Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, November 5, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday penalized the University of Michigan for major violations involving its football program. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions placed the institution on three years' probation and backed Michigan's decision to reduce its football practice time by 130 hours over the next two years. The trouble for the Wolverines started when Rich Rodriguez became head football coach in January 2008. During his first year and a half at Michigan, Rodriguez’s team exceeded NCAA playing and practice limits — put in place to protect player safety and guaranteeing time for academics — by approximately 65 hours.

Football staff members “monitored and conducted voluntary summer workouts, conducted impermissible activities outside of the playing season, required student-athletes to participate in summer conditioning activities as a form of punishment, and exceeded time limits for athletic activities outside the playing season.” The football team also exceeded the number of NCAA allowed coaches by retaining “five quality control staff members,” who “were on the sidelines for practice and games, traveled with the team, wore the same attire as coaches, shared office space with the football staff and attended team meetings.” The NCAA determined that the institution and Rodriguez “failed to monitor” the football program and ensure that it was adhering to rules. In addition to the probation and practice restrictions for the institution, the only punishment for Rodriguez is that he must attend a NCAA rules seminar next year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 3:00am

Some universities in Texas do not give students appropriate credit for college courses they take from professors while in high school, the Dallas Morning News reported. The number of students taking such courses has more than doubled in the last five years, the newspaper reported, largely in response to changes in state law aimed at ensuring that colleges and universities give students credit for a set of core courses to make them college-ready. But some students are finding that the colleges count the credits as electives or require them to retake the classes in college, rather than as fulfilling requirements toward their degree.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 3:00am

A priest who was punished by Saint Vincent College for allegedly violating its policies by downloading pornography onto a computer in his office -- but who was cleared of that accusation -- has dropped a lawsuit he filed in September accusing officials of the college and its Roman Catholic archabbey of defaming him. The Rev. Mark Gruber's decision to drop the lawsuit, days after he gave a sworn deposition, prompted Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki -- whom Gruber had accused of conspiring with Saint Vincent's former president, James L. Towey, to manufacture the charges against him -- to issue a statement welcoming Father Mark's "unilateral dismissal" and suggesting that it was proof that the priest "finally had to confront his egregious misconduct.... It has now become apparent that Father Gruber has misled many people and has caused significant harm in our academic and religious communities." The archabbot said that Saint Vincent would continue to push for Father Mark's ouster as a priest through proceedings in the Vatican. Neither the priest nor his lawyer could be reached for comment. Inside Higher Ed reported in September that another employee had told both Father Mark and Saint Vincent officials that he, and not the priest, had downloaded the pornography, and several people close to Father Mark told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Thursday that he had dropped the lawsuit to protect the sanctity of the confession made to him by the other employee.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 3:00am

Jewish organizations are raising questions about a group at Rutgers University that is raising money for organizations that send supplies to Gaza in disregard of Israeli blockades, the Associated Press reported. Those organizing the effort say that they are trying to provide humanitarian aid, but critics say that there are questions over whether funds are being raised for illegal activities.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 3:00am

In comments that were widely characterized as solemn and full of contrition, after what he acknowledged was a "shellacking" for which he was largely responsible, President Obama reaffirmed his belief that further spending on education and research was necessary to assure an economic recovery. At the news conference after his party lost control of the House of Representatives and barely kept its grasp on the Senate, Obama conceded that he might have to compromise on health care and other key priorities, and that the need to control the deficit would require a contraction of federal spending. But "as we bring [the deficit] down, I want to make sure that we’re not cutting into education that is going to help define whether or not we can compete around the world. I don’t think we should be cutting back on research and development, because if we can develop new technologies in areas like clean energy, that could make all the difference in terms of job creation here at home." He added: “[I]n these budget discussions, the key is to be able to distinguish between stuff that isn’t adding to our growth, isn’t an investment in our future, and those things that are absolutely necessary for us to be able to increase job growth in the future as well."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 3:00am

The federal government's tax credit for higher education expenses should be made fully refundable and deposited into college savings accounts for Americans from low- and middle-income backgrounds when the students are in middle school, the New America Foundation argued in a report Tuesday. The report, "Enhancing Tax Credits to Encourage Saving for Higher Education," says that that change and others are necessary to make the federal college tax credits beneficial for students from less-wealthy backgrounds.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 3:00am

Arizona State University is considering a plan that would end state support for its law school, but allow the law school to be free of much state regulation, including that related to tuition rates, The Arizona Republic reported. The move follows a similar plan being considered for the business school of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 3:00am

  • Steven Berenson, associate professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, has been promoted to full professor there.
  • Kerri Briggs, state superintendent for education for Washington, D.C., has been named program director of education reform at the George W. Bush Institute.
  • Dave Marcus, former education reporter at Newsday, has been chosen as director of media and public relations at New York Institute of Technology.
  • Michael Sanseviro, interim dean of student success at Kennesaw State University, has been selected for the job on a permanent basis.
  • Susan Sutton, associate vice president of international programs for the Indiana University System and associate vice chancellor at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, has been appointed senior adviser for international initiatives at Bryn Mawr College.
  • The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 3:00am

    The University of Texas at Austin has been boasting of late of its raids on the University of California's furlough-weary faculty. But The Contra Costa Times reports on how the University of California at Berkeley won back a couple that it lost to Austin just a year ago. Jennifer Johnson-Hanks and William Hanks, a sociologist and an anthropologist, respectively, cited family ties to the Bay Area and the effort by a Berkeley dean who lured them back.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 3:00am

    The Medical College of Georgia and a foundation created to support it have ended their rift, The Augusta Chronicle reported. The college cut ties to the foundation two years ago, but has now worked out an arrangement in which the foundation will focus on alumni fund-raising and a new fund-raising arm created by the college will focus on the institution's needs.

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