administrators

Mount St. Mary's Hires Interim Chief as President

Mount St. Mary’s University has hired Timothy Trainor as its president. Trainor, who has been the Maryland university's interim president for the last year, is a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army who previously was the chief academic officer for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Mount St. Mary’s was rocked by months of controversy in 2016 over Trainor's predecessor, Simon Newman, who resigned last March.

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Why did UNC call off course based on Chapel Hill athletic-academic scandal?

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Academics at UNC want to know what was wrong with plans for a class dealing with athletics scandals, including one at Chapel Hill.

Colleges Declare They Are 'Still In' on Paris Goals

Many college and university presidents have signed a statement -- “We Are Still In” -- that will be released today. The statement will also be signed by governors, mayors and business leaders -- all pledging to continue efforts to meet the environmental goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, the pact from which President Trump announced last week that he would withdraw the United States.

Trump's decision has been denounced by many scientific groups. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the issue has drawn particular attention, because some of the talking points issued by the White House suggested that MIT research backed some of the president's claims. MIT issued a statement explaining how the White House talking points were "misleading" about the findings of research. L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT, also issued a statement expressing his concerns about the Trump decision. "At MIT, we take great care to get the science right," Reif said. "The scientific consensus is overwhelming: as human activity emits more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather."

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Penn State Takes Control of Greek System

Pennsylvania State University announced Friday that it is removing control of policing the Greek system from the fraternities and sororities themselves. Fraternity and sorority oversight of their own affairs will now be replaced by university oversight. "The self-governance model of Greek life has failed to bring an end to excessive drinking, hazing, sexual assault and overly large, disruptive gatherings within their organizations," said a statement from Penn State. "The university and board are committed to implementing solutions that create a fundamental shift for Greek life in an effort to refocus on the positive aspects of these organizations."

The move comes amid continued outrage over the death of Timothy Piazza, a Penn State student, in February. At a fraternity party, after rounds of heavy drinking, Piazza fell 15 feet down a flight of stairs. Though Piazza was clearly injured, shaking violently, other Beta Theta Pi members ignored his need for medical care, instead trying to wake him by splashing liquid on his face and striking him. He fell multiple times that night, striking his head on a hardwood floor and an iron railing, and bled internally for hours before he died two days later.

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Washington College Names Next President

Washington College named its next president Friday, the day after announcing the pending resignation of President Sheila Bair.

Former Educational Testing Service President and CEO Kurt M. Landgraf will become Washington College's president July 1, the day after Bair's resignation is slated to go into effect. Landgraf, who has also held numerous senior executive positions with DuPont, was a candidate for Washington College president in the 2015 search that ultimately selected Bair.

“We believe his collaborative leadership style, his ability to craft ambitious and integrated strategies, and his operational experience will be an asset to Washington College,” said H. Lawrence Culp Jr., chair of the Washington College Board of Visitors and Governors, in a statement.

Landgraf is the second consecutive nonacademic president appointed by the college. Bair was the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the financial crisis. She proved to be an advocate for student debt reduction and college affordability during her tenure at Washington College.

She resigned about two years into a five-year contract. Her resignation announcement Thursday cited family concerns, but a source close to the college said she and the board disagreed over the board's level of involvement in college operations.

Landgraf spent 13 years as president and CEO at ETS, owner of tests like the GRE and TOEFL. He said in a statement that he is honored to join Washington College, an institution on Maryland's Eastern Shore that counts itself as the 10th oldest college in the country.

“To join the ranks of this storied and historic institution is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m certain that by working with the faculty, staff, student body and board, as well as others in the community, we will be able to accomplish extraordinary things,” he said. “And while new leadership always brings change, rest assured that President Sheila Bair’s exceptional work to address the national student debt crisis and to launch a comprehensive campaign will not only continue, but I hope will be energized and invigorated.”

The college also released a statement from the chair of its Faculty Council.

“Kurt Landgraf’s vision of cooperative co-governance will be a strong foundation from which to work together as a campus, and he has already shown a willingness to embrace the Washington College strategic plan,” said the chair, Jonathan McCollum, who also chairs the college's music department.

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University of Missouri System tries to turn cuts into a new direction

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As cuts pile up, new University of Missouri System president seeks to set the stage for a new direction.

Spanier Sentenced to Two Months in Jail

Graham Spanier, former president of Pennsylvania State University, was sentenced Friday to four months to one year of jail time, but was told he could serve two months in jail to be followed by two months of house arrest, The Centre Daily Times reported. The sentence was for child endangerment, in which he was convicted of failing to notify authorities when he learned that Jerry Sandusky was likely sexually assaulting children, and was using his then position as an assistant football coach to do so.

Spanier's lawyers, citing his health issues and contributions to society made in his career, had asked for him to be spared jail time, but prosecutors said jail time was appropriate. Spanier is expected to appeal his conviction.

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Ferrum President Is Out After Less Than a Year

Ferrum College, a liberal arts institution in Virginia, announced Thursday that President Joseph Spooner has been "released" from his contract after less than a year in office, The Roanoke Times reported. He started in August. A statement from the board chair said, "The board thinks this is the best decision for the college and the community. We wish Dr. Spooner the best in his future endeavors."

On social media, some students expressed shock, saying they thought Spooner was off to a good start. An online petition quickly materialized in which students and alumni pledged not to give to the college unless Spooner is reinstated or "a valid explanation" is provided for his sudden departure.

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Unexpected Presidential Exit at Carnegie Mellon

Subra Suresh (right) announced Thursday that he is stepping down as president of Carnegie Mellon University, effective June 30. Suresh has been president for four years. In a letter, Suresh said, "My wife, Mary, and I have reflected on the long-term commitment needed to implement the university’s strategic plan, and we feel Carnegie Mellon would be best served now by a president who is ready to make that extended commitment to generating resources and guiding the university toward reaching these objectives."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that Carnegie Mellon has a history of long-serving presidents, with tenures averaging just under 14 years, and Suresh's predecessor having served for 16 years.

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New Guide on Undergraduate STEM Education

The Association of American Universities, which works, in part, to improve math, science, engineering and technology education for undergraduates, this week released a report on “Essential Questions and Data Sources for Continuous Improvement of Undergraduate STEM Teaching and Learning.” It includes questions to aid faculty discussions on STEM education at the course, department, division and campus level on pedagogy, scaffolding and cultural change. There are key data sources and other tools to guide institutional decisions, along with information on evaluating quality and effectiveness of instruction.

Mary Sue Coleman, association president, in statement called the report a “useful resource for research universities as they continue to work at improving the effectiveness of undergraduate STEM teaching and learning.” The new document complements AAU’s earlier “Framework for Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Teaching and Learning.”

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