Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

A committee considering ideas to reform higher education in Texas has released a draft with some of its ideas. The Houston Chronicle reported that these ideas include more of an emphasis on online education, shifts in policies to reward institutions for completion as opposed to enrollment, and new approaches to remedial education.

Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women) has awarded $11,500 to the Women’s Law Project in support of a key gender equity lawsuit against Delaware State University. The suit was filed by members of the women’s equestrian team who argue that the institution violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by cutting their team and replacing it with a competitive cheerleading team. The circumstances of the suit closely resemble those of a recently-decided suit against Quinnipiac University. In that case, a federal judge determined that the university had violated Title IX by cutting its women’s volleyball team and replacing it with competitive cheerleading, an activity the judge determined cannot be counted as a sport to determine gender equity compliance.

Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

As Facebook has faced one criticism after another for the last year over its various privacy failings, many educators have worried that students were oblivious to the need to keep private some of the information they post about themselves. New research in the journal First Monday, however, suggests students may be more aware of privacy issues than they are given credit for. The research followed college students during 2009 and 2010 and found that as news spread of Facebook's privacy issues, more students started to modify their privacy settings, suggesting both awareness of the public debate and concern about its ramifications.

Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The Educational Testing Service has announced that it is resuming registrations in Iran for the Test of English as a Foreign Language and the Graduate Record Examination. New United Nations sanctions against Iran led ETS to cut off registrations as the testing service could not process funds coming from the country. Now, ETS has a new arrangement in place to process credit and debit cards in Iran in ways that do not violate U.S. enforcement of the sanctions.

Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

Even though women now make up half of medical school enrollments, they lag in assuming leadership roles in the classroom -- but that need not be the case, according to new research led by Nancy Wayne, a professor of physiology at the University of California at Los Angeles. For the research -- results of which are appearing in the August issue of Academic Medicine -- Wayne tracked the roles of men and women in small group discussions in medical school courses requiring such discussions and presentations by team leaders. Leaving the roles to volunteers, she found, very few women assume leadership positions. But when a brief pep talk is given to students about the importance of trying out leadership roles in small groups, she found, women are significantly more likely to go for the leadership position.

Wayne said the finding is important because the medical school curriculum is shifting away from lectures toward more group work, and also because many people assume that once women achieve a critical mass in enrollments, no further issues related to gender will need addressing. "People assume that if you have parity in the numbers of men and women training to become physicians, then everything else will fall into place," said Wayne. "Surprisingly, we found that wasn't the case."

Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to pass along the 2011 budget bill that includes Education Department appropriations with no changes to the higher education provisions approved Tuesday by a subcommittee. As it stands, the bill keeps funding unchanged from 2010 levels for most financial aid and access programs, and boosts the National Institutes of Health's budget by $1 billion, to $32 billion. Also unchanged from the subcommittee bill is the absence of funding to make up for the $5.7 billion Pell Grant shortfall. The House of Representatives' appropriations bill included that money, but the Senate committee's Democratic members said that a means for addressing it would have to wait until it goes before the full Senate this fall, or when it is combined with the House measure in conference.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 3:00am

Hinds Community College has backed down from punishing a student for violating rules against swearing on campus. The college's decision to punish the student angered civil liberties groups as soon it became public in May and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education intervened on his behalf. Under a settlement, the student will no longer be barred from classes. Will Creeley, FIRE's director of legal and public advocacy, said it was important to remember that "Hinds Community College isn't some Victorian finishing school — it's a public institution bound by the First Amendment."

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 3:00am

Business schools -- including such prestigious ones as those of Columbia and Harvard Universities -- are adding courses on social media to the M.B.A. curriculum, Business Week reported. The rapid growth of social media has many companies wanting to know more about how to use various tools, creating an opening for new M.B.A.'s who want to make themselves more valuable to potential employers. "In the realm of technology it's possible for us to teach our students a tool that their bosses don't have, and they can provide that added value from day one," said John Gallaugher, associate professor of information systems at Boston College, where "Social Media & Web 2.0 for Managers" will be offered in the fall. "Social media skills are the ones that can set them apart. Those are the skills that employers are looking for."

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 3:00am

McGill University's medical school is ending a requirement that applicants submit scores on the Medical College Admission Test, The Montreal Gazette reported. The MCAT is a standard requirement at medical schools in the United States, and at most in Canada as well. But McGill -- located in Montreal -- is dropping the requirement because it wants to recruit more Francophone students, and the test is not offered in French. McGill officials said that they value the MCAT, and even explored the idea of translating it, finding that would be too complicated. But they said that, in the end, it was more important to reach out to all potential applicants.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 3:00am

IMG Worldwide, a sports and entertainment management company, is buying ISP, which focuses on college sports marketing, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal is reportedly worth $80 million to $100 million and will make IMG the leading company representing colleges on media and marketing deals related to their sports teams.

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