The Answer Sheet: Higher Education

Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 02/27/2011

James Franco’s unusual education

James Franco, actor and co-host of The Academy Awards tonight, likes going to school. In fact, he still is, studying for his doctorate in English at Yale University, while fitting in movie and television appearances when he isn’t studying.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:27 PM ET, 02/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 02/01/2011

Peace Corps' 2011 college rankings; D.C., Va. schools on top

The Peace Corps, in its 50th year, announces its 2011 college rankings. Tops in their categories: The George Washington University in Washington D.C., the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:08 AM ET, 02/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/29/2010

University of Virginia reforms speech code

The University of Virginia has eliminated four controversial policies that restricted the free speech of students and faculty, becoming one of a minority of schools across the country to do so.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 11/13/2010

So you want to be a professor? A laugh/cry video

Here's a sad/funny video showing an optimistic student in conversation with her realistic (some would say jaded) professor about going to graduate school and becoming a humanities instructor.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 11/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 11/03/2010

Why so many bright kids fail to launch in college

Nationwide, there is a large and growing group of bright kids whose brains aren’t wired right for a demanding college routine. The strategies and supports that worked in high school when they were living at home are not adequate to the new demands that college places on the executive functions of the brain.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 11/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:38 PM ET, 10/27/2010

Ivy League students 'out' kids who don't donate to senior fund

How's this for obnoxious? Student volunteers at Dartmouth College and Cornell University, using lists given to them by school administrators, are “outing” students who have not donated to senior class gift funds.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:38 PM ET, 10/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 10/04/2010

Willingham: How to teach collaboration

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes that “collaboration” and “working effectively in groups” are often deemed 21st century skills that young people must learn. But how to teach them? Researchers just made headway in characterizing what good group members do.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:55 AM ET, 10/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 06/24/2010

Gulf oil spill spawns new college course

It didn’t take long for the diastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to become the focus of academics: The University of Minnesota has created a new course called “Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010” that will be offered this fall.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:53 PM ET, 06/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:31 PM ET, 06/03/2010

College awareness: How much is too much?

How old should children be before they are asked to start worrying about going to college? Eight years old? Ten? Thirteen? Fifteen? How about 5?

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:31 PM ET, 06/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 06/01/2010

Clemson student charged for rude e-mail

Here’s another in a long list of overreactions by school officials to young people saying things in a way others would rather they didn’t. At Clemson University, an undergraduate was charged with "disorderly conduct," "harassment" and other school rule violations for sending a rude e-mail to an administrator.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 06/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 05/29/2010

Gender gap in higher education growing -- report

In less than a decade women will account for 59 percent of total undergraduate enrollment and 61 percent of graduate enrollment at the country’s colleges and universities and already have a dominant presence at every degree level, a new government report shows. But women still remain severely underrepresented in certain fields, the report shows, and young adult males still have higher median earnings than young adult females with the same levels of education at every degree level.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:01 AM ET, 05/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:06 PM ET, 05/27/2010

Sharp critique of for-profit ed companies

A highly successful and well-known Wall Street trader who has become famous for foreseeing the country's financial crash gives a speech blasting the for-profit education industry.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:06 PM ET, 05/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:38 PM ET, 05/20/2010

Harvard endowment losses fueled financial crisis -- report

Endowment losses at Harvard and five other universities that were triggered by risky investment strategies helped fuel the financial crisis, a new report says.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:38 PM ET, 05/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 05/18/2010

Adult student penalized for one curse word

The largest community college in Mississippi barred a 30-year-old student from a speech course because a professor became upset when the student uttered one curse word after class was over.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:54 PM ET, 05/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:51 AM ET, 05/12/2010

A most unusual university investigation

A Christian university investigates whether one of its official really has the Muslim background he says he had before converting.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:51 AM ET, 05/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/09/2010

The funniest commencement speeches

Most graduation speeches are boring; who really remembers theirs? But some classes get lucky, and are graced with a speaker who says something memorable because it is profound rather than sappy, or because it is really funny, or because it is profound and funny at the same time. I like the funny ones, so here are excerpts of some of the funny ones.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 05/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/07/2010

Ethics expert to head Harvard Business School

With the image of America's corporate world bruised, Harvard names an ethics expert as dean of its influential business school.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 04/22/2010

Should professor be allowed to run a sex Web site?

A tenured California university professor is operating a Web site that caters to people interested in Thailand's sex tourism and school officials say they can't do anything about it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:32 PM ET, 04/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/19/2010

New analysis of violence on campus

Colleges and universities should strategically review their threat assessment capacities because some of the conventional beliefs about these attacks are not accurate, a new report issued by the federal government says. For example, while much attention is given to the “traveling” attacker, such as the student who killed 32 students in a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in 2007, only 3 percent of the attackers acctually move from building to building.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/16/2010

Any value to U.S. News rankings?

It's the time of year for more U.S. News & World Report rankings, these of graduate schools around the nation. The methodology is very very complicated, but it's hard to find much meaning in any of this.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/06/2010

Everything you ever wanted to know about Butler

Go ahead, admit it: You hadn’t really heard about Butler University until it became a contender to win the NCCA 2010 basketball title and came heart-breakingly close to besting Duke to become national champs. Well, here's some things you might want to know.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 04/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/17/2010

March Madness: What's the academic effect?

