The University of Illinois is eliminating the jobs of most staff members of its Global Campus, an ambitious and controversial effort to create a major distance education unit, functioning largely independently of the university's campuses and their faculties, The News-Gazette reported. A new distance education effort is being planned in its place. The Global Campus has been a source of concern to faculty members from the start, as many said it was created without adequate academic oversight by professors.
Higher Education Quick Takes
David E. Skaggs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, resigned Friday, after less than three years in office, citing a conflict with Gov. Bill Ritter, The Denver Post reported. The Post did not have details on the conflict, but noted that a draft strategic plan for higher education in Colorado, prepared by Skaggs, has upset some college presidents. The plan would create financial incentives for colleges to improve student performance, but some campus-based officials believe the proposal asserts too much state authority.
The rescue of Jaycee Lee Dugard, kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 and freed only last week, has captured widespread attention. Her rescue is due in large part to the work of two police officers at the University of California at Berkeley: Lisa Campbell and Ally Jacobs. Phillip Garrido, who faces numerous charges in relation to Dugard's kidnapping, came to Berkeley to ask about holding an event there, and Campbell suspected something was wrong with him and the two girls he brought with him. Jacobs ran a background check on him, revealing him to be a registered sex offender. The two officers' suspicions -- shared with other law enforcement officials -- cracked the case. Details are available here.
City College of San Francisco is going ahead with its idea of letting donors pay $6,000 to restore one of the 800 courses canceled due to budget cuts, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The plan was initially controversial, but gained support after safeguards were added to prevent scenarios such as a tobacco company sponsoring a health course. So far, eight individuals have pledged gifts to restore a course. The San Francisco newspaper reported that one of them is Mary Allen, who taught mathematics at the college from 1969 to 1993 and who has asked that her gift be used to restore a mathematics course. "City College was good to me.... Now it's pay-back time," she said.
A state jury in Georgia on Thursday awarded $450,000 to a former student at Appalachian Technical College who was expelled after she complained to administrators there about the performance of an instructor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. According to the newspaper's account, Sara Castle told officials at the college that an instructor in the nursing program in which she was enrolled repeatedly dismissed students from class early, making it impossible for them to complete their required clinical training. The instructor was fired, but Castle herself was soon expelled, and she sued. The jury awarded her $400,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional duress, the newspaper said. Georgia's attorney general represented the technical college, and a spokesman said the state disagreed with the verdict and would consider its options.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Thursday called for the replacement of Richard Herman as chancellor of the campus and Joseph White as president of the university system, the Chicago Tribune reported. Both have come in for harsh criticism as Tribune and state investigations revealed their roles in an admissions scandal in which applicants with political clout -- some of them with academic qualifications that were less than distinguished -- were given preference in the admissions process. Both have said that they plan to remain in office.
Two students at Virginia Tech were found shot and killed Thursday at a campground near the campus that is popular with students, The Roanoke Times reported. The killings -- being investigated as a double homicide -- come at an institution where many are still recovering from the murder of 32 students and faculty members by a student in 2007.
The Middle East Studies Association is weighing in on the case of Neve Gordon, who teaches at Israel's Ben-Gurion University and who has set off a debate in his country over his op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for a boycott of Israel. Many Israeli leaders -- including some at his university -- have suggested that he had no right to publish the essay. The association wrote to Ben-Gurion's president, Rivka Carmi, saying: "In refusing to reiterate the university’s obligation to protect Dr. Gordon’s professional and civil freedoms and in failing to clarify that it will not be blackmailed into suspending the freedoms of particular faculty members that some donors do not like, your administration has given a green light to those attacking him and in some cases threatening his physical safety. We hope you will realize the importance of doing everything in your power to end the intimidation against Dr. Gordon by reaffirming his academic right to free expression as guaranteed by the by-laws of your university. In doing this you would be following the exemplary lead of your colleague Zvi Galil, the former president of Tel Aviv University, who in May 2009 rejected popular pressure to expel Omar Barghouti, an M.A. student in philosophy, because of his work with the international Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation."
Brigham Young University at Hawaii has been penalized by the Division II Committee on Infractions for violating four sets of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The committee report, released Wednesday, notes that the institution allowed eight transfer athletes to compete before they were academically eligible. Division II rules mandate that transfer athletes have completed at least six credit hours in the semester before entering a new institution. Secondly, on four separate occasions, the institution violated a NCAA rule that requires all athletes to have selected an academic concentration before their third year. Thirdly, the university allowed its head tennis coach to oversee the completion of amateurism and eligibility forms for international athletes -- a clear conflict of interest as the NCAA considers this a responsibility of the compliance officer. Finally, the university let three athletes practice, play and travel with their respective teams before they were cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center. The committee has placed the institution on three years of probation for "failing to monitor" its athletics program.
California must adopt a more standardized statewide system of student transfer if it is to produce enough college graduates to fill its work force, says a new report, which points to structures in other states as models. The report, which was published by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at California State University at Sacramento and reported on by the Los Angeles Times, contains a series of recommendations, based on an examination of policies in Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington, designed to ease the transfer of students from the state's decentralized community college system to public four-year institutions in California.