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Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

North Central College is poised to acquire Shimer College under an agreement between Illinois institutions that leaders hope will have Shimer, a small four-year Great Books college, becoming its own division in a larger institution.

Shimer, which has an enrollment of about 70, and North Central, an independent liberal arts and sciences college with a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of more than 2,900, announced on Thursday that they intend to do a deal. The two institutions will now move forward with negotiating a final agreement intended to close at the beginning of March 2017. If successful, the move would create a Shimer Great Books School reporting directly to North Central’s provost for the fall 2017 term, said Troy D. Hammond, North Central president.  Goals are to expand the amenities Shimer can offer to students and grow its size modestly, he said. But North Central wants to keep Shimer’s identity.

 “If we weren’t going to do that, we wouldn’t be having the conversation,” Hammond said. “We recognize the strength and value of what’s unique about Shimer.”

 The move toward an acquisition comes a decade after Shimer decided to relocate from Waukegan, Ill. to lease space at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Shimer’s lease in Chicago was not expiring, said the college’s president, Susan E. Henking. But the college and its trustees wanted to find a strategy that would preserve it for the future, she said.

“There are some things you can do as a tenant and some things you can do as a kind of partner to another institution,” Henking said. “We have a mission that says we should be small, but that’s a challenge in today’s environment. If we want to keep with our mission of very small classes and the kind of core curriculum we do, we’ve got to find a different structure.”

Shimer faculty would become faculty at North Central, and its students would become North Central students. The colleges said that would give them access to activities, arts and athletics.

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of Cincinnati announced Thursday that it is starting a university press, which it said would focus on social justice and community engagement. The press plans to publish both print and e-books, and also to support creative works in digital media, web-based digital scholarship, multi-authored databases, library special collections and archives. The press will operate in and be supported by the university's library system.

 

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

Iowa's Department of Education notified Bridgepoint Education -- the parent company of Ashford University -- that the state's approving agency would no longer approve the institution's programs for G.I. Bill benefits after June 30, according to a corporate filing

That's because the company is planning to close the Ashford University campus in Clinton, Iowa. The for-profit institution currently has about 6,250 students who receive G.I. Bill benefits. 

Ashford is applying for approval to continue receiving these benefits through the California state agency in an effort to prevent the disruption of benefits to veteran students before the June deadline. 

"At this time we cannot be certain approval through the California State Approving Agency will be obtained by June 30, 2016 and any potential delays or gaps in coverage for G.I. Bil benefits, including as a result of following the (Iowa approving agency's) recommendation to seek approval elsewhere, could have a material adverse effect on current and future military student enrollment and the company's revenues, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations," according to the filing. 

Bridgepoint has been faced with a few investigations in the last year. Last week, the company announced it had received a second subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to the company's scholarship and institutional loan programs, as well as investigations by the California attorney general's office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

A jury ruled Thursday that Virginia Wesleyan College was not liable for the 2012 rape of a female student. The former student filed a lawsuit in 2014, seeking $10 million and alleging that the university "turned a blind eye" to the fact that "male students were drugging female students, rendering them incapacitated and raping them." The alleged rapist was a member of the college's lacrosse team. The university found that the man had assaulted the female student and originally dismissed him, according to the lawsuit, but later allowed the athlete to withdraw voluntarily, instead, and play lacrosse at another institution. 

"The jury correctly rejected [the] claim that Virginia Wesleyan College failed to take reasonable and adequate steps for the safety of its students," the college said in a statement. "The college is pleased with the jury’s affirmation of its efforts to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all of its students."

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 4:13am

A New Jersey appeals court has found that the state may not award grants through a program to support college facilities to a Jewish yeshiva and a Presbyterian seminary, NJ.com reported. While the court did not rule that all grants to religious institutions are problematic, it found that these two institutions were primarily engaged in religious instruction, making them ineligible for participation in this state program.

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 4:17am

For years, some bodies donated to the medical school of New York University ended up in mass graves, despite promises by the university that the bodies would not be disposed that way, The New York Times reported. NYU officials have apologized and said that the practice has been halted.

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

FutureLearn, the online learning platform owned by the Open University in the U.K., now offers massive open online courses that award academic credit. In addition to the Open University, the University of Leeds is among the group of eight institutions developing the 12 for-credit MOOC sequences, which students can take to earn up to 30 credits. Students can start the MOOCs for free, but those seeking credits have to pay a fee starting at about $170 and in some cases complete an additional exam.

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

East Stroudsburg University announced this week that it is starting a pilot in which applicants will no longer be required to submit SAT or ACT scores. The university is the first within the Pennsylvania State System to go to test-optional admissions for all applicants.

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 3:00am

Today in the Academic Minute: David Frederick, assistant professor in the department of psychology at Chapman University, says how we frame the national discussion of obesity can have a big influence on those suffering from it. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 3:00am

Nearly 1,500 people have signed a petition demanding that Kenneth Starr remain president of Baylor University. Facing pressure from the university's Board of Regents, Starr is expected to resign after months of allegations that the university has continuously mishandled sexual assaults committed by football players and other students.

"Ken Starr is a wonderful genuine leader," one Baylor alumna wrote on the petition. "Anyone that has ever met him can say the same and has. No one has gone through life without making mistakes. That does not take away from his heart and his intentions. Ken Starr loves Baylor and the students, so sincerely. I can't and don't want to imagine Baylor without him."

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