U.S. Higher Education News for September 27, 2015

DiPaola, Jerry. “Stipend to Offset College Athletes’ Costs Could Unbalance Playing Field.Pittsburgh Tribune Review [PA] 27 Sep. 2015.

For decades, the scholarship model in college athletics remained unchanged: room and board, tuition and books, miscellaneous fees. . . .

This year, those items will be supplemented for the first time at 65 of the richest schools: those in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC “” the Power 5 conferences. At Pitt, the first cost-of-attendance checks will be issued in October to about 350 full and partial scholarship athletes.

Dan Bartholomae, Pitt’s executive associate athletic director for compliance and administration, said four $824 checks totaling $3,296 will be distributed in October, December, February and April to athletes on full scholarship. Those with partial scholarships will get less. Graduate students, who generally have more personal expenses than undergraduates, will get a total of $5,922, he said.

For years, athletes have complained that, because of so many demands placed on their time by coaches and professors, getting a part-time job for pocket money is difficult.  . . .

URL: http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/9150884-74/pitt-state-cost#axzz3nLAanXvQ

Haurwitz, Ralph K. M. “Abbott Seeking Stars of Research.” Austin American-Statesman [TX] 27 Sep. 2015: A, 1.

. . . Gov. Greg Abbott borrowed elements from UT’s playbook and also looked to Texas A&M University’s twist on the theme when he put together plans for his own program to recruit prominent researchers to the state’s public institutions of higher learning.

The Governor’s University Research Initiative, which the Legislature seeded with $38 million for a two-year budget, is a clear example of the GOP governor’s departure from the policy and tone on higher education set by his predecessor, Rick Perry, also a Republican. . . .

The Governor’s University Research Initiative, for which his office is currently writing implementation rules, is intended to attract the elite of the elite to Texas academic and health campuses by offering grants matched dollar for dollar by those schools for setting up labs and other one-time costs. Top priority goes to recruiting Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Such academic rock stars not only burnish a school’s reputation, but they typically bring with them millions of dollars in federally funded research projects, and sometimes the potential for private-sector startups. They are also magnets for top graduate students. . . .

URL: http://www.pressreader.com/usa/austin-american-statesman-sunday/20150927/281505045025880/TextView

Long, Katherine. “Colleges Recalculate Math Requirements; In Washington State, Leaders Consider How Much People Really Need.” Providence Journal [RI] 27 Sep. 2015: E, 4. [Originally published in the Seattle Times.]

. . . More than any other subject, math trips up students who might otherwise thrive in college, especially those who don’t plan to go into technical careers that require proficiency with numbers. . . .

Students who are studying to become nurses, social workers, early-childhood educators or carpenters may never use intermediate algebra, much less calculus. Yet for years, community colleges have used a one-size-fits-all math approach that’s heavy on algebra and preps students for calculus.

That’s starting to change in a few pioneering schools that are overhauling what math they teach and how they teach it. Some colleges, for example, have started to offer a math sequence that focuses on statistics, and persuaded the state’s four-year colleges to accept it as a college math credit. Others are offering a learn-at-your-own-pace approach.

These experiments, to date, are small but encouraging. The word is spreading about algebra alternatives, many of which include the kind of math students are more likely to need, such as probability and margins of error in opinion polls. Students are flocking to such classes and they’re passing at much higher rates.

One study found that a statistics-focused class, identical to one offered at Seattle Central College, had triple the success rate when compared with the traditional math sequence, and students finished math in half the time. . . .

URL: http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/its-not-you-its-the-math-colleges-rethink-what-students-need/

Stone, Geoffrey R., and Will Creeley. “Restoring Free Speech on Campus” [Op-Ed]. Washington Post 27 Sep. 2015: A, 23.

Censorship in the academic community is commonplace. Students and faculty are increasingly being investigated and punished for controversial, dissenting or simply discomforting speech. It is time for colleges and universities to take a deep breath, remember who they are and reaffirm their fundamental commitment to freedom of expression.

The past academic year offers a depressing number of examples of institutions of higher education failing to live up to their core mission. . . .

Restrictions on free expression on college campuses are incompatible with the fundamental values of higher education. At public institutions, they violate the First Amendment; at most private institutions, they break faith with stated commitments to academic freedom. And these restrictions are widespread: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s most recent survey of college and university policies found that more than 55 percent of institutions maintain illiberal speech codes that prohibit what should be protected speech. For students and faculty, the message is clear: Speaking your mind means putting your education or your career at risk. . . .

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/restoring-free-speech-on-campus/2015/09/25/65d58666-6243-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html

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And here is another item of possible interest from a newspaper published outside of the U.S.:

Foreman, Amanda. “Water Slides and Breadth of Study: The Gulf between US and UK Universities.” Sunday Times [UK] 27 Sep. 2015: 28.

My view of US college life before I got there was based on the 1978 film Animal House. . . .

Leaving aside the pitfalls of unsupervised behaviour, Animal House hints at something else American students take for granted: a campus lifestyle that is jaw-droppingly luxurious. Believe me, it has only improved since 1978. The universities are locked into an amenities arms race. In 2013 almost $11bn (£7.2bn) was spent on upgrades and building projects. . . .

Fortunately there’s no chance of anything like that happening to British www.parents.UK universities have nothing like the financial heft of their American counterparts. Cambridge is the richest university in the country with an endowment of nearly £5bn (about $7.5bn). Harvard and Yale lead the US pack with $32bn and $20bn respectively.

Lack of money is only one of the problems holding back British universities. Until recently excessive rigidity has also been an issue. That’s now changing, with Leicester University announcing that from this academic year students can study for their degrees in a flexible, US-style combination of “major” and “minor” subjects.

There is a long way to go, however, before students in Britain will enjoy the real luxury of an American education: total freedom of intellectual exploration. I have touched on this subject before but it always seemed too much to hope that the same openness to learning would travel across the Atlantic. Even now I’m not sure there is a proper understanding of why it’s good to allow students “a grab bag of modules”, as a pro-vice chancellor of Leicester described the US system. . . .

URL: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/article1611850.ece

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Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Seven Days:

September 20, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-20-2015/

September 21, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/22/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015/

September 22, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-1/

September 22, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-2/

September 23, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-1/

September 23, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-2/

September 24, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-1/

September 24, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-2/

September 25, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-1/

September 25, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-2/

September 26: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/30/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-26-2015/

3 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 27, 2015

  1. Pingback: U.S. Higher Education News for September 28, 2015 | The Academe Blog

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