Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 25, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut continues his examination of the chemistry of the show "Breaking Bad." Today he discusses Walter White's use of acids to make evidence disappear. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 25, 2014

Kent State University plans to start awarding associate degrees to students in bachelor's programs who complete 60 credits, The Plain Dealer reported. The idea is that those who drop out will have a credential, while other students will be encouraged by their progress to continue on for a bachelor's degree. Further, officials hope to qualify for more state funding as Ohio shifts more funds for public higher education to be based on degrees awarded, not enrollment.

 

February 25, 2014

President Obama will announce Tuesday the opening of two new "manufacturing innovation instititues" in the Detroit and Chicago areas that pair research universities with private sector firms.

The administration will provide $140 million for the two centers, and non-federal sources will provide an additional $140 million, according to a White House official. The goal of the institutes, the White House said, is to bridge the gap between applied research and manufacturing product development.

One of the institutes will be headquartered in the Detroit area and will focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing. The center will pair 34 companies with nine universities and labs: Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech University, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Tennessee, and Wayne State University. Columbus State Community College, Ivy Tech, Macomb Community College, and Pellissippi State Community College are also involved in the partnership.

A second institute for digital manufacturing and design innovation will be based in Chicago and led by UI Labs, a nonprofit research organization at the University of Illinois. The consortium includes 41 companies and 23 universities and labs: University of Colorado Boulder, Illinois Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Purdue University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Southern Illinois University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, University of Iowa, University of Louisville, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, University of Northern Iowa, University of Texas – Austin, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Western Illinois University.

The administration has proposed federal funding to create a network of 45 similar institutes, but Congress has not approved that plan. Last year, the Obama administration used its executive authority to use existing funding across five federal agencies in order to provide $200 million to establish three institutions. The first institute, an electronics manufacturing center in Raleigh, N.C., was announced last month, and the administration previously set up a pilot site in Youngstown, Ohio.

 

February 25, 2014

Amherst College and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are renewing a search for a painting stolen in 1975, the Associated Press reported. Three paintings were stolen at that time and two were recovered in 1989. But college officials and the FBI hope that publicity will produce leads to the whereabouts of the third work stolen, "Interior with Figures Smoking and Drinking," by the Dutch artist Jan Baptist Lambrechts, believed to have been painted in the early 18th century.

 

February 25, 2014

Rutgers University, already the most prolific subsidizer of sports of all Division I public institutions, gave its athletics department nearly $47 million in 2012-13, USA Today reported, a 67.9 percent increase over the 2011-12 subsidy of $27.9 million. Rutgers athletics is $79 million in the red, but officials say that the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference will generate close to $200 million over its first 12 years as a member. The most recent subsidies make up 59.9 percent of the athletics department’s total allocations, and total more than the entire operating revenues at all but 53 of Division I’s 228 public sports programs.

February 25, 2014

Lesley University adjuncts have voted to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, becoming the second group of Boston-area adjuncts to do so. Tufts University adjuncts voted in favor of a union in September, as part of SEIU’s Adjunct Action campaign to organize adjuncts and improve their working conditions across multiple U.S. cities. Lesley's adjuncts voted 359 in favor and 67 opposed.

Norah Dooley, an adjunct instructor of business management and communications and Lesley graduate, said in a news release that the issues surrounding adjunct labor in higher education -- such as relatively low per-course pay compared to tenure-line colleagues and little to no benefits -- are “complex” but “not intractable.” And as an alum, Dooley said she wanted Lesley to take a “leadership role in this movement.” A Lesley spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. still no response from lesley? dl

February 24, 2014

2U, one of a growing cadre of companies that help colleges take their academic programs online, announced Friday that it had taken steps toward an initial public offering of its stock. 2U has sought to differentiate itself from the other players in this market by focusing on high-prestige universities. Documents filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission provide some insights into the shape and scope of the market of online service providers; Phil Hill of e-Literate offers an analysis here.

February 24, 2014

The University of Florida on Friday announced its largest-ever gift: $75 million for its business school, The Gainesville Sun reported.

 

February 24, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut begins a three-day examination of the chemistry of the hit television show "Breaking Bad." Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 24, 2014

Faculty representatives at St. Mary's College of Maryland voted against exploring a plan to tie the pay of their president to the pay of staff. The Faculty Senate voted 9-8 not to put the plan in front of the full faculty.

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