David D. Arnold will leave the presidency of American University in Cairo at the end of the year to become president of the Asia Foundation, which supports educational and economic improvement efforts throughout Asia. Arnold has been president at Cairo since 2003 and oversaw the university's move to a new campus and the largest fund-raising campaign in the university's history.
Higher Education Quick Takes
While most colleges do not want students to bring their pets to campus, a minority of institutions are creating pet-welcoming dormitories, The New York Times reported. The article focuses on Stephens College, a women's institution in Missouri, which not only is letting students bring pets to a dormitory, but has set up a kennel to take care of animals when students are not in their rooms. Two years ago, The Boston Globe reported on a cat-friendly approach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The downside to this trend (and to students sneaking in pets at colleges that don't allow them) is apparent in reports in some college towns about increases in abandoned pets at the end of academic years.
President Obama announced last week that he would nominate Subra Suresh, dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to be director of the National Science Foundation. Suresh joined MIT in 1993 as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and since then has held joint faculty appointments in the departments of mechanical engineering and biological engineering, as well as the division of health sciences and technology. From 1983 to 1993, Dr. Suresh was a faculty member in engineering at Brown University. He has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bangalore, the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, and the German National Academy of Sciences.
The Big Ten Conference threw the world of big-time sports into a tizzy last December, when the 11-university league (long story) announced that it would consider adding new members, setting off widespread speculation about whether it would look East (to the University of Notre Dame or members of the Big East Conference) or West (to members of the Big 12 Conference) to expand. The Big Ten set an 18-month timetable for its deliberations, but the rival Pacific-10 Conference may have altered that schedule with its own statements in recent days indicating that it is considering adding as many as six new members to become a mega-conference that, like the Southeastern and Big Ten Conferences, could have its own television network. Pac-10 officials said Sunday that league presidents had given permission to Commissioner Larry Scott to make decisions on expansion without consulting them further. The Pac-10 is said to be considering adding a group of institutions from the Big 12 (names mentioned include Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State), defections that could decimate the Big 12 if members such as Missouri and Nebraska were to bolt for the Big Ten. News reports over the weekend suggested (without confirmation from the colleges involved) that the Big 12 had given Nebraska and Missouri an ultimatum on deciding on their next moves. Big Ten presidents met Sunday but concluded their meeting without any announcements, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The Nevada Board of Regents has changed its regulations so that if the state orders salary cuts of state employees, tenured faculty members are more likely to be included among those who lose some of their pay, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Current regulations require the board to declare a financial emergency before tenured faculty members can lose any of their salaries, and the board declined to do so during the last state-ordered pay cut. The shift means that any future cuts will affect tenured faculty and other employees consistently.
Arizona has cut off health benefits for the partners of state employees, so the University of Arizona will start offering a similar heath plan on its own, The Arizona Daily Star reported. No state funds will be used. Arizona officials said that keeping the benefits was key to recruiting and retaining top academic talent.
China has tightened security as the country's college entrance exams are given this week. The official Xinhua news agency reported that officials are concerned both about attacks on students and about cheating by students. In one city, more than 4,000 cheating devices have been seized.
The University of Nevada Board of Regents has approved a series of controversial cuts at the University of Nevada at Reno, in many cases over faculty objections, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Citing state budget cuts, the board voted to eliminate academic programs in animal biotechnology, agricultural economics, environmental economics, German studies and interior design, among others.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has barred students from displaying a statue to honor the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. A statement from the university characterizes the decision as upholding "the principle of political neutrality." but student leaders and others are calling the ban an infringement on free speech at the institution.
The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation has restored the accreditation of the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida. The accreditation had been revoked because the accreditor said that the institution's relationship with INTO University Partnerships, a British company that helps colleges recruit international students and manage language programs for them, constituted a change in institutional control that required a full review and approval by the accreditor. The university appealed the revocation of accreditation, saying that its relationship with INTO did not involve any change in control, noting that the university continued to control admissions and instruction. Theresa O’Donnell, the commission’s executive director, said in an interview that the association still believed it had been correct to yank recognition. But she said that when the university appealed, the association decided "to compromise," and to restore recognition, conditioned on the university now showing that there was no meaningful change in control of the program, and that it still met all standards (which the university says is the case). O'Donnell acknowledged that the accreditor acted after receiving a letter from the university's lawyer. She said that the letter did not threaten to sue, but was "not a collegial letter." A lawyer for the university said that the institution and the accreditor were "in constructive dialogue."