Higher Education Quick Takes
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is scheduled to open the Center for Community College Advancement in July. The new center "will provide training and resources to help community colleges build and sustain effective fundraising, alumni relations and communications and marketing programs." CASE appointed Paul C. Heaton, who is currently director of public relations at Northwestern Michigan College, the center's new director. John Lippinscott, CASE president, said in a statement: "While community colleges serve nearly half of all undergraduates enrolled in higher education, they attract less than two percent of philanthropic support for colleges and universities. Our goal for the new center is to become a premier source of benchmarking data, best practices and training in all of the advancement areas in order to address the specialized needs of community colleges and their foundations."
Though CASE already has some community college members, it is primarily known as a fund-raising organization for four-year institutions. CASE's new center will compete more directly for the attention of two-year institutions with the Council for Resource Development, an affiliate organization of the American Association of Community Colleges. Polly Binns, CRD's executive director, told Inside Higher Ed that she was not concerned by the new competition, noting that her organization already competes with CASE in certain areas. "This is probably a good thing for everybody," said Binns, adding that this will force both organizations to better serve community colleges.
Faculty members and alumni of Norfolk State University are increasingly concerned about the closed nature of the search, without any public discussion even of finalists, The Virginian-Pilot reported. University leaders have said a completely private search -- far more common at private colleges than at public institutions like Norfolk -- will yield better candidates. The university's board reportedly selected three finalists in December, offered the job to one of them and was turned down by the preferred candidate.
The revived Antioch College has announced its first three faculty hires. Faculty members and alumni of the institution that Antioch University shut down have been pushing for the rehiring of professors from the old Antioch College, while the administration has been insisting on new searches for all openings. Of the first three hires, two are finishing their doctorates, while one is a faculty member who taught at the previous Antioch and is now coming back.
Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement late Tuesday that budget talks with Republican leaders had reached a dead end -- seemingly dooming an effort to put extensions of tax increases before voters in June -- puts California's public colleges in a (more) dire situation, the institutions' leaders said. The University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems have warned that a budget solution that did not include voter-passed extensions of existing taxes would double the size of the already hefty cuts they are facing ($500 million for each of the two university systems and $400 million for the two-year institutions). With Brown ending talks with Republicans, he said, because they insisted on what he called an "ever-changing list of collateral demands" -- though political observers also said poll numbers were not looking favorable, either -- campus leaders spoke Wednesday as if the June ballot measure were dead. “Without a June special election on Gov. (Jerry) Brown’s tax extension proposal, the chance of an all-cuts budget is highly likely,” Jack Scott, chancellor of the community college system, said in a news release. “An $800 million reduction would be unprecedented and an absolute tragedy for our students, faculty and staff as well as a deep blow for our economy.”
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is today releasing a report calling for a "master plan" for higher education in the Midwest. The report -- by James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan -- argues that the region needs to think about higher education more strategically as a region, not just as individual states or institutions. The "Bologna process" -- by which European higher education has become much more linked across national boundaries -- is cited as an example, both for its coordination and also for the broad consultation that produced the effort. The time for collaboration is evident, the report says, from the changes already taking place. "No university can control the growth of knowledge nor the educational needs of a society. Information technology is rapidly eliminating the barriers of space and time that have largely shielded campus activities from competition," the report says.
An Associated Press survey of colleges' policies designed to prevent drug use by athletes has found them to be widely inconsistent. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has one set of rules, athletic conferences vary widely on their rules, and colleges are all over the place, the survey found.
As is the case just about every year, the most competitive private universities are announcing record numbers of applications and record low admission rates. This year's announcements include a 6.2 percent admit rate at Harvard University and a 7 percent rate at Stanford University. Amid all that rejection, Bloomberg noted that some alumni admissions interviewers at elite colleges and universities are quitting the once-coveted volunteer positions since so few of the people they interview actually get in.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs to improve the outreach and support it provides to military veterans who receive federal education benefits, the Government Accountability Office said in a report on Wednesday. The report examined the agency's process for making veterans aware of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and other veterans' education programs and for ensuring that schools and veterans meet eligibility rules, among other things, and found room for improvement in some areas.
The Stylus, the student newspaper at the State University of New York at Brockport, is defending its editorial independence in a fight with the student government, which provides much of the publication's budget, The Democrat and Chronicle reported. The newspaper has been critical of the student government, prompting the latter to demand that the editor resign, refuse a Freedom of Information Act request and freeze "non-essential" spending by the paper.
The vice chairman of the Board of Trustees at Florida's Edison State College resigned Wednesday as administrators and faculty members continued to be at odds over governance at the institution. David Klein, an ophthalmologist who was poised to become chairman of the board, had been the lone trustee to publicly question recent personnel decisions by President Kenneth P. Walker, going so far last week as to ask for a state investigation into how Edison State is being managed. Faculty leaders thought they had won concessions from Walker on Monday, when -- facing a no confidence vote -- the president said that a controversial senior administrator would resign or be reassigned. Faculty leaders called off their no confidence vote as a result, but some expressed skepticism that Walker would keep his promises.