The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association on Wednesday published a draft of proposed "common core standards" that are designed to help states reach consensus on what it means to be "college ready." Most states have agreed in principle to embrace the standards once they are agreed on, and groups of college faculty members in English and mathematics plan to assess the standards.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Bart Hildreth, dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, said that he was told to resign for speaking out against the idea of merging the school with another college at the university, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Georgia's public colleges are currently in the midst of considering a range of proposals to deal with deep budget cuts that they face already -- and the prospect of still more on the way. A spokeswoman for the university said that while officials disagree with the former dean's characterization of events, they were not speaking out in detail out of respect for the confidentiality of personnel matters.
Eleven former athletes have joined a suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association over the use of their likenesses without their authorization, The New York Times reported. While the additional plaintiffs do not change the legal issues, the lawyers involved in the suit say that this bolsters their case -- a contention disputed by the NCAA.
The Education Writers Association honored Inside Higher Ed with first prize for beat reporting for a series of articles about college rankings. The articles included a look at the apparently self-serving ways some colleges evaluate the reputations of others, an unusually frank account of how one college uses rankings, an exploration of whether some colleges may provide questionable information to those doing rankings, and an examination of how adjuncts are ignored by some colleges in key figures provided U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EWA contest.
Erskine College sued the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Wednesday accusing the religious denomination that created the college of violating its bylaws and attempting to gain inappropriate control, The Index Journal reported. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the church, blocking it from taking actions against Erskine, pending further hearings. The legal action results from last week's move by the college to fire board members of the college. Church leaders say that the college and its board have not stayed true to the faith, but many faculty members believe that the church is trying to impose ideological control on everyone at the college, and accreditors are raising questions about the church's actions.
Iowa State University is considering a change in its policy on the dismissal of tenured faculty members, The Omaha World-Herald reported. Currently, tenured faculty members may be dismissed only in cases of "extraordinary financial crisis," but a proposed change would also permit dismissals if their programs are eliminated. The change is being considered as more colleges violate the standards of the American Association of University Professors by dismissing tenured faculty members without declaring "financial exigency."
Community colleges in Nebraska have reached a compromise over a funding dispute that led Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, to sue the state's five other community colleges, The Omaha World-Herald reported. Metro State has argued that the state's funding formulas favor rural institutions unfairly. Under the deal reached to resolved the dispute, the suit will be dropped, Metro will receive $1.8 million this year from the other colleges while keeping the formula in effect for the year, and the six colleges will negotiate a new state formula for use in the future.
Jackson State University's president, Ronald Mason Jr., has received considerable public criticism for his idea of merging the state's three public, historically black universities into one. But a review by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger of e-mail to and from Mason about the idea shows that some in the state who have not spoken in favor of the plan were either supportive in private or at least open to considering the ideas. The e-mail messages also include some tough criticism and some of Mason's frustrations about the difficulty of talking about these issues. "If I can't have private conversations with members of the Black Caucus about the future of HBCUs without them trying to get me fired, then who am I supposed to talk to?" he said in one e-mail.
Making selections for those bracket pools takes time away from everything else, including scholarship, according to a new study by a Duke University professor. Charles Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, analyzed data on journal article viewing at 78 research libraries. He found that a drop in usage in the week after the pairings are announced for the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament. Further, he found additional drops at colleges and universities that won "toss-up" games, in the days following those games. “This drop in research activity in these libraries is quantitative evidence of the NCAA tournament’s power to influence patterns of work,” Clotfelter said.
An angry custodial worker at Ohio State University who had received a poor performance review shot two other employees, killing one of them, before killing himself Tuesday, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The university is offering counseling and Gordon Gee, the president, issued a statement offering condolences to the family of the employee who was killed.