Quick Takes: Alleged Conflicts of Interest at Cambridge College, Call for Reform in Engineering, $2.5M for Dorm Death Suit, Big Bond Plan for Virginia, New Member for 5 Presidencies Club, Progress for New Jersey's Medical University

December 14, 2007
  • The board of Cambridge College has placed Mahesh Sharma, the institution's president, on leave after finding that he tried to use college funds to pay for his nephew's tuition and that he appointed as a vice president a man whose company had a six-figure contract with Cambridge, The Boston Globe reported. Sharma did not respond to calls from the Globe seeking comment. The Massachusetts-based college focuses its programs on serving working adults at its campuses, which include centers in Georgia, Ontario, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Virginia.
  • Engineering education needs major reforms, including a "broadening" of the experience, linking engineering more fully to universities, according to a new report, "Engineering for a Changing World," by James J. Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan. Key recommendations include teaching the skills of lifelong learning and more involvement with the liberal arts.
  • Eastern Michigan University has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of Laura Dickinson, a student who was murdered last year, The Detroit News reported. The university initially told Dickinson's family that she had died of natural causes, and the cover-up of the murder has led to numerous findings of legal violations by the university, and the ouster of its president. Under the agreement, family members may not talk publicly about the case.
  • Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday proposed a $1.65 billion bond package for higher education facilities. The funds are focused on research facilities and other buildings that will support programs that help the state's economy. In a record for such bond plans in Virginia, 22 percent of the funds would go to community colleges.
  • E. Gordon Gee isn't the only one whose résumé will soon show off a claim to have led five colleges. The board of Westfield State College in Massachusetts has named Evan S. Dobelle as its next president. Dobelle has previously held the top jobs at the University of Hawaii System, Trinity College (Conn.), City College of San Francisco, and Middlesex Community College. While Gee has Dobelle beat on number of presidencies (he's in his second stint at Ohio State University), Dobelle matches him on number of institutions, and beats him on sector diversity. Both have experience in public and private higher education, but Dobelle has run a university system, a liberal arts college, community colleges and now a regional state university. Gee's institutions have all been research universities. Also in his fifth presidency is Douglas M. Treadway, president of Ohlone College, in California. Previously, he has led Shasta and Western Montana State Colleges, the North Dakota University System, and Southwest Minnesota State University.
  • Federal oversight of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, imposed amid Medicaid fraud and numerous other financial scandals, is ending, The Star-Ledger reported. With federal officials withdrawing, the trustees of the university voted to take back direct control of the institution.
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