Behind the News

Help wanted: Risk-taking community college presidents

In a new study, researchers defined the top five traits shared by community college presidents whose institutions have high student success numbers.

A “willingness to take significant risks to advance student success” is a quality often overlooked by hiring boards in the search for community college leaders, says Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence program.

Colleges investing in tablets to help student athletes

After pilot program with basketball teams, University of Akron hopes to give iPads to all 30,000 students in the future

With days spent on buses and planes, it’s easy for student athletes to fall behind in class. That’s why The University of Akron (Ohio) is giving them iPads.

Fully funded by donors, the program was piloted last year, with all members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams receiving tablets at a cost of $500 each. Along with improving academic performance, the tablets are meant to make it easier for coaches to communicate with players.

Bill would make it easier for STEM grads, PhDs to get green cards

DREAM Act provision would create an expedited 5-year pathway to citizenship for those who attend a U.S. university or who serve in the military

The Senate-approved approach to immigration reform could improve the country’s competitiveness by allowing green cards for STEM master’s graduates, and it would also create a pathway to citizenship for students brought to this country illegally as children.

And though the Republican controlled House is likely to produce its own, narrower immigration reform bill, the Senate bill is seen as a symbolic step forward in the higher ed community.

Bugs control pests at Union College (N.Y.) and beyond

Ladybugs and preying mantises allow campuses to reduce use of pesticides

There’s not a tree that grows in the northeast that can’t be found on the campus of Union College in upstate New York, the manager of the institution’s grounds says.

But ladybugs and praying mantises—not insecticides—are the main tools the small college in Schenectady uses to protect a lush arboreal asset that some say helps prospective students pick Union over competing institutions.

Two-year college students face more money stress

Two-year students typically work more hours than four-year students and may have families to provide for

Colleges combat drug use during finals

Officials at many colleges are reexamining their student conduct rules to specifically mention that drugs without a prescription are not allowed on campus

Colleges face scrutiny over sex assaults

Improving the system for reporting incidents through better communication

Sexual assault on campuses has been in the spotlight lately, leading to conversations among administrators and policymakers about improving Title IX and Clery Act compliance while better protecting students.

Mobile commencement site helps Yale handle train crash

Yale created site to give commencement guests access to event schedules, interactive maps, parking information, and directions via their smartphones

Colby is biggest college yet to go carbon neutral

Along with Colby, which has just over 1,800 students, College of the Atlantic (Maine), Green Mountain College (Vt.), and University of Minnesota at Morris have achieved carbon neutrality

Administrators and Faculty Split on Online Learning’s Value

77 percent of academic leaders surveyed believe online education results in the same or superior learning outcomes as in face-to-face classes.

The number of students taking at least one course online is on the rise; the 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and released this year indicated that number surpassed 6.7 million for the fall 2011 semester.

That said, there is a divergence between higher ed administrators and faculty on the value of online learning. Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders surveyed believe online education results in the same or superior learning outcomes as in face-to-face classes.

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