administrators

Audit: Mizzou Athletic Official Charged $7,600 at Strip Club

An audit of the athletic department of the University of Missouri at Columbia has found $7,600 in charges to a Las Vegas strip club, The Kansas City Star reported. In one case, the bill was $4,400 but the university official who made the charges -- Michael Schumacher, the director of video operations -- added on a $2,000 tip. Missouri officials said that Schumacher repaid the money, and regrets the incident, and that he faced disciplinary action.

 

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U. of Miami Students Protest Firing of Cafeteria Employee

Students at the University of Miami have organized a petition and protests over the firing of Betty Asbury from her job as a cashier at a cafeteria, Miami New Times reported. Asbury was reportedly dismissed for letting a man leave the cafeteria without paying, but students and Asbury say that the man used a bathroom, but didn't actually consume anything that needed to be purchased. Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, which manages food service at Miami, said it was reviewing the case.

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Let's use available income data to judge value of college degrees (essay)

From health care to major league baseball, entire industries are being shaped by the evolving use of data to drive results. One sector that remains largely untouched by the effective use of data is higher education. Fortunately, a recent regulation from the Department of Education offers a potential new tool that could begin driving critical income data into conversations about higher education programs and policies.

Last year, the Department of Education put forward a regulation called gainful employment. It was designed to crack down on bad actors in investor-funded higher education (sometimes called for-profit higher education). It set standards for student loan repayment and debt-to-income ratios that institutions must meet in order for students attending a specific institution to remain eligible for federal funds.

In order to implement the debt-to-income metric, the Obama administration created a system by which schools submitted social security data for a cohort of graduates from specific programs.  As long as the program had over 30 graduates, the Department of Education could then work with the Social Security Administration to produce an aggregated income for the cohort. Department officials used this to determine a program-level debt-to-income metric against which institutions would be assessed. This summer, the income data was released publicly along with the rest of the gainful employment metrics.

Unfortunately, the future of the gainful employment regulation is unclear. A federal court judge has effectively invalidated it. We, at Capella University, welcome being held accountable for whether our graduates can use their degree to earn a living and pay back their loans. While we think that standard should be applied to all of higher education, we also believe there is an opportunity for department officials to take the lemons of the federal court’s ruling and make lemonade.

They have already created a system by which any institution can submit a program-level cohort of graduates (as long as it has a minimum number of graduates in order to ensure privacy) and receive aggregate income data. Rather than letting this system sit on the shelf and gather dust while the gainful employment regulations wind their way through the courts, they should put it to good use. The Department of Education could open this system up and make it available to any institution that wants to receive hard income data on their graduates.

I’m not proposing a new regulation or a requirement that institutions use this system. It could be completely voluntary. Ultimately, it is hard to believe that any institution, whether for-profit or traditional, would seek to ignore this important data if it were available to them. Just as importantly, it is hard to believe that students wouldn’t expect an institution to provide this information if they knew it was available. 

Historically, the only tool for an institution to understand the earnings of its graduates has been self-reported alumni surveys. While we at Capella did the best we could with surveys, they are at best educated guesswork. Now, thanks to gainful employment, any potential student who wants to get an M.B.A. in finance from Capella can know exactly what graduates from that program earned on average in the 2010 tax year, which in this case is $95,459. Prospective students can also compare this and other programs, which may not see similar incomes, against competitors.

For those programs where graduates are earning strong incomes, the data can validate the value of the program and drive important conversations about best practices and employer alignment. For those programs whose graduates are not receiving the kinds of incomes expected, it can drive the right conversations about what needs to be done to increase the economic value of a degree. Perhaps most importantly, hard data about graduate incomes can lead to productive public policy conversations about student debt and student financing across all higher education.

That said, the value of higher education is not only measured by the economic return it provides. For example, some career paths that are critical to our society do not necessarily lead to high-paying jobs. All of higher education needs to come up with better ways to measure a wide spectrum of outcomes, but just because we don’t yet have all those measurements doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seize an a good opportunity to use at least one important data point. The Department of Education has created a potentially powerful tool to increase the amount of data around a degree’s return on investment. They should put this tool to work for institutions and students so that everyone can drive toward informed decisions and improved outcomes.

It should become standard practice for incoming college students or adults looking to further their education to have an answer to this simple question: What do graduates from this program earn annually? We welcome that conversation.

