Federal student aid is not conducive to competency-based education, according to a new report, because the current system is designed to fund education that occurs within structured, discrete time periods. Mastering competencies, however, can happen outside of the credit-hour standard or through learning that lacks designated start and end dates. Stephen R. Porter, a professor of education at North Carolina State University, wrote the report, which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded. In the report Porter calls for "thoughtful experimentation" with federal aid programs to test the promise of competency-based education.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Members of the faculty union at Portland State University filed a complaint Monday over a plan by administrators to cut off email access for professors who participate in a threatened strike, The Oregonian reported. The Portland State union has voted to authorize a strike if their leaders call for one, and administrators said they would cut off access to university email accounts for those who join. In their complaint to the state Employment Relations Board, union members said such an action would amount to illegal retaliation, the newspaper said.
Many faculty members at Rutgers University at New Brunswick are upset that the university's board approved a plan to invite Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush, to be commencement speaker. Now faculty leaders are upset for a related reason: They asked for time at the next meeting of the Board of Governors to explain their opposition to Rice, and they were turned down. University officials say that they could have expressed their views at the meeting where Rice's selection was approved, but that they can't speak now. A university spokesman confirmed the decision via email, explaining it this way: "The bylaws of the Rutgers University Board of Governors set forth a process for speaking at meetings. Speakers are welcome to address any action items that are listed on the BOG agenda. The selection of Condoleezza Rice was on a previous (Feb. 4, 2014) agenda and approved by the Board of Governors."
Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about the globalization of higher education. The articles reflect long-term trends in the recruitment of foreign students, study abroad, internationalization of the curriculum, online education and more. The articles aren't today's breaking news, but reflect long-term trends and some of the forward-looking strategies that colleges are adopting. Download the booklet here.
This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.
On Tuesday, April 15 at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles. To register for the webinar, please click here.
The U.S. Education Department this morning formally published its proposed regulations requiring vocational programs at for-profit institutions and community colleges to show that they are preparing graduates for "gainful employment." The department previewed the rules this month, drawing criticism from those who thought they were unfairly tough and too weak alike.
A philosophy professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations was fired after writing an op-ed criticizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea as akin to Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria, Reuters reported. The institute, which is affiliated with the foreign ministry, said it had dismissed Andrei Zubov for criticizing Russian foreign policy: "Let the inappropriate and offensive historical analogies and characterizations lay on Zubov's conscience, the leadership of MGIMO view it as impossible for A.B. Zubov to continue working at the institute,” it said in a statement.
A federal jury in California on Monday convicted Susan Su, the founder and president of Tri-Valley University, of 35 counts related to visa fraud, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The counts relate to charges that the unaccredited university was a fraud, designed to get money from foreign applicants who wanted certification to obtain student visas. Su's lawyer could not be reached for comment, but he told the jury that she had acted "in good faith."
The board of the College of Charleston on Saturday named Glenn McConnell, a career politician currently serving as lieutenant governor, as the college's next president. The choice is a controversial one. Many faculty and students have questioned McConnell's lack of a background working in academe. In his legislative career, he was a strong supporter of flying the Confederate flag on state grounds, and photos of him posing as a Confederate general in war re-enactments (with one photo in particular showing him with people playing the part of black slaves) have offended many black people in the state. The NAACP in the state urged that the board pick someone other than McConnell. He has pledged to build legislative support for the college and, in particular, its economic development role. But many at the college fear that at a time that some legislators want to turn the college into a research university, McConnell will not defend its current mission. The college has a strong reputation as a liberal arts institution.
The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa has for much of this academic year debated the segregation of much of its Greek system, although an all-white sorority system -- following nationwide attention -- pledged several black women. But controversy has returned with the decision of student government leaders not to vote on a resolution endorsing the idea that all Greek houses should be integrated. AL.com reported that student government leaders said that they were just following procedure in referring the resolution to a committee (in which it will die this academic year because the end of the term is approaching). But supporters of the resolution said that some student government leaders didn't want to endorse the resolution or be public in opposing it.