Quick Takes: Independence Talks at Antioch, Better Teacher Ed Students, Maine's Future Students, Southern Accreditor's Actions, SC State President Ousted, Middle School Role, Science Debate, Theologian Criticized, Myers Reprieve, 'Leveraging Excellence'

December 12, 2007
  • Antioch University's board announced Tuesday that it has authorized discussions about turning over Antioch College to its own board of trustees, to be run as a free-standing institution. The negotiations replace an earlier set of talks, agreed to by university leaders and college alumni leaders, that were designed to keep the college running with greater autonomy but as part of the university. College loyalists have been trying to raise money to support the college, but many donors are dubious of giving if the university board maintains control. The college was the historic root of the university, and many of its professors and alumni believe that the university board has focused too much attention on a series of branch campuses far from the Yellow Springs, Ohio home of the college. Leaders of the university and of the college alumni group issued enthusiastic statements about Tuesday's announcement, but the two groups have had a tough time ironing out differences. Tuesday's announcement said that there was a goal of working out a deal by February.
  • The cohorts of new prospective teachers taking state licensure exams in recent years have higher SAT averages and higher averages on college grades than did their counterparts in the 1990s, according to data being released today by the Educational Testing Service, The New York Times reported.
  • As of January 1, every baby born in Maine will be eligible for a $500 savings nest egg, provided by a foundation founded by the late Harold Alfond, founder of the Dexter Shoe Company, the Associated Press reported. Parents will be encouraged to add their own funds to the $500 to be deposited by the foundation. If the children are not able to use the money for college, the $500 plus interest will be returned to the foundation.
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has just notified many colleges of accrediting decisions, but has not released those decisions to the public. Based on press reports and college announcements, the news from the association's Commission on Colleges appears to be good for Dillard University (off warning status and now fully compliant), LeMoyne-Owen College (off probation), Randolph College (off warning), and bad for Florida A&M University (it must remain on probation). In addition, Career Education Corp. said its American Intercontinental University had been removed from probation after two years.
  • The board of South Carolina State University voted Tuesday not to renew the contract of Andrew Hugine and to place him on administrative leave, The State reported. According to the newspaper, Hugine has some strong supporters, who blasted the decision.
  • Parents of middle school children expect their children to go to college, but don't do much to make sure they are preparing, according to a report being issued today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
  • Leading scientists have issued a call for a presidential debate on science and technology. The scientists note the relative lack of attention to science issues in the debates thus far, and the importance of science to many public policy questions.
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' doctrine committee on Monday faulted a book by a Georgetown University theology professor, the Rev. Peter C. Phan, because "a fair reading of the book could leave readers in considerable confusion as to the proper understanding of the uniqueness of Christ." The Vatican has also reportedly been investigating Father Phan's Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue (Orbis, 2004), raising concerns over whether Catholic theologians can expect increased scrutiny of scholarly work under Pope Benedict XVI's leadership.
  • A state judge in Ohio issued a temporary order to bar Myers University from shutting down, and the judge plans to help broker a sale of the financially troubled institution, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported.
  • The National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education has named the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and Brigham Young University as recipients of its first Leveraging Excellence Award, designed to honor institutions that have shared programs or policies designed to improve efficiency or effectiveness with other colleges and universities. The Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which includes the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago, was honored for a collaborative effort that included a coordinated purchasing process that saved $16 million, a shared fiber network that is faster and saved $13 million, shared study abroad and course development efforts, and a leadership development program for faculty members. Brigham Young won for a capital assets management program that other educational institutions and government agencies are now using. Honorable mentions went to the Worldwide Universities Network, the Five Colleges, Inc., the Tennessee Board of Regents, and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
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