administrators

Monks sue trustees for more authority at Benedictine University

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Trustees at Benedictine University refused to let the monks who founded the university participate in a recent presidential search. Monks are suing, saying they're being improperly shut out of university affairs.

Education Adds Likelihood of Holding Work Credential

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics shows that the proportion of adults with a work credential typically increases with educational attainment, excluding those adults with a doctoral degree. The figures range from 6 percent for adults with a high school diploma having a work credential to 68 percent for people with a professional degree.

Over half of credentialed adults -- 53 percent -- have less than a bachelor's degree.

Work credentials are often used as an alternative or supplement to education credentials like diplomas and degrees. The credentials include occupational licenses and certifications. The most common work credentials are obtained in health care, education and the trades, according to the report.

First-Generation Students and Academic Preparation

A new report from ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education found that the vast majority of first-generation students who take ACT's college entrance exam plan to attend college, but about half of them are academically unprepared to succeed.

The report found 52 percent of ACT-tested first-generation college students in the 2014 high school graduating class failed to meet the four college readiness benchmarks set by the nonprofit testing organization. Overall 31 percent of all ACT-tested graduates failed to meet benchmarks in English, math, reading and science. More than 9 in 10 first-generation students who took the ACT said they plan to attend college.

"The upside of these findings is that as more first-generation students take the ACT, their access and exposure to the college admissions process is increasing," said Jim Larimore, ACT's chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners, in a news release. "But our research also shows that students' likelihood of enrolling in college right after high school increases based on the number of readiness benchmarks they meet."

The minimum scores students must earn on each of the ACT's four subject tests indicate that students have about a 75 percent change of earning a grade of C or higher in a typical credit-bearing, first-year college course in the corresponding area.

McCaskill Tells Campus Police to Investigate Assaults More Quickly

Speaking at the Campus Safety Nation Forum on Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, urged college law enforcement officers to more speedily and thoroughly collect evidence and interview witnesses when investigating claims of campus sexual assault. "That is where the truth reveals itself," McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor, said. "Witnesses corroborate or they show lies. Evidence corroborates or it shows lies. And this can't be done weeks later or even months or years later."

McCaskill described Florida State University's handling of sexual assault allegations against former star quarterback Jameis Winston as "terribly unfair" to both the accuser and the accused, in part because the university waited so long to conduct an investigation. The alleged victim reported the assault three hours after she said it occurred. The first witness, McCaskill said, wasn't interviewed until 342 days later. The campus hearing did not take place until two years after the allegations were made.

Treating all claims of campus sexual assault as worthy of a thorough investigation, McCaskill said, could help later clarify who is telling the truth in "he said, she said" types of hearings. "All of these cases deserve to be investigated one way or another," she said.

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College of Charleston Board Takes Stance on Flag

The College of Charleston has been receiving scrutiny in recent days as its president has pointedly not joined other higher education leaders in calling for South Carolina to stop flying the Confederate flag on the State House grounds. On Wednesday, the board of the college announced it was endorsing such a change. On the college's website, President Glenn F. McConnell announced the vote and provided the board resolutions. But McConnell didn't indicate his position on the issue. On Monday, McConnell said via a spokesperson that it was “not appropriate to talk about the issue until after the families had a chance to mourn their losses and hold funerals for their loved ones.”

Formerly a state legislative leader who pushed to keep the Confederate battle flag flying prominently, McConnell has been criticized for not reversing his position in public this week. His appointment as college president last year was controversial for many reasons, including his long support for Confederate symbols. He used to own a shop that sold memorabilia of the South’s rebellion, and he appears in a widely circulated picture dressed as a Confederate general.

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New presidents or provosts: Citadel Guelph Kendall Northeast Oakton Pasco-Hernando Roosevelt Sacramento Southampton

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  • Timothy Beard, vice president of student development and enrollment management at Pasco-Hernando State College, in Florida, has been selected as president there.

New Presidential Candidate Was University Leader Briefly

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana on Wednesday became the latest candidate to join the race for the Republican presidential nomination. While it is unlikely he'll spend much time talking about this fact, Jindal is the only Republican in the race (or Democrat, for that matter) who has been the president of a university system -- Jindal led the University of Louisiana System from 1999 (taking office at age 28) through 2001.

His appointment was controversial with some faculty members, because he was seen as a politician more than an educator. Known for his strong anti-tax positions, Jindal, who has been governor since 2008, has overseen numerous cuts in higher education spending, and his initial proposals in this year's legislative session (modified at the last minute) would have resulted in massive cuts to public higher education. In 2011, Jindal set off a huge debate in the state when he proposed a study of merging historically black Southern University at New Orleans with the predominantly white University of New Orleans. The plan died. Additionally, scientists have regularly criticized Jindal for, in their view, promoting creationist views.

