Highlights in Higher Ed: Autistic Programs and Donor Concerns

Programs for students with autism very popular

About ten years ago, Rochester Institute of Technology was made aware of the requests their autistic students had. Since then, RIT has launched a program just for them. With a two-year, $200,000 National Science Foundation grant in 2008 – RIT was able to provide weekly coaching for students with autism. The first year they had 10-12 students, and this year they had about 86. There are about 50 similar programs around the country, including Western Kentucky University and Marshall University.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Diversity still a focus for Harvard Business School

Diversity remains a hot topic when looking at student and faculty in higher education. Harvard Business School has done better with students than faculty, as 26% of the class of 2020 are ethnic minorities. But only nine of the 270 faculty members are African-American. But this is a known issue and is being addressed internally through programs like the HBS Forward Fellowship and a summer program for undergraduate minority students. And this fall, four of the 25 new professors hired are African-American.

Source: Poets & Quants

Passion drives exploitation?

Students are encouraged to pursue their higher education in areas they enjoy. A common phrase used is “do what you love,” but Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has discovered some downfalls to this. The research team conducted eight separate studies, which included over 2,400 participants. The conclusion? Passion for work is important and can be beneficial, but it can also lead to exploitation by employers. Employees who are passionate tend to do more work, including working on weekends or doing tasks unrelated to their jobs – without extra pay.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Donor opinion reverses donation

The University of Alabama decided to return a donor gift totaling $21.5 million and remove the donor’s name from their law school. Hugh Culverhouse Jr. encouraged students to pursue other educational options in response to the recent change in Alabama’s abortion law. The university said their decision had nothing to do with Culverhouse’s statement but instead with his involvement with the law school. This isn’t the first time a donor’s relationships or political ties have caused problems. A Saint Louis University donor was involved with recommending faculty and dictating the use of research funds and George Mason University was the subject of litigation regarding a relationship with the Koch brothers. Donors are incredibly important to colleges and universities with decreasing state funding and enrollment projections.

Source: Education Dive

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