Quick Takes: Student Will Admit Guilt in Stabbing, Harvard's Lack of Black Coaches, Details on Golden Parachute, Report on Adult Learners, Qualities of Top Fund Raisers, Toronto Will Sell Tobacco Holdings, Rejection Letters

April 10, 2007
  • A student accused of stabbing his professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 2005, after following her home, will plead guilty to charges in the attack rather than going ahead with a trial, his lawyer told the Associated Press. Nikhil Dhar's lawyer said that his client feared that he was going to fail a course and might as a result be deported to India.
  • Harvard has 32 head coaches for intercollegiate athletics, and 14 senior athletic administrators, and not a single black person serves in any of those positions, The Boston Globe reported.
  • Frank T. Brogan, president of Florida Atlantic University, issued a long statement Monday in which he acknowledged that he pushed for the departure of a vice president for advancement, who will receive $578,000 for his departure.  When the vice president's exit was announced last week -- less than a year into the job -- some alumni and others asked why an apparent severance payment was needed for what was being described as an amicable departure. Brogan's statement said that state and foundation funds would not be used for the buyout -- only funds from beverage and other vending sales. Brogan cited "differences in leadership philosophies, our communication styles, and our views on the optimal relationship between a university and its support foundation" to explain the need for Davenport's exit.
  • Colleges need to rethink many policies if they are to better serve adult learners, according to "Return to Learning," a report released Monday by the Lumina Foundation for Education. The report calls for colleges to, among other things, provide "convenient and affordable access" for adult learners and to work to get older students out of the "hidden college" of non-credit programs and into courses that lead to degrees and certificates.
  • The qualities most associated with high performing gift officers in higher education are previous relevant work experience, attitude (including sales orientation), and job design (such as the way the fund raiser spends time), according to a report being released today by Eduventures.
  • The University of Toronto announced Monday that it would sell off its endowment holdings in tobacco companies, becoming the first Canadian university to do so. While about two dozen American colleges have taken such a stance, starting in the 1990s, the movement to sell of tobacco stocks has not taken off at the rate of the Sudan divestment movement -- with the latter having as one advantage that many of the colleges divesting don't actually have any holdings in businesses in the country. Toronto is expected to have to sell about $10 million in investments. A student group known as E-BUTT, for Education-Bringing Youth Tobacco Truths, led the campaign for divestment.
  • Students at a San Francisco high school are finding a creative way to deal with rejection letters from colleges: They are awarding prizes for the worst rejection letters in various categories, The Examiner reported. Among the categories are "most obsequious while maintaining utter sincerity" (Harvard is leading), "least number of words you need to read before you know you are being rejected" (Northwestern University is ahead), and "most emphatic rejection" (Cornell University is ahead).
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