Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 12, 2014

Adjunct organizers at Loyola Marymount University have withdrawn their petition for a union election from the National Labor Relations Board, delaying their union bid for at least another six months. Voting was to have started last month but was delayed once already, after organizers filed an unfair labor practice claim alleging that Loyola Marymount administrators were interfering in the process. As evidence, they cited a series of information meetings on unions hosted by their individual colleges (an email invitation to one was obtained by Inside Higher Ed). Emily Hallock, an adjunct professor of political science at Loyola Marymount and an organizer who attended one of the meetings, said the tone was intimidating and not conducive to “free and fair” elections, as mandated by the National Labor Relations Act.

Hallock also said administrative influence in the unionization process shrank the pool of willing witnesses for the NLRB investigation into unfair labor practices. So adjunct organizers withdrew both the complaint and the election petition to focus on more education and outreach efforts before the adjuncts apply for an election once more. They must wait at least six months, according to NLRB policy. A university spokesman said NLRB had begun investigating the interference charges "but did not present [Loyola] with any evidence to support them." He added: "The meetings were in the nature of town hall discussions; they were voluntary and, honestly, not widely attended."

Adjuncts at Loyola Marymount are trying to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. The union is organizing adjuncts across numerous metro areas. In Los Angeles, Whittier College adjuncts have voted to form a union affiliated with SEIU and University of LaVerne adjuncts have filed for an election. That also has been delayed due to an unfair labor practice claim.

March 12, 2014

Colby College may not be a March Madness contender. But this video makes the case that when it comes to creative cheers by the players on the bench, the Mules may have no rival.

 

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March 12, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Sina Rabbany, professor and director of bioengineering at Hofstra University, discusses new insights into how blood vessels acquire characteristics, and how they might be used to transform how we repair damaged organs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

March 12, 2014

Neil Theobald, president of Temple University, has pledged to review the decision not to renew the contract of Anthony Monteiro, a non-tenure track faculty member in African-American studies, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. Theobald made the pledge at a protest by 100 people, who said that the non-renewal reflected larger problems with Temple's relations with those who live in the area. Monteiro has taught at Temple for 10 years, on a year-to-year basis.

 

March 12, 2014

Betabrand, an online clothing store, has an unusual approach for models for its spring collection for women. All of the women in the ads have Ph.D.s or are doctoral candidates. Shoppers looking at the Del Ray Perfect Dress will find it modeled by a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, and those interested in the Gray Confetti Popover Shirt will find it modeled by a woman who earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Stanford University. (The models are identified only with first names and their degrees.) Betabrand's founder, Chris Lindland gave a statement to Adweek about the new strategy: "When you look beyond the ranks of the professionally beautiful, photography becomes a lot more fun. Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?"

March 12, 2014

Indiana officials are considering whether the state's March 10 deadline for applications for state student aid is too early, and discourages applications from those who may most need assistance, The Indianapolis Star reported. The deadline is earlier than those of most states and the deadline for seeking federal aid. Officials believe that up to half of the state residents who meet eligibility requirements don't apply. Many say that nontraditional students don't figure out their college plans until later in the year, and so are missing the chance at getting state aid. A flip side of this issue, however, is that if more students apply, and the state doesn't provide more aid, the size of grants could shrink.

 

March 11, 2014

George Washington University is today announcing three coordinated gifts, for a total of $80 million, for the public health school and related programs. The gifts are from the Milken Institute, the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation and the Milken Family Foundation. The university is renaming its public health school as the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

March 11, 2014

The software giant Oracle on Sunday announced it will develop a new student information system with a focus on mobile and social features, and provide it as software-as-service.

"No other company on the planet can draw on the rich portfolio of IP, development talent, deployment and implementation experience, and industry expertise than Oracle," Cole Clark, Oracle's global vice president for education and research, said in a blog post. "While I've said in this blog in the past that it's a very exciting time to be a part of the higher education IT ecosystem at this point in the industry's evolution, our focus on developing a modern SIS for higher ed of 2015 and beyond makes this period even more compelling."

Oracle and other enterprise resource planning software providers have recently been challenged by new entrants into the market, such as Workday and Kuali, who have promised more flexible and lightweight student information systems.

March 11, 2014

The Democratic Congressman who last month accused more than 100 colleges of misleading students about the requirements for federal student aid said Monday that he is satisfied with the changes institutions have since made to their websites.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan that “it appears that all 111 of the identified in my investigation have made changes to their websites to clarify their requirements for student aid applications and to ensure that they are in compliance with the law.” He added that the changes colleges made to their websites reflect "a commitment to ensuring that students receive appropriate instructions when applying for financial aid.”

Cummings previously posted a list of colleges that appeared to be either requiring student to submit the fee-based CSS Profile as a condition of receiving federal aid or insinuating that the form was required to access federal grants and loans. Federal law prohibits colleges from imposing such a requirement. 

March 11, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Russell Poldrack, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses his findings of a 14-month study he conducted on his own brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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