Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 28, 2019

Johns Hopkins University will spend $372.5 million to buy a high-profile Washington building that houses the Newseum, with plans to move several D.C.-based graduate programs into the space.

The high-rise building at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, located between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, will house Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies, which has long operated a few miles away in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

Hopkins will also move graduate programs in business, nursing and arts and sciences to the building, The Washington Post reported. The university says it has about 3,300 faculty, students and staff in D.C.

Hopkins plans to turn the building into “a world-class academic space that can be optimized for current and future research, education and engagement.”

President Ronald J. Daniels told the Post that the move “goes well beyond the symbolism of close proximity to critical corridors of public power,” signaling Hopkins’s “very firm determination to have greater impact on public policy formulation within Washington.”

January 28, 2019

Authorities have charged a Radford University student with murdering her roommate, also a student, in an off-campus apartment, The Washington Post reported. No motive is known. The roommate charged in the killing has been placed on interim suspension by the university.

January 28, 2019

Today on the Academic Minute, part of New York Institute of Technology Week, Pamela Treister, a clinical assistant professor of nursing, explains how preventive care can help alleviate the cost of uninsured emergency room visits. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

January 25, 2019

Housatonic Community College in Connecticut fired a professor who gave administrators a Nazi salute and shouted at them in German to compare them to Nazis, it announced Thursday. Charles Meyrick, formerly an assistant professor of business and economics, committed “serious misconduct” during the incident at a faculty and administrative meeting about consolidation within the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System in November, Housatonic president Paul Broadie said, according to the Associated Press. Meyrick’s behavior was part of a pattern of “increasingly alarming behavior” at meetings, the college said. Meyrick, who was previously suspended for his protest, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

January 25, 2019

Pamela A. Eibeck (right), president of the University of the Pacific, on Thursday announced that she will retire July 1. Eibeck has been president of the university for a decade. In the last year, both student and faculty groups have sharply criticized her over tuition increases and budget cuts to various programs.

January 25, 2019

The American Council on Education and five other presidential higher education associations sent a letter to the Department of Education seeking guidance on compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, which requires institutions to publicly report high-value gifts and contracts from foreign sources. The letter, available here, notes “several questions about how to interpret the law correctly,” including questions about whether a university foundation must comply with the reporting requirements and how specific universities must be in identifying donors.

January 25, 2019

University public-private partnership projects, or PPPs, are expected to multiply over the next couple of years as universities speed up efforts to replace aging utility infrastructure. Moody’s Investor Service predicts these projects will carry “a wide variety of risks” for investors.

According to a sector report recently released by Moody’s, each energy service project agreement reached by a university “includes unique requirements related to the scope of services, technology and operational and performance standards that can elevate risks for investors.”

It noted that “no project is the same, and credit risks will therefore vary for each PPP project.”

The report cited several factors that can contribute to these risks, including the complexity of services and technologies used and the contractual cost recovery mechanisms and risk sharing specific to each project. Moody's also noted that state energy efficiency mandates that have to be met by universities as early as 2020 will accelerate the number of public-private partnerships undertaken.


January 25, 2019

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has added five members outside university presidents to its top governing board, a move prompted by the 2017 scandal in collegiate basketball.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors is currently composed of 16 college and university presidents and chancellors. More than 1,000 members in the entire association took a vote on Thursday to add the five members, with 793 members approving the additions.

The five members — who will come from outside higher education — were a recommendation from an NCAA commission to study college basketball in the wake of revelations that coaches in top programs helped steer recruits to certain programs in exchange for cash payments.

Glen Jones, president of Henderson State University and chairman of the Division II Presidents Council, said in a statement that the five independent members will “enhance the association by injecting our governance processes with new perspectives, greater diversity of experience and increased levels of objectivity.”

January 25, 2019

Today on the Academic Minute, Jared Nelson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at SUNY New Paltz, determines fibers such as flax and hemp could hold the key to sustainability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

January 24, 2019

The University of South Florida at St. Petersburg admitted nearly 700 applicants in recent days, but human error is being blamed for more than 400 of those admissions offers having been sent out incorrectly. They have since been revoked.

The university issued this statement: “We were dismayed to learn about the acceptance emails that were mistakenly sent Saturday due to human error. All of us work in higher education because we care about students, and we understand the confusion and distress a mistake like this can cause. As soon as we found out about the situation, we immediately reviewed our process for communicating with prospective students and have changed our procedures to prevent this from happening again. In addition, our staff is calling each of the affected students to apologize and discuss their application status. They hope to contact all of the students by the end of this week.”

USF is hardly the first institution to have dashed applicants’ hopes in this way. Here are reports on some other errors of this sort in recent years, at Kean University and at Tulane University.


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