- 0730 Japan Announces Plan to Enroll More Foreign Students
- 0731 Transfer Students Make Up Almost 20% of 4-Year Colleges’ Enrollments, Report Says
- 0731 Court Orders U. of Florida to Recognize Christian Fraternity
- 0801 SUNY System Opens Doors to 150 Students From Chinese Province Hit by Earthquake
- 0802 Study Finds Continuing Shortage of Community-College Leaders
- 0806 Report Advocates Sharing of Syllabi Online
- 0807 LeTourneau U. Helps Students With Airline Baggage Fees
- 0807 S. Korea Plans to Double Intake of Foreign Students Within 2 Years
- 0808 American Universities Maintain Dominance in Latest Shanghai Rankings
- 0812 What’s the Word for ‘University’ in Afghanistan? Parliament Can’t Decide
- 0812 Online Universities Are Gaining Acceptance, Pollster Says
- 0812 Tuition Increase in Britain Has Not Deterred Applicants, Report Says
- 0813 Global Headhunters Are Snaring Ivy League Administrators
- 0813 Judge Rejects Christian Schools’ Complaint of Bias in U. of California Decisions on Courses
- 0813 Canada to Offer Permanent-Resident Status to Eligible Foreign Students
- 0815 Finland, Like Sweden, to End Free Study for Some Foreigners
- 0816 Bolivia to Open 3 Universities Teaching in Indigenous Languages
- 0816 Scientists Work to Develop Mind-Reading Technology
- 0818 British Universities Offer Cash to Get Students to Enroll in Unpopular Programs
- 0818 McCain Lays Out His Higher-Education Plan
Tokyo — Japanese government officials announced today some details of an ambitious plan to nearly triple the country’s enrollment of foreign students, to 300,000 in 12 years, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.
The plan, disclosed amid a looming enrollment crisis at Japanese universities, will ease visa restrictions, improve accommodations, increase Japanese-language teaching, and help foreign students find work in the country after graduation.
About 30 of Japan’s top universities will be designated as key centers for the “opening up of higher education to foreign students,” according to a joint announcement by the ministries of education, justice, and foreign affairs, and other bureaucracies. Specific details on each measure were not provided.
About 119,000 foreign students are now at Japanese universities, down from a peak of 122,000 in 2005. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged to raise the figure to 300,000 by 2020 in a January policy speech. But today’s statement, which includes proposals to seek funds in next year’s federal budget, is the first concrete sign that Japan’s slow-moving bureaucracy is gearing up to bring the plan to fruition. —David McNeill
Nearly one out of five students who enrolled for the first time at a four-year college in 2003-4 were transfer students, according to a report issued today by the U.S. Education Department’s statistical arm, the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report, “Descriptive Summary of 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Three Years Later,” covers a range of characteristics of those students from the year they first enrolled until 2006. As a result of that short, three-year window, the report does not contain data on their graduation rates or other evidence of their educational outcome. The report also notes that about one-fourth of the students earned college credit while in high school. —Andrew Mytelka
Afederal appeals court ordered the University of Florida on Wednesday to recognize a Christian fraternity while a trial court hears the group’s lawsuit over the university’s decision to deny it official recognition, according to The Independent Florida Alligator, the campus’s student newspaper.
The university has refused to recognize the fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi, as an official student group because its requirement that members be Christians violates the university’s policy on religious discrimination.
The fraternity sued the university in July 2007. After the trial court denied the group’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would require the university to recognize it while the case proceeds, the fraternity appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. That court issued the order on Wednesday to the university.
The fraternity is being represented by the Christian Legal Society and the Alliance Defense Fund, which have handled similar cases. —Beckie Supiano
This fall, 150 Chinese undergraduates from Sichuan province, which was hit with a devastating earthquake in May, will be studying at the State University of New York, free of charge.
In exchange, they have agreed to return home after the academic year ends to help rebuild the local economy.
The deal, which involves 22 SUNY campuses, was worked out between the university system and the Chinese government. Megan Galbraith, a SUNY spokeswoman, said the university planned to raise about $5-million from private donors to cover the students’ tuition and living expenses. The Chinese government has agreed to pay travel and visa costs.
