Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 13, 2014

William Peace University is offering some (maybe a large share) of its tenured faculty members buyout offers of $30,000 contingent on their giving up their jobs and agreeing not to criticize the university, The News & Observer reported. The offers follow a letter from tenured faculty members criticizing the leadership of President Debra Townsley. Faculty members have questioned her financial decisions and cuts. Townsley led a process two years ago to make the one-time women's college coeducational, and many critics say that the improvements she promised would follow havent materialized. Townsley declined to comment, and board members indicated that they backed the president and had extended her contract.

 

June 13, 2014

A campaign to encourage students in the California State University System to get health insurance has made significant gains, The Los Angeles Times reported. According to a poll of the 15 largest Cal State campuses, released Thursday, the share of students without health insurance dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent. That drop means that 60,000 students who previously lacked coverage signed up for health insurance. The gains are significant both for Cal State and the Obama administration's health care program. The university wants its students covered. The Obama administration needs younger Americans, who on average are healthier than older Americans, to sign up so that there is balance in the health costs of those with insurance.

 

June 13, 2014

Stanford University has declined to expel a student found by the institution to have committed a sexual assault, The Bay Area News Group reported. While the university will allow the student to complete his senior year and graduate, it will withhold his degree for two years and bar him from enrolling in a graduate program until 2016, which is a year longer than his original punishment. These are the results of an appeal by both the student accused and the women who brought the charges against him. The case has become a focal point at Stanford for students angry about what they see as weak punishments of those found guilty of sexual assault. Many students say that expulsion should be the default punishment in such cases. Stanford is considering changes in its system for handling sex assault charges.

 

June 13, 2014

The University of Virginia is ending its academic sponsorship of Semester at Sea, effective May 2016. A statement on the Semester at Sea website said that the organization and U.Va. have "mutually agreed" to end the relationship, and that Semester at Sea is looking for a new academic sponsor. (Details are at the bottom of this link.)

June 13, 2014

Elsevier on Thursday became the latest company to tap Knewton to provide adaptive learning technology. In a press release, the publishing giant said it will first use the technology in courses for nursing and health professions students. Elsevier will share more details about the partnership at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities conference in Las Vegas next month.

June 13, 2014

James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, on Thursday announced that Charles Wright will be the next U.S. poet laureate. Wright is the author of 24 collections of poems, and he has taught for many years at the University of Virginia, where he was the Souder Family Professor of English.

June 13, 2014

In a somewhat unusual presidential shift, Rebecca Chopp will leave the presidency of Swarthmore College to become chancellor of the University of Denver. Chopp has been at Swarthmore for five years and previously was president of Colgate University. In a statement, Chopp said that she and her husband wanted to live closer to family members, and that it was a combination of personal and professional factors that led to the move.

June 13, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Müllensiefen, senior lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, uses some interesting metrics to quantify an individual's musicality. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

June 12, 2014

Florida State University is restarting its search for president, with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates now replacing R. William Funk as the university's search consultant, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday. The Faculty Senate last week took a no confidence vote in Funk, one of the nation's top higher ed headhunters. Funk bowed out of the search on Monday.

June 12, 2014

The Faculty Senate at Blinn College has voted no confidence in Harold Nolte, the district president, The Eagle reported. Professors at the Texas community college said that there is no respect by the administration for shared governance and they object to numerous changes in which programs have been reorganized and class schedules changed. An underlying issue is the district's decision to hire six deans who took over duties that had been handled at the department and division level. Nolte said he was "very disappointed" in the vote but declined to comment further.

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