Stanford announces huge gifts and new efforts to attract best graduate and professional students

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University announces $400 million gift to help create $750 million endowment for program to attract the best talent from around the world.

Faculty Votes No Confidence in Board Chair of N.Y.'s Mount Saint Mary College

Citing longstanding concerns about academic freedom and shared governance under its current administration, the faculty at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., on Tuesday voted no confidence in Albert Gruner, chairman of the Board of Trustees. The faculty called for his immediate resignation from the board, saying his “unwavering support” of a former trustee accused of posting an anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim video on Twitter, along with “hostile confrontations” of faculty members, in particular, made him unfit to lead. The vote was 55 in favor and 10 opposed, with six faculty members abstaining. 

The college said in a statement that it "values all opinions and concerns. The trustees, like the president, are firmly committed to shared governance and recognize the important role played by the faculty, administration, and the board in advancing the college." Charles P. Frank, vice chair of the board, said in a separate statement that Gruner "used a reasoned and measured approach in his inquiry into concerns regarding a newly-appointed trustee. This is the manner in which a person with his fiduciary responsibilities should act. ...Throughout his tenure as board chair [Gruner] has always upheld the foundations of shared governance and the mission" of the college.

Registrars: Transcripts Can Cite Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary actions typically are not included on students' academic transcripts. And since 1996, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) has said recording violations such as harassment, sexual misconduct, substance abuse or plagiarism on a transcript is not a recommended best practice. That stance has changed, however, the group said last week.

Colleges are feeling more pressure to include misbehavior and academic infractions on transcripts, the registrars' group said, citing recent campus violence as a primary driver. They also are feeling spurred to screen incoming students through the admissions process by asking questions about encounters with law enforcement, even if there was no conviction.

"With 23 shootings on college campuses in 2015 alone," the group said in a written statement, "public opinion on the notation of disciplinary action on transcripts is changing and changing fast."

Those practices remain far from the norm in higher education, however. Fully 95 percent of institutions said academic transcripts do not reflect students' probationary status for behavioral reasons, the group found in a recent survey. And 85 percent said their institution's academic transcripts do not reflect students' ineligibility due to major violations.

Yet two states -- New York and Virginia -- recently have passed legislation that requires the notation of disciplinary actions on transcripts, the group said, adding that federal action is possible.

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Study: Why Presidents’ Political Ideologies Matter

When college presidents network, political ideology matters. According to a new report, published in Public Administration Review, college presidents’ political views shape the way they interact with policy makers, business owners and other community leaders.

Liberal presidents are less likely to network with local and community actors, a finding the researchers found unsurprising. For the most part, “local actors” meant businesses and community groups -- and conservatives believe these groups ought to play a larger role in public policy.

How presidents interact with political leaders also depends on the political climate, the researchers found. At public universities, leaders are spending more time shielding the organization from harm -- like budget cuts or aggressive oversight -- than searching for new opportunities. And generally, presidents are more likely to focus on challenging “skeptical and critical” political leaders, rather than building relationships with those who are more supportive.

Survey on Athletic Directors' Spending Plans

Half of athletic directors plan on investing at least $25 million in athletic facilities over the next five years, according to a new survey. The survey, conducted by Ohio University and AECOM, a provider of sports venue design and construction, included responses from 87 Division I athletic directors, including 37 from Football Bowl Subdivision institutions.

Nearly every respondent said they planned on investing at least $500,000 in facilities over the next five years, and about 30 percent said they planned on investing more than $50 million. Last year, 21 percent of athletic directors planned on investing more than $50 million over five years. Premium seating and concessions, the survey found, ranked highest in importance for athletic directors, followed by training facilities and academic spaces, respectively.

Three-quarters of respondents said their institutions began covering athletes' full cost of attendance this year, and 27 percent of those athletic directors said the new expense affected their ability to invest in facilities.

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Historian discusses his new book on the way courts have treated issues of college access

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Historian discusses his new book on how courts in the United States have treated cases involving access to higher education.

New presidents or provosts: Augusta Columbus CCRI Humboldt Park St. Mary's Stockton Towson Trent

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  • James F. Conneely, senior consultant at Keeling & Associates and former president of Notre Dame University of Maryland, has been chosen as president of the University of Maine at Augusta.
  • Melanie Corn, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at California College of the Arts, has been appointed president of Columbus College of Art & Design, in Ohio.

Spread of emergency aid and microgrants show strong results

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Interest builds for microgrants aimed at students with money problems -- sometimes awards as small as $300 -- which can have a big impact in promoting graduation.

UNC Greensboro Drops Name of Racist on Auditorium

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro's board voted last week to change the name of the Aycock Auditorium (right), which has honored Charles B. Aycock, who served as governor of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905. Aycock was a supporter of public education -- for white people -- but was a white supremacist who pushed to limit rights for black people. The university is starting a process to determine a new name for the auditorium. Duke University changed the name of a residence hall honoring Aycock in 2014.

Why Is Inver Hills Banning Union Activist From Campus?

Inver Hills Community College, in Minnesota, has placed Dave Berger, a faculty member in sociology, on leave and barred him from campus. The move is raising questions, The Star Tribune reported, because Berger is the grievance representative of the faculty union and the move follows a faculty vote of no confidence in President Tim Wynes. Berger said he hasn't been told why the college placed him on leave. The college says it cannot discuss details, but that the reason has nothing to do with Berger's union activism.

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