Louisiana Tech University has agreed to use online learning materials that are accessible to the blind, under an agreement to resolve complaints of discrimination investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department found that the university had been using materials that caused a blind student to fall behind on his schoolwork. That student will receive more than $23,000 under the settlement.
The annual amount families spent on college leveled off at about $21,000 after several years of decline, according to Sallie Mae survey, which finds families -- particularly high-income ones -- taking steps to limit their expenditures.
Two months after faculty and staff votes of no confidence in his leadership, Ray Staats has been placed on leave as president of Gadsden State Community College, in Alabama, WBRC News reported. Faculty said that his priorities were misplaced, charging him with creating administrative positions and spending on facilities that weren't needed at a time that programs important to students lacked for funds. Staats did not respond to a requeset for comment.
The recent firing of Beckie Francis as women's basketball coach at Oakland University (along with the subsequent resignation of her husband, the university president) has been somewhat mysterious on the campus. But The Detroit Free Pressreported on the results of interviews with former players that Francis pushed Christianity on players, told them that they needed to be virgins and was "fixated" on body issues. The players reported that photographs were taken of them in sports bras and Spandex to chart any changes in body size. Francis declined to comment for the article.
Sandra Caldwell, associate vice president for planning and improvement at Western Wyoming Community College, has been chosen as president of Reedley College, part of the State Center Community College District, in California.
The American Historical Association on Friday released a statement criticizing the way Mitch Daniels (when he governor of Indiana, prior to becoming president of Purdue University) exchanged e-mail messages with staff members criticizing the work of the late Howard Zinn. "Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of Howard Zinn’s text, and whatever the criticisms that have been made of it, we believe that the open discussion of controversial books benefits students, historians, and the general public alike. Attempts to single out particular texts for suppression from a school or university curriculum have no place in a democratic society," said the statement.
Daniels defended himself last week in part by citing the work of historians far to his left who have also criticized Zinn. But some of those who Daniels cited (and who are no longer part of the statement posted on the Daniels website at Purdue) have since objected to his use of their statements about Zinn. Michael Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University whose criticism was cited by Daniels, published as statement on the Academe blog of the American Association of University Professors. "I don’t think much of Zinn’s interpretation of U.S. history, it’s true. But it’s an interpretation, which like any serious work of history, chooses to emphasize certain themes and details in order to make a larger argument. I would be unhappy if Zinn’s book were the only or even the main text in a high-school or college history class (as I understand is sometimes the case). But chapters of it can be quite useful if contrasted with alternative interpretations," Kazin wrote. "When Daniels accuses Zinn of being a 'biased writer,' he just shows how little he understands about how history is now and has always been written. Every historian has a point of view about whichever portion of the past they choose to study. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be writing about it in the first place."
Sam Wineburg, a professor of education at Stanford University whose criticism of Zinn was also cited by Daniels, issued a series of comments on Twitter: "Mitch Daniels uses my work to defend his shameless attempts to censor free speech. Shame!" and "Mr. Daniels, free societies openly teach ideas we disagree with. We do not censor objectionable speech. Study your Orwell" and "I have criticized Zinn but will defend to my death the right to teach him. Shame on Mitch Daniels."
Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of Howard Zinn’s text, and whatever the criticisms that have been made of it, we believe that the open discussion of controversial books benefits students, historians, and the general public alike. Attempts to single out particular texts for suppression from a school or university curriculum have no place in a democratic society. - See more at: http://blog.historians.org/2013/07/aha-statement-on-academic-freedom-and-the-indiana-governor/#sthash.IgsBXLEs.dpuf
Faculty members at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York are angry that President Karen Gould has rejected the choices of professors to lead three departments, making her own selections instead,The Wall Street Journal reported. Gould maintains that she has the right to pick department chairs, but faculty members say that the norm is to respect professors' votes, particularly if departments are well-managed and certain choices have broad support.
A tornado-like "significant wind event" hit Ursuline College, in Ohio, Saturday morning. The college announced that there were no injuries, but that several buildings sustained significant damage. The college was closed over the weekend to allow officials to assess the situation.
Saint Louis University is putting aside $13.4 million for salary increases for faculty and staff in the coming school year, something its embattled president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, said he hoped would demonstrate the university’s recognition “of the important contributions of all our employees” in an announcement early this week. (The president and faculty have been at odds since last year, when he backed a controversial plan to require faculty to requalify for tenure every three years.)
But by midweek, Saint Louis faculty were accusing Biondi of retaliating against professors who had spoken out against him by way of forfeited raises. At Saint Louis, salary recommendations are based in part on performance, and some professors said they didn’t get what their deans had recommended to the university’s senior academic officer, Ellen Harshman. “The system is supposed to be transparent, fair and merit-based,” said Jonathan Sawday, professor of English, in a news release from the university’s American Association of University Professors chapter. “This year, in some cases, it looks like it wasn’t any of those things.”
Steve Harris, professor mathematics and computer science and AAUP chapter president, said statistical analysis showed “irrefutable” evidence that targeted faculty were “largely those – both lay and Jesuit – who opposed the president who had their salary recommendations reduced by [Rev.] Biondi.” Harris said his own dean recommended him for a 3.75 percent raise, but he only received a 1 percent raise. "The difference is $2,000," he said in an e-mail. "This is typical of the most vocal of the opponents."
In a statement to all faculty, Jane Turner, Faculty Senate president and professor of pathology, said members of the senate’s executive committee “believe that all such acts of retaliation warrant serious scrutiny and that the president should be held accountable for this action by informing the affected faculty members of the reasons supporting his decision to overrule the recommendations of the respective deans.”
In an e-mailed statement, Clayton Barry, university spokesman, said that 98 percent of all eligible full-time faculty and staff received salary increases beginning July 1, and that those publicly charging Biondi with retaliation included those who received raises. (Harris said that was true, but that the raises were less than had been recommended.) “The salary review process was the same this year as it has been for the past 30 years,” he said, “and each year some salary recommendations – faculty and staff – are increased and some are decreased during the process.”
Harshman did not immediately return a request for comment, nor did Rev. Michael D. Barber, dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.
Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference's member universities have written the National Collegiate Athletic Association to question whether for-profit institutions should be allowed to participate in Division I athletics, according to CBSSports.com. The inquiry follows the transition of Grand Canyon University, a publicly traded for-profit, to Division I, which began last month. Grand Canyon is joining the Western Athletic Conference, where its men's and women's basketball teams will compete.
The Pac-12 CEOs did not specifically criticize Grand Canyon's jump to the big time. Instead they said they wanted to share their broader concerns about institutions that are responsible to investors participating in Division I. Larry Scott, the league's commissioner, told the website that Pac-12 universities had discussed not playing Grand Canyon in any sport. The league includes Arizona State University, which is near Grand Canyon's campus.