Notes in the Margins: Going private, older Japanese students and competitive eating

Grant Calder: If Penn State Goes Private, Will It Have to Change Its Name? The university has managed to thrive despite a steady decline in state funding — down to 6 percent. And the number seems destined to continue dropping. For a world-class, “state-related” institution, as Penn State is known, this raises a question: Does it make sense to be related to the state anymore? Could Penn State choose to go private, or might it happen by default? (Huffington Post)

Half of All First-Time Students Earn Credentials Within 6 Years The “first look” report, “Persistence and Attainment of 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: After 6 Years,” looks at a nationally representative sample of students who entered college for the first time in 2003-4. The report examines how they fared at their initial institutions, and also whether they earned academic credentials during that time period. (

Student-Learning Outcomes Come to Grad School Graduate-level programs were once relatively immune from pressure to define and measure “learning outcomes” for their students. But for good or ill, the student-learning-assessment movement has begun to migrate from the undergraduate world into master’s and doctoral programs. (At some institutions, there is even talk of defining a set of “foundational outcomes” for all graduate students—that is, a set of learning goals that would be analogous to general-education goals for undergraduates.) (

Older Students Face Barriers to Higher Education in Japan Fewer than 2 percent of all undergraduates in Japan enter college after age 25, according to the country’s education ministry. Adult students in Japan are mostly women, and virtually all are paying out of their own pockets. Even after dealing with high tuition fees, younger classmates, and a lukewarm welcome from some universities, rampant age discrimination by Japanese companies means the payoff from all that hard work sometimes never arrives. (

DeVriese Scholarship Todd DeVriese, who died unexpectedly Nov. 15 in New Delhi, India, is being honored for his service to St. Cloud State with a scholarship in his name. (

University of Maryland Students Start Competitive Eating Team Solomon founded the competitive club during his freshman year when he and his friends realized their university meal plans came with an expiration date. And they aren’t the type who like letting meals go to waste. (