Quick Takes: Part-Time Enrollment Gap in California, Education Dept. Urged to Review Paperwork Burden, Students Seek Seat at Summit, Mich. Budget Fight, No Penalties in Hamas Flag Protest, Iowa Faculty Exodus, Wiley Buys Anker, Exporting Honor Code Idea

March 21, 2007
  • The proportion of part-time students enrolled in California's public universities is declining -- at a time that enrolling part-time is an important option for non-traditional students, warns a report presented to the California Postsecondary Education Commission. From 2000 to 2005, the percentage of part-time students at the University of California campuses fell to 5.3 percent from 7.0 percent, and the percentage at California State University campuses fell to 20.6 percent from 23.4 percent.
  • The American Council on Education and a number of other higher ed groups have written to the U.S. Education Department asking it to more carefully review the paperwork burdens that already exist and that would be increased because of proposed changes to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System . While the department has backed away from earlier plans, which would have amounted to a huge expansion of reporting requirements, the letter from the associations suggests that the department hasn't been realistic about how much time the current survey takes, let alone any additions.
  • So much for our assertion that no one would feel left out by the Education Department's expansive guest list for the higher education summit that begins today: Two student groups have written department officials a letter bemoaning the fact that no students are among the nearly 300 people Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is convening tomorrow to discuss the department's strategy for carrying out the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. "Students are both the consumers of higher education and also a valuable voice in local, state and federal policy discussion regarding college access, affordability and quality.  To not extend a single invitation to students while assembling nearly 300 presidents, administrators, policy makers and bankers demonstrates a dismaying disregard for the very constituency you are supposed to support," the United States Student Association and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's higher education project said in their letter. A spokeswoman for Democrats on the House of Representatives education committee encouraged the department to extend an invitation to student representatives. A spokeswoman for the Education Department noted, however, that several students would share their views with summit attendees as part of a panel session Thursday afternoon, and that Spellings and other department officials had held roundtable discussions with student groups earlier this year.
  • Nine public universities in Michigan have formed a new group to lobby for state funds, fearing that they will otherwise be overlooked in favor of the "big three" public universities: Michigan and Wayne State Universities and the University of Michigan, The Detroit Free Press reported.
  • San Francisco State University's review board has found no violations of university rules in an incident in which College Republicans stepped on the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah as part of a protest in October. Some students who were offended by the protest filed charges against those who protested -- and San Franciso State's refusal to dismiss the charges immediately has angered some civil liberties groups. But in a letter outlining the most recent developments, Robert A. Corrigan said that there was value in letting the campus proceedings run their course and that the fact that no violations were found reaffirmed "the primacy of our commitment to free speech, even when it is uncomfortable for some."
  • Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have experienced unusually large numbers of faculty departures for other institutions in the last year, The Des Moines Register reported, primarily because of low pay compared to peer institutions. Iowa State lost 50 faculty members and the University of Iowa 67.
  • Anker Publishing, which releases books about higher education that are frequently used in colleges' professional development programs, has been purchased by John Wiley & Sons. Anker Books will now be part of the Wiley imprint Jossey-Bass. A statement from Wiley said that the purchase would add 50 new book titles and a backlist of 100.
  • Northumbria University is poised to become the first British university to adopt a honor code such as those used at dozens of American colleges, The Guardian reported. While officials there feel that adopting the code will encourage solid academic values, and acknowledge that it is modeled on the American concept of the honor code, they are avoiding that phrase, for fear that it has "a pretty American feel," said one official, who prefers the term "academic value agreement."
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