Koch foundation proposal to college: Teach our curriculum, get millions (The Center for Public Integrity)

Interactive science classes benefit black, first-generation college students, study finds All students in the interactive classes performed better than those in traditional lecture courses, but the greatest benefit was seen with black and first-generation students; the achievement gap was halved for black students and disappeared for first-generation students. (The Washington Post)

Service Loan Forgiveness: Big Benefits, Bad Incentives Consider that for many students who pursue a master’s in education, the federal government will finance the entire cost, without limit, including all living expenses during enrollment. (Washington Monthly)

Cal State trustees raise scenario of transfer-only university system Could California State University one day limit enrollment to transfers, admitting burgeoning numbers of community college students but turning away new freshmen? Trustees cautioned that insufficient state funding could radically reduce the mission of the nation’s largest university system. (Los Angeles Times)

Professor’s Angry Tweets on Gaza Cost Him a Job The trustees of the University of Illinois voted to block the appointment of Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American professor who had been offered a tenured position last year, following a campaign by pro-Israel students, faculty members and donors who contended that his Twitter comments on the bombardment of Gaza this summer were anti-Semitic. (The New York Times)

Let’s think big. Alex Friedrich/MPR News

The University of Minnesota is considering changing its undergraduate core curriculum to focus on three of the world’s great issues.

Campus leaders say the Grand Challenges initiative would add interdisciplinary instruction in climate change, food-supply security and the challenges of urban life.

Provost Karen Hansen says the initiatives gives a way to take what they’ve learned in various fields and apply it to one of those areas.

“This will be a way in which they can begin contributing to solutions to the world’s problems while they are students,” she said.

President Eric Kaler said a sociology student with an interest water, for example, could take a political science course on global water conflicts. Engineering could teach him about the limitations of water filtration. A health class could focus on water-borne disease. And a communication couse could address the discussion of clean water and sanitation across cultures.

“And those four courses together would, I think, make a very interesting student highly attractive to a worldwide company [such as Ecolab] who was interested in water,” he said.

Kaler said the three topics are the U’s initial choices, but those could change in coming years. The president said he’d like at least part of Grand Challenges to be a requirement, but said faculty control  the curriculum.

The initiative is part of a strategic plan that regents will vote on next month.

Potential conflicts of interest will be managed properly A Gude via Flickr

Yesterday I ran post on a letter by some University of Minnesota faculty members concerned with the upcoming review of the U’s clinical research practices. University officials have sent me this emailed response by Brian Herman, vice president for research:

From the start, our goal has been to ensure a vigorous process that fulfills the Faculty Senate’s resolution to conduct a thorough, professional, independent and transparent review of our human subjects research practices.

AAHRPP submitted the strongest proposal to administratively manage this process; it is not conducting any portion of the review. The review will be undertaken by a group of independent, internationally-recognized experts in the field of human subjects research protection. As part of this process, potential conflicts of interest will be managed appropriately.

They also forwarded this statement from mechanical engineering professor Will Durfee, past chairman of the Faculty Consultative Committee — and one of the liaisons for the review:

The review team charge is quoted from the Senate resolution, and the review team has read the entire Senate resolution. … Many University stakeholders are keenly interested in the results of the review, and several have thoughts on how the review should be conducted.

Our faculty and university community have been given the specific contact information to reach out to the panel.  The information shared with the panel is confidential; it is not shared with the VP for Research or with university officials.  How the review team chooses to fulfill its charge is entirely up to the review team.

Regarding the review’s timeline, he wrote:

The review has been underway since the contract was signed in July, 2014.  My understanding is that the review team is likely to deliver their report and present their results in December.

The U has provided a link to several related documents, including the Faculty Senate resolution and the proposal for the review.

Goucher College allows video applications, without transcripts or test scores Goucher President José A. Bowen said Wednesday that he believes his college will be the first to allow general students to submit a self-produced video as the central component of an application. (The Washington Post) Are “Affordable Elite” Colleges Growing in Size, or Just Selectivity? Some elite Read more

Men punished in sexual misconduct cases on colleges campuses are fighting back Men punished for sexual misconduct in the wave of cases sweeping college campuses are fighting back against what they call unfair student disciplinary systems and publicity that threatens to shatter their reputations. (The Washington Post) A Lot of College Students Are Living with Their Parents. That’s Read more