Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported Monday that confidential records about student judicial cases had been stolen, The Durham Herald-Sun reported. The records were kept by the student honors committee, which has been in the news of late because of allegations before it that a tutor provided inappropriate assistance to a football player.
Ohio University has moved from number two to number one in The Princeton Review's most talked-about annual ranking -- it was named the top party school in the publisher's annual college guide, The Best 376 Colleges, which was released Monday.
The guide includes individual profiles of each college, along with rankings based on an online survey of more than 122,000 students nationwide. Ohio University, last year's number-two party school, displaced the University of Georgia for the top spot. Students at OU reported high rates of beer-drinking (it was number one in this category), liquor consumption (number two), and participation in fraternities and sororities (number 11). It also earned a number-12 ranking in the "students study the least," category, although it did not make the top 20 in the marijuana-use category, (topped by Colorado College), one of the criteria used in the party school rankings.
The top five was rounded out by other familiar institutions -- the University of Mississippi, the University of Iowa, and the University of California - Santa Barbara.
OU officials released a statement saying they were "disappointed" in the ranking and felt it did not reflect the experience of most students. To back up this claim, the statement cited the university's biennial alcohol and drug use survey, which was released in June and showed a two-percent decrease in "high-risk" or "binge" drinking since 2009, and an eight-percent decrease since 2007.
Of the 1,101 respondents, all undergraduate students, about 70 percent reported consuming five or more drinks on one occasion within the past two weeks in this year's survey, compared to about 73 percent in 2009 and 78 percent in 2011. Vice president of student affairs Kent Smith attributed the decline to the university efforts to curb drinking, including a mandatory online alcohol education course and a public relations campaign called "Stop at the Buzz." Drinking at OU is still a problem, he said, but the university is "moving in the right direction."
The Princeton Review's annual survey features more than 80 questions about academics, financial aid, facilities, and extracurricular activities, most of which include five possible responses, (for instance, responses to some questions include a range from "Awful" to "Excellent"). The Princeton Review uses the data to assign each college a score in each category. Other categories include "Professors Get High Marks" (Wellesley College topped the list this year), "Great Financial Aid," (Swarthmore came in at number one), and the new "Best Health Services" category (which was topped by the University of California - Los Angeles).
But its party school list typically generates the most buzz, and this year's edition of The Best 376 Colleges came with a disclaimer about the list, saying it does not necessarily reflect the overall quality of the institutions.
"We recommend all 376 schools in this book as outstanding institutions at which to earn one's college degree," wrote co-authors Robert Franek, Laura Braswell, and Seamus Mullarkey.
"But just as the schools on our 'LGBT-Unfriendly' list may not be ideal campuses for gay students, the schools on our 'Party Schools' list may not be ideal for students seeking a campus at which the use of alcohol and drugs and the frrat/sorority scene is, well, less exuberant."
Four in 10 public school teachers hired since 2005 entering teaching through alternatives to traditional teacher education programs, up from 22 percent of new teachers hired between 2000-2004, according to a new study from the National Center for Education Information. Those figures are also up from 8 percent in the 1990s and 4 percent in the 1980s. With the new cohorts' impact on the teaching population as a whole, the proportion of teachers who entered the field through traditional teacher ed has dropped from 95 percent 15 years ago to 67 percent.
Ohio University has moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Princeton Review's most talked-about annual ranking: top party school. Ohio displaced the University of Georgia for the top spot.
Students at Ohio reported high rates of beer-drinking (it was tops in this category), liquor consumption (second place), and participation in fraternities and sororities (# 11).
OU officials released a statement saying they were "disappointed" in the ranking and felt it did not reflect the experience of most students. To back up this claim, the statement cited the university's biennial alcohol and drug use survey, which was released in June and showed a 2 percent decrease in "high-risk" or "binge" drinking since 2009, and an 8 percent decrease since 2007.
Of the 1,101 respondents, all undergraduates, about 70 percent reported consuming five or more drinks on one occasion within the past two weeks in this year's survey, compared to about 73 percent in 2009 and 78 percent in 2011. Kent Smith, vice president of student affairs, attributed the decline to the university efforts to curb drinking, including a mandatory online alcohol education course and a public relations campaign called "Stop at the Buzz." Drinking is still a problem, he said, but the university is "moving in the right direction."
Robert L. Bogomolny, president of the University of Baltimore, on Monday issued a memo in which he disputed the claims of Phillip Closius, who was ousted last week as law dean, The Baltimore Sun reported. Closius attracted considerable attention when he told law school colleagues that the university was taking tuition money from the law school to support other parts of the university. Bogomolny denied that charge and said that the fight over finances was not the reason for the dean's departure. Bogomolny said he had met with alumni and faculty members and that "the overwhelming conclusion was that a change in leadership was in the best interests" of the law school and the university.
Delinquency rates on student loans have not improved as the economy has stabilized in recent years, as have the rates for other kinds of consumer loans, raising the prospect that significant numbers of student loan borrowers will be unable to repay their loans in the coming years, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report assessing the stability of the student loan market. The report notes that the student loan market expanded during the last part of the 2000s, in contrast to mortgages and other kinds of borrowing that was significant tightened during the economic downturn. But while delinquency rates on those housing and car loans that were issued after the worst of the downturn have improved, those for student loans have flattened, Moody's says. "Unless students limit their debt burdens, choose fields of study that are in demand, and successfully complete their degrees on time, they will find themselves in worse financial positions and unable to earn the projected income that justified taking out their loans in the first place."
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Adam & Eve, which describes itself as "America's most trusted source for adult products," on Friday announced that it was providing funds to the University of Minnesota Medical School to establish an endowed chair -- believed to be the first of its kind -- in sexual health education. The chair will be named for Joycelyn Elders, who was surgeon general during the Clinton administration until her frank discussion of sex cost her the position.
Many higher education officials talk about how alumni will react to the firing of popular coach. The Raleigh News & Observer used last week's firing of Butch Davis, the football coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to find out. The newspaper filed an open records request for the e-mail of Chancellor Holden Thorp before and after the dismissal of Davis (whose teams have had success on the field and numerous scandals). Much of the reaction fits the stereotype of how alumni react. There are threats to never give another penny, and e-mails like this one: "You folks are spineless, slimy slugs who have dishonored our whole university." One messages was sufficiently threatening that UNC public safety is investigating.
But there were other messages that supported the move. And one alumnus, who two days before the firing wrote that he stood behind the football coach "110%," wrote again after Thorp acted. "I know that this has been a long and stressful situation but I support y'all and The University of North Carolina 110%."
Phillip Closius resigned, under pressure, as law dean at the University of Baltimore, and he sent students and faculty members a detailed explanation of his conflicts with the central administration, The Baltimore Sun reported. Specifically, he said that the law schools is increasingly subsidizing the rest of the university in ways that he sees as unfair. "I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable justifying tuition and fee increases to law students when the money was actually being used to fund non-law university initiatives," he wrote. (The full letter is here.) Robert L. Bogomolny, president of the university, did not debate the budget issues raised, but issued a statement praising Closius. "He has strengthened an already outstanding faculty, increased the national recognition of the school, and enhanced the success rates of our students," the statement said.