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11 NOV 2021
1. Some US unis make the case for a more affordable three-year degree option in the US
Over the past few months, several US colleges and universities have come together to explore the possibility of developing a three-year bachelor's degree program on their campuses. The initiative, spearheaded by UPenn professor Robert Zemsky and University of Minnesota chancellor Lori Carrell, has attracted the support of 13 institutions who agree that instead of packing 120 credit hours into three years, it is possible to reform the curriculum to allow students to earn their bachelor's degree faster and at a lower cost. While some institutions plan to start their three-year program by the fall of 2022, the majority of the pilot colleges are still in the planning stages.
Crimson’s Take: We understand that financing university education can be a significant barrier for some students, which is why we make it a point to help students with scholarship applications in the same way we help with college applications. We’re glad to know that US universities continue to explore ways to keep costs as affordable as they can for students. Of course, we understand that these issues are complex — and we know that solutions to problems are not as clear-cut as they ought to be. Nevertheless, it's encouraging to know that institutions are finding ways to innovate their educational systems and improve the experience for their incoming students.
2. Cambridge University announces a new four-year multidisciplinary course
The University of Cambridge has announced the launch of a Design Tripos, its first new program in several years, which combines architecture, engineering and materials science to confront some of the world's biggest challenges, such as achieving carbon net zero emissions. “It’s pioneering – we’re merging the arts and sciences under the umbrella of creativity and design, and constructing the course to be as open and interesting as possible,” said Michael Ramage, Director of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, and Deputy Head of the University’s Department of Architecture. The course also aims to address the university’s gender imbalance in subjects such as engineering, where fewer than 40 percent of applicants are women.
Crimson’s Take: We are pleased to see that a prestigious university like Cambridge is taking the initiative to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In its interdisciplinary nature, this course should appeal to a wide range of students looking for an education that combines the arts with the sciences. Moreover, it is encouraging to see that the university is committed to combating the gender disparity on campus and diversifying participation through structural changes within the institution.
3. Unfounded bomb threats at four Ivy League universities lead to campus evacuations
Over the weekend, students at Yale, Columbia, Brown and Cornell were instructed to evacuate certain campus buildings and avoid crowded or central locations after threats of bombs being placed around campus were reported to local police departments. Investigations took place and all four campuses were cleared as the threats were deemed “not credible” within a matter of hours. It was not immediately clear whether the threats were linked, but multiple other Ivies responded by issuing warnings instructing students to stay vigilant in the wake of the news.
Crimson’s Take: We feel for the students affected by the bomb threats that likely inspired a wave of fear and had their loved ones worried in the hours of uncertainty before the four Ivy League campuses were confirmed as safe. We’re glad all four unis and their local police took quick action, not only to keep students safe from a possible threat, but to promptly investigate the threats and put students’ minds at ease as quickly as they could.