Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Michigan State University is shutting down its undergraduate campus in Dubai, saying that it has lost millions of dollars on the effort while failing to attract enough students to make the program sustainable, The National reported. A small master's program will be maintained. Only about 100 undergraduates are enrolled, and Michigan State officials said that their financial plans had assumed larger enrollments.

Terry Denbow, vice president for university relations at Michigan State, told Inside Higher Ed vie e-mail that the university was indeed changing its goals for Dubai. "Our strategic approach is to sharpen our focus in the region and streamline operations in the face of recent and very dramatic worldwide economic challenges. We’ll focus on executive development programs, study abroad, graduate education, research and consulting services, and seek new academic opportunities in Dubai, the UAE, and the region," he said. "We have embarked upon the formal processes needed to shift undergraduate programs there to East Lansing with a seamless transition."

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has named John Rocovich as a member of the board of Virginia Tech, returning him to a role in which he was controversial in a previous tenure, The Roanoke Times reported. As rector (or board chair), Rocovich tried to reverse an affirmative action program and also tried to block the appointment of a lesbian professor's partner through an effort used to help the spouses of hires find jobs.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Pennsylvania State University has found no evidence that Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist, engaged in scientific misconduct, The New York Times reported. Mann has figured prominently in what doubters of climate change call "climategate" in which e-mail messages involving Mann and other scholars have been read by some to suggest politically driven descriptions of their findings. The university's inquiry did criticize Mann for sometimes sharing unpublished manuscripts without authors' permission.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- President Obama called for bipartisan support of comprehensive immigration reform here Thursday in an address at American University, but the speech itself included only brief mentions of where he stands on the immigration issues that dominate higher education's agenda -- and none of the positions he took were new. Among the elements of a wide-reaching reform, Obama said he would hope to see the adoption of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would help students stay in the United States even if they entered illegally as children. "We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here and earn an education," he said. "The DREAM Act would do this, and that’s why I supported this bill as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator — and why I continue to support it as president."

The president also voiced support for providing visas for foreign students to stay in the country after completing their degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. "While we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States," he said. "Instead of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores, we train our competition."

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Texas Tech officials are refusing to comment about why a professor at the university's health science center recently lost his endowed chair, but KCBD -- a local television station -- has been running a series of stories about an apparent incident involving showing pornography to students. The first reports indicated that the professor, Rod Hicks, was out of town and so was instructing students via a video hook-up. When class was over, he didn't disconnect, and the students then saw pornography streaming from his computer. The latest reports indicate that the instruction was taped, and that the tape may have gone straight from his instruction to his non-curricular video. Hicks isn't responding to questions from KCBD or Inside Higher Ed. A university spokeswoman said that Texas Tech could not comment on the situation because it is a personnel matter.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment -- which has more than 650 colleges committed to various environmental goals -- has removed 15 institutions from its list. The 15 colleges removed "had missed the first three initial reporting requirements: (1) an Implementation Profile due within two months of their start date; (2) a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory due within one year of their start date; and (3) a Climate Action Plan due within two years of their start-date," said a statement from the group. Initially the organization said it would not release the names of these institutions, but when Inside Higher Ed noted that old lists of members were cached online, the group released a list: Birmingham-Southern College; Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science; Chicago State University; College of the Sequoias; Crafton Hills College; Hiwassee College; Interdenominational Theological Center; North Central Michigan College; Palo Verde College; Salem Community College; San Bernardino Community College District; San Bernardino Valley College; Springfield Technical Community College; the University of the Arts and Webster University.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

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).

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

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.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

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.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 3:00am

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.

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