How to navigate conflict as a higher education leader (essay)

To be ready to lead in higher education, you must understand how to deal with conflict, writes Elizabeth Suárez.

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Study: Recreational physical activities increase odds of academic success

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When students spend more time in physical activities, they are more likely to succeed academically, study finds.

Georgia Governor Vetoes Campus-Carry Bill

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.

The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.

CCSF Strike Is 'Credit Negative' Signal, Moody's Says

Last week's one-day faculty strike at City College of San Francisco over a contract battle is "credit negative" for the college because it sends a strong signal of resistance to the administration's plan to "reduce costs and maintain structural balance," said Moody's, the credit rating agency, on Monday.

City College has lost more than a third of its enrollment during an accreditation crisis that began about five years ago. New revenue streams from the state and city, largely driven by new taxes, have helped bolster the college amid funding declines linked to the enrollment dip. But the new funding is temporary. And City College has reduced its operating expenses by only 15 percent since its accreditation woes began.

"A failure to maintain balanced operations would impede the district’s progress toward full renewal of its accreditation status, which, in turn, would further erode student enrollment and weaken annual revenue support from the state of California," Moody's said.

Vote of No Confidence in U Wisconsin Board, President

The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Monday voted no confidence in Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, and in the system's Board of Regents. The vote follows the board's rejections of proposals made by faculty groups that they said would protect academic freedom in new system policies on tenure and the elimination of faculty jobs.

Among the statements in the resolution of no confidence: "[A] primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical-thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial" and "The erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university."

Cross released a statement in which he said that he wants to work closely with faculty members, but that he also has to "work in partnership" with state leaders. "This state and its people are counting on us, working together, to help improve and expand quality of life and economic prosperity. I will continue working with faculty at UW-Madison and other institutions and partners throughout the state to advance the UW System for the good of all of Wisconsin," he said. The system also released a statement from the board chair affirming support for Cross.

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General Assembly on Measuring Student Results

General Assembly, the largest of the skills boot camp providers, today released a public framework for measuring student outcomes. Boot camps are not accredited. And while many claim job-placement rates of more than 90 percent, those numbers typically are not verified by outside groups. But Skills Fund, a student lender for boot camps, and other players are seeking to play that role.

To design its standards for reporting and measuring student success, General Assembly worked with two major accounting firms to craft an approach public companies use to measure nonfinancial metrics such as social impact and environmental sustainability.

"Our goal is to start a conversation about outcomes predicated on the use of consistent definitions and the application of a rigorous framework and methodology," the company said. "Over time, we hope to develop new measures of return on education that consider income or other criteria that can be used by students and other stakeholders to understand student success in even more specific and granular ways."

New presidents or provosts: Fitchburg Houston Miami New Mexico Tech Rockford St. Andrews Southern Whitewater

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  • Sandra L. Boham, interim president of Salish Kootenai College, in Montana, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.

Anger on U of Hartford Plan to Sell Political Artifacts

The University of Hartford is facing increasing criticism over its plan to sell a significant collection of political artifacts, The Hartford Courant reported. The university says that it can't afford to maintain and display the collection, and so it looking for an auction house. The collection reportedly will bring in several million dollars. But critics say that the university took the collection as a gift and has an obligation to preserve it. Further, they note that the university obtained funds from Congress for a museum that it briefly used before converting the building to another purpose.

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Federal Default Rate Adjustment List Published

The Wall Street Journal on Friday published an article revealing the 21 colleges that benefited from an adjustment the U.S. Department of Education made to the institutions' student loan default rates. The department had not disclosed which colleges received the controversial default-rate tweaks, even when members of the U.S. Congress asked.

The newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the list, as did Inside Higher Ed, unsuccessfully. But the department mistakenly released the information to the Journal. The colleges included 10 for-profits, many of them small, six historically black colleges or universities, and five community colleges.

Education Dept. Grants Researchers More Data Access

The U.S. Department of Education will offer researchers new access to federal data for studies that "can inform and advance policies and practices that support students’ postsecondary success and strengthen repayment outcomes for borrowers," the White House announced last week. The pilot program will allow experts -- starting with Federal Reserve Board researchers this fall -- to apply to access and match student-aid data files with other surveys and administrative data, the Obama administration said, while keeping data safeguards in place.

The new Advancing Insights Through Data program "builds on the administration’s recent efforts to leverage government data in ways that can improve service delivery, promote transparency and strengthen accountability, particularly through the College Scorecard, which includes the most comprehensive, reliable data ever published on students’ postcollege earnings and repayment outcomes," the White House said.


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