Martin Meehan, a Congressman-turned-college-president, on Tuesday withdrew his name from consideration to be the new president of the University of Massachusetts system, days after Gov. Deval Patrick expressed concern that the search process was not considering candidates with enough national education background, the Boston Herald reported. Meehan said he would remain as president of the university's campus in Lowell.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Darrel Hammon has resigned as president of Laramie County Community College amid criticism from some trustees and faculty members, The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. Hammon was criticized in an internal report for mishandling the suicidal behaviors of a student on a 2008 trip the president led to Costa Rica -- and he was also criticized for trying to block release of the critical report. Also, the Faculty Senate recently called for an investigation into whether the college is hiring too many administrators. In resigning, Hammon defended his record, but said that it would be difficult to lead the institution without full board support.
Colleges and universities shouldn't wait for the cities and towns where they are located to hit them up for tax payments (as often happens when economic woes grow) -- they should work with municipalities to craft fair and clear-cut arrangements, a new report argues. The report, from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, examines the deals known as "payments in lieu of taxes" (or PILOTs), and characterizes them as a logical way for tax-exempt colleges and other groups to both pay for the public services they use and provide much-needed revenue to their home areas. But the arrangements "are often haphazard, secretive, and calculated in an ad hoc manner that results in widely varying payments among similar nonprofits," says the report, in arguing for more thoughtful approaches.
A federal review panel is backing the claim of the Hoonah T'akdeintaan clan, a Native American group, that it is entitled to the return of a collection of 40 or so objects in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Anchorage Daily News reported. The objects have been housed at Penn for decades, but clan members say that the collection includes sacred objects. Penn has offered to return eight objects and to co-curate the remainder with clan members, but they are pushing for the return of the full collection. A Penn spokeswoman said that she was disappointed by the federal panel's ruling backing the Hoonah T'akdeintaan claim on the collection, and that the university remained hopeful of working out a mutually agreeable resolution.
The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and other British institutions have been hiring a number of leaders in recent years from American universities. Today Tufts University announces that its next president will be Anthony P. Monaco, pro-vice-chancellor for planning and resources at Oxford and a noted neuroscientist who identified the first gene specifically involved in human speech and language. He will succeed Lawrence S. Bacow next summer. Before his appointment as pro-vice-chancellor, Monaco was director of Oxford's Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics, now the largest externally funded, university-based research center in Britain. While the next Tufts president has spent 20 years at Oxford, he is a native of Wilmington, Del., who grew up in modest circumstances as the son of a plumber and was a first-generation college student at Princeton University.
With the new Antioch College preparing to hire its first faculty members, the American Association of University Professors is reiterating its call for the college to turn to some of those who lost their jobs teaching at the Antioch College that was shuttered by Antioch University. A letter sent by the AAUP to the new college on Monday noted that while the college is correct that it legally is not the same entity that eliminated the faculty jobs, there may be still be obligations to those faculty members. "[T]he new college continues to invoke not only the history and legacy of the old institution and to bear the name and goodwill of the old, but to benefit from many of the tangible assets of the historic Antioch College, including the alumni, the campus and facilities, and the substantial endowment. The faculty of the old Antioch College, including those faculty who were laid off, were at the core of creating and sustaining those assets. Thus we believe that such benefits entail certain continuing responsibilities to those long-standing employees who are qualified for and remain available for positions in the new college -- especially the tenured faculty," says the letter. It goes on to note concern that at least one trustee leader may believe that donors would object to hiring those who were laid off by the university.
Antioch responded with a letter of its own, saying that it would welcome applications from the faculty members who worked for the previous institution, but that it was important to do broad searches to fill the positions. "We are grateful that the American Association of University Professors recognizes that Antioch College is a different legal entity from Antioch University. It is, therefore, inconsistent for the association to support a process of employee 'reinstatement' for those the AAUP asserts were 'laid off' by Antioch University," the college's letter says. "Despite the commitment of its trustees and leadership to the fundamental value of academic tenure, consistent with the AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the decision of the college to move forward with a faculty hiring process that both embraces equal opportunity employment practice and fundamentally protects the new institution against charges of discrimination and favoritism in hiring has not, as of yet, met with public support from the AAUP."
Raynard S. Kington, the new president at Grinnell College, said he was attracted to the institution by its commitment to social justice. The college has now announced a new award -- in which up to $300,000 will be awarded annually to honor people under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in promoting positive social change. Up to three awards -- each splitting $100,000 between an individual and an organization committed to the individual's ideals of social justice -- will be made each year.
The University of Phoenix is eliminating 700 jobs through layoffs, primarily in admissions departments, the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, announced Monday. “In recent months, we have accelerated the shift in our approach to student admissions, and have refined our business model. These staffing reductions are intended to better align our operations with these business decisions," a Phoenix official told Barrons.com.
Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Tex., accepted an invitation Monday to join the Big East Conference, effective summer 2012. TCU will become the conference's 17th member institution and the ninth to play football. The Big East primarily spans the Rust Belt, from the eastern portion of the Midwest into the Northeast. TCU will join the University of South Florida, which joined the conference in 2005, as the other geographical outlier in the conference. Many critics believe the TCU-Big East deal was struck to ensure that Texas Christian gains and the rest of the conference maintains their status as "automatic qualifiers" for the Bowl Championship Series, the controversial system that helps decide the national title winner in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). This year, TCU's football team finished with a perfect 12-0 record in the regular season, but it still may not have the chance to play for a national title because it is a member of the Mountain West Conference, a "non-automatic qualifier." Monday's announcement follows a tumultuous season in college football in which many major conferences expanded beyond their traditional geographic boundaries, primarily for economic reasons.
Hundreds of teaching assistants at the University of California have vowed to vote against a tentative contract deal negotiated on their behalf by their union, which is part of the United Auto Workers, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. Five members of the bargaining team for the union have endorsed the drive to reject the contract. The contract would provide some gains in pay and benefits, and the union leaders and its dissenters differ on whether those gains go far enough. The union's website offers reasons to approve the contract, while this site offers reasons to reject it.