Daily Digest: U.S. grad rates, free online courses, women on corporate boards and the Lorax.

by Cali Owings


Here’s your Daily Digest for Monday, March 5:

The Chronicle of Higher Education launched a new page that explores college graduation rates in the U.S.

Their College Completion page includes data from Minnesota where 30.6 percent of the 16,488 freshmen at four-year public universities in 2004 graduated within four years.

Nationwide, American Indian and black students at four-year public universities struggle to graduate within four years or at all. At Minnesota public four-year schools, only 13.4 percent of black students and 17.4 percent of American Indian students graduate in four years.

Their data doesn’t count students who transfer schools, take some time off and any number of other circumstances besides finishing high school and rolling straight through college. The federal government only tracks first-time, full-time students who complete an associate’s degree in three years or a bachelor’s degree in six. But college students don’t always fit that mold. The Chronicle reports, “of the five million students who started college in the fall of 2009, 2.4 million of them didn’t fit the federal definition.”

In other higher ed news, this New York Times story explores the rise of Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs, that big name faculty from colleges and universities across the country are teaching in an effort to “democratize higher education.”

More than 160,000 people registered for an online Artificial Intelligence course at Stanford University last fall. These free courses have the ability to reach thousands of potential students that lack access to higher education.

The European Union is looking to mandate quotas for the number of women serving on corporate boards, according to the Associated Press.

Less than 14 percent of board members for Europe’s biggest companies are women. At that rate, “it would take more than 40 years for women to hold 40 percent of board positions in Europe’s publicly traded companies,” the EU’s Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said Monday.

The European Commission has asked companies to pledge that 30 percent of their board members will be women by 2015. Over the last 12 months, only 24 companies have signed on.

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax took in $70.7 million at the box office this weekend — the biggest opening weekend of 2012 so far and the best numbers for a movie outside of the Twilight franchise since July, the LA Times reports.

Danny DeVito voices the Lorax, “a fuzzy orange creature on a mission to save trees,” in the adaptation of Seuss’ 1973 children's book.

Image courtesy LA Times.