- Missouri: To improve graduation rates, two- and four-year public colleges should not require students to take algebra, an investigative committee told the state's department of higher education. Instead, the committee recommended allowing students to take a math subject more closely related to their chosen field, like statistics. Math professors say algebra is an unnecessary barrier that causes many students to drop out—despite being irrelevant for students who do not plan to major in STEM fields or take calculus (Williams, Kansas City Star, 7/20).
- Texas: Texas A&M University has partnered with four state community colleges to recruit and graduate more engineers. Participants will complete the first two years of their degree at one of the community colleges, saving about $14,000. Qualified students can then finish their studies at Texas A&M, where they will be able to choose from 16 different engineering degrees (Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, 7/20).
- West Virginia: West Virginia University says it will hire a "Wikipedian in residence" for one year to help expand the online encyclopedia's coverage of gender studies and the state's women. The person will also create a long-term plan for ensuring that staff and students regularly contribute to Wikipedia after the residency ends. Studies in 2011 and 2013 found that upwards of 84% of contributors to the site are men (Straumsheim, Times Higher Education/Inside Higher Ed, 7/20).
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We need fewer colleges, argues one expert