E. Gordon Gee will be named today as interim president of West Virginia University, The Charleston Gazette reported. Gee was 37 years old when he became president of WVU in 1981, and he stayed in the post for four years. Since then he has been president of the University of Colorado, Ohio State University (twice), Brown University and Vanderbilt University. He resigned from the Ohio State presidency in June amid a series of controversies over controversial statements he had made. But he has been much loved over the years by Ohio State trustees, donors and students. In October, Gee was named in October by Ohio Governor John Kasich to lead a state panel to study how to make higher education in the state more effective and efficient.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Colorado's attorney general's office announced Thursday that the state has fined for-profit Argosy University $3.3 million for deceptive marketing, The Denver Post reported. The state found that the university led students to believe that it was seeking accreditation for two doctoral programs by the American Psychological Association, which was not the case. Further, students were unaware that they were unlikely to be able to become licensed psychologists in Colorado with their Argosy degrees. Most of the fine will be used to help former Argosy students with their loans. Argosy acknowledged the fine and, in a statement, said that "[a]t Argosy University, student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement."
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Nichole Wilson, a psychology professor at Yavapai College, is having one of the best semesters ever in terms of student attendance and interaction. More than two-thirds of students have perfect attendance and there were only 12 absences over all over 30 class meeting dates. She attributes the change to a new approach she took this semester to explaining class expectations -- an approach she adopted after seeing a video of a flight attendant using a nontraditional approach to giving the safety instructions. Here is a video of Wilson's class introduction this semester (and likely next semester too, given how well it worked).
The University of Iowa College of Law will dramatically cut prices in an effort to attract more students in a weak legal market and reduce student debt. The state's Board of Regents approved a plan to cut the law school's sticker price by 18 percent for new and continuing Iowa residents and incoming out-of-state students starting in fall 2014. The reductions, approved Thursday, mean a $7,750 a year reduction for nonresident students to $39,500, and a cut of $4,309 for resident students, to $21,965.
Authorities in New Jersey are investigating whether a video shows the alleged sex assault of a Seton Hall University student, The New York Times reported. The video shows attendees at an off-campus party laughing and cheering during the alleged assault -- and the video was reportedly circulated among students. "The recording or sharing of images of the alleged incident is completely unacceptable and contrary to Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and commitment to fostering an academic and social environment where all students are respected," said a statement from the university.
The Obama administration is moving ahead with plans to waive certain federal student aid rules for a limited number of colleges that want to experiment with competency-based education and other innovative forms of higher education.
Officials are soliciting suggestions on what those experiments should look like, according to a notice set to be published in the Federal Register this week. The Education Department said it is “particularly interested in experiments that are designed to improve student persistence and academic success, result in shorter time to degree, including by allowing students to advance through educational courses and programs at their own pace by demonstrating academic achievement, and reduce reliance on student loans.”
The department gave three examples of the types of innovations it may approve: competency-based education, dual enrollment of high school students in higher education, and prior learning assessment.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in remarks at a student aid conference Wednesday that the experiments will allow colleges to “pursue responsible innovations to increase college value and affordability.”
The Obama administration first announced in August that it wanted to use its “experimental sites” authority to pilot higher education innovations aimed at lowering costs while maintain quality.
President Obama said in a speech on the economy Wednesday that his administration was “pursuing an aggressive strategy to promote innovation that reins in tuition costs.”
The push for federal funding for higher education innovations has been aggressive elsewhere in Washington as well. Several education foundations and think tanks have embraced alternative models of higher education, and the issue is attracting attention from a growing number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The Education Department said it wants to hear experiment proposals from colleges, businesses, philanthropies and state agencies. The suggestions are due by January 31 of next year.
Towson University is trying to sell a presidential home that has caused lots of problems, The Baltimore Sun reported. A controversy shortly after the home was purchased a decade ago led to the departure of a president. Critics questioned why the university needed to spend $2 million on the home, and particularly focused on expenses such as the installation of an elevator. The university is likely to lose money on a sale, but could save money in the end because the home is estimated to need $700,000 in maintenance and repairs over the next five years. The current president, Maravene Loeschke, wants to live close to campus, and is proposing to buy a private home, in part with a $35,000 housing allowance.
Robert Morris University this week announced plans to eliminate 7 of its 23 athletic teams. The Pennsylvania-based university said that savings will be used to finance improvements in the remaining athletic programs. The men's teams being eliminated are track (indoor and outdoor), cross country, and tennis. The women’s sports are field hockey, golf and tennis.