Colleges must work to retain and document institutional knowledge (essay)

The transitory nature of Gen X and millennial employees puts colleges at risk of losing significant amounts of business and operational knowledge, unless they do something to document it, writes Andrew M. Peña.

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Tuition Freeze Proposed for U. of California

University of California students need another tuition freeze in the coming year, and a more rational approach to tuition than the past mix of freezes and large percentage increases, Janet Napolitano said Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. Napolitano -- the new president of the university system -- made the proposal to the university's Board of Regents. Over the long run, she said, the university must strive to keep costs to students and families under control. "I want tuition to be as low as possible, and I want it to be as predictable as possible," she said. Napolitano said that she wanted to work "to bring clarity to, and reduce volatility in, the tuition-setting process." She also said she wanted to increase the number of transfer students from the state's community colleges.


UConn President Responds to Anger on Title IX Complaint

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst said Wednesday that students misinterpreted her response to their speaking out against sexual assault on campus, The Hartford Courant reported. After seven students filed a Title IX complaint (and subsequent lawsuit) against the university in October, alleging that the university failed to protect them from sexual violence, Herbst said the claims were “astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue.” Students held a rally in protest, and state lawmakers called for a hearing on sexual assault on Connecticut campuses (which took place Wednesday afternoon). But on Wednesday Herbst said she was not suggesting the students were lying, but was rather responding to “the broad allegation of institutional indifference.”

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Georgia Board Votes to Merge Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted on Tuesday to merge Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University. The merger, announced on Nov. 1 as a foregone conclusion by the board, is now a sure thing. The merging itself will play out over the next several years and students will not attend the new institution, which will keep the Kennesaw name, until 2015.

The plan, which was announced to the surprise of most people on both campuses, met some opposition from students and alumni at Southern Poly.

The Georgia system has already merged eight institutions in an effort to, among other things, save money. So far, countless hours have been spent on the mergers, and historic institutions’ names have been wiped off the map. And, so far, the 31-campus system has saved only about 0.1 percent -- an estimated $7.5 million -- of its $7.4 billion operating budget.

Chicago State tries to shut down faculty blog

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University tells professors to shut down website (which is critical of the administration) because it is uncivil and uses institution's name. They respond by changing name to "Crony State University Faculty Blog."

U. of Illinois Board Poised to Fire Tenured Professor

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday on a rare circumstance poised to occur this week: the firing of a tenured faculty member by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Tribune article states that the case appears to represent the first time the Illinois board has been asked to weigh in on a tenure review decision. The case involves Louis Wozniak, who was removed from teaching several years ago over an email he sent to students that was perceived to have sexual overtones, one of several points of conflict that have led university administrators to seek to revoke his tenure. A faculty committee cleared him of most of the charges filed against him, but Illinois officials have argued that his continued flouting of one demand justified his firing.


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Ex-Professor, Acquitted of Rape, Sues Wittenberg for Millions

A former professor of French at Wittenberg University in Ohio is suing the institution -- along with local police and media -- following his acquittal on rape and kidnapping charges in a case involving a developmentally disabled man, the Associated Press reported.

Hollant (Max) Adrien filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last week seeking reinstatement and $2 million in damages from Wittenberg, which fired him last year, before the case went to trial. In lieu of reinstatement, he's seeking $10 million. He's also seeking $50 million from local police and $110 million combined from six news outlets. A Wittenberg spokeswoman said via email that while the university doesn't comment on pending litigation, "we are confident that our institution was lawful and consistent in our policies and procedures in connection with Max Adrien."

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Too Much Turnover at U. of Wyoming?

Turnover in the senior ranks at the University of Wyoming has increased substantially in the five months that Robert Sternberg has been president, The Casper Star-Tribune reported. Eleven deans or other administrators have resigned, a number at the request of Sternberg, and the departure of the law dean has been particular contentious. Higher education experts in the article noted that turnover in the administrative ranks is fairly common when a new president takes over -- and puts his or her own team in place. But others said that the pace of change has been unusual.


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Rich Harvard, Poor Harvard

Harvard University recently announced an 11.3 percent return on its endowment, which was valued at $32.7 billion on June 30. That's the largest endowment in higher education. The university also recently announced a $6.5 billion fund-raising campaign -- the largest ever in higher education. But an interview released by the university Friday with its chief financial officer, Dan Shore, he focused on financial pressures on the university. He said that the university has a $34 million deficit. And while that's small in the context of the university's $4.2 billion budget, he said that "the path toward our ability to thrive in the future requires that we not wait until the deficit gets even bigger before we start to act, because then it will require us to be in a much more reactive position." He also noted uncertainty about federal support, on which Harvard relies for research.

In language that is similar to that used at many less wealthy colleges, Shore also said that Harvard can't simply add expenses. "The campaign helps, but, fundamentally, we can no longer live in a world where things continue simply to be additive," Shore said. "The next new and exciting thing that we think it’s important to do can’t simply be layered on top of all of the other things that we’ve been doing. It’s just not a sustainable model. And I think the entire higher education industry is feeling the need to move away from that way of doing business."

Eastern Michigan Fires Football Coach After Tirade

Eastern Michigan University fired Ron English as football coach after a tape surfaced of him yelling at team members in a tirade with numerous expletives and insults, The Detroit News reported. Heather Lycke, the athletics director, issued a statement on the dismissal Saturday: "We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where the language is appropriate. The statements made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable. My decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape."

The Detroit News article linked to above includes a link to a censored version of the recording.

The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper at Eastern Michigan, has released an uncensored version of the recording.


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