Quick Takes: Iowa's Floods, Michigan Accused of Stonewalling on Sports, Arizona's New Higher Ed Hub, More Bad News for WVU, Reprieve Possible for AP Italian, 'Scholar Ship' Closes, Foundation Fight

June 16, 2008
  • Iowa has been hit hard by massive rain and flooding, forcing closures at some some institutions, damage at others, and sighs of relief at still others. At the University of Iowa, classes have been called off this week as some buildings have been flooded -- even as volunteers use sandbags to try to minimize damage. Kirkwood Community College has canceled all classes through Wednesday and classes in Iowa City for all of this week. Mount Mercy College, in Cedar Rapids, has seen its campus transformed into an emergency management center, housing National Guard contingents. St. Ambrose University had some minor flooding and temporary loss of power. Cornell College, which has not suffered damage to its campus, has been housing some students and employees who needed to evacuate from Coe College.
  • In March, The Ann Arbor News ran a series of articles exploring allegations that many top athletes at the University of Michigan were encouraged to enroll in independent study courses with a professor who allegedly didn't require much work for great grades. On Sunday, the newspaper started a new series -- arguing that the university has blocked efforts by professors to study issues related to athletes and academics. While university officials have said that they would provide information sought by faculty members, the series suggests otherwise.
  • Goodyear, a growing city outside of Phoenix, is making progress on its plans to attract colleges from other parts of the country to open up campuses there. Franklin Pierce University, in New Hampshire, has signed a 99-year lease on a campus in Goodyear, The Arizona Republic reported. That deal follows a similar lease signed by the University of the Incarnate Word, in Texas. Franklin Pierce has in recent months announced plans to start in Arizona with a focus on health professions. The university is planning offerings in pre-licensure nursing education and a doctoral program in physical therapy.
  • West Virginia University, still recovering from a scandal that cost the president and provost their jobs, has a new controversy. The university had hired a consulting group to examine its health sciences programs. As The Charleston Gazette reported, the consultants gave the university a preliminary report noting "intolerable" and "alarming" problems that put patients at risk. The report cited three unexpected patient deaths (two of them children) and shortages that have forced the university's medical centers to send some patents to Ohio or Pennsylvania. The university responded by saying that the consultants didn't talk to enough people, and WVU fired the consultants.
  • In April, the College Board announced that this coming academic year would be the last for four low-enrollment Advanced Placement programs, including Italian. But last week, the College Board announced that based on discussions with the Italian government and supporters of Italian culture, it is possible that money will be raised to continue the program. A final decision is expected by October.
  • Short on funding, the Scholar Ship is shutting down its programs. Launched in 2007, the study abroad program aimed to assemble "a transnational community" of students for its around-the-world voyages, with Australia's Macquarie University responsible for awarding academic credit. In a statement on its Web site, the Scholar Ship has pledged to refund fees and expenses and identify alternative options for students enrolled in upcoming semesters; about 350 students were to set sail in September. Semester at Sea, an older program with some similar features, posted a statement on its Web site saying that it would accept applications from those who had been hoping to travel on the competing floating college.
  • The Medical College of Georgia is threatening to cut all ties with its foundation and create a new one if board members of the fund don't quit by June 27, The Augusta Chronicle reported. College officials have been frustrated by the foundation's refusal to provide $5 million from its $121 million endowment last year to help with costs associated with a new dental education building. Foundation officials said that they were surprised by the request that their board quit, and weren't yet sure how they would respond. The foundation also noted that much of its endowment is restricted to spending on certain categories of work at the medical college.
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