You are here

Behind the News

Wake Forest U’s 2014 commencement speaker, Jill Abramson, was no longer New York Times editor-in-chief when she gave her speech, but the talk was still well received.

Choices for commencement speakers are making headlines this season, and higher ed officials are aiming to make sure those headlines are positive. For one thing, many colleges now prioritize student input and diversity when choosing commencement speakers. 

As a new study shows one group of students falling farther behind in the struggle to land jobs with salaries that will allow them to pay off debts and achieve financial stability, some experts say it’s the country’s education system that needs to adjust.

Some campus officials worry energy drinks contribute to students' risky behaviors.

Citing that energy drinks have been linked to health problems, Middlebury College has stopped selling them to students. School officials also suggested the popular beverages, which are often mixed with alcohol, have been involved in incidents of binge drinking, “high-risk sexual activity” and other unsafe behaviors.

Reentry Project class speaker Jamil Watson addressed his peers at a completion ceremony in December 2015.

New momentum has built behind higher education’s pivotal role in helping prison inmates turn their life around and re-enter society. So, what if a city offered convicted felons a college education instead of a jail sentence?

University of Washington law students can study the connections between culture, crime and criminal justice at a prison alongside inmates.

A little time in prison brings University of Washington students much closer to people impacted by the issues they’re studying. Fourth-year law students learn alongside inmates in a seminar class taught at the Monroe Correctional Facility near Seattle.

​Encouraging students to take a full-time course load to target on-time graduation has become a popular focus area in higher ed. Cleveland State University takes the concept a step further with its graduation incentive plan—in which students earn tuition rebates and bookstore credits for staying on track.

Oral Roberts University students have to walk an average of 10,000 steps each day.

All first-year students must buy and wear a Fitbit fitness-tracker. While some critics called this requirement an overreach, school officials say Oral Roberts has long had a fitness component as part of its “Whole Person Education,” which focuses on mind, body and spirit.

GIS mapping was instrumental in Dickinson College’s cleanup effort after Winter Storm Jonas blanketed the campus with nearly three feet of snow.

GIS maps maps provide details about certain areas of campus—such as the exact length and location of streets and walkways, and the presence of potential hazards. They can also be stocked with limitless tiers of data—for instance, streets on one layer, buildings on a second, student distribution on the next, and high-crime areas on another.

Since 2007, U.S. institutions of higher education have primarily reduced carbon emissions by increasing the use of natural gas. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Despite higher ed’s progress in reducing energy use and making facilities more sustainable, it turns out that the biggest factor in the drop has been due to a change from coal and oil to natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel.

Between 2007 and 2014, emissions per square foot have declined 13 percent, found a recent study of energy use and carbon emissions data at 343 U.S. colleges and universities from Sightlines, a university facilities cost-analysis provider, and the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute.

An innovative articulation agreement between Anna Maria College and nearby Quinsigamond Community College (both in Massachusetts) will help fill critical public service jobs.

Under the terms of the agreement, students in public service majors who earn an associate degree at Quinsigamond are guaranteed admission to Anna Maria to complete their four-year degree.

Pages