King's University College, in Alberta, has found itself drawn into the military tribunal in Guantanamo considering murder and terrorism charges against Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail reported that the defense has indicated that a college dean has offered admission for Khadr to the institution. While the dean acknowledges reaching out to him and offering to help, she and the university deny that any offer of admission has been made.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In the United States, public and private universities are trying to recruit in California, thinking that budget cuts and resulting enrollment limits there may create more interest in enrolling elsewhere. With British universities facing budget cuts that will limit spaces, a Dutch institution, Maastricht University, is recruiting those who will be rejected in the U.K., Times Higher Education reported.
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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Nelnet announced on Friday that it had agreed to settle a federal False Claims Act lawsuit that accused the company (along with other student loan providers) of taking advantage of a loophole in federal law to derive hundreds of millions of dollars in excess federal subsidies. The company, without admitting liability, tentatively agreed to pay $55 million to settle claims by a former federal worker that Nelnet, Sallie Mae, and others had illegally profited from a provision in federal law that allowed them to continue to make loans for which they were guaranteed an interest rate return of 9.5 percent. It was not clear as of Sunday if other lenders in the case had reached similar settlements, but the Journal-Star of Lincoln, Neb., reported that the judge in the case had issued an order Friday canceling a trial that was set to begin tomorrow.
The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday ordered raises of 7 percent for the past academic year (awarded retroactively) and 4 percent for the new academic year for faculty members at Chadron State, Peru State and Wayne State Colleges, The Omaha World-Herald reported. The court ruled because of an impasse between the faculty union, affiliated with the National Education Association, which has been pushing for the raises, and the state college system, which said that they couldn't be afforded. The Supreme Court ruling upheld findings of the state's Commission on Industrial Relations, which had called for the raises to be awarded. State college officials said that paying for the raises could lead to serious budget cuts, potentially including layoffs.
Johns Hopkins University, which has been among the more prestigious and wealthy private universities not to operate with need-blind admissions (under which undergraduate applicants are admitted without regard to financial need) is moving in that direction. In a profile of Ronald Daniels, the new president of Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun noted that he asked the university's admissions and financial aid offices to operate on a need-blind fashion in admissions this year, and that the institution was able to do so. The university is hoping to announce a shift to operating under such a system as a matter of official policy.
With websites to rank faculty members or to gamble on grades, it was only a matter of time. A new website -- The Should I Skip Class Today? Calculator -- offers students a way to determine the relative risks of sleeping in. While the calculator claims to offer a vetted formula, many of the questions would seem to be those even a C student might consider. For instance, some of the information students provide to get their risk level include queries on whether there is a daily quiz or an attendance policy. The site comes complete with testimonials from students (with only their first names). Caitlyn from the University of Georgia is quoted as saying, "I love this thing! It is so cool! I'm totally going to use it daily!" In the FAQ, the site addresses the ethical issue that might occur to some faculty members. In response to the statement "Skipping class is wrong. This should be taken down," the website says "Censorship is wrong. You should be taken down."
While two institutions share the name Wheaton College, and both are proud of their liberal arts traditions, they are actually quite different. The one in Illinois is a Christian college, while the one in Massachusetts is not. The one in Massachusetts was for many years a women's college, while the one in Illinois never was. But people seem to have a hard time telling them apart. In May, the commencement speaker in Massachusetts talked about alumni who were in fact alumni of Wheaton in Illinois. Now Forbes is having difficulties. In its new college rankings, the entry with data for the Illinois college features contact information and a photograph of the college in Massachusetts, and vice versa.
The University of Scranton Press is being closed due to the tight budgets of its university, The Times-Tribune reported. The press is relatively small and relatively young, and published about 200 books during the 22 years in which it operated. "Basically, it was a budgetary decision. We are a tuition-driven institution, and these are tough economic times," said Harold Baillie, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Our main priority is the education of our students, and that takes precedence in the distribution of our resources." Among the areas of focus for the press have been Roman Catholicism and Pennsylvania. Books currently under contract will be released.
The president of Tel Aviv University, Joseph Klafter, has asked to see the syllabi of several sociology courses, raising concerns among some professors, Haaretz reported. The request followed a report from a right-wing group that said that some sociology courses at the university have adopted a "post-Zionist" philosophy instead of a Zionist one. Some say that the president is just trying to get a read on the situation to better respond to criticism. Others say that requesting the syllabi is inappropriate. "Right-wingers are trying to divide and label people in academia in a process designed mainly to sow fear. The university president shouldn't have cooperated with such an attempt," one told Haaretz.