The students, mostly sophomores and juniors, are all Sichuan residents and enrolled at one of four national universities or at colleges in Sichuan. Both their academic performance and English-language abilities were reviewed before they were accepted, SUNY said in a news release. Academics from China and SUNY matched the students to particular campuses based on their academic interests and available space. —Beth McMurtrie
Community colleges face a looming wave of presidential retirements as well as a shortage of qualified replacements, according to a newly released study by researchers at Iowa State University that echoes concerns dating back nearly a decade.
The new study, of 415 community-college presidents, found that 79 percent will retire by 2012. It also found a 78-percent drop in the number of degrees awarded to graduates of programs in community-college leadership from 1983 to 1997.
“Those would be the people who would really be in the chute to take the place of those who were retiring,” said Christopher Duree, a research associate at Iowa State who led the study.
Presidents in the study were, on average, 58 years old, and only a third were women. According to the survey, their two most pressing concerns were fund raising and working with lawmakers. —Paul Fain
Universities should encourage greater openness by requiring faculty members to post course syllabi online before the beginning of the term, argues a new report by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
It doesn’t have to be the full and final version of the syllabus, with complete rules on grading and classroom demeanor. But providing detailed course descriptions and reading lists lets students know what they’re signing up for and makes professors accountable for what they teach, argues Jay Schalin, a senior writer at the nonprofit institute, in North Carolina.
The benefits, writes Mr. Schalin, would be fourfold: An online repository of syllabi would help students make informed course decisions, allow for comparisons across institutions, enable information sharing among faculty members, and “expose a professor’s deviation from normal expectations or acceptable academic standards.”
Plenty of professors are leery of syllabus sharing, for fear it might lead to syllabus stealing. But the report, “Opening Up the Classroom: Greater Transparency Through Better, More Accessible Course Information,” highlights online systems at the University of Washington and Duke University that give students information on a course’s content, method of instruction, reading list, exams, and assignments before they register for classes. —Paula Wasley
As students jet off to college this fall, they’ll be hit with new baggage fees that airlines have imposed to offset increased fuel costs.
LeTourneau University, in Longview, Texas, has decided to ease the burden on new students (and perhaps start off on the right foot with them) by paying $15 toward their baggage fees.
“We thought we’d lighten the load for them by offering to help carry their bags,” Linda Fitzhugh, vice president for enrollment services, said in a news release.
The money will be deposited into the students’ accounts after they present their airline tickets to admissions counselors. Ms. Fitzhugh estimates that about half of the 180 new students from out of state will take advantage of the offer. —Don Troop
South Korea will double the number of foreign students enrolled at its universities to 100,000 by 2010, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has said. The plan, mainly targeting Asian and Middle Eastern students, will also double the number of scholarships available to foreign students to 3,000, ease visa restrictions and increase accommodations, according to The Korea Times.
Seoul is trying to correct a lopsided international-education system that annually sends 220,000 students to study abroad — about 30 percent of them to the United States — while accepting very few in return. Foreign students make up less than 1 percent of total enrollment at South Korean universities, the lowest proportion among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“If the number of foreign students increases to 100,000,” a ministry official, Shin Kang-tak, told The Korea Times, “we can earn 160 billion won [$157-million]. Foreigners graduating from Korean universities will also serve as a driving force in this country, which is suffering from a low birth rate.’’
In a separate announcement, President Bush, who is visiting Seoul this week, agreed with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak, to set up a program allowing up to 5,000 Korean college students or recent graduates to stay in the United States for up to 18 months to study English and work as interns. —David McNeill
American institutions continue to dominate the top echelons of the influential list: 54 percent of the top 100 universities are in the United States, according to an analysis, with Harvard retaining the top spot, followed by Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.
The only three non-American universities in the top 20 are the University of Cambridge, at number four, the University of Oxford, at number 10, and Tokyo University, in the 19th spot.
Chinese universities continue to be outperformed by other Asian institutions in regional powerhouses like Japan, but have improved their showing since last year and now occupy 18 spots in the Top 100 Asia Pacific Universities.
The list is not due to be published officially until August 15, but the new compilation has already generated a flurry of headlines in France, where the highest-ranking institution, Université de Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie), comes in three places down from last year at number 42.
The French Senate last month “proposed developing a new European university ranking system to counter the powerful Shanghai world ranking, which is said to favor English-language institutions.”—Aisha Labi
Afghanistan’s lawmakers spent today’s session of parliament debating the contentious issue of which word to use for “university,” the Reuters news agency reported.
