All posts by Dan Berrett


Obama Proposes Financial Incentives to Push Changes at Colleges of Education

The Obama administration will unveil today a proposed competitive-grant program designed to improve the training of elementary- and secondary-school teachers, The Wall Street Journal reported. The competition, dubbed Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching, or Respect, would be part of a $5-billion administration proposal.

Among other goals, the money would encourage states to change their teacher-training programs by, for example, raising admissions …


Audit Casts Dickinson State U. as Diploma Mill for Foreign Students

Dickinson State University awarded degrees to hundreds of foreign students who probably did not earn them, the Associated Press reports. According to an audit obtained by the AP, 400 students, most of them from China, have received degrees at the North Dakota institution since 2003 even though they did not earn the credits or do the course work needed to get a Dickinson State degree. The students were working on dual degrees at Dickinson State and a university in their home country.

Dickinson St…


Community-College Group Gets Help Awarding Credit for What Students Already Know

Community colleges that serve predominantly poor and minority students will be better able to grant credits to students who have acquired knowledge in the workplace before entering college. The colleges, which belong to the group Achieving the Dream, will be able to work with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, which operates, under a partnership announced Monday. The council and Learning Counts will help these colleges give credit through what is called “prior le…


Intellectual Curiosity Predicts Academic Success, Study Finds

Intellectual curiosity is a strong predictor of future academic performance, says an article in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. That conclusion was based on a meta-analysis of 200 previous studies of students who rated their own intellectual curiosity, among other factors. Intellectual curiosity has as large an effect on academic performance as conscientiousness, though not as much as intelligence, the article says. That finding lends credence to the idea that “a ‘hungry mind’…


Former Professor Sues Utah Valley U., Saying He Was Fired for Being Too Tough

Steven Maranville, a business professor, has sued Utah Valley University, saying that he was fired after a one-year probationary period because his teaching was too rigorous and intimidating, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, claims breach of contract and of fair dealing as well as state constitutional violations. It also raises larger questions about whether students ought to be treated like customers. Mr. Maranville is now an associate professo…


Political Science Should Be More Responsive to Demographic Change, Report Argues

Among the social sciences, political science already attracts an uncommonly high number of female, African-American, and Hispanic students. But the discipline’s departments, scholarly journals, and classroom practices could be more responsive to an increasingly diverse population, the American Political Science Association argues in a report released Friday. The report, “Political Science in the 21st Century,” summarizes existing research to support its call for “a spirited and constructive de…


Effort Expands to Improve Graduate STEM Teaching

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said it would expand the number of universities participating in its effort to prepare graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to become better teachers. Twenty-five institutions will join, up from six. The project, supported by the National Science Foundation, uses an approach called “teaching as research,” which asks budding researchers to use the sc…


Faculty Don’t Think Students Spend as Much Time Studying as They Say They Do

Faculty members assume that their students spend far less time preparing for class than students report doing, according to ESM Chaperone, a research firm that specializes in higher-education finance. A majority of faculty members, more than 60 percent, assume students spend less than 10 hours per week studying, but about one-third of students surveyed reported doing so. ESM relied on data from the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement.


Prior-Learning Assessment Confers a Semester’s Worth of Credits, Study Finds

Students who earned academic credit based on assessments of prior learning outside of college received an average of 17.6 credits, according to a research brief released on Wednesday by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The brief, which draws on data for 62,475 adult students at 48 colleges and universities, described students who received credits for prior learning as being 2½ times as likely to graduate as those who did not earn such credits. Students typically earn prior-learn…