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Quick Takes: Online Push in Minnesota, Boston College Shifts Funds to Aid, Raises Raise Eyebrows at Cal State, Higher Ed Job for Fla. Speaker, Alumni Group Loses Legal Fight, U. of Kansas Patent Suit, Righting a McCarthy Era Wrong

November 21, 2008
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and leaders of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities on Thursday announced a goal of shifting 25 percent of credits to online courses by 2015. In the last academic year, just over 9 percent of credits were delivered online. But about 66,000 credit students -- or 26 percent of all credit students -- took at least one online course. The plan includes a mix of incentives for students (such as a scholarship bonus) and improvements in student services for online courses.
  • Boston College on Thursday announced plans to cut spending across the institution by about 2 percent, with the goal of using the extra funds to meet additional financial aid needs anticipated because of the recession, The Boston Globe reported.
  • The California State University System has been warning of enrollment cuts and deep spending reductions as a result of California's budget deficit. As a result, some faculty and other groups are frustrated by reports of large raises going to senior administrators. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Chancellor Charles Reed has approved salary increases of up to 19 percent for nine vice presidents at California State campuses earlier this year, and approved 11 new appointments of vice presidents at nine campuses at salaries of as high as $225,000.
  • Florida has something of a tradition in which state legislators land nice jobs at colleges. The Orlando Sentinel reported that this tradition is alive and well, even in tight budget times. The new speaker of the Florida House, Ray Sansom, has been hired as vice president of Northwest Florida State College, and will earn $110,000 a year.
  • The Mississippi University for Women was within its rights when it cut off ties to its alumni group, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Leaders of the alumni group have been in a series of public fights with university administrators, with both sides claiming that they have the best interests of the institution at heart. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that the decision didn't focus on the merits of their differences but on the authority of the university and the state board that oversees public colleges. The board and the university have authority over such decisions as ties to alumni groups, and removing that power would seriously cut into their autonomy, the court ruled.
  • The University of Kansas is suing the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies, charging that its researchers did not receive appropriate credit for their research contributions on a patent for a cancer drug, Biotech Transfer Week reported. A share of royalties on the drug, Velcade, could be worth a lot of money. It generated about $190 million in sales during the first half of 2008.
  • The University of Michigan has awarded a posthumous degree to Milo Radulovich, who was forced to leave his studies in Ann Arbor after he was falsely accused of being a communist during the McCarthy era "red scare." While Radulovich was subsequently cleared, he was not able to pick up his studies at Michigan. He died last year.
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