“Sigma Alpha Epsilon — one of the nation’s largest and oldest fraternities that counts among its alums William Faulkner and President William McKinley — had announced in a statement Friday that it would end its member initiation practices. “We have experienced a number of incidents and deaths, events with consequences that have never been consistent with our membership experience,” SAE said. The frat will now have a more cerebral selection process they are dubbing “The True Gentleman Experience.””
“Right now in order to finance United States government, we take in billions of dollars in profits off student loans, but permit billionaires to have enough loopholes that they pay at tax rates that can be lower than those of their secretaries. It’s about values. Where, as a country, do we believe we should make our investments? Follow the money on this. Invest in billionaires or invest in students. Well I want to put my money on students.”
“Companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review, as well as smaller boutique test prep businesses, can charge more than $1,000 per course. Private tutors often charge more than $15,000 a year. According to the College Board, the industry is largely built on teaching kids “tricks” and gimmicks to outsmart the test, as well as other skills and facts that even Coleman now admits have been disconnected from what kids learn in school. Part of Coleman’s SAT overhaul will scrap esoteric vocabulary and the non-evidence-based essay, with the goal of making the test more tied to schools’ curricula so that any student who studies hard can be sufficiently prepared for the test.”
The 2013 Freshman Survey, conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program, suggests that more than two-thirds, or 69.8 percent, of entering freshmen are using online instructional materials such as massive open online courses and video lectures on their own time, compared to less than half, or 41.8 percent, as an assignment in a high school class.
Yet once they reach college, the expectation that fully online courses will be a part of the schedule plummets. Less than one in every 10 students in the fall 2013 freshman class at almost every type of four-year institution said there is a “very good chance” they will enroll in a fully online course. Students at private universities are least likely to think so — only 3 percent of respondents at those institutions picked that answer — but the interest isn’t much higher at public four-year colleges, where 8 percent of students said the same.
“Too much of the public discourse on the value of higher education is driven by staid understanding of universities as degree mills that are easily replaced by online counterparts. But there is tremendous value in a campus, and universities would be well served to emphasize it and support its underlying activities. Likewise, MOOCs and other online education platforms need to recognize these factors to truly add or complement their vaue. We need to be careful here, or we really will end up with a situation where there are, as famously predicted, only 10 universities left in the world. Or we end up with a bunch of isolated online courses without a shared culture.”
“As the College Board overhauls the panic-inducing SAT admissions exam, it’ll be giving Khan Academy access to actual test questions in the hopes of creating a sophisticated learning program aimed at test prep otherwise reserved to wealthier students. “So big picture success is that access to college (and success in life) becomes much less dependent on income and much more dependent on merit,” Khan Academy Founder, Sal Khan, writes to me. “We think we can make the playing field more level by making the best-in-class tool and making it free. We hope that beyond individual students, these tools become adopted by after-school and college readiness programs.””
“The last five years have seen 20 new scholarly books with “zombie” in the title or topic category, according to Baker & Taylor, a distributor of academic and other books; in the 10 prior years, there were 10. JSTOR, an online archive of about 2,000 academic journals, says the journals have run 39 articles invoking the undead since 2005, versus seven in the preceding 10 years.”
“Greek membership is found to increase the desire to pursue a graduate degree, and increase the likelihood of graduating on time,” report P. Wesley Routon of Middle Tennessee State University and Jay Walker of Niagara University. They find belonging to a sorority has no significant effect on the grade point averages of women, while membership in a fraternity lowers the GPAs of men “only very slightly.”
“Penn State and other research universities typically have IP that has been marketed by their tech transfer offices but for a variety of reasons has not been picked up by a commercial entity and therefore sits on the proverbial shelf," Huss said. "This auction is an effort to get our IP off of the shelf and in the hands of companies that can use the technology, at very favorable terms and price points. The buyers get the rights to use the IP, and the University gets a financial return. It’s a win-win situation.”
“If we are to give students the right tools to navigate an increasingly math-driven world, we must teach them early on that mathematics is not just about numbers and how to solve equations but about concepts and ideas. It’s about things like symmetry groups, which physicists have used to predict subatomic particles — from quarks to the Higgs boson — and describe their interactions. Or Riemannian geometry, which goes far beyond the familiar Euclidean geometry, and which enabled Einstein to realize that the space we inhabit is curved. Or clock arithmetic — in which adding four hours to 10 a.m. does not get you to 14 but to 2 p.m. — which forms the basis of modern cryptography, protects our privacy in the digital world and, as we’ve learned, can be easily abused by the powers that be. We also need to convey to students that mathematical truths are objective, persistent and timeless. They are not subject to changing authority, fads or fashion. A mathematical statement is either true or false; it’s something we all agree on. To paraphrase William Blake, mathematics “cleanses the doors of perception.””