Notes in the Margins: A news roundup

A little hospitality: American colleges are trying harder to integrate foreign students into campus life.

So that’s what a free market is: MSU Mankato no longer requires students in the College of Business to buy a specially configured Dell laptop.

For-profits rocketing: The Education Department reports that for-profit colleges increased enrollment 20 percent between the 2007-8 and 2008-9 academic years — and 60 percent over the level of 2004-5. They instruct 3.2 million people, which is almost 12 percent of all postsecondary students.

You’re no Mad Men: More people have negative images of the education field than have positive ones, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Those in education are less popular than workers in advertising — and have reputations just above those in working in the electric and gas utilities. (Caveat: The results appear to reflect the overall education field, not higher education specifically.) 

Flesh and blood: An English professor writes that a university education takes place in the “theater” of the classroom, where facts and discussion can help shake up students’ convictions and preconceptions. It can’t be put online.

Scrutinizing the payoff: The director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Economy writes that the for-profit scandals illustrate the point that we have failed to adequately connect college and careers. “Like it or not,” postsecondary education is already almost entirely occupational.

Stem that STEM: Times (of London) Higher Education says its leaders should stop arguing that science graduates alone are the key to a country’s economic growth.