Austin College partnerships give liberal arts students leg up in grad school

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Austin College partners with graduate schools to show liberal arts grads have clear paths to success. Undergraduates will get perks including internships, early decision admission and dual degree credit.

U. of West Alabama President Placed on Leave

The board of the University of West Alabama has placed President Richard Holland on leave, and voted not to renew his contract, The Tuscaloosa News reported. The move came just after Holland asked the board to investigate whether a trustee inappropriately sought to influence the board's review of his performance, the News reported. According to Holland, the trustee worked with two senior administrators to identify people who view the president negatively -- so that those individuals' views would be included in the performance review. The trustee declined to comment.


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Debate Over 'Student Success Fees' at Cal State

More California State University campuses are adopting or proposing "student success fees" of $200 to $500 per semester to add sections, counseling and other services that promote degree completion, The Los Angeles Times reported. The campuses say that they need the funds, noting that the relatively good budget year they are having doesn't come close to making up for the cuts of previous years. But students and others say that these fees are paying for expenses that tuition is supposed to cover, and that the fees run counter to pledges to the state about minimizing tuition increases.


Gee Looks Ready to Stick Around at West Virginia U.

E. Gordon Gee plans to stay on as president of West Virginia University after both sides reversed course on what was supposed to be only a temporary posting. Gee, a 70-year-old, seven-time college president, became interim president of WVU in January after its president abruptly left for another job. The deal, as originally described publicly, was that Gee would stay only until the university found a new president and that he could not be a candidate.

But the presidential search committee passed a resolution Friday urging the university's board of governors to make Gee the permanent president. The board is expected to meet today in an emergency session to consider that plan. The state's higher education coordinating board would also need to sign off on the deal.

Board Chairman Jim Dailey told the Saturday Charleston Gazette-Mail he expected Gee to accept the job. "I was getting calls from, literally, all over the country from alumni and so forth," Dailey told the paper. "Everyone said, 'You need to keep him.'"

One member of the search committee, a professor, dissented from the process the committee used to decide to keep Gee, but told the Gazette-Mail he was a fan of Gee.

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Montreat Announces Plan to Stay Independent

Less than a week after merger talks with another Christian college collapsed, Montreat College in North Carolina announced plan to go it alone. The college's board announced what it called an ambitious plan to revitalize the college. It announced it had received $6.4 million and was hoping to raise another $1.6 million for the effort, known as "All In," which would include a search to replace its interim president, renovate facilities, pay down debt, add new programs and research, and give more financial aid.

The board had been subject of much criticism from alumni and faculty and a no confidence vote from faculty after it announced plans last year to merge with Point University, another Christian college about a five-hour drive away in Georgia. The plan might ultimately have closed Montreat's main campus, which lies in a scenic mountain cove near Asheville.

The board's plan, announced Saturday, may go a long way to soothing those many concerns and made clear the college does not plan to merge.

"After evaluating all of those options, the board of trustees has sensed that God is not finished with Montreat College as an independent institution, and we believe Montreat has a bright future ahead of it," board Chairman Barney Wright said in a statement. 

Kevin C. Auman, chairman of the Faculty Executive Committee , said the board's actions helped address faculty concerns. "We were aware that it [was] unlikely that they would be able to address every issue in one meeting, [but] we got far more than we expected," he said in an email. "There is still work to do, but this is a strong step in the right direction."

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Regents Criticize Iowa President for Comment on Sexual Assaults

The Iowa Board of Regents held a special meeting Friday at which members criticized Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa, for a recent comment she made about sexual assault, The Gazette reported. In an interview with The Daily Iowan, the student newspaper, Mason said that completely eliminating sexual assaults is “probably not a realistic goal, just given human nature." The comment angered many at Iowa, which is among the universities being criticized for not doing enough about sexual assault, and Mason has apologized for her comment. Regent President Pro-tem Katie Mulholland said at the meeting Friday that Mason's comment had been “inappropriate," and that board members remain "very concerned" that women on campus were hurt by the comment and don't feel enough is being done. Mulholland said that Mason needed to do a better job of communicating on the issue.


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Northwood Will Eliminate Residential Program in Texas

Northwood University, a private institution in Michigan, announced that it is closing its residential undergraduate programs in Texas, but is keeping its adult and graduate programs. A statement from the university said that "[t]hese significant actions will ensure its Texas operations' ongoing relevance, vitality, and financial strength to provide students with a world-class business education." The Dallas Morning News reported that the programs being closed will force about 400 students to transfer, and will cost the jobs of 60 full-time faculty and staff members.


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Survey: administrators in higher ed see 2.4% increase in base salary

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Base pay for administrators is up 2.4% -- and reversing trend of several years, those at public institutions see larger gains.

Iowa President Reveals She Was Assaulted as Undergrad

The University of Iowa is among many colleges and universities currently facing criticism over the way they respond to allegations of sexual assault on campus. On Thursday, President Sally Mason spoke at an open forum on the topic and spoke about her personal experience as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky in 1970, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. She said that a man in a trench coat grabbed her breast, and that she didn't know what to do, and felt unable to tell even her parents out of fear that they would insist she come home. “I never want a young woman on this campus ever in her life not to know where to go if something like that happens to them,” she said.

Mason has been facing personal criticism at Iowa over a quote in an interview with the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan, last week. In the interview, Mason said, “I’m not pleased that we have sexual assaults, obviously. The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature, and that’s unfortunate, but the more we understand about it, the better we are at trying to handle it and help people get through these difficult situations.”

Critics -- some of whom formed a group called Not in My Nature -- have said that the quote suggests that sexual assaults are a normal part of human nature. Mason has issued an apology for the quote, writing: "Several members of our campus community have let me know that my remarks on sexual assault printed last week in The Daily Iowan were hurtful. I did not intend them to be, and I am sorry for the pain my words caused."

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31 Women Accuse Berkeley of Mishandling Sex Assault Charges

Thirty-one current and former students at the University of California at Berkeley filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education Wednesday charging that the university has mishandled allegations of sexual assault, The Los Angeles Times reported. In May, nine students filed a complaint, and that has now been expanded. The complaint charges that, among other things, officials discouraged women from filing charges against their assailants, women were not informed of their rights and that campus judicial processes favored the accused. Berkeley's chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, on Tuesday announced the hiring of new employees to investigate sexual assault complaints and help victims. He also said survivors could be allowed to appeal decisions in internal sexual misconduct cases.

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