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Academics

Updated: Dubbs '14, Lloyd-Damnjanovic '14 awarded Sachs Scholarships

Katie Dubbs ’14 and Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic ’14 were awarded Sachs Scholarships. Dubbs received the Sachs Global Scholarship and will spend next year studying in Vienna, Austria, and Lloyd-Damnjanovic won the Sachs Scholarship to study at Worcester College, Oxford. Following their first interviews this past Saturday, both received a phone call from a committee member on Sunday morning asking them to head to Frist Campus Center to answer additional questions.

NEWS | 12/10/2013

Grace Jeon-3812

McGraw Study Hall experiences overcrowding, student 'misapprehension' of program's purposes

Though McGraw Study Hall remains a popular academic-help resource, with 5,800 student visits recorded by the McGraw Center in the last academic year, its popularity has also been a source of dissatisfaction for some students because of the overcrowding and shortage of student tutors. According to data collected by the McGraw Center, in the 2012 fall semester, 62 tutors regularly worked one shift a week, and in spring 2013, only 59 did so.

NEWS | 12/05/2013

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Yale's selective social science majors not likely to follow Wilson School to non-selectivity anytime soon

Despite the entrance of the first non-selective class of undergraduate Wilson School majors this year, similar interdisciplinary majors at Yale University are not currently considering similar alterations to their application processes.Like the formerly selective Wilson School’s old application process, the Ethics, Politics and Economics major and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs major require prospective students to apply during their sophomore year.

NEWS | 12/03/2013

Faculty consider alternative to Coursera, new Committee on Teaching and Learning

Members of the faculty discussed the possibility of creating a University-specific alternative to Coursera, as well as the proposed creation of a new committee to oversee the continuation of online courses, on Monday at the December faculty meeting.Philosophy professor Gideon Rosen noted that the University is free to explore options outside of Coursera in order to avoid conflicts of intellectual property, such as whether the material is owned by Coursera, the University or the professors teaching the courses.In one alternative to Coursera, he said, the University can “invest considerable resources in developing [its] own proprietary platform.” He added that some members of the computer science department are interested in helping out.“I must say that developing our own proprietary platform gives me nightmares,” University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 replied.Eisgruber currently sits on Coursera’s board of advisers.The new committee would be called the Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Learning, and it would not only vet the online courses but would also be responsible for monitoring them and their procedures, Rosen explained.The committee could also expand the work of the Faculty Committee on Grading by leading a campus-wide conversation on the most effective methods of assessment, according to documents circulated at the meeting detailing the potential committee’s duties.

NEWS | 12/02/2013

In introductory language classes, discrepancies in proficiency not an issue

More than half of the students who take SPA 101: Beginner's Spanish I, a class for students with no previous background in the language, have studied Spanish before enrolling in the class, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in spring 2012. The survey, which received 106 responses, also revealed that 29 percent of the students surveyed had taken at least three years of Spanish before beginning the introductory course. “Language teaching is very different in different institutions,” Spanish Senior Lecturer Alberto Bruzos Moro explained.

NEWS | 12/01/2013

4 graduate students awarded Jacobus Fellowships

Four graduate students were named winners of the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton’s top honor for graduate students, the University announced Friday. The students, James Pickett GS, Emily Vasiliauskas GS, Sonika Johri GS and Cristina Domnisoru GS, will receive funding for their final year of graduate study.The fellowship is awarded to those whose work has exhibited the highest scholarly excellence. Pickett, a Ph.D.

NEWS | 11/25/2013

Students with an evening exam followed by a morning exam the next day will now qualify for rescheduling

Students who have a final exam at night followed by an exam the next morning will now be able to reschedule their morning exam for the afternoon, according to the Office of the Registrar’s website. "Students who have an in-class night exam (7:30 p.m.) followed by an in-class morning exam (9:00 a.m.) the next day may request that the morning exam be rescheduled to the afternoon (1:30 p.m.) of the same day," the policy reads. The change is the result of efforts from the USG Academics Committee, whose chair Dillon Sharp ’14 presented a series of recommendations for the final exam period to the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing on Oct.

NEWS | 11/12/2013

Delbanco, Katz discuss troubling trends in American higher education

Higher education has become dominated by a number of troubling trends over time, and students come to college with little sense of why they are there, Columbia University’s American Studies program director Andrew Delbanco argued in a conversation on Tuesday afternoon. In the course of the lecture, Delbanco and Wilson School professor Stanley Katz touched on a number of subjects about the state of education in the United States, from pre-kindergarten programs to higher education. Delbanco said that Americans increasingly see colleges as lavish institutions that fail to teach students effectively. “They’re wasteful, they’re inefficient, they’re not doing their job, and we have a problem,” he said of ordinary people's view of colleges. This attitude is reinforced by rising tuition fees, which are caused in turn by the increasing privatization of higher education, Delbanco explained. “Our public universities have been gutted,” he said, noting that public funds make up only 6 percent of the University of Virginia’s budget. Katz warned against public universities’ efforts to raise funds in the face of budget shortfalls, either through tuition increases or the admission of more out-of-state students. These strategies undercut the democratic purpose of public education in America, he said. Higher education has developed a “pernicious and perverse obsession with rankings,” Delbanco said.

NEWS | 10/22/2013