University News

This Week in Higher Ed: March 17, 2016

News Editor
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Drop in humanities degrees

The number of undergraduates receiving humanities degrees is dropping, according to Insider Higher Ed.

A study conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences reported that between the years 2012 and 2014, the number of students to receive “core” humanities degrees shrank by 8.7 percent. The specific majors with the largest decrease in degrees were archaeology and classical studies.

The reasons for this drop have been debated, but some professors have expressed the opinion that this trend may be due to decisions made by higher education institutions rather than the students themselves, according to Insider Higher Ed. Some professors even argued that this decline stems from admission policies that look more favorably upon applicants with a science, technology, engineering or math major preference.

Mumps outbreak on college campuses

There have been 26 official cases of mumps so far this year in Massachusetts, many of them on college campuses. Harvard has had 13 cases, Boston University has had three and Tufts University and Bentley University have had at least one. Many of the students who got sick were vaccinated, as 12 percent of vaccinated people are not immune, according to the Boston Globe.

Public health officials say that the sickness is spreading through campuses because students attend the same parties and events.

“Extreme” study abroad

Educational programs that allow students to earn their degrees while traveling the globe are gaining popularity, according to the New York Times.

Rather than a regular semester or year abroad, these programs give students a chance to spend four years traveling. In this way, these programs hope to better prepare students for life after college in the so-called real world.

One of these programs, Minerva, is affiliated with the Keck Graduate Institute. In this program, students travel to a new city each semester, including Buenos Aires, Seoul, London and others. The students participating in the program live together in dorms and often meet to discuss projects or listen to their video lectures together.

A similar program called LIU Global, associated with Long Island University, offers students the opportunity to spend a year each in four countries: Costa Rica, Spain, Italy and a country of their choice.

Fired Missouri professor’s appeal rejected

Melissa Click, former assistant professor at the University of Missouri, was fired in February after two videos were released of her at anti-racism protests on the Missouri campus. In one, she blocked a student journalist from approaching student protesters, and in the other, she interfered with a police officer. The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators decided that Click’s appeal “brought no new relevant information,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

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