Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 6, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, T. Florian Jaeger reveals how language is universally shaped by the inner workings of the human brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

March 6, 2013

The head of the University of Virginia's governing board responded sharply Tuesday to faculty criticism in the wake of a Washington Post article suggesting that she was micromanaging the work of President Teresa Sullivan by barraging her with dozens of goals for the year, The Washington Post reported. In her letter, which came after Virginia's Faculty Senate cited the Post article in criticizing her, Dragas noted that the Board of Visitors is not permitted to discuss such "confidential personnel matters" as the goal-setting process for the president. “This reality inevitably leads to incomplete or one-sided coverage, making it even more difficult to fairly judge," she wrote. She went on to say that the entire board had been invited to participate in the process of setting goals for Sullivan, and that she was committed to working effectively with the president.

March 6, 2013

The University of the Rockies has transferred a "substantial presence" of its personnel and operations to the domain of its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, according to a corporate filing from Bridgepoint Education Inc., which owns the university. The university is based in Colorado Springs, which is in the commission's territory, but Bridgepoint's corporate headquarters is in San Diego, which is not. The for-profit institution made the move to meet the commission's presence requirements, which have also been an issue for Bridgepoint's Ashford University.

March 6, 2013

The British Council released new research today regarding factors that deter students in the United States and United Kingdom from studying abroad. Of the 10,800 people surveyed, 20 percent of U.K. respondents said they are considering study abroad, while 56 percent of U.S. students said the same. U.S. students cited barriers including concerns about cost, language ability and the difficulty of leaving family and friends.

March 6, 2013

One of the country's top digital humanists has been tapped to lead one of an ambitious effort to create a national home for the country's digital riches. The Digital Public Library of America, an effort to "make the cultural and scientific record available to all," announced the hiring Tuesday of Dan Cohen, director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and an associate professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, as its founding director. The digital public library, which in its nascent form has been housed in Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will formally launch as a freestanding nonprofit entity on April 18.

 

March 5, 2013

Oberlin College canceled classes and "non-essential activities" on campus Monday, after reports of a person walking near its Afrikan Heritage House in “a hood and robe resembling a Ku Klux Klan outfit.” College officials said they and the Oberlin Police Department are investigating the sighting, which follows a string of hate-related incidents on campus. Anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic graffiti appeared on multiple occasions last month, according to The Oberlin Review, and one student told public safety he was robbed and assaulted by a person who made derogatory ethnic remarks. Oberlin hosted a teach-in, “demonstration of solidarity,” and community convocation Monday afternoon in lieu of classes.

March 5, 2013

Edwin Mellen Press is dropping a wildly unpopular libel lawsuit against a university librarian, CBC News reported. Mellen sued Dale Askey, associate university librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, where he’s been working since 2011, over a blog post he wrote in August 2010, when he was at Kansas State University, that was highly critical of Mellen. The press says that it wants to focus on its authors and books and so is dropping the suit. Many scholarly and library groups were furious about the lawsuit and criticized Mellen for filing it.

 

March 5, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Laura Mickes of the University of Warwick explores why it’s often easy to remember a friend’s Facebook status but hard to remember a profound literary quote. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

March 5, 2013

The British Council has joined with Futurelearn, the United Kingdom’s homegrown MOOC (massive open online course) platform. Futurelearn now has 19 partners, including 17 U.K. universities, the British Library, and the British Council, which promotes British higher education internationally.

“The British Council has been bringing the UK’s education sector to people around the world for almost eighty years, so it’s very exciting that with Futurelearn we’re able to expand that to millions more people through the MOOC platform,” the organization’s chief executive, Martin Davidson, said in a statement.  “We hope that our recognized experience in English language learning and delivering assessments and examinations in nearly a hundred countries will contribute to making Futurelearn even more attractive for ambitious learners around the world.”

Futurelearn marks the first significant entry of a foreign player into the MOOC market, which heretofore has been dominated by elite American universities. The first Futurelearn courses are expected to be offered later in 2013.

March 5, 2013

Ten of the former Florida A&M University band members who were charged in May with felony hazing for the death of drum major Robert Champion are now being charged with manslaughter, the Associated Press reported Monday. Prosecutors also said they have charged another two defendants with manslaughter. Champion died in November 2011 after other students on the university’s famed marching band, long plagued by a culture of hazing, “punched, kicked and suffocated” him on a bus during a trip.

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