Behind the News

‘Trigger warnings’ trigger college debate

Giving students a heads up about potentially disturbing course material

We’ve all seen the familiar warning preceding TV shows: “The following program contains material that may be disturbing.Viewer discretion is advised.” Online, the term “trigger warning” is a common notation on women’s blogs and forums to alert readers, particularly victims of sexual abuse, of content they might want to avoid.

Now several universities, spurred by student groups, are considering adding trigger warnings to course material that some students may find disturbing. That may include references to rape and violence as well as racism.

U.S. schools push for campuswide fair-trade status

17 U.S. institutions have been recognized as a “Fair Trade Colleges”

Last fall Cabrini College (Pa.) became one of only 17 colleges and universities in the United States to be recognized as a “Fair Trade College.” (The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh was the first in 2008.)

Colleges with many Twitter followers don’t always engage

Most-mentioned schools mostly using Twitter to broadcast university and industry news

Colleges and universities with the most Twitter activity are missing out on engaging prospective students via the platform, according to new research from Brandwatch, a social media monitoring and analytics firm.

The analysis used a Thomson Reuters list of the top 10 U.S. university mentions on Twitter from January 31 through March 31. The big finding: The main Twitter handles of these schools were used mostly for broadcasting university-specific and industry news, according to the research.

Lowering law school tuition for higher applicant numbers

Enrollment drop due to 'job contraction and an overreaction to that contraction'

U.S. law school enrollment has dropped by 36 percent the past three years—and some schools are freezing or reducing tuition in response.

The drop is due to both “job contraction and an overreaction to that contraction,” says Judith Areen, executive director and CEO of The Association of American Law Schools. “The projected number of jobs available is higher than law school enrollment is reflecting.”

App helps students find empty study space

RoomFinder taps into lighting system to figure out which rooms are vacant

Students at Bryant University, like collegians at many schools, often had trouble finding quiet study space. Until recently, they would roam the hallways searching for an unused classroom where they could work in solitude. But now there’s an iPhone and Android app that quickly steers students at this Rhode Island institution to a peaceful place.

Activity heats up in student information system market

Colleges and universities replace outdated and homegrown systems

A potentially positive higher ed economic indicator is that more institutions purchased student information systems in 2013 than had done so in any year since 2008, according to a recent market analysis by The Tambellini Group.

Two of the main reasons given for the 195 purchases were the need to update outdated software and to replace homegrown systems.

Will Title IX crackdown make students safer?

Sexual violence and harassment investigations pick up

The controversy over campus officials’ handling of sexual assault complaints may have reached a tipping point in May when the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released a list of 55 colleges under investigation for possible violations of Title IX.

Then, 32 more schools were revealed as under investigation, though not for incidents directly related to sexual violence.

Study questions SAT’s admissions value

Students who submit standardized test scores don't show higher success rates

There is no significant difference in the success rates of students who submit standardized test scores to colleges and those who don’t. That’s the summary of a NACAC report, “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions," which looked at nearly 123,000 students at 33 public and private institutions of all sizes.

ESL staff learn, students teach

Students volunteer to teach English to catering and facilities staff

In Project Bridge—what may be a first-of-its-kind program—student volunteers at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. are giving English lessons to catering and facilities staff.

The project was originally conceived by Patricia Tome, a modern languages professor who assigned her intermediate-level Spanish classes to tutor Rollins’ staff for a short time. In January 2012, the then-president of the Latin American Student Association, Tasha Bianchi-Macaraig, took over the program as student advisor.

Lawmakers pitch 'pay it forward’ model to ease Michigan tuition

In-state students could attend college for free and pay percentage of incomes back after graduation

Michigan legislators have introduced a plan that would allow in-state college-bound students to attend college for free and then, as graduates, pay a percentage of their income back. Known as a “pay it forward” model, the money paid back would go into a special fund to help other students attend college using the same plan.

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