Florida State University has rescinded a visiting professor job offer to Travis Pratt, who was fired last year by Arizona State University for a romantic relationship with a graduate student, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. The action came the day after the newspaper asked the university if it was aware of why Pratt had left Arizona State. Florida State officials said that Pratt's job offer had been contingent on a background check. An e-mail sent to the newspaper by Florida State said: "Travis Pratt is not an employee of Florida State University and will not be. His employment offer was contingent upon the completion of a full background check. That review provided new information to the university that revealed a more complete account of his employment record and cause for termination at Arizona State University in 2014.” Pratt declined to comment.
Southern New Hampshire University's president, Paul LeBlanc, has taken a three-month assignment with the U.S. Department of Education. LeBlanc's appointment, which begins next week, will be as a senior adviser to Ted Mitchell, the department's under secretary. He will focus on competency-based education and "developing new accreditation pathways for innovative programs in higher education," the department and Southern New Hampshire said in a joint news release.
LeBlanc's university has been an early adopter of a new form of competency-based education. It was the first to receive approval from the department for a "direct assessment" program, an approach that does not rely on the credit-hour standard.
“I hope to help the department, and all of us, answer the many questions we still have about competency-based education," LeBlanc said in a written statement. "The department’s innovation agenda has the potential to reshape and change higher education and ultimately to better serve students. The opportunity to play even a small part in that effort was irresistible.”
Grinnell College's decision to ask the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to review how it handles cases of campus sexual assault was, in part, a reaction to what the college says is inaccurate media coverage stemming from federal privacy laws that prevent institutions from sharing its side of the story. "This dilemma has fueled a national problem,” Raynard Kington, the college's president, said in a campuswide letter sent this week. “Without access to protected records, recent media coverage of campus sexual assaults has often been one-sided or incomplete. Nationally, we are seeing the impact of reporters’ efforts to build a narrative without access to the full facts."
The college made the request in anticipation of a Huffington Post article about three sexual assault cases the college investigated in 2012. An announcement of the request sent to reporters earlier this week did not mention the article.
"The privacy restrictions, while consistent with our institutional values and the integrity of our processes, place the college in an untenable position, because we cannot provide open and transparent information about the cases," Kington said in the campuswide letter. "In some instances, the protected education records confirm or refute [the Huffington Post's] claims. In others, the criticisms [it] reports on are subjective and cannot be fairly addressed without a full contextual understanding. In order to overcome this dilemma, on Monday, March 2, the college contacted the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to request technical assistance. We have specifically invited OCR to review the cases [TheHuffington Post] has highlighted to us."
Dissenting Voices, a group of Grinnell students and faculty who are unhappy with the college's sexual assault policies, called the request an "unprecedented attempt to preemptively control the framing of this issue." Six students have recently filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights, the group said, "so the administration’s request is redundant."
Leah Griesmann, who came up with the idea for National Adjunct Walkout Day, isn't hiding her identity anymore. So what does she think about last week's protests, and about what's next for adjunct activism?
The race- and gender-related hiring practices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's member institutions have received a C grade in this year's College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, issued by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. That is the worst grade ever issued by the institute, which began creating the reports in 2001.
The report card notes declines in the hiring of women and people of color in nearly every major profession in college athletics. The report's grade for gender hiring fell from a B in 2012 to a C- in 2014. Its grade for racial hiring fell from a B to a C+. For the 2014 season, only 22 percent of men’s Division I basketball coaches were African-American (down from 23 percent) and 23.8 percent were coaches of color (down from 24.8 percent). Less than 10 percent of Division I athletic directors are women. The number of head football coaches of color in the Football Bowl Subdivision decreased from 15 in 2013 to 14 at the start of the 2014 season. About 90 percent of the coaches were white. All FBS conference commissioners in 2014 were white men.
“It was extremely discouraging that this year’s CSRGRC showed further deep overall declines," Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and the primary author of the report, said in a statement. "The drop in the race and gender grades emphasized an area of continuing and alarming concern."
Thomas White has resigned as president of the Columbus College of Art & Design after only eight months in office, The Columbus Dispatch reported. There has been no public explanation of his departure. But the article noted controversy over his decision to replace the college's marketing department by outsourcing the work. And some feared that White was not a supporter of the fine arts programs.
Tensions between the University of California System and state leaders escalated Tuesday, The Sacramento Bee reported. State officials have been pushing the university system to shift some admissions slots from out-of-state applicants to Californians. But in legislative testimony Tuesday, UC President Janet Napolitano said that the university could not increase in-state enrollment at current budget levels. “We will not be admitting students that we don’t know that we actually have funding for,” she said. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins called Napolitano's statement "UC’s latest attempt to use students as bargaining chips.”
Clarkson University and Union Graduate College on Monday announced discussions on possibly merging their graduate programs. Clarkson has a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Union, a free-standing institution that grew out of Union College, offers only graduate programs. A statement from the institutions said: "Clarkson’s national reputation in engineering, science and management would reinforce Union Graduate College’s strengths in those related disciplines, and offer additional resources to benefit students and alumni of each school. Meanwhile, Union Graduate College’s well-regarded programs in bioethics, healthcare management and education would allow Clarkson to expand its graduate offerings, which also include accredited programs in physical therapy and physician assistant studies."