Afghanistan boasts just seven universities, according to the Europa World of Learning, but how to refer to this handful of institutions has stymied parliamentarians. Pashtu speakers, who are mainly from the south and east, and Dari-speaking Tajiks, from the north and west, are at odds over which words to use for terms like “university” and “student,” and for academic titles, Reuters reported.
One parliamentarian, Ahmad Ali Jebrayeli, told the news agency that some of the lawmakers favored “the use of Dari expressions by Dari speakers and Pashtu words for those who speak Pashtu,” but others preferred “the old-style Pashtu words, because some of the expressions used by Dari speakers are actually Iranian Farsi.”
The linguistic nuances are controversial enough that a journalist for a state newspaper was recently fined “for using the Persian word for university in a report,” the Reuters article noted.
Parliament failed to agree on a resolution and decided instead to form a committee to look into the problem, Mr. Jebrayeli told Reuters. —Aisha Labi
National surveys show that a majority of Americans think online universities offer a lower quality of education than do traditional institutions. But a prominent pollster, John Zogby, says in a book being released on Tuesday that it won’t be long before American society takes to distance education as warmly as it has embraced game-changing innovations like microbrewed beers, Flexcars, and “the simple miracle of Netflix.”
The factor that will close that “enthusiasm gap” is the growing use of distance education by well-respected universities, Mr. Zogby predicts in the book, The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream (Random House).
The book, which is based on Zogby International polls and other studies, also touches on public attitudes toward politics, consumer habits, spirituality, and international affairs, and on what men and women really want from one another. Mr. Zogby says polls detect signs of society’s emerging resistance to big institutions, and its de-emphasis on things and places. “We’re redefining geography and space,” he says — and a widening acceptance of online education is part of that trend.
Today there is still a “cultural lag” between the public’s desire for flexible ways to take college courses and what the most-established players offer, Mr. Zogby said in an interview with The Chronicle. “There’s a sense that those who define the standard haven’t caught on yet,” he said.
But Mr. Zogby writes that polling by his organization shows that attitudes about online education are changing fast. His polling also points to other challenges that colleges will face as they race to serve a worldwise generation of 18- to 29-year-olds that Mr. Zogby calls “First Globals.”
In one 2007 poll of more 5,000 adults, Zogby International found that 30 percent of respondents were taking or had taken an online course, and an additional 50 percent said they would consider taking one. Those numbers might skew a little high, he said, because the poll was conducted online and the definition of an online course was broad, including certificate programs or training modules offered by employers.
Only 27 percent of respondents agreed that “online universities and colleges provide the same quality of education” as traditional institutions. Among those 18 to 24 years old, only 23 percent agreed.
An even greater proportion of those polled said it was their perception that employers and academic professionals thought more highly of traditional institutions than online ones.
Rapid Shift in Attitude
Yet in another national poll in December 2007, conducted for Excelsior College, 45 percent of the 1,004 adults surveyed felt “an online class carries the same value as a traditional-classroom class,” and 43 percent of 1,545 chief executives and small-business owners agreed that a degree earned by distance learning “is as credible” as one from a traditional campus-based program.
Differing attitudes in two polls taken within a year, Mr. Zogby said, show that “the gap was closing” — and he said that wasn’t as surprising as it might seem. As with changing perceptions about other cultural phenomena, “these paradigm shifts really are moving at lightning speed.”
That, said Mr. Zogby, is why he writes about online universities in a chapter — “Dematerializing the Paradigm” — that discusses the rise of car-sharing companies like Flexcar (now merged with Zipcar), the emergence of Internet blogs as a source of news and information, and the popularity of microbrewed beer.
And while it may be true that microbrews and Zipcars, at least, are still very much niche products, Mr. Zogby says they are signs of transcendent change — just like the distance-education courses that are being offered by more and more insitutions across the country. “When you add up all the niche products, it’s a market unto itself,” he said.
In the book, Mr. Zogby also highlights the emerging influence of the First Globals, whom his book calls “the most outward-looking and accepting generation in American history.” First Globals, he says, are more socially tolerant and internationally aware.
