The New Jersey Institute of Technology and its alumni association will be in court this month in a dispute over the use of the institution's name, the Associated Press reported. The two entities have been fighting since 2001, when the university tore down an alumni center to build a new student center. In 2008, NJIT told the association that it was being replaced with a new group, and that led the alumni to sue.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Old Dominion University officials are denying any conflict of interest in hiring a state legislator -- whose amendment created the Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership at the university -- to run it, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The newspaper, which reported on the situation, prompting criticism of the hire, said that university leaders said the lawmaker was hired on the basis of his qualifications, not his connections.
The state panel studying a scandal in which trustees and others sought admission for politically connected applicants is calling for the ouster of all gubernatorial appointed trustees, but is not seeking the ouster of top administrators who were involved, the Chicago Tribune reported. At the same time, the final report being prepared by the panel will include harsh evaluations of President B. Joseph White and the Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Richard Herman, which could be used by trustees in the future to take action against them. The university is not commenting until the release of the final report.
European academic leaders are considering adopting a formal statement on academic freedom, with the idea that professors would benefit from an accepted statement of rights in the way American academics cite the statement of the American Association of University Professors, The Times Higher reported. Among the proposals: Faculty members should have the power to select vice chancellors (those who lead universities).
Authorities last year uncovered a major cheating scandal at the University of Texas at Brownsville--Texas Southmost College in which employees, some of them students, helped other students obtain test answers for themselves or give or sell them to others, The Brownsville Herald reported. The cheating involved gaining access to the Blackboard system used by faculty members for tests and grading, among other uses. The university was vague on how it punished students, saying that university procedures were followed (which would have involved an F for students in courses in which they were found to have cheated). Twenty people -- 6 employees and 14 students -- were involved. The university considered, but decided against, pressing criminal charges. Juliet V. Garcia, president of the university, released a statement to the Herald on why she favored internal handling of the matter. "It’s the job of institutions of higher education to preserve and honor academic integrity. Yes, academic dishonesty is a challenge that all educators must be prepared to handle," she said. "The policies and procedures in place at the university provide the means for the campus to investigate and make informed decisions on courses of action appropriate for each case."
Arizona State University hopes to create a set of lower-priced, undergraduate colleges around the state aimed at commuters and offering the option of three-year degrees, The Arizona Republic reported. University officials detailed their plans -- which they will present to the Arizona Board of Regents Thursday, along with proposals from other universities in the state -- for from 5 to 15 campuses that would offer degrees in a small number of high-demand fields such as education, criminology, and communications. Tuition would be set at the amount of the maximum Pell Grant, Arizona State officials told the Republic, with startup costs for the first campus, envisioned for suburban Phoenix, estimated at $4.5 million to $6 million. Arizona is considering numerous options for cutting what students pay for higher education, including letting more students go to community colleges for three years and enrolling at costlier universities only for the fourth year.
About 130,000 college students in Illinois won't receive state financial aid grants this year because the state moved up its deadline for applications because of the economy, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Some students lose out on aid every year, in Illinois and elsewhere, because they miss the deadline for applying, but this year's total is the most in history because the cutoff is months earlier than normal; it was moved up because the state aid budget is about half its normal size. The hardest hit students, the newspaper reported, are returning adult students and applicants from community colleges, another trend likely to be replicated elsewhere.
The American Council on Education will delay salary increases for six months, offer "early exit" packages to employees, and cut spending by 10-15 percent for some programs in the 2010 fiscal year, to weather an expected decline in revenues and shift money to key priorities of President Molly Corbett Broad, association officials told employees Thursday. Many higher education groups have, like their member colleges, been buffeted by the economy, with some cutting employees, an Inside Higher Ed survey found this week. Comparatively, ACE, higher education's main lobbying group, is in solid shape; no one will be laid off, and in fact the association expects flat spending or even a modest increase in 2010. But to focus more attention on ACE activities related to veterans, adult education, and GED completion, which Broad is emphasizing, some programs -- as yet unidentified -- will lose some funds, ACE officials said. Two employees have taken advantage of the early departure program. The council's highly visible government relations work will be unaffected by the changes.
Sallie Mae spent nearly $2 million in the first half of 2009 on federal lobbying at a time when Congress and the Obama administration are contemplating a radical restructuring of the student loan programs, the Huffington Post reported. The article, a product of the Web site's fledgling investigative fund, said that Sallie Mae hired a who's who of Washington lobbyists to fight the Obama administration's plan to end lending through the guaranteed loan program that Sallie Mae has dominated, and to push an alternative proposal that faces an uphill climb in Congress.
Citing the state’s severe budget problems, the University of California at Irvine announced that it will cut its men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s rowing, and sailing teams. The institution expects to save nearly $1 million as a result of the cuts. Mike Izzi, Irvine athletics director, said, “I was hoping to avoid discontinuing any of our sports programs, but the athletics department is not immune to the cuts that are occurring in the state and on our campus.”