Does College President Need a Private Locker Room?

Robert Breuder, president of the College of DuPage, is already on leave and could lose his job over criticism of his spending decisions. Now The Chicago Tribune has uncovered a relatively small spending decision compared to others, but one that critics say symbolizes what was wrong about his leadership. After DuPage, a community college outside Chicago, spent $24 million to upgrade a fitness facility, Breuder had a family changing room converted to a private locker room available only to him and to two other senior administrators. Documents obtained by the Tribune show that this was a priority item for Breuder, who declined to comment. A sign outside the locked room says "Authorized Personnel Only."

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Carnegie Corporation Honors 4 Presidents

The Carnegie Corporation of New York today is announcing four college and university presidents who are winners of this year's Academic Leadership Award, which provides $500,000 to each winner's institution to carry out their academic initiatives. The prize is unusual in that it honors presidential leadership with a substantial cash award. The winners for 2015 are:

  • Ronald J. Daniels of Johns Hopkins University
  • Patricia A. McGuire of Trinity Washington University
  • Diana Natalicio of the University of Texas at El Paso
  • C. L. Max Nikias of the University of Southern California
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U of Wisconsin Official Takes Temporary Federal Post

Deb Bushway, the interim associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, has joined the U.S. Department of Education as an adviser to Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the department said Wednesday. Bushway will focus on innovation in higher education during her post, which is temporary.

The role appears similar to one recently vacated by Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University. LeBlanc spent three months as an unpaid adviser to Mitchell. His focus included two experimental sites projects -- on competency-based education and on partnerships between traditional institutions and noncollege providers, including boot camps, online course providers and corporate training entities. The experiments waive some requirements for participation in federal aid programs. The department this week said it will release further guidance for the competency-based education one, and the feds plan to announce the alternative provider project soon.

Bushway is an expert on competency-based education. Prior to arriving at Wisconsin, where she has worked on a direct-assessment competency-based education program that does not rely on the credit-hour standard, Bushway worked as chief academic officer and vice president of academic innovation at Capella University. She helped develop the direct-assessment degree tracks at Capella, a for-profit chain. Bushway also previously worked at Minnesota's Metropolitan State University.

"Having an experienced, respected practitioner voice at the table when policy is being made is enormously helpful," LeBlanc said in a written statement. "Deb can bring institutional realities to bear in ways that help the department and those it regulates."

The department in the past has tapped officials who work at colleges as temporary advisers. In 2012 Karen Gross, who was then president of Southern Vermont College, served in a similar role at the department. Even so, some critics said LeBlanc's appointment raised at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, because Southern New Hampshire was among the first institutions to start a competency-based program.

Divinity School Cancels Talk by Palestinian Activist

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School rescinded a speaking invitation to a Palestinian rights activist after he received death threats and a Jewish organization raised concerns over his past statements, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.

The Reverend Graylan Hagler, a senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, said he didn’t ask for the additional security that Colgate Rochester insisted it would need, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester said its officials did not specifically ask that the event be canceled.

Still, “after certain concerning facts came to light,” Colgate Rochester President Marvin McMickle said in a statement, the college is “no longer prepared to allow this lecture to take place.”

Among the items brought to the college’s attention: this video of Hagler speaking at a rally and a call, attributed to Hagler, to “dismantle the state of Israel.” (More collected here by the organization Roc4Israel before Colgate Rochester's decision.)

Apparent Nooses at U of Delaware Weren't Nooses

This item has been updated.

The discovery of what looked like three nooses on a tree at the University of Delaware Tuesday evening upset many, but it turned out that they weren't nooses.

Nancy M. Targett, acting president, issued a statement after the discovery of the apparent nooses that said in part: “Such cowardly and reprehensible acts are clearly designed to intimidate and frighten, and they are unacceptable on our campus. I assure you we will work diligently to get to the bottom of this situation, identify the person or persons responsible, and hold them accountable for their actions.” She also scheduled a campus gathering for today in response.

But she then sent a second message to campus this morning in which she said that the apparent nooses were “the remnants of paper lanterns” from a previous event. The campus gathering will go on as scheduled today because, she wrote, “the sensitivity of our campus to this potential issue clearly indicates a need for continuing dialogue within our community.”

Wesleyan students boycott campus newspaper, threaten funding

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Angered by an opinion essay criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement, some students at Wesleyan want to see the student government stop funding the newspaper.

Syracuse Suspends Football Stadium's 'Kiss Cam'

Syracuse University opted not to use its "kiss cam" during this weekend's football game, after a letter to the editor on questioned its appropriateness given colleges' current focus on preventing sexual assault. Kiss cams are a popular staple of football and basketball games. During game delays, the camera seeks out couples, encouraging them to kiss. The kiss is displayed on the Jumbotron, often to cheers from the crowd.

But the author of last week's letter stated that the kiss cam "can encourage and condone sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement" by coaxing men to kiss the women they are seated next to, even if the women do not want to be kissed. "We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor," Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director for communications, said on Monday.

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Guidance on Competency-Based Education

The U.S. Department Education said Tuesday it is poised to release an extensive reference guide for institutions that are participating in an experiment on competency-based education. Since that project was begun last year, the department said it became clear that more guidance was needed -- for both colleges and accrediting agencies.

The department has yet to release the document publicly, but plans to post it at this link.

“We believe that this guide will offer tremendous support for both experienced and new competency-based education providers as they implement this experiment,” Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education, said in a written statement. “We recognize that many of you were anticipating that the guide would be released earlier this summer, but it was very important for us to have a high level of confidence that the guidance it contains is on very firm ground.”

The experiment also will expand, the department also announced, to better include institutions with competency-based programs that are based on a subscription model. Under this approach, students can work through educational content and assessments at their own pace, paying a single fee for a specific amount of time.

Under the experiment’s expansion the department will change its financial aid disbursement period to fit with the subscription model.

Fisk President Resigns Amid Conflict With Board

Fisk University President H. James Williams resigned Monday, after less than three years in office. The Tennessean reported that Barbara Landers Bowles, the board chair, said the board wanted to move in "a different direction" and that the disagreements between the president and the board had been going on "for quite some time." Students on campus indicated that they generally thought Williams had been doing a good job and that they were pleased to see the university in better financial shape and attracting more students than when Williams arrived at the historically black college.

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Saint Leo President Skips Inauguration, Adds Scholarships

William J. Lennox Jr., the new president of Saint Leo University, has decided to skip an inaugural. "A day or more centered around me seems at odds with our student-centered mission. Quite honestly, it is not who I am or what I want to represent as your president," he wrote in an email message to students and faculty members. So to honor his new position, the university will award 20 one-time $2,500 scholarships, funded by a donor. The awards will be called inauguration scholarships.


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