Colleges have been quicker to green their facilities than their curriculums, as a 2008 National Wildlife Federation study showed, and a new report released by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment Thursday aims to help colleges integrate "climate neutrality" and sustainability into their academic programs. "Education for Climate Neutrality and Sustainability: Academic Guidance for ACUPCC Institutions" includes more than 200 examples and resources.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Bob Kerrey announced Thursday that he will leave the presidency of the New School in June 2011, when his contract expires. He said in a statement that his intent has long been to leave at that time, but he also acknowledged the controversies at the New School, whose student and faculty groups have become increasingly critical of his management. "To understate the case this has been a challenging semester for the university and my family," he said. "There have been moments when I reached the limit of my willingness to continue serving as your president. There have been moments when my tendency to fight and to directly engage in confrontation, argument and disputes have been counterproductive." A Web site maintained by students who have clashed with Kerrey offered its own analysis of Kerrey's plans and record, ending its commentary by saying "onward in struggle."
Laureate Education Inc. has released a statement outlining its possible vision for the College of Santa Fe, a financially struggling private college that the for-profit chain may end up operating under a bailout plan being pushed in New Mexico. The college is known for its arts programs and Laureate is known for its campuses in many countries around the world, primarily educating people from countries other than the United States. While Laureate's statement was vague -- officials noted that negotiations are still going on -- it suggested that Santa Fe would become a "global center of excellence in the teaching of the arts," in which Laureate's students worldwide would gain from the expertise at Santa Fe.
Supporters are rallying around the Louisiana State University Press, which is on a list of units at LSU that may face deep cuts or even elimination. The many distinctions of the press include winning four Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other academic publisher. The press is also the only university press to have won Pulitzer Prizes in both fiction and poetry. Peter Givler, executive director of the Association of American University Presses and a member of the advisory board of the LSU Press, said, "Things are tough everywhere and everybody is making sacrifices, but the idea of shutting down a press that has brought so much national distinction and honor to LSU, and to Louisiana, is just plain nuts." LSU's chancellor, Michael Martin, issued this statement about the situation: "We hope the Governor and our Legislature will provide sufficient funding to maintain support of LSU Press, as it is a very valuable asset to this university, the people of the state and many beyond. We face, however, extraordinary economic conditions and we must protect the academic core of LSU first and foremost."
Grove City College has suspended John Gechter, a molecular biology major, for his work in gay pornography, The Herald reported. Gechter had kept his job -- which he says he needed to pay tuition -- a secret. But the newspaper reported that another student spotted a photograph of him online, and forwarded the shot to many on the campus. College officials say that Gechter violated their code of conduct and that they are worried about the dangers he might face in porn. But Gechter told the newspaper: "I absolutely believe the college violated my rights. ... They [suspended] me based on my occupation. I was not doing anything illegal.”
Wesleyan University will resume normal operations today, after a tense day in which most activities were called off after police found journals of a man suspected of murdering a student on Wednesday, and the suspect's writings indicated that he wanted to kill other students, especially Jewish students. The university issued security alerts to those on the campus, and informed students when the suspect turned himself in to police in a nearby town late Thursday. Wesleyan is providing counseling services and also pledging flexibility on final exams and academic work, given that students' lives were interrupted by the tragedy of a fellow student's murder and then considerable campus fear as they were finishing up a semester's work. An article in The New York Times explores how the suspect, Stephen Morgan, met his victim, Johanna Justin-Jinich, two years ago when both were enrolled in a summer program at New York University. At the time, she reported that he made harassing calls and sent her harassing e-mail messages.
A federal grand jury has indicted two Detroit businessmen and six former University of Toledo athletes on charges of point-shaving and related offenses, The Toledo Blade reported. The incidents involved both football and basketball games, and the point-shaving is alleged to have been motivated by gambling. Lloyd Jacobs, president of the university, noted in a letter to students and faculty members that many reforms have been instituted to the athletics program. "Let me say from the beginning that we take this matter seriously, however we also consider it past history," he said. "We will continue to cooperate fully with all law enforcement agencies. Working together, it is my hope that this matter can be resolved quickly and justly for all parties involved.”
The Modern Language Association is sending a letter to all English and foreign language department chairs urging them to organize discussions and activism to draw attention to the treatment of adjuncts. The letter follows on both reports and policy positions issued by the MLA, and urges discussions with department members and administrators, publicizing "best practices" on the use of non-tenure-track faculty members (including minimum per course payments), urging the conversion of part-time positions to full-time and so forth. The letter also urges chairs to raise these issues when they sit on external review panels on other campuses. "Especially in these difficult economic times, we must vigorously make the case for the relevance of an excellent humanities education," the letter says. "Students need to be multiply literate, flexible, keen in their interpretive capacities, and prepared to change career direction several times over the course of their working lives. They deserve well-trained and adequately paid faculty members who, working under good conditions, are committed to teaching and learning, have time to prepare classes and provide adequate feedback to students, and have opportunities and support for professional development and advancement. Those students are our future. And those who stand before them in the classroom are our future as well."
A local district attorney raided offices at the City College of San Francisco Wednesday seeking evidence that college officials illegally spent public funds on donations to campaigns on behalf of bond measures that helped the college, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The search warrants show that the investigators are looking closely at the actions of Philip Day, who was chancellor of the college at the time of the alleged donations and who is now part of the Washington higher education lobbying world as president of National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Day and the college have denied wrongdoing.
A Wesleyan University student was shot and killed Wednesday while working at a cafe. The university issued a series of security alerts and asked students to abandon plans to hold a vigil in the student's memory. "There is no reason to believe that the perpetrator of the shooting earlier today is on or near the campus, but we believe that the Wesleyan community could possibly be at risk. We realize that some students want to come together tonight to console each other, but such gatherings are not advisable at this time," said the statement. Claire Potter, a professor of history and American studies at Wesleyan, wrote at her blog, Tenured Radical, about the experience of being on the campus Wednesday as the events transpired.