Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

An administrator at the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District earned a full salary on sick leave this spring while teaching a course at another community college, The San Jose Mercury News reported. Bayinaah Jones, the district's executive director of institutional effectiveness, denied to the newspaper that she engaged in work while on sick leave, but the district confirmed her sick leave and the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District confirmed that she taught there at the time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Non-tenure-track faculty members at Ferris State University voted Friday to unionize and to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers. The vote is among a series that have taken place at Michigan public universities in recent years, where adjuncts have been organized by the AFT.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

The regional accrediting agency for the mid-Atlantic states last month placed on probation 10 of the University of Puerto Rico's 11 campuses, a private independent college in Maryland, and a for-profit institution in the District of Columbia. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education cited the Puerto Rico university because of concerns about the impact of the longstanding student strike (recently settled) on the campuses' ability to meet the agency's standards on governance and the appropriate length of educational offerings. The accreditor cited Baltimore International College for shortcomings related to the faculty role in governance, the size and independence of its governing board, and assessment of student learning at the institution. And Potomac College faces probation for lacking an adequate strategic plan and insufficient goals and use of data related to student learning. In other actions, Middle States continued the probation of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, placed seven institutions on warning status, including the National Labor College, and removed Rockland Community College, in New York, from warning status.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth faced considerable skepticism when it agreed to take over a private law school -- the Southern New England School of Law -- with many questioning why a state with no obvious shortage of law schools needed to invest public dollars in one. But demand has been strong. The Boston Globe reported that applications and first-year enrollment projections are both double what they were a year ago, with entering student credentials (as measured by grades and test scores) also on the rise.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 3:00am

The House of Representatives has banned earmarks of funds directly to companies, but many corporations that have received earmarks in the past and that want to keep them coming are working through nonprofit groups -- including colleges and universities -- to do so, The New York Times reported. The earmarks technically go to the nonprofit group, which then subcontracts much of the work to a corporate entity. Among the universities cited in the article are Eastern Kentucky University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Toledo.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

President Franklin D. Roosevelt held his No. 1 position in the latest poll of historians and political scientists on the performance of the nation's chief executives. The poll, conducted periodically by Siena College, was last conducted in 2002. President Theodore Roosevelt moved up a notch to the second spot, edging out President Lincoln. This is the first poll since the end of George W. Bush's presidency, and he landed in 39th place, just making the bottom five list (and helping President Fillmore leave the bottom five).

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

When Michigan created its No Worker Left Behind program in 2007, providing generous job training benefits, community colleges were expected to provide much of the education and training. But as The Detroit News reported, only one in three participants have gone to community colleges -- many of which are straining under budget cuts. Instead, many believe for-profit institutions, which cost much more for those enrolling, have become the biggest beneficiaries of the program.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Two weeks after a divided Board of Trustees voted to oust George E. Cooper as president of South Carolina State University, a newly constituted -- yet still deeply divided -- board rehired Cooper as president on Thursday, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, S.C. reported. The unusual circumstances remained cloaked in uncertainty, with several higher education officials in the state expressing bafflement at exactly why the situation has unfolded in this way. The Times and Democrat also reported Thursday that the 7-4 vote against Cooper on June 15 followed a negative evaluation in which most trustees gave him poor reviews. The second vote reinstating Cooper came after two trustees who had voted to fire him cycled off the board (as of July 1), and two new trustees came on.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has named John Rocovich as a member of the board of Virginia Tech, returning him to a role in which he was controversial in a previous tenure, The Roanoke Times reported. As rector (or board chair), Rocovich tried to reverse an affirmative action program and also tried to block the appointment of a lesbian professor's partner through an effort used to help the spouses of hires find jobs.

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Pennsylvania State University has found no evidence that Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist, engaged in scientific misconduct, The New York Times reported. Mann has figured prominently in what doubters of climate change call "climategate" in which e-mail messages involving Mann and other scholars have been read by some to suggest politically driven descriptions of their findings. The university's inquiry did criticize Mann for sometimes sharing unpublished manuscripts without authors' permission.

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