Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 18, 2013

A new survey from ACT shows the continued gap between those who teach in high school and those who teach in college when it comes to their perceptions of the college preparation of today's students. Nearly 90 percent of high school teachers told ACT that their students are either “well” or “very well” prepared for college-level work in their subject area after leaving their courses. But only 26 percent of college instructors reported that their incoming students are either "well" or "very well" prepared for first-year credit-bearing courses in their subject area. The percentages are virtually unchanged from a similar survey in 2009.

April 18, 2013

Preliminary results of the vote at Montana State University to decertify its union shows the final margin will be even smaller than the decision to unionize in 2009, which won by a meager 12 votes. After the 375 ballots were counted at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry in Helena, the effort to decertify the Associated Faculty of MSU leads by five votes, 190 to 185. The union, which is affiliated with the statewide MEA-MFT, has challenged four ballots, while its opponents have challenged two.

April 17, 2013

The Washington Post's Fact Checker column gave Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that prospective foreign students are being deterred by fears of gun violence a three-Pinocchio rating (out of four). The Post noted that although students from Japan (the specific country in question) are on the decline, the Institute of International Education’s analysis of the phenomenon does not cite concerns about student safety but rather “the effects of a rapidly aging Japanese population and other factors including the global economy and the recruiting cycle of Japanese companies.” Over all, the number of international students in the U.S. is on the rise.

The Post faulted Kerry for relying on mere anecdotal information and relaying it to a reporter.

April 17, 2013

Officials of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina are talking about a merger, The Post and Courier reported. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley organized the discussions, and said that he believed the city needed a comprehensive research university.

April 17, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Giora Proskurowski reassesses the amount of plastic pollution being held in the world’s oceans. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 17, 2013

Western Michigan University has called off a plan to build a new dining hall that would have required the destruction of hundreds of trees, MLive.com reported. Students and faculty members have been campaigning against the dining hall, and the university agreed to call off the original plan and look for alternatives. "As we studied the proposed site and plans for a new dining hall in the valley and received the final environmental assessment by our staff, it became clear that the project would have required the removal of more than 500 trees -- a far larger number than original estimates," said President John Dunn in an e-mail to the campus.

 

April 17, 2013

A Chinese graduate student at Boston University was the third victim of Monday's bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the university announced Tuesday.  University officials said that the student, whom it did not identify pending approval from his family, was among a trio of B.U. students and friends who watched the end of the marathon from near the finish line. Another graduate student was injured and remains hospitalized, the university said. Boston-area colleges continued to report that some of their students were injured, including seven from Emerson College.

April 17, 2013

United States University, a for-profit institution has agreed to pay $686,720 to the government to settle a civil suit filed over the filing of fraudulent financial aid applications, KPBS reported Federal officials said that the case was notable because they had brought criminal and civil cases against the institution. Christina Miller, who was the director of financial aid, pleaded guilty to falsifying federal records (Pell Grant applications) and could face up to a year in prison. Officials of the university did not respond to requests for comment.

 

April 17, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America, an online repository of the nation's historical and cultural riches, will launch as scheduled tomorrow, though its formal opening event has been canceled by Monday's attacks in Boston, the project's director announced Tuesday. In the statement, Dan Cohen noted that the bombings took place in close proximity to the Boston Public Library, where the opening event was to be held. (That is also right near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the target of the attacks.) The fact that the area near the library has been closed, and the need for the library's staff members, "like so many other honorable public servants in Boston, ... to be there for the surrounding community first," make canceling the event the obvious choice, he said. A larger event will be held in the fall.

But "[t]he new DPLA site will still go live at noon ET on Thursday as planned, and we look forward to sharing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. Although we have canceled all of the formal events, DPLA staff will be available all day online, and informally in person in the late afternoon in the Boston area (at a location to be determined), for those taking their first look," Cohen said. "I see the building of a new library as one of the greatest examples of what humans can do together to extend the light against the darkness. In due time, we will let that light shine through."

April 17, 2013

Officials of the Los Angeles Community College District are calling it a "rebalancing" plan, but student leaders and others aren't going along. The Los Angeles Times reported that the plan involves cutting the $1,500 monthly car allowance top administrators receive to $500, and then using the extra $1,000 a month to give raises to those administrators. The plan is based on the idea that the administrators are underpaid, compared to others in California. But student leaders and their backers say that the district shouldn't be paying top officials to drive to and from work, and that any savings should go to restoring some of the class sections that have been cut in recent years.

 

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