Quick Takes | Higher education round-up: Nov. 2

A weekly roundup of news from the higher-education community

· November 2, 2012, 1:01 am

Antioch University

School to offer for-credit Coursera courses

Antioch University announced this week that it plans to begin offering college credit for massive open online courses on Coursera, becoming the first institution in the country to do so.

Antioch, which has five campuses across the nation, said in a statement that its Los Angeles campus will offer the Coursera courses “for less than the per-course cost of tuition and fees at either of the California public four-year university systems.”

The school piloted a MOOC program in October using two Coursera courses created at Penn as options for students, among others.

Harvard University

Most employee donations go to Obama

Although the presidential election features two Harvard graduates, University employees clearly favor one candidate when it comes to political fundraising.

The Harvard Crimson reported that, through the end of September, President Barack Obama had received $579,865 in donations from Harvard employees, compared to $60,636 for Gov. Mitt Romney.

Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and Romney earned a joint law and business degree from the University in 1975.

While there is a significant fundraising difference at Harvard between the two candidates, the Crimson noted that Romney’s average donation size of about $1,000 was four time than that of Obama.

New York University

Thousands of lab mice killed by Sandy

Various NYU research centers lost massive amounts of lab rats and mice as a result of Hurricane Sandy, The New York Times reported.

“The collection of carefully bred rodents was considered one of the largest and most valuable of its kind in the country,” The Times reported.

While the majority of the University’s animals were unharmed, most of those that died during the storm were housed in the school’s Kips Bay facilities.

Gordon Fishell, the associate director of the school’s Neuroscience Institute, said the losses were an “absolute tragedy.”

Pennsylvania State University

Spanier charged with five counts

The state attorney general’s office announced Thursday that former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been indicted on eight charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case. Among other things, the charges include one count of perjury, two counts of endangering the welfare of children and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

If he is found guilty, five of the charges he faces could result in up to seven years in prison for Spanier, who was forced out of his presidency last year.

In addition, former Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are facing new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

University of Chicago

School ends loans for city students

The University of Chicago announced Monday that it will be eliminating all loans from the financial aid packages of admitted students from the city of Chicago. The school will also be waiving all application fees for these students.

The changes are part of a larger program called UChicago Promise, which Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called “a creative step that will help many of Chicago’s own achieve their goals and graduate without a financial burden.”

In addition, the school’s new Admissions Academy will help local high school students navigate the application process, regardless of where they are applying.

Yale University

Brenzel to step down as admissions dean

Jeffrey Brenzel, who has served as Yale’s dean of admissions for the past seven years, announced Wednesday that he plans to step down at the end of the academic year.

Brenzel will return to teaching philosophy courses in the Yale College Directed Studies program, The Yale Daily News reported.

Brenzel, who made his decision to step down over the summer, has largely been credited with pushing Yale’s international recruitment efforts, as well as with launching new initiatives to attract more science and engineering students. His decision follows Yale President Richard Levin’s announcement that he will also step down.

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