Scott Kinney is president of Capella University.

New presidents provosts: Calif. CC's Cal State Central Arizona Spartanburg Waynesburg Zion

  • David Arnett, vice president for academic affairs at Central Bible College, in Missouri, has been selected as president of Zion Bible College, in Massachusetts.

U. of Kentucky Declines to Revoke Administrators' Perk

At the University of Kentucky, employee contributions of 5 percent of salary to their retirement funds are matched by a 10 percent institutional contribution. For administrators, however, 15 percent of salary is provided by the university straight to the retirement fund. Faculty members, who have been sparring with the administration over budget cuts, suggested that the university eliminate the special benefit for administrators, but the university has declined, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The university did agree not to offer the benefit to any more administrators, but said it would be unfair to take it away from those already receiving the extra contributions to their retirement funds.

 

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Allegation of Intentional Misreporting of Law School's Job Data

A former employee at Thomas Jefferson School of Law alleges she falsified data on graduate employment at the request of the school’s administration, according to court documents published by Law School Transparency. In a sworn statement filed as part of a lawsuit against the school for supposedly misrepresenting its job placement rates, former career services assistant director Karen Grant says she was told to record students as “employed” if they had held a job at any point after graduating; American Bar Association and standards hold that graduates can only be counted as “employed” if they have a job as of Feb. 15 following graduation.

Thomas Jefferson Dean Rudy Hasl maintains that there is no truth to Grant’s claims, and says the school will present a “vigorous denial of the allegations” to the court. He notes that Grant worked at the school for less than a year, and suggested that her departure was not voluntary, and thus “she may have other reasons for making these assertions.” Thomas Jefferson will present its case at a hearing Nov. 9 in response to a motion filed by the plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking sanctions against Thomas Jefferson for allegedly destroying and concealing evidence.

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Interview with first female vice chancellor in Zambia

Hellicy Ngambi, the first female vice chancellor at a public university in Zambia, embraces a framework for ethical leadership.

D'Souza Resigns From King's College

Dinesh D'Souza, president of the King's College, a Christian college in New York City, has resigned after reports that he shared a hotel room with a woman to whom he was not married before filing for divorce from his wife. In a statement posted on the college's website Thursday, the president of the Board of Trustees said that D'Souza had resigned, effective immediately, to "allow him to attend to his personal and family needs."

D'Souza, an author and filmmaker who recently released an anti-Obama documentary, "2016: Obama's America," responded with a column on the Fox News website to an article in the evangelical World magazine that said he shared a hotel room with the woman he introduced as his "fiancée." He was not having an affair, he said. "I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings," D'Souza wrote. "Obviously I would not have introduced Denise as my fiancée at a Christian apologetics conference if I had thought or known I was doing something wrong."

He attributed the story to previous rivalries at the King's College: its former provost, Marvin Olasky, is now editor of World, and resigned shortly after D'Souza, a Roman Catholic, was hired as president of the evangelical college in 2010.

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NYU announces changes to its law school curriculum

As law school tuitions rise and jobs grow scarcer, New York U. and other law schools announce curricular changes, often aimed at revamping the third year. But are such changes addressing the real problem?

Study: Deregulated Universities Don't Have Better Outcomes

A study released Wednesday by Policy Matters Ohio, a nonpartisan think tank, found that deregulating the governance structure of public higher education institutions -- a primary component of Ohio Governor John Kasich's higher education agenda -- doesn't have a significant effect on outcomes such as enrollment, graduation rate and the number of low-income students who graduate, but could lead to higher tuition rates, at least in the states examined. The study looked at three classes of institutions: "highly deregulated" (Virginia and Colorado), "partially deregulated" (Illinois, New Jersey and Texas), and "coordinated" (Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota) and compared their outcomes to that of the nation and Ohio over the past decade.

"Given the track record of deregulation in other states, we have little reason to think that this approach will make tuition more affordable, increase access for low- and moderate-income students, or increase graduation rates," the report's authors write. "The primary factor affecting access and affordability is state support for higher education and state targeting of support for low- and moderate-income families."

The report's authors readily acknowledge that most of the deregulation took place about halfway through the decade and that confounding variables in the states selected might have an effect on the overall outcomes.

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