A nationwide independent poll funded and conducted by me strongly suggests that during the three-week NCAA championship tournament, many classes will be cancelled, the minds of many students will wander and very little in the way of academics will get done at dozens of schools across the country over the next few weeks.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 03/09/2010

Higher ed gender gap seems stable--except for Hispanics

The gender gap in higher education--in which males represent 43 percent of traditional age undergraduates--has stayed stable since 2000, except for Hispanic males. Here are details of a new report.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 03/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 03/07/2010

Virginia colleges: Just say 'no' to Cuccinelli

Virginia's attorney general has really stirred the pot by telling the state's colleges and universities that they should remove from their anti-discrimination employment policies anything that covers homosexuals. Virginia's school's should just say "no."

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 03/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:10 PM ET, 03/03/2010

Linking college academics to careers

But Rick Cherwitz. Too many students graduate without appreciating how their academic studies can affect their the potential contribution of academic knowledge to their future careers and to the broader goal of solving society problems. The answer is an entrepreneurial laboratory where students can discover how to make these connections.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:10 PM ET, 03/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/08/2010

U-Alabama by the numbers

We know the University of Alabama has a great football team; last night the Crimson Tide won the national championship with a win over the Texas Longhorns. But here are some things you may not know about the school: You need four years of high school English but one of history to be admitted. Most undergraduates live off-campus and last year, the school handed out exactly zero bachelor's degrees in math or the social sciences but a lot in business/marketing.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/05/2010

Are American students lazy?

A teacher at Babson College in Boston wrote a guest column in the Boston Globe complaining about how lazy her American students are and saying that international students are generally much harder working. Her contention that American students are, essentially, lazy, sparked a heated on-line discussion. The question is whether the discussion has any merit.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 11/13/2009

The List: 10 best college presidents, as determined by Time

E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University tops Time magazine's list of 10 best college and university presidents.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:30 AM ET, 11/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/13/2009

The List: Students from China lead rise in foreign enrollments at U.S. colleges

Foreign enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is up this fall--with students from China leading the way--but overall growth seems to be slowing, according to a newly released survey of 701 institutions of higher education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:22 PM ET, 11/09/2009

Is the gold standard of higher ed best practices flawed?

The supposed gold standard on best practices in higher education was released today and it says that more colleges and universities are exposing more kids to high quality learning experiences. That sounds good--unless you believe the author of a new look at the engagement report, which questions the survey’s methodology and its conclusions.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:22 PM ET, 11/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 11/02/2009

How much is a university president worth?

I suppose we are supposed to recoil in horror that some presidents of private universities in the United States are earning a lot of money--a record 23 presidents received more than $1 million in total compensation in 2007-08, according to a new survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:32 AM ET, 11/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/16/2009

“The Naked Roommate” And Other Trials of College Life

True or False: “The Naked Roommate” by Harlan Cohen is required reading at some colleges and universities. You knew the answer was going to be “yes” or The Answer Sheet would not have brought it up. The Sheet was surprised to learn this, but found that it made sense after students and school administrators persuaded her to read the advice it offers for negotiating naked, smelly, noisy, and mean roommates, as well as dealing with professors, how to read a college textbook, sex, drugs, laundry, diet, and many other issues.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 10/15/2009

Trachtenberg: When a College’s Reputation Trumps Its Quality

How one values a college education is very different from how one places a monetary value on a college’s prestige, a topic that relies more on the recognition of the school’s brand than it does on the quality of its educational program (although the two are often closely entwined). Two examples: Schools that routinely play in the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament receive large numbers of undergraduate applications not always correlated to the standing of their academic programs.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 10/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 10/12/2009

Enough With The Lists Already

The Daily Beast blog does an "exclusive" list of the "smartest" cities in the country. So when will we stop paying attention to silly lists?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 PM ET, 10/12/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 10/09/2009

What's So Great About Harvard?

Harvard University is known for providing its undergraduates with an unexpectedly high number of graduate assistants as teachers rather than professors because, apparently, the profs are too busy with more important things than teaching. Now those poor kids can’t get a hot breakfast. Why, at a school where tuition is $33,696 for undergraduates this year and the total package including room, board and student services fee is $48,868? Isn't it time to stop viewing Harvard as standing alone as the platinum standard for higher education?

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:46 AM ET, 10/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/09/2009

A New World Ranking Of Top Universities--And Why Such Lists Are Nonsense

There is sure to be angst in some education quarters now that a new list of top universities around the world has just been published in Britain--and American schools did not do as well as they did last year. Since Friday is the day for lists on The Answer Sheet, read on for a list of the top universities that were ranked--and a list of reasons why such lists have no merit. That's a lot of lists.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 09/09/2009

WHY IT MATTERS: Porn Movie Tests University Leaders

The Answer Sheet bets that setting policy about pornographic movies is not the first thing you would think higher education administrators would be wrestling with at the start of a new year. But at the University of Maryland at College...

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:35 AM ET, 09/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)