Anthony DeCurtis of the School of Arts & Sciences talks about rap artist Kanye West and the discussions he provokes in DeCurtis’ pop culture and arts criticism course.
Penn Daily News Service | Feb 10, 2016
Penn in the News
Marybeth Gasman of the Graduate School of Education is quoted about The Center for Minority Serving Institutions launching a new program called Pathways to the Professoriate.
Jack Ludmir of the Perelman School of Medicine is highlighted for spending the last several weeks in Colombia helping control the Zika outbreak.
Dean Eric Furda of Admissions comments on the new SAT and says the performance of first-time test takers will determine which version of the test is better.
Noteworthy in Higher Education
Earlham College regularly organizes intense meetings on campus issues, with faculty, staff and students all getting a chance to speak. That's what the Indiana college did when it canceled classes to allow hundreds of students and faculty to gather with administrators in the campus gymnasium and discuss diversity concerns raised by a group of students. More unusual is that the concerns were presented earlier in the week as a list of demands. Protests by minority students in recent months have featured many similar lists, but the idea of students making demands is virtually unheard of at the Quaker college. At Earlham, less than 10 percent of students are Quaker, and the small Quaker population nationally means that colleges in the faith almost by necessity welcome people of a variety of backgrounds. But one aspect of the religion that many students and alumni agree has remained a core part of the college is its commitment to Quaker consensus.
The planet has never been more connected, but students are hardly flocking to study foreign languages. Over all, enrollments in the courses have stagnated. Colleges are increasingly dropping foreign language as a requirement for graduation. Many departments have been targeted for closure or consolidation. That’s not true for all languages. Interest has surged in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese, mirroring geopolitical trends. But other departments are withering. None has been hit harder in recent decades than German. Its enrollment is less than half of what it was in 1968, all the more notable as the number of college students has nearly tripled. Since 1990 more than 280 colleges have stopped teaching German.
On a plane trip to California, two Northwestern University officials worried over the $3.75 billion campaign they were leading. Three years after the start of the quiet phase of the drive and almost a year after its public launch, they were ahead of schedule and landing multimillion-dollar pledges, including one for $40 million. But in their planning, they had expected at least one gift of $100 million. "Are we ever going to break the $40 million level?" President Morton Schapiro wondered aloud to development chief Robert McQuinn. That was December 2014. Mr. Schapiro needn’t have worried. Within weeks, the university had secured one gift of $100 million and another for $92 million. A second $100 million contribution rolled in later. And by year’s end, Northwestern could count four donors who each had reached nine figures in total campaign giving.
Woodrow Wilson: progressive visionary or unrepentant racist? If the 28th president of the United States were all one or the other, Princeton University would have decided long ago whether to change names and monuments on campus that honor former President Wilson, a Princeton alumnus and the Ivy League school's 13th president. But the reality, historians and students agree, is that Wilson was both. So do Wilson's views on race and segregation warrant stripping his name from the campus? Some say it amounts to erasing history and overlooking the positive aspects of his legacy.
A recent ruling in a decade-old case over the lack of investment in Maryland’s historically black colleges shows the state’s troubles with inequity in higher education are far from resolved. Federal judge Catherine C. Blake nixed a proposal by a coalition of alumni from Maryland’s four historically black institutions to merge the University of Baltimore with the state’s largest public HBCU, Morgan State University. The idea is one of three the group put forth to create parity among the state’s public colleges and universities. Blake previously dismissed a call for increased funding, arguing that state appropriations had improved over the years. But in the latest ruling, she supported the coalition’s bid for the creation of academic niches at historically black institutions to make them more competitive.
Professors from universities across the country — from Stanford to North Carolina Central to the University of Nebraska to Harvard — signed a petition calling on the Mount St. Mary’s University administration to reinstate professors who had been fired. Within hours of being posted, the petition had more than 2,400 digital signatures, a symbol of the outrage from some in the campus community as well as in broader academic circles who viewed the terminations as retribution against faculty who had opposed the president. They also said the decisions threaten the academic freedom at the private Catholic university in Maryland and violate the school’s core principles. Alumni wrote letters to the university’s board, parents emailed the Archdiocese, and students planned a day of fasting and prayer for the campus on Ash .
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