President Obama on Tuesday, in signing legislation to reform the student loan system and add billions to Pell Grants, also announced that the White House will hold a summit about community colleges this fall. The White House statement said that the event would "provide an opportunity for community college leaders, students, education experts, business leaders, and others to share innovative ways to educate our way to a better economy."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Council of Graduate Schools is today releasing a new book, Ph.D. Completion and Attrition: Policies and Practices to Promote Student Success. The book is the latest in a series of studies and publications in the council's Ph.D. Completion Project.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Committee on Infractions said on Tuesday that it had penalized Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Texas-Pan American for major violations in their sports programs. The cases were resolved through the NCAA's summary disposition process, in which the parties reach agreement on the findings and the penalties. The infractions panel required IUPUI to vacate victories in all of its 14 sports, after finding that the university had improperly certified the eligibility of 97 athletes over four academic years and failed to institute institutional control over its sports program. The committee placed Texas-Pan Am on two years' probation and imposed scholarship reductions after finding that men's basketball coaches made impermissible phone calls to 13 recruits.
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas has removed Eric Sandgren from his job as dean of the College of Engineering. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the university isn't saying why Sandgren -- who retains a faculty position -- was suddenly removed. But he has recently been critical of plans to cut programs in the college.
Copies of The Eagle, the student newspaper at American University, have been scattered from their distribution boxes, and signs reading "No Room for Rape Apologists" have been placed above the boxes, following a controversial column, Washington City Paper reported. The column criticized feminists and others at the university for being an "anti-sex brigade." The column said: " 'Date rape' is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex -- especially anonymous sex -- can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!" More than 200 comments, many of them sharply critical, have been posted on the newspaper's Web site. Editors of the Eagle, while not endorsing the column, first defended the decision to publish it. But they now plan to issue an apology.
The Haas School of Business of the University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it is rejoining the Consortium, a group of businesses and business schools working to promote diversity in business school education. Berkeley was a member of the group for a decade, but quit in 2003 after the state adopted a ban on the use of racial preferences in admissions by public universities. At that time, the Consortium awarded scholarships only to black, Latino and Native American students. But in 2005, it broadened criteria to allow awards to all who are committed to advancing the mission of diversity in business schools. The Berkeley business school announced that, based on that change, it now believes that membership in the group does not violate the state's ban.
Newcastle University, in Britain, is using a series of personality characteristics to hire administrators, and some faculty members think the system is Orwellian, Times Higher Education reported. The qualities values those who "accept change and run with it," and suggests avoiding those who "express doubts" -- qualities faculty members say will produce those who won't question potentially negative changes.
Students, faculty members and some legislators are questioning the decision of the foundation of California State University at Stanislaus to invite Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate, to be the lead speaker at a fund raiser in June, The Modesto Bee reported. Many are questioning why a divisive, partisan figure would be invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a public university. Matt Swanson, president of the foundation, said that "first and foremost, this is a fund-raising event. We saw Governor Palin as somebody who is obviously a big celebrity and on the forefront of the public eye."
A plan at the University of Maine to eliminate numerous majors is drawing criticism from advocates for those disciplines and from students and faculty members concerned about the liberal arts taking too large a hit, The Bangor Daily News reported. Among the majors proposed for elimination -- although lower division courses would continue to be offered in some cases -- are women's studies, French, German, Spanish, Latin, theater and music.
The University of Florida has told two master's students at the Documentary Institute that they cannot use footage they shot in Haiti for their thesis project because the university barred student travel to Haiti, The Gainesville Sun reported. The students say they needed the footage for their film, and used private funds to pay for the travel, but the university says that permitting the footage would undercut the travel ban.