It is these First Globals, he writes, who are shaping what he says is nothing short of a “fundamental reorientation of the American character away from wanton consumption and toward a new global citizenry in an age of limited resources.”
Higher education, he said in the interview, needs to take notice and adapt. These days, he said, students are much more likely to have experienced other cultures first-hand, either as tourists or because they’ve immigrated from someplace else. Whether college for them is a traditional complex of buildings or an interactive online message board, said Mr. Zogby, “there is a different student on campus.” —Goldie Blumenstyk
The tuition increase that went into effect at English universities in 2006 has not deterred students from applying to those institutions, according to a report released today by the trade association for British universities’ vice chancellors.
The Universities U.K. publication, “Variable Tuition Fees in England: Assessing Their Impact on Students and Higher Education Institutions,” is the third annual report the group has prepared on the issue, but the first that reveals the full impact on enrollments since the new rates went into effect.
The vice chancellors’ group lobbied hard for the controversial tuition increase, termed “variable fees” because institutions can in theory charge full-time undergraduates any amount up to a government-dictated annual cap of about $6,000.
“Over all there is nothing in the available data that indicates that the introduction of variable fees in England has yet had any lasting impact on the level or pattern of demand for full-time undergraduate education,” the report says.
But, in a development that opponents of the tuition increase will cite as vindication of their fears, the report notes that there has been “no significant change in the ethnic, social class, or age profile of accepted applicants across the four years 2004/05-2007/08,” even though the number of full-time undergraduate applicants rose 10 percent in England and 9 percent in Britain as a whole. The government introduced measures to encourage young people from underrepresented groups to apply to universities when it passed the contentious tuition increase.
The University and College Union, Britain’s main faculty union, which represents 120,000 academics, issued a pointed statement warning institutions and politicians not to use the report to claim that the introduction of higher tuition rates has been a success. The union said that the failure of universities to increase the number of students from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds, despite the government’s insistence that higher tuition would not disproportionately hurt those groups, was “extremely worrying.” —Aisha Labi
The trend, which so far has been restricted to über-wealthy universities, appears to be driven by a new emphasis on fund raising. Government support for higher education is falling in many countries, and Americans are ahead of the game in knowing how to tap private donors.
The talent flow is not going both ways, the magazine reports. The University of Pennsylvania asked a search firm to go global when seeking a new dean for its Wharton business school. The international nominations were underwhelming, and the university ended up hiring an American, Thomas S. Robertson. —Paul Fain
A federal judge has ruled that the University of California did not discriminate against Christian high schools and their students in deciding that some of their courses failed to meet its academic requirements for college applicants.
A school in Southern California, an association of Christian schools, and several students had sued the university in 2005, arguing that its refusal to honor the courses had violated their rights to freedom of speech and religion. The judge in the case, S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, rejected some of their arguments last March, when he ruled that the university’s policy for evaluating high-school courses was not unconstitutional on its face. But he allowed the plaintiffs to continue pressing claims that applications of the policy in decisions regarding specific courses had violated their rights.
In his latest ruling, issued Friday, Judge Otero rejected a number of the plaintiffs’ motions on procedural grounds, then evaluated the schools’ and the university’s arguments regarding decisions on five courses, in biology, English, government, history, and world religions. In each case, the judge found that the university’s decisions had been based on rational considerations and had showed no animus toward the plaintiffs.
In a written statement, Wyatt R. Hume, the university’s provost and executive vice president for academic and health affairs, praised the judge’s ruling. “As we have said all along,” he said, “the question the university addresses in reviewing courses is not whether they have religious content, but whether they provide adequate instruction in the subject matter.”
Robert Tyler, a lawyer representing the schools, told the Associated Press that he had already appealed Judge Otero’s latest decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. —Charles Huckabee
Canada is introducing a fast-track system to let foreign students and graduates with Canadian work experience become permanent residents, according to an announcement this week by the minister of citizenship and immigration.
Until now, students and graduates had to leave Canada to apply for such status, which leads to citizenship in a few years. Currently, foreign students are permitted to work off campus, and earlier this year the government allowed graduates to stay and work for three years.
The new fast-track policy will apply only to those who have completed two years of academic study in Canada, have worked in professional, skilled, or managerial jobs, and have good English- or French-language skills.
