Heather Munroe-Blum, principal (president equivalent) of McGill University, will be leaving her position -- among the most prominent in Canadian academe -- next year, The Montreal Gazette reported. McGill's research programs and fund-raising capabilities have grown substantially during Munroe-Blum's tenure, which started in 2003. The university faced employee strikes and student protests in the last year, but Munroe-Blum said that those incidents had not led to her decision. She said she decided some time ago to serve two terms, which she is doing.
Britain plans to exempt about 1,000 foreign graduates of its universities from tighter rules about to start on staying in the country after graduation, Times Higher Education reported. Those with "world-class innovative ideas" will be allowed to stay. The government generally has been moving to limit post-graduation time in the country, but higher education leaders have noted that the ability to remain is a competitive advantage for the country in attracting the best foreign talent.
A federal judge in Connecticut has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Yale University by Dongguk University, in South Korea, the Associated Press reported. Dongguk says that it suffered huge losses from a scandal that can be traced to Yale incorrectly confirming that a professor there had earned a doctorate at Yale. The South Korean university says that it lost millions in government grants and donations because of the scandal when the professor was said to have had a love affair with an aide to South Korea's president. Yale has denied wrongdoing in the case.
McGill University, following a five-day sit-in in an administration building, announced new rules on where protests would and would not be tolerated, Maclean's reported. In the future, the administration announced, "occupations of private offices or spaces, classrooms, laboratories or libraries, or other restricted areas will not be tolerated. If any type of occupation occurs and the occupiers refuse to leave when requested to do so, civil authorities will be called." In the case of the most recent protest, the university waited five days to do that, but opted for steadily escalating pressure, including blocking wireless Internet and -- toward the end of the protest -- blocking access to the bathrooms.
The University of New York, Tirana promises an American-style education and offers a path to an American degree. But does the Albanian university -- locally called "New York University-Tirana" even though it has no ties to NYU -- really provide an American-style education? Those are questions raised in an article in The New York Times that focuses on the institution's arrangement with Empire State College of the State University of New York. For an extra $100 per credit for the first three years, and an extra $5,000 the fourth year, students can obtain an Empire State degree. The article says that the photograph of a library on the university's brochure was taken elsewhere, that most faculty members are locally hired without input from SUNY, and that only 3 of the 15 courses identified as being from Empire State are taught by instructors with doctorates. "SUNY’s influence seemed more like a label than an active presence," the article said.
A state audit released Friday revealed that Dickinson State University, in North Dakota, had awarded hundreds of degrees to Chinese students who did not complete required coursework and who in some cases may not have been able to do so, The Forum reported. The report described a campus that was so focused on attracting students that it cut corners to build its international enrollments. When the audit is shared with various authorities, Dickinson could face sanctions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (over visa issues), from the state (over enrollment figures) and from accreditors (over failure to assure educational quality). At a news briefing Friday, officials said that there was no one person or office responsible for the problems, but rather a series of inappropriate decisions involving the multicultural affairs, admissions and academic records offices, as well as a number of academic departments.
Briefings on campus about the audit were interrupted by reports that a university official, with a weapon, was missing. Later, Doug LaPlante, dean of the College of Education, Business and Applied Sciences, was found dead from a self-inflicted gun wound. The audit did not mention LaPlante by name, but officials said that many of the students who were awarded degrees inappropriately had been enrolled in the college he led.
No disciplinary actions were announced against anyone involved in the scandal, but officials told The Forum that Jon Brudvig had resigned as vice president for academic affairs, but would continue in another position.
The institution has been under scrutiny for months, starting with reports in August that it had listed about 180 people as enrolled who never were enrolled.