Tik Root, a Middlebury College junior studying at Damascus University, is missing, and his father said that Syrian officials have confirmed that he is in custody. Middlebury has posted statements from Root's father and from the college's president. Middlebury students have also created a Facebook group to encourage people to push for Root's release. Root's father believes he was watching the protests and was detained along with other observers.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Michigan's universities increased spending on administrative positions by an average of 30 percent in the last five years, with the number of administrative jobs up by 19 percent, The Detroit Free Press reported. Both state enrollment levels and state support were relatively constant during that period, and faculty salaries increased by an average of 22 percent, the newspaper found. University officials noted that even if enrollment is flat, credit hours are up, showing the need for more personnel.
New York University late Sunday announced plans to launch a full campus -- described as "a comprehensive research university with a liberal arts and science college" -- in Shanghai. The campus will be the first American university with full, independent authority in China -- a legal status approved by the Ministry of Education. Following the creation of a similar outpost in Abu Dhabi, the new campus is part of NYU's idea of becoming a "global network university." The admissions system for the Shanghai campus will be the first in China to include a range of factors beyond the country's national college admissions test. NYU expects to enroll the first students in the fall of 2013, with half of the students coming from China and half from the rest of the world.
Lecturers at the University of Washington Extension program, which offers a range of English instruction, have voted to unionize. The new bargaining unit will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders on Sunday announced a budget deal that appears likely to include significant cuts to the City University of New York and State University of New York systems. Some additional funds were added that will lessen cuts to the the community colleges in both systems and to SUNY hospitals. More details are expected in coming days.
Dalhousie University's medical school is being criticized for agreeing to set aside (in return for financial support for the openings) 10 slots for Saudi students, The Telegraph-Journal reported. Medical school officials said that limited funds for the institution from Nova Scotia's government necessitate such policies. But some medical professionals believe the move is inappropriate at a time that some provinces in Canada need more doctors.
Gaston Caperton announced Friday that he will step down next year as president of the College Board, which he has led since 1999. A statement from the College Board listed many accomplishments of his tenure, including growth in the Advanced Placement program, shifts in the SAT (most notably the introduction of a writing exam) and growth in membership of the College Board. Caperton's tenure also included substantial growth, however, in market share for the ACT, which now is roughly equal to the SAT as the primary college entrance exam; major controversies over a for-profit spinoff that the College Board shut down in 2002 amid criticism from members that it was wrong for the organization to sell products related to its tests; a major scoring scandal, and growth in the number of colleges dropping the SAT as a requirement -- with those colleges almost uniformly reporting satisfaction with the shift.
The University of Oxford is investigating allegations that the thesis proposal of Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, a doctoral student who is a son of a former president of Iran, was written with outside help, The Guardian reported. Rafsanjani denies the allegations and says that he is being smeared. The inquiry is particularly sensitive because of recent questions about the legitimacy of a Ph.D. awarded by the London School of Economics and Political Science to a son of Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Peking University's plans to expand a program of consultations with different groups of students is worrying some students and human rights advocates, China Daily reported. The university said the program would focus on reaching out to students who are facing academic difficulty. But the university is also planning sessions with "troublesome students," including those with "radical thoughts" that include criticizing the administration. "No universities or schools have the right to deprive students of the freedom to think or speak," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Beijing-based 21st Century Education Research Institute. "The university is somewhere to cultivate people's independent personalities and thinking, so it's totally wrong for Peking University to intervene in students' freedom to express their different opinions," Xiong said.