The Hardest College Major; Professors of the Year

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Today in academia: the hardest college major, professors of the year, a taxes and tuition dilemma, and an Ivy T-shirt trademark squabble.

  • Measuring what the "hardest" college major actually is. A survey of 400,000 undergraduates found that one major stood out when it came to who spent the most time studying per week. It's the engineers-in-training. They spent "roughly 19 hours" a week hitting the books, The New York Times relayed. So, that's almost 3 hours a day. Which is a fair amount, no question. But remember, those are the undergrads apparently studying the most: "students with majors in business and social sciences were on the lower end, spending about 14 hours preparing for class." That's 2 hours a day. And, these were all self-reported survey numbers--when you're stuck in a library cramming for a boring lecture class even 20 minutes feels like an eternity. [The New York Times]
  • These are the four professors of the year.  They were deemed so by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, which is seen as the apparent arbiter of such awards. Reading through their accomplishments and profiles on the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed, a few observations that we saw: some have change their syllabi  when it's not working for students, they have tried to find ways to get students off laptops in class, and they recognize the importance of learning how much undergrads know before they start teaching. Simple seeming things, yet hard to do in practice.[Chronicle of Higher EducationInside Higher Ed]

  • Harvard vs. Yale squabble over a t-shirt trademark before the big game this Saturday.  Yale thought they had a funny t-shirt on their hands with the "How to Be Successful at Harvard, Step 1: Drop Out" was listed with Zuck and Bill Gates names. Unfortunately, the Yalies ran into some trademark troubles with one of the designs. "A long-standing policy does not permit Harvard’s trademarks — which include its name — to be used alongside 'third-party trademarks' such as celebrity names," the Yale student newspaper reported the Harvard media relations person saying. "We tried everything from changing the celebrities’ last names to their initials to misspelling their name as 'Hahvahd,’" lamented one Yalie. "'Even ‘Hahvahd’ is trademarked by the university.'" [Yale Daily News]
  • Taxed enough. But not enough to pay for cheaper tuition. Yesterday, in an expected move considering the damaged state of the state's budget, California State University trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike. Student protests and some arrests greeted the news. But for all the outrage about rising tuition costs, the majority of Californians still aren't willing to pay more taxes to see costs lowered. Example A: "Nearly three-quarters of Californians (including 58 percent of Republicans) said that higher education isn't receiving enough state funds. But 52 percent of Californians said that they were unwilling to pay higher taxes to support existing programs." [Inside Higher Ed]
  • It's easy to forget that there's more than just tuition to pay for.  Let's leave aside tuition for a sec. Things like books and room-and-board are an increasing part of total college costs, according to a new report relayed by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It's "about two-thirds of the increase in the cost of attending a four-year college from 2000 to 2009 came from nontuition sources, such as books and off-campus room and board." Maybe it's because, compared with the gargantuan sticker price of tuition, the other things seem deceptively small. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

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