Canada decided to revamp its policy to stay competitive with Britain and Australia, according to a report in The Globe and Mail, a newspaper. The initial quota for the applicants is from 12,000 to 18,000 per year. It will be increased to 25,000 applicants per year in the future. —Karen Birchard
Some foreign students in Finland will be charged tuition beginning in 2010, if a new university law drawn up by the government is approved and goes into effect, as expected, in late 2009, according to the Finnish newspaper Helsingen Sanomat.
Students from outside the 27-nation European Union and the European Economic Area now enjoy access to free higher education in Finland, but the new law would impose tuition on non-European students enrolled in certain master’s programs, including those taught “in foreign languages and those with an international orientation,” the newspaper says.
Such programs are of growing importance to Finnish universities, which are increasingly turning to English-language degree programs in order to attract more international students. According to Finland’s Center For International Mobility, some 450 programs are taught in English at the country’s universities and polytechnics.
Helsingen Sanomat says universities would be allowed to set annual fees at their discretion, but notes that proposals a few years ago floated a range from approximately $5,000 to $18,000.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s higher-education minister said recently that similar changes were likely to take effect in that Nordic country in 2010 as well. According to the online publication The Local, the minister, Lars Leijonborg, told Svenska Dagbladet, a leading newspaper, that the government had reached agreement on the controversial issue and was now united in its belief that Swedish universities needed to be able to charge foreign students tuition in the way that American and British universities have long done.
Student groups oppose the plan and worry that it is the first step toward charging tuition to Swedish students as well.
“Free education is one of the primary reasons that students choose Sweden,” The Local reports, noting that most of the 13,000 foreign students in Sweden who are not enrolled in exchange programs are “Asian men who are pursuing technical degrees.” —Aisha Labi
Bolivia plans to open three indigenous universities next year that will teach in Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani, which are co-official languages in the South American country, along with Spanish. The Bolivian president, Evo Morales, has said the universities would help “decolonize” the country ideologically, culturally, socially, and economically, El Pais reports (in Spanish).
The plan has stirred debate among some Bolivian educators, who have criticized the universities’ would-be teachers as inadequately trained, and who have worried about the limits of teaching exclusively in the local languages.
The Bolivian Education and Culture Department said the universities’ curricula would be completed by September, and so far they include subjects such as tropical agronomy, animal husbandry, and forestry, all of them “in great demand.” —Maria José Viñas
Four million dollars for your thoughts? With the help of that much in U.S. Army funding, university scientists are trying to develop a gadget that could read people’s minds, the Associated Press reports.
Led by researchers at the University of California at Irvine, the team is using electroencephalography, or EEG, to analyze the brain activity produced when volunteers think of certain words. The idea is that in the future, thought-recognition software would allow soldiers to transmit messages even if they had brain injuries that prevented them from speaking.
The Associated Press raises the specter that such mind-reading technology could be used to interrogate the enemy. But a press release from the university describes only the benefits to paralysis and stroke victims. Michael D’Zmura, chair of the UCI Department of Cognitive Sciences, told the AP that the technology, once developed, could never force out thoughts from uncooperative subjects.—Jennifer Ruark
Several British universities apparently are offering cash incentives to students to induce them to enroll in unpopular degree programs, according to an investigation by London’s Sunday Times in which undercover reporters posed as students seeking spots.
A female reporter was offered £1,000, or $2,000, to enroll in Leicester University’s undergraduate physics program and was told “that she was a strong candidate for the money partly because women were ‘underrepresented’ on the course,” the Times reported. About a third of the undergraduates in the university’s physics department are women, which the Times notes “is above the national average.”
Alan Smithers, director of Buckingham University’s Center for Education Research, told the newspaper that offering money based solely on gender was an “alarming” result of the government’s attempts at “social engineering.”
Last week, recent British high-school graduates received the results of their A-level examinations, which determine university admissions. Most places have been already allocated based on students’ anticipated grades, but universities are still scrambling to fill undersubscribed courses, and students whose grades did not meet expectations are still trying to secure spots, in a process known as “clearing.” More than 100,000 students are eligible to use the clearing system this year, Britain’s Press Association reported last week.
