Quick Takes: Athletics vs. Academics, NIH Bill Passes, Data on Technology Issues, Anger in Iowa, Introducing Randolph College, New Panel on Visas and Security, Indiana Boosts Aid
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on December 11, 2006 - 4:00am
Three newspapers this weekend explored the academic compromises universities make in the name of athletic success. The New York Times reported that an internal audit at Auburn University revealed that an athlete's grade had been changed without the professor's knowledge, to bring the athlete just over the minimum average needed for eligibility. Auburn isn't talking. The Athens Banner-Herald reported that in 1999 and 2000, the University of Georgia's president, Michael Adams, authorized the admission of 119 athletes who did not meet academic standards, and that 21 of them left because of academic problems. And The San Diego Union Tribune reported on the percentages of scholarship athletes at many Western institutions who are "special admits" (translation: they don't meet admissions standards). The newspaper found that special admits are rare in the student body as a whole at the institutions studied, but quite high (70 percent at the University of California at Los Angeles, 65 percent at San Diego State University) for scholarship athletes.
Just before finishing its work for the year, Congress passed legislation to reauthorize the National Institutes of Health, which has been operating for a decade without a new authorization bill. The bill authorizes spending increases and introduces some new reporting requirements. But -- as is the norm for legislation being pushed through before a Congressional adjournment -- many broader proposals were dropped to keep the bill from being controversial.
Colleges and universities are adding staff positions for information technology while also outsourcing more IT functions, according to a report on technology management issues released by Educause. Other findings: Student ownership of computers is up. More colleges are conducting risk assessments on computer security.
The Iowa Board of Regents is again under attack for the aborted search for a new president of the University of Iowa. Faculty and student leaders are again planning votes of no confidence, according to WHO-TV, and some local leaders are calling for the ouster of some regents, The Des Moines Register reported. Tension over the search had diminished a bit when the regents agreed to look again at finalists they had rejected, but when the board announced Thursday that the search was essentially starting from scratch, the dissent returned in full force.
The board of Randolph-Macon Woman's College voted in September to start admitting men -- much to the dismay of many students and alumnae. On Saturday, the college announced its new name: Randolph College. The college's choices on name were limited: Just dropping "woman's" from the name was impossible because Randolph-Macon College is the name of a liberal arts college nearby. On a Web site created to provide information about the new name, the college said that it was selected because many groups on campus wanted "to preserve a part of our historic name." The name change will be official on July 1, but will be used in admissions materials immediately. Dozens of students held a protest of coeducation on the day the new name was announced.
Academe is well represented on a panel created by the Departments of Homeland Security and State to advise the government on ways to protect security while encouraging students, tourists and others to come to the United States. The committee is made up of experts from academe and the health care, tourism and other industries. The chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee is Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University. Other academics on the panel are: Frank Cilluffo, associate vice president for homeland security at George Washington University; Eduardo J. Padron, president, Miami Dade College; Paul B. Roth, executive vice president for health services, at the University of New Mexico; Roxane Cohen Silver, professor of psychology at the University of California at Irvine; Rose Mary Valencia, director of the Office of International Affairs at the University of Texas Health Science Center; and Charles Vest, president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Indiana University at Bloomington has become the latest flagship institution to improve aid packages for low-income students. The university announced Friday that it would provide the balance of tuition and fees for students who receive Pell Grants, score 1,150 or higher on the SAT, and maintain a 3.0 grade-point average while enrolled at the university.