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Today in academia: the latest way to compare degree vs. degree, the never-ending plagiarism arms race, gender gaps around the world, and a new turn in a school nickname controversy.

  • A fun online tool to pit the earning power of college degrees against each other. Coinciding with their "Generation Jobless" series, The Wall Street Journal has an online tool using 2010 Census data to give the median earnings for what appears like nearly every major in the job market. Using the latest data, you can answer your own personal queries (As Poynter's Julie Moos pointed out, journalism majors do slightly better in the job market than English majors). We, however, settled the burning question of the earning potential of a "Film Video and Photographic Arts" degree vs. an Art History major--it looks like Art History majors have the edge because fewer are unemployed and the lower-paid average Art History folks make more than the lower-paid film people. Make your own comparisons here. [The Wall Street Journal via Poynter]
  • Plagiarism arms race, the sequel. In September, Inside Higher Ed detailed a pretty fascinating plagiarism arms race that goes on between students and professors. It goes something like this: a professor uses a program called Turnitin to check students essays for plagiarism, but Turnitin's parent company also makes a program for students, WriteCheck, for students to tweak words to avoid plagiarism. Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education delved into the issue, coming up with a pretty telling quote from a plagiarism expert, Rebecca Moore Howard, who asked: "How much plagiarism goes away if students actually know how to read and write from sources? ... My guess is: a lot." Considering the sources that students tend to frequently draw information from (Answers.com and Yahoo! Answers are purportedly top sources), that seems like a fair observation. [Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Education, Turnitin]
  • A thorny, long-running nickname controversy takes a new turn. The University of North Dakota's nickname, the "Fighting Sioux," will soon be subject to the NCAA penalties if the state legislature doesn't vote to retire the nickname, HuffPost reporter John Celock writes. And now the state's governor, Jack Dalrymple, who has previously supported the nickname, urged the state legislature that it's time for the name to go. "I believe it was worth the effort to do everything we could to keep the university's proud nickname," he said to legislators via the AP. "But now, with the University of North Dakota facing harm to its student athletes, and to all students, it is time to move forward." If the university doesn't retire the logo and nickname soon, the Associated Press notes, the NCAA won't let it be able to "to host postseason tournaments, nor will its teams be allowed to wear uniforms with the nickname and logo during postseason play." [Associated Press, Huffington Post]
  • More women than men at college campuses isn't just a trend in the United States. Right now there are about 1.4 women for every one man attending college in the United States, according to a new data from the World Economic Forum cited by Inside Higher Ed. But, the trend also holds in some developed countries globally. These are the places with the highest female-to-male ratios: "The female-to-male enrollment ratio is highest in Qatar (6.31 to 1), followed by Bahamas (2.70 to 1), Maldives (2.40 to 1), Jamaica (2.22 to 1) and Barbados (2.18 to 1)." [Inside Higher Ed]
  • A few Minnesota high school math teachers sidestepped publishers and wrote their own textbooks. The news that a few Minnesota high school teachers created their own, online-only, textbooks and saved their district $175,000 from buying the price books could be an interesting case study. As the Associated Press reported yesterday, "Instead of mass-produced textbooks, the more than 3,100 sophomores in the state's largest district are learning from an online curriculum developed by their teachers over the summer with free software distributed over the web." The AP notes that instead of buying the books for a budgeted $200,000 they spent $10,000 on their own teachers to develop the material and another $5,000 on making CD's available of it. [Associated Press]

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