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Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

Full-time, non-tenure-track arts and sciences faculty members at Tufts University voted by a two-to-one margin to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced late Thursday. The full-time adjunct bargaining unit is the second SEIU faculty unit on campus, after the part-time adjunct unit that formed in 2013. Part-time adjuncts have since won unprecedented gains in their contract, such as longer-term contracts, pay increases and the right to be interviewed for full-time positions. 

“We believed that a union would help us build a real community -- one where all faculty can more effectively contribute to our shared mission of educating students,” Penn Loh, a lecturer in urban and environmental policy and planning, said in a statement. “Coupled with the progress made by our part-time colleagues, today’s victory will no doubt raise the Tufts learning experience to new heights.”

Kimberly Thurler, a Tufts spokeswoman, said via email that the university remained neutral throughout the election process and respected the faculty members' decision. Moving forward, she added, "we hope to work productively with the SEIU as the collective bargaining process begins. It is worth noting that our full-time lecturers already have stable positions, most with multi-year contracts. They have the exact same benefits as our tenure-stream faculty and have received the same average salary increases as tenure-stream faculty." They also play a role in shared governance, she said.

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

Education Corporation of America (ECA), a privately held for-profit chain, will buy all 38 Kaplan College campuses. Kaplan Higher Education will continue to operate its Kaplan University and eight professional schools.

Terms of the deal were not released. But both sides said the all-stock transaction would give Kaplan a "preferred equity interest" in ECA. The 38 Kaplan College campuses currently enroll 12,500 students. The campuses lost $12.5 million last year, according to a corporate filing, and had a total revenue of $275 million. ECA operates Virginia College, Golf Academy of America, Ecotech Institute and New England College of Business. Virginia College is the largest, with 27 campuses and online programs, mostly in the Southeast.

"The combined ECA footprint, after the transaction closes, will include more than 70 career-oriented campuses and online programs across 20 states, serving approximately 30,000 students," the company said in a written statement.  

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 4:27am

Divest Harvard, a student group that wants Harvard University to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, started a sit-in Thursday outside the office of President Drew Faust. WBUR reported that Faust agreed to meet with the students if they would agree to leave the building -- and that they rejected the request. On social media Thursday night, the students reported that they were settling in for the night. In 2013, after reviewing the issue, Faust said that divestment was not "warranted or wise."

 

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

Scott W. Steffey will step down as president and chief executive officer of Career Education Corporation, the major for-profit chain announced. Steffey took over the top post of the publicly traded company in 2013. An industry analyst said his departure and brief tenure were surprising.

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

Tennessee's governor, Bill Haslam, this week unveiled several higher education proposals as part of his budget plan. He included $1.5 million for a pilot program to offer a version of the state's free community college scholarship to adult students. Qualifying adults will be more than halfway to an associate degree in previously earned credits, said Mike Krause, the executive director of the Tennessee Promise program. Like traditional-aged students, they would get two years of free tuition at community colleges. Haslam, a Republican, called for another $1.5 million for adult students to receive similar scholarships to attend one of Tennessee's 27 colleges of technology.

Krause said the governor's budget plan would include $2.5 million to expand a successful remedial education program, which brings community college faculty members into public high schools. The program, which is dubbed Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS), would reach 18,000 students this year. Krause said the state had seen a 4 percent decline in students with remedial needs in recent years.

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

On our latest "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, Justin Draeger of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Kristin Conklin of HCM Strategists and Kim Cook of the National College Access Network discuss proposals to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In our other segment, Alan Knox of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and John Thelin of the University of Kentucky discuss the battle over Governor Scott Walker's plans for the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Idea.

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Rob Hillier, a graphic artist and lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts, discusses how he has designed Sylexiad -- a typeface that can help those with dyslexia. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 3:00am

Just 12 percent of colleges enroll 60 percent of all Latino undergraduates, according to a new analysis from Excelencia in Education and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). These colleges are deemed to be Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) under federal guidelines. They are institutions where at least one-quarter of full-time students are Hispanic. The number of HSIs has more than doubled in the two decades before last year, to 409 from 189. They are located in 21 states, according to the report, and enroll 1.6 million Latino students.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 4:31am

Clemson University won't rename Tillman Hall (right), named for Benjamin Ryan Tillman, a white supremacist politician who was among the institution's founders. Faculty and student groups have asked the board to rename the building, saying that Tillman stands out for his brutality and racism, and noting that he regularly boasted of participating in the killings of black people. Some alumni, however, have rallied to save the name. The board sided with that latter group.

David Wilkins, the board chair, released a statement to The Greenville News in which he said "while we respect the many differing opinions of our graduates, our students, our faculty and staff regarding this matter, the Clemson University Board does not intend to change the names of buildings on campus, including Tillman Hall." He added: "Every great institution is built by imperfect craftsmen. Stone by stone they add to the foundation so that over many, many generations, we get a variety of stones. And so it is with Clemson. Some of our historical stones are rough and even unpleasant to look at. But they are ours and denying them as part of our history does not make them any less so."

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

The leaders of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas on Wednesday issued statements pledging to keep policies that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The statements followed the move on Tuesday by Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, to revoke an executive order issued in 2007 by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, prohibiting discrimination against most state employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The statements from university leaders noted that their institutions had policies in place (beyond the revoked executive order) to bar discrimination, and those policies were not affected by Governor Brownback's action.

 

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