Quick Takes: Strike Called at CC of Philadelphia, Reforming Education Doctorate, DePauw Kicks Out Sorority, New Views on Madison Dispute, Blended vs. Online Education, ACE Names New Fellows, Princeton Repays Some Funds, Denison Drops SAT

  • The faculty union at the Community College of Philadelphia, a branch of the American Federation of Teachers, has called for a strike to start at 7:30 a.m. today.
  • March 13, 2007
  • The faculty union at the Community College of Philadelphia, a branch of the American Federation of Teachers, has called for a strike to start at 7:30 a.m. today. Faculty leaders say that the college's contract offer, by limiting their health benefits, would amount to moving professors backwards economically, and the union has been complaining for months that the college is wasting money on failed public relations efforts. The college's president, Stephen M. Curtis, released a statement Monday night saying that the college would remain open and offer classes as scheduled today, at least until seeing how effective the strike is. Curtis said that the college made a "final and best offer" Monday and that "we are at a bit of a loss" to understand the strike. He said that the college was offering a fair package, given the economic pressures on the institution and a desire to minimize tuition increases.
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council of Academic Deans in Research Education Institutions have announced a three-year campaign to "reclaim the education doctorate and to transform it into the degree of choice for the next generation of school and college leaders." Officials at 21 universities that offer the education doctorate have pledged to work to redesign the degree. Currently, the Ed.D. is viewed as "Ph.D.-lite," said Lee S. Schulman, president of Carnegie. He said that as part of this transformation, it may be the case that the Ed.D. should be replaced with a new term for what he termed the "professional practice doctorate."
  • DePauw University announced Monday that it is cutting off all ties to Delta Zeta sorority, which has been at the center of a national discussion since The New York Times reported on how its efforts to boost membership at the DePauw campus led to a number of members -- including those who are not white or who are overweight -- being told to leave the group. A statement from Robert Bottoms, the president of the university, said that he had no fault with DePauw members of the sorority, but believed that the national's valued were "incompatible" with those of the university. The national sorority responded with a statement saying that its conduct "continues to be mischaracterized and is harming all parties involved."
  • John D. Wiley, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a group of 49 law professors each issued statements over the weekend on the dispute over anti-Hmong comments attributed to a law professor -- comments he denied making -- and the issues that the controversy has raised over issues of tolerance and academic freedom. Wiley's statement noted that the law school is continuing to bring the professor Leonard Kaplan and the Hmong students who were offended "together to achieve some closure." Wiley added: "In this age of blogging, instant messages, e-mail and talk radio, it's easy for isolated incidents to morph into international subjects of discussion for people who have limited knowledge of specific events or issues. Such is the case with the resentment, apologies and explanations for what happened in that classroom and in subsequent discussions. Although I appreciate legitimate public concerns over free speech and cultural understanding, uninformed accusations do not address real issues. Personal engagement is always preferable." The statement from the law professors said that "we call on our community -- faculty and students -- to reaffirm our common commitment to create and ensure a classroom environment that allows the free and frank exploration of ideas while preserving sensitivity to the effect our words have on others, awareness of the multiple understandings of the same events by diverse people, and the need to resolve misunderstandings with attention to the unintended effects of our actions."
  • Despite the growth of "blended" education -- in which instructors mix in-person and online experiences for students -- online education appears to be outpacing it in some ways, according to a new study by Eduventures, the Sloan Consortium and Babson College. The report found a faster rate of growth in the percentage of classes offered online than for blended courses. The report found that while 55 percent of colleges offer at least one blended course, 64 percent offer at least one online course.
  • The American Council on Education has named a new class of fellows -- 39 faculty members and administrators who will be matched with a president or another senior administrator to learn about the higher ranks of academe. The fellows program is known for its track record in identifying future talent: More than 300 former fellows have become presidents, and more than 1,300 have later become deans, vice presidents or provosts.
  • Princeton University announced Monday that it is reimbursing the Robertson Foundation for the $782,000 that the university spent from an endowment for the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on a three-year trial program, since discontinued, for graduate students in departments closely related to those in the Wilson School. Princeton and the foundation are engaged in a legal battle over control of the endowment, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. The foundation argues that Princeton hasn't honored pledges it made when the fund was set up -- something Princeton strongly denies. In the case of the repayment announced Monday, the university said that the program was an appropriate use of the funds, but that the university erred in not informing the foundation of the use prior to doing so. A Princeton spokeswoman said that the repayment did not resolve the lawsuit.
  • Denison University has become the latest to go "SAT optional," meaning that starting next year, applicants will no longer be required to submit scores.
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