Daily Debriefing

by Travis Cramer | 11/11/08 5:01am

Ottawa County Health Department officials forced Hope College, a liberal arts school in Michigan, to close its campus last Friday due to a contagious norovirus-like outbreak, the Grand Rapids Press reported. Approximately 400 of the college's 3,200 students contracted the flu-like sickness, experiencing symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting for 24 to 48 hours, according to the Grand Rapids Press. Health officials urged students to stay on campus while the college was closed, but since the campus had not been quarantined, many traveled home regardless, according to the Grand Rapids Press. College custodians spent the weekend sanitizing campus common areas, but Hope College is unlikely to reopen before Wednesday.

In response to a nation-wide need for math and science teachers, 79 public universities have pledged to increase the number of high-quality instructors they train, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The initiative has been named the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative, also known as "Smitty." Smitty's proponents believe that it will be more successful than previous initiatives because it has the official support of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, leading institutions to create partnerships with corporations, state leaders and the federal government, according to the Chronicle.

The U.S. Department of Education announced it will create middleman entities between banks and consumers, Inside Higher Ed reported. This measure will help ensure adequate financial backing for student loan lenders to guarantee that college students have sufficient federal financial aid. Department of Education officials felt that if lenders failed to see any long-term hope, they would not participate in student loan programs, according to Inside Higher Ed. Through the new measure, the U.S. government will purchase the commercial paper issued in exchange for student loans up front if other investors cannot be found, Inside Higher Ed reported, which will provide assurance that student loans are a secure investment. So far the department's plans have earned support from students advocates and some lawmakers, but this latest plan is likely to receive scrutiny from lawmakers who fear a lender bailout, Inside Higher Ed reported.