All but a handful of undergraduate courses of study cost the government-set maximum annual tuition of approximately $6,000, but the newspaper noted that the “booming market in cash awards to fill some courses” represents an effort by institutions, “reluctant to appear cheap,” to effectively offer discounted rates while officially charging the national norm. Institutions market the payments as scholarships, the newspaper said, but pay them directly into students’ bank accounts instead of reducing their fees, and award them without regard to financial need. —Aisha Labi
Sen.John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has released an outline of his higher-education policy.
His plan sets out six broad goals:
- Preparing for “the 21st century in higher education” by removing regulatory barriers that he says prevent institutions from moving forward with new ideas and by encouraging the government to support innovative approaches to education. “We must rise to the challenge and modernize our universities so that they retain their status as producers of the most skilled workforce in the world,” Senator McCain’s plan reads.
- Providing parents better information about colleges by making the data that institutions report to the federal government available in a “clear and concise manner” so that students can make more-informed choices about where to go to college.
- Simplifying the higher-education tax benefits, to make it easier for more families to claim them.
- Simplifying the process for applying for and administering federal financial aid by consolidating government programs.
- Eliminating government spending that lawmakers earmark, through noncompetitive processes, for particular research projects.
- Fixing problems in student lending by expanding the government’s “lender of last resort” system, in which the federal government makes sure students can find loans if a loan emergency were declared, and by demanding “the highest standard of integrity” for private lenders that participate in the federal system. —Sara Hebel
A campaign to lower the legal drinking age to 18 has been joined by more than 100 college chiefs, including those of many well-known institutions. Dubbed the Amethyst Initiative, the effort is also generating a blitz of news-media coverage today.
John M. McCardell Jr., president emeritus of Middlebury College, is behind the campaign. As The Chronicle reported last year, Mr. McCardell founded Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit group that seeks to curb binge drinking by giving “drinking licenses” to 18- to 20-year-olds who have been educated about the downsides of alcohol.
The campaign began heating up in June, when Mr. McCardell spoke at a meeting of the Annapolis Group of liberal-arts colleges. Now presidents of major institutions such as the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and Ohio State University have signed a statement that seeks to “rethink the drinking age.” But not all college presidents are fans of the campaign, which also has a powerful opponent in Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The advocacy group says signatories “shirk responsibility to protect students from dangers of underage drinking.”
For those wondering about the initiative’s name, the ancient Greeks apparently believed that the purple gemstone amethyst warded off drunkenness and promoted moderation, according to the group’s Web site. —Paul Fain
Professors who use detection programs like Turnitin in the hope of dissuading students from cheating may be on the wrong track. New research by psychologists at Ohio State University at Newark focuses instead on profiling the students who are least likely to cheat, and the findings could help identify a target audience for anti-cheating campaigns, one of the researchers said in a news release from the university.
The research is based on two studies that together involved more than 450 undergraduates at the Newark campus. The studies found, not too surprisingly, that students who said they had not cheated in the past month or year and had no plans to cheat in the future also scored highest on tests measuring qualities like courage, empathy, and honesty. Non-cheaters were also less likely to believe that their peers had cheated, the studies found. By contrast, students who scored lower on measurements of courage, empathy, and honesty were more likely to report having cheated, and to believe that other students cheated more often than they themselves did, thus rationalizing their behavior.
Honest students “have a more positive view of others,” explained Sarah Staats, a professor of psychology and a co-author of the study, who presented the findings this past weekend at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association, in Boston. The findings, she said, have implications for identifying both “academic heroes” (non-cheaters) and effective target audiences for anti-cheating campaigns.
When researchers asked students if they planned to cheat in the future, 47 percent said they did not, while 24 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they would. Anti-cheating campaigns, said Ms. Staats, may be able to sway the undecided 29 percent through messages rooted in positive psychology. “Our results suggest that interventions may have a real opportunity to influence at least a quarter of the student population,” she said. —Paula Wasley
A woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing the identity of a missing woman in order to attend Columbia University, the Associated Press reported.
Esther Elizabeth Reed, who is 30, faces up to 47 years in prison and $1-million in fines for identity-theft, mail-fraud, wire-fraud, and loan-fraud charges. Ms. Reed was arrested earlier this year and accused of using the identity of Brooke Henson, a South Carolina woman who has been missing since 1999, to get into Columbia and obtain student loans.