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No-Confidence Vote at Pitzer

Pitzer College's president, Laura Skandera Trombley, announced in December that she would leave office at the end of this month to become president of the Huntington Library. She has won praise from her board and others for setting college records in fund-raising, bolstering environmental programs and attracting more students over a 13-year tenure. But even though she is in her final days in office, the faculty voted no confidence in her this week, after a meeting in which professors away for the summer participated digitally.

Faculty members say that Trombley has disregarded the tradition of shared governance at the college. Specifically, many are upset that she did not reappoint Muriel Poston as dean of the faculty, and that this decision was, they say, made without faculty consultation. Pitzer faculty leaders say that this is a position that college guidelines specifically state shall be evaluated by faculty members and administrators. Faculty also this week passed a resolution calling for a reinstatement of Poston, who did not respond to an email request for comment.

Via email, Trombley said, "I am very happily moving to more scholarly pastures, and the college is steeling itself for what could be an acrimonious search process. While I have stayed far, far away from the search, what I see surfacing is a struggle between who will lead the search and, by implication, the college."

She added: "Due to my outgoing status, the board felt it prudent and responsible in its legal and governing role to determine whether or not the dean of the faculty's contract should be renewed. Based upon the board’s careful review, as well as their deep belief in shared governance and careful adherence to the faculty and board bylaws, the board passed a motion that the dean of the faculty's contract should not be renewed. The dean was informed of the board’s decision by the board chair. The dean has tenure, and the board offered her a year's paid sabbatical. She was not fired. The board chair sent a written message to the faculty, and some faculty were upset about the board's action. The faculty met, voted no confidence in me on the basis of inadequate 'shared governance' (and let's face it, an easy vote with my immediate departure) and demanded that the dean be reinstated."

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Regent Sues New U of Texas Chancellor

Wallace Hall, a controversial member of the University of Texas Board of Regents, has filed a suit in state court against the Texas system's new chancellor, William McRaven, The Texas Tribune reported. Hall has conducted investigations -- some of which have been verified by UT's own outside inquiries -- based on his allegations that officials at the Austin campus helped some politically connected applicants gain admission over the objections of admissions officers. UT's investigation did not go far enough, Hall says, in identifying which powerful people helped which applicants get in, and he wants that information. UT officials have said that they can't violate federal privacy requirements. "Chancellor McRaven believes that a regent's access to information is not above the law," said a statement from the university system.

Survey: 22% of Female Students at Michigan Sexually Assaulted

More than 22 percent of female undergraduate students responding to a survey at the University of Michigan say they have experienced some type of sexual assault, the university announced Wednesday. The findings echo that of the often cited, though also often criticized, 2007 study that concluded one in five female students were sexually assaulted while in college. A new national survey released by The Washington Post last week also reached the same conclusion.

The Michigan survey asked students about sexual misconduct, broadly defining it as "nonconsensual (also known as unwanted), kissing and touching, oral, vaginal or anal penetration" stemming from coercion, intoxication or use of force. But it also asked students about sexual assault specifically involving penetration, a distinction often made by critics when challenging the results of sexual assault surveys. About 12 percent of female undergraduate students -- and 9.7 percent of all female students -- said they had experienced "nonconsensual sexual penetration" in the previous 12 months.

In all, 11.4 percent of Michigan students in the survey said they experienced some form of nonconsensual sexual behavior in the past year. Among male students, 7.6 percent of undergraduates said they had experienced a nonconsensual sexual act.

Fraternity and sorority members are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of "nonconsensual sexual penetration" than non-Greek students, the survey found, and minority students' risk is also higher. The survey also revealed a gap in awareness between male and female students regarding the university's sexual assault policies and resources. More than 90 percent of male undergraduate students said they were aware that Michigan has a sexual misconduct policy, but only 84 percent of female students said the same. Nearly half of male students said they know where to find that policy, compared to only 30 percent of female students.

When the survey -- along with a separate survey created by the Association of American Universities -- was conducted in the spring, some students said its questions were too explicit and could trigger harmful memories in sexual assault victims. The university defended the questions at the time, as did several researchers who study sexual violence. Despite the criticism, the survey had a 67 percent response rate, which is higher than most online surveys.

"Having good data is important," Mark Schlissel, Michigan's president, said in a statement. "The more we know about our own community, the more we can spread awareness of the issues we face and the better we are able to focus our programs to be successful."

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