Two Football Bowl Subdivision conferences announced Friday that they would combine their football programs to form one 22-team league. The members of the two leagues, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference, have often been on the outside looking in when it comes to the high-profile Bowl Championship Series that crowns the national champion in big-time football. And the recent rounds of cannibalism involving other big-time-football playing leagues has left Conference USA and Mountain West vulnerable to raiding by some of the conferences whose own members have been wooed away by other leagues. "Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept," Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West, said in a news release. "The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Six people were shot in the legs and buttocks Saturday at an off-campus party of an unrecognized University of Akron fraternity, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Authorities said that six people crashed the party, were thrown out and returned to shoot some of the guests. Six people were subsequently arrested.
When Illinois adopted a civil unions law this year, Northwestern University decided to grant full partner benefits to same-sex couples who have civil unions, but not opposite-sex couples, who have the option of getting married to receive benefits, The Chicago Tribune reported. An opposite-sex couple is complaining that the policy is unfair, and the university said that it will be reviewing the policy down the road.
Two U.S. senators -- Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, and Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat -- have asked the U.S. Department of Education to gather information about the accuracy of key law school data, such as figures on job placement, student loans and other topics. The letter from the senators comes amid lawsuits and considerable public debate over whether some law schools are being less than honest about the odds of students landing good jobs. A statement from Senator Boxer notes that the request to the Education Department follows "repeated calls" from her "to the American Bar Association to provide stronger oversight of reporting by law schools and better access to information for students."
Seymour Schulich, a Canadian philanthropist, is setting up a $100 million fund to provide scholarships for undergraduates in Canada and Israel who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields, The Globe and Mail reported. Five Israeli universities and 20 Canadian universities have been invited to nominate potential recipients from 1,600 high schools.
Tripoli University has started, under new leaders, to try to transform itself for the post-Qaddafi era, The New York Times reported. Many students and academics are excited about the possibilities, but Feisel Krekshi, the new dean, told the Times that the challenges are great. He called the faculty "90 percent contaminated" and noted that the old curriculum forced students to spend much of their time in college studying years studying Muammar Qaddafi’s philosophy. “This was not a university,” Krekshi said. “It was a place of intelligence and torture, a weapon to support all oppression.”
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
To submit a listing, click here.
The instructor at the County College of Morris whose treatment of a student with a stutter was the subject of a front page article in The New York Times says that her treatment of the student has been portrayed unfairly. The original article -- which became the subject of much discussion -- said that the instructor told the student not to speak in class, and refused to call on him when his hand was up throughout a class session. In a new article, the instructor, Elizabeth Snyder, said she asked the student to limit his in-class questions because he was trying to respond throughout class. "He seemed to want to answer every question," she said, and "you’d have to take into consideration the amount of time he takes to get the answer out." Snyder said that "there was never any intent to stop him from speaking." On the day of the class session discussed in the original article, she said, she was trying to cover a lot of material in a limited amount of time, and that she did not call on any other students. Philip Garber, the student who stutters, said that she did call on other students.
Since the article has appeared, Snyder said that she has received many nasty and threatening e-mail messages, and that she feels her reputation has been destroyed. In May, Snyder was named "educator of the year" by the college’s Educational Opportunity Fund for her work with financially and academically disadvantaged students. She did not comment for the original article, but in an interview for the second article, told the Times that "I’ve been an advocate for kids my entire life. But people’s rush to judgment on this, it feels like it’s pretty much destroyed my life."
In July, University of Baltimore officials denied allegations made by Phillip Closius, who in an e-mail about his resignation as dean of the law school that the university was using tuition from law students to subsidize the rest of the institution, to the detriment of the law school. Now, however, the university has embarked on a campaign to add $1 million a year to the law school's base budget for the next five years, The Baltimore Sun reported. The increase will be funded by giving the law school a larger share of the revenue it generates.