Prosecutors say that, starting in 2001, Ms. Reed juggled six false identities to attend Columbia and California State University at Fullerton, according to the AP. Previous news reports have said Ms. Reed was also admitted to Harvard University under a false identity. At Columbia, at least, prosecutors say Ms. Reed did gain admission using her own SAT score, a 1400. —Elyse Ashburn
In mid-July, after it received numerous public and private complaints, the University of San Diego withdrew its invitation to a feminist theologian to hold an endowed chair during the fall 2009 semester. Now, some faculty members and Roman Catholic groups are protesting the Catholic university’s decision, which they say prioritized Catholic doctrine over academic freedom.
The university said it had decided Rosemary Radford Ruether was the wrong person for the prestigious post because of her service on the Board of Directors of the abortion-rights organization Catholics for Choice. “Her public position and the symbol of this chair are in direct conflict,” a university spokeswoman, Pamela Gray Payton, told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Two thousand people, including 50 faculty members at San Diego, have signed a petition supporting Ms. Ruether. The petition, sponsored by two women’s religious groups, asks the university either to appoint Ms. Ruether to the position or to host her on the campus for a lecture on academic freedom.
The university had invited Ms. Ruether to hold the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology, a post that would have entailed teaching a course, giving a public lecture, and serving as a mentor for junior faculty members. The invitation drew cries of protest from Catholics who argued that Ms. Ruether’s support of abortion rights is incompatible with Roman Catholic beliefs. —Allie Grasgreen
The presumed Republican and Democratic nominees for president, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, will debate one another three times this fall on university campuses, their campaigns announced today in a joint statement.
The debates, to be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will be held as follows:
- September26, at the University of Mississippi, on foreign policy and national security, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS.
- October7, at Belmont University, in Tennessee, on topics drawn from a town-hall audience and moderated by Tom Brokaw of NBC News.
- October15, at Hofstra University, in New York, on domestic and economic policy, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.
The campaigns also agreed to hold a debate between the yet-to-be-named vice-presidential candidates, on October 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS.
All four debates will last 90 minutes each and will begin at 9 p.m., Eastern time. —Andrew Mytelka
SaudiArabia’s Ministry of Higher Education is investigating whether people have used fake degrees purchased from an illegal diploma mill in the United States to obtain work in the Middle Eastern country.
The U.S. Department of Justice shut down the illegal operation in 2005, and earlier this year the diploma mill’s operators pleaded guilty to fraud. They were subsequently sentenced to prison terms for their roles in the scam, which took in $7.3-million from some 10,000 people. It was only last month that a list of those people was published by the local newspaper in Spokane, Wash., where the diploma mill was based.
The Arab News reported that Saudi authorities opened an investigation after 69 Saudi residents were among those listed by the Spokane newspaper.
A member of the Saudi Shura Council, a legislative body, criticized Saudi newspapers for having published advertisements for the illegitimate operation in the first place. The official, Abdullah Al-Tuwairqi, urged government officials to extend the investigation to newspapers that publish such ads without first conducting background checks on the institutions, the Arab News reported.
Similar questions are being asked in other Arab countries, as people in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates were also listed as purchasers of the bogus certificates.
In Bahrain, the Gulf Daily News reported that the Higher Education Council, which is responsible for verifying foreign degrees, had not encountered any of the 10 Bahrainis who appear on the list of purchasers. —Andrew Mills
Attacks on their campus have forced students at a Christian college in Indonesia’ s capital to take refuge in tents and in the lobby of the parliament building for nearly a month, while the theology school has agreed to relocate out of a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, the Associated Press reported.
The first assaults on the Arastamar Evangelical School of Theology, which is also known as Seta College, took place on July 25, when residents of the neighborhood in Jakarta entered the campus with machetes and Molotov cocktails. Eighteen students were injured in the clashes, and administrators evacuated the five dormitories after a second night of attacks.
Relations between the 1,400-student school and its neighbors have been tense since 2003, as local residents have complained about loud singing and prayers coming from the campus. This summer, tensions escalated over reports of petty thefts by students, including a pet bird. But some observers suspect that local property developers, who have been trying to buy the 20-year-old campus, are behind the attacks.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, has traditionally tolerated minority religions. But recently, radical groups have attacked churches and even mosques that oppose a hard-line doctrine.
The school’s administrators have agreed to move the campus to a small office building in another part of Jakarta. —Martha Ann Overland