student who takes all nine of the courses that StraighterLine offers, transfers them to Jefferson, and ultimately gets a four-year degree from one of Kentucky's public universities could spend thousands of dollars less than if he or she enrolled at the four-year institution upfront. "We share with StraighterLine the belief that reducing cost as a barrier is a critical element to provide all qualified individuals an opportunity to earn a college degree," Tony Newberry, the college's president, said in a news release about the arrangement. Jefferson Community and Technical College joins several other institutions as partners of StraighterLine; some of those arrangements have been controversial, with critics questioning the quality of StraighterLine's low-cost courses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Many experts are predicting that students are about to embrace e-books as a preferred form of textbooks. But a newly released survey from the National Association of College Stores -- conducted last fall, before the arrival of the iPad -- suggests that the shift had not happened by that point. Rather it found that 74 percent of students preferred printed textbooks and that a slight majority wouldn't consider a digital version. The survey is based on data from 19 campuses nationwide.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

John D. Mazzuto has been charged with stock fraud -- including his handling of stock in his company that he then donated to Yale University for its baseball team, The New York Times reported. According to authorities, the stock fraud included giving away stock in ways that inflated the value of the stock. Officials said that Yale, while benefiting from the alleged scheme, was not part of it or aware of what was going on. A Yale spokesman told the Times that the university was "holding the donation aside" at this time. Yale sold the stock in question for $1.5 million.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Michigan acknowledged Tuesday that its football program had committed several major violations of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, and said it would restrict the activities of its coaching staff and limit practice time in coming seasons as self-imposed penalties for the rule breaking. The announcement came as the university sent to the NCAA its formal response to allegations that it had exceeded limits on the time its athletes are allowed to spend practicing and playing sports and on the number of allowable coaches in football. Michigan officials contested an NCAA allegation that its football coach, Rich Rodriguez, had "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program." The case now goes to the association's Division I Committee on Infractions, which will decide whether to accept the university's findings and proposed penalties, or perhaps add to them.

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