President Franklin D. Roosevelt held his No. 1 position in the latest poll of historians and political scientists on the performance of the nation's chief executives. The poll, conducted periodically by Siena College, was last conducted in 2002. President Theodore Roosevelt moved up a notch to the second spot, edging out President Lincoln. This is the first poll since the end of George W. Bush's presidency, and he landed in 39th place, just making the bottom five list (and helping President Fillmore leave the bottom five).
Higher Education Quick Takes
When Michigan created its No Worker Left Behind program in 2007, providing generous job training benefits, community colleges were expected to provide much of the education and training. But as The Detroit News reported, only one in three participants have gone to community colleges -- many of which are straining under budget cuts. Instead, many believe for-profit institutions, which cost much more for those enrolling, have become the biggest beneficiaries of the program.
Two weeks after a divided Board of Trustees voted to oust George E. Cooper as president of South Carolina State University, a newly constituted -- yet still deeply divided -- board rehired Cooper as president on Thursday, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, S.C. reported. The unusual circumstances remained cloaked in uncertainty, with several higher education officials in the state expressing bafflement at exactly why the situation has unfolded in this way. The Times and Democrat also reported Thursday that the 7-4 vote against Cooper on June 15 followed a negative evaluation in which most trustees gave him poor reviews. The second vote reinstating Cooper came after two trustees who had voted to fire him cycled off the board (as of July 1), and two new trustees came on.
A union seeking to organize adjuncts has reached an agreement with Central Michigan University on an election that will decide on collective bargaining. The union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, has been complaining that the administration has been refusing to negotiate a reasonable deal on who could vote -- and protests were planned for Wednesday. Those events shifted after news of a deal on the vote. Under the agreement, those teaching the equivalent of at least one quarter time will be allowed to vote.
The University of Phoenix plans to require all students who enter the for-profit institution with less than 24 hours of college credit to participate in a free, three-week orientation program aimed at ensuring that students are ready for college-level work, the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, announced in a quarterly financial report Wednesday. The company said it expected that the change -- which will expand a pilot program -- would, along with changes in its marketing strategy designed to focus on stronger students, hurt its 2011 enrollment levels, "net revenue operating profit, and cash flow. However, we believe that these efforts are the right thing to do for our students and, over the long-term, will improve student persistence and completion rates and therefore reduce bad debt expense and position us for more stable long-term cash flow growth."
Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Wednesday proposed folding money for Pell Grants into a Senate-passed spending bill aimed at providing emergency appropriations for military aid and disaster relief. The amendment by Rep. Dave Obey, who heads the House Appropriations Committee, would include $4.9 billion designed to close most of a $5.7 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant Program and another $10 billion to help states avoid layoffs of elementary and secondary school teachers. While the idea is likely to face opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats opposed to adding funds for domestic priorities to legislation that is supposed to be limited to other purposes, House leaders have sought to blunt that criticism by offsetting the proposed new spending by redistributing money from elsewhere in the bill. College leaders are desperately hoping Congress finds some way to clear the Pell shortfall, since a failure to do so could result in a sizable cut (of as much as $800) in the size of the maximum Pell Grant next year.
Princeton University is facing demands for increased payments to Princeton, N.J., Bloomberg reported. Princeton provided $10 million last year, more than many other private colleges provide their localities, but local residents -- aware of the university's wealth in comparison to most of American higher education -- want more. Peter Kann, co-chair of Princeton Future, a civic organization, said: "The town budget is strapped and schools are looking at laying off teachers.... Then there is this enormously rich university. They give the appearance of being wonderful donors to the town, but compared with what they would be giving if they were paying property taxes it’s really trifling.”
The results are in for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for 2010. The annual award -- from the English department at San Jose State University -- honors the worst opening sentences for imaginary novels. This year's winner is from Molly Ringle of Seattle: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss -- a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil." The contest Web page features details on the winner and various runners-up and dishonorable mentions.
A final legislative budget deal for North Carolina minimized cuts to higher education, and also gave both the community college and university systems flexibility on where to make those cuts, the Associated Press reported. Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina, issued a statement in which he said: "Legislators really stood up for our university and our 225,000 students in these hard times when money is scarce. On a relative basis and particularly considering the economic climate, the 2010-11 state budget we received from the General Assembly was nothing short of remarkable. We knew there were going to be significant cuts in every part of state government, and the university took its fair share. But the legislature really worked hard to help us protect the quality of education we can deliver to our students."
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
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