Thomas Ross, president of Davidson College since 2007, is expected to be named today as the next president of the University of North Carolina System, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Prior to being named to the Davidson post, Ross's career was outside of higher education. He worked as a lawyer, judge and foundation leader. Ross would succeed Erskine Bowles, whose career also was outside of higher education until being named UNC president.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Three national groups are teaming up to create an online portal where adult students with previously earned academic and work force credits can have that "prior learning" assessed by independent faculty evaluators to facilitate the acceptance of that work by colleges. The portal will be a joint project of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the American Council on Education, and the College Board, and is being established with $2.2 million from the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Kresge and Joyce Foundations.
The University of Colorado at Boulder on Wednesday announced two reviews -- one on possibly eliminating its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the other on creating a new program in information and communication technology. Officials stressed that no final decisions had been made, but that they believed -- and a previous review had suggested -- that significant changes are needed in the university's approach to journalism and communication education. "We want to strategically realign resources and strengths currently existing on the CU-Boulder campus to ensure that course and degree offerings meet the needs of students, the labor market, our campus mission and the communications needs of a rapidly changing global society," said a statement from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano.
Graduate programs in business saw mixed trends in applications in the last year, according to survey data being released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Only 44 percent of full-time M.B.A. programs saw applications increase this year, compared to 66 percent reporting such an increase last year and 77 percent the year before that. A similar percentage of part-time programs reported an increase, relatively level compared to results a year ago. Executive M.B.A. programs may be a key growth area for business schools. Of those surveyed, 59 percent reported gains in applications this year, compared to only 37 percent a year ago.
The California Faculty Association is today releasing a report charging that the California State University System has been inappropriately mixing public funds into foundation accounts, the Los Angeles Times reported. Such mixing could be illegal because the foundation accounts are shielded from many open records requirements for the use of state funds. Cal State's chief financial officer confirmed that auditors had identified some problems with such mixing, but he said that the problem was not widespread and that he would soon issue guidelines to prevent any problems.
Apple released data on Tuesday demonstrating the dramatic growth of iTunes U. In three years of operations, downloads have topped 300 million. More than 800 colleges and universities have active sites, with more than 350,000 audio and video files posted.
Fidel Castro has apparently taken an interest in Beloit College's annual "mindset list" designed to help professors (in a humorous way) reflect on the experiences they and their new students don't share. The college released this year's list last week. Beloit officials were surprised to learn that the list was cited in a column by the Cuban leader, who took the list quite seriously. After citing some of the items on the list, Castro writes: "I was stunned to realize to what extent education could be distorted and prostituted in a country with more than 8 000 nuclear weapons and the most powerful means of war in the whole world."
Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, announced that he is joining a suit by Wesleyan University against Thomas Kannam, the university's former investment officer. A statement from Blumenthal said that Kannam used Wesleyan funds to do work for private firms to which he had financial ties -- in violation of university rules. Further, the suit charges that Kannam billed the university for trips -- one to the Super Bowl, one to Britain for his entire family -- that had no connection to university business. The attorney general's suit charges that these actions, on which Inside Higher Ed reported in January, violate state law. A lawyer for Kannam told Bloomberg: "Alumni, faculty and students should also be distressed that the university’s leadership has chosen to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees on a case that will ultimately produce million-dollar counterclaims against the school by those whose reputations have been severely injured by Wesleyan’s reckless allegations.”
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday barring new federal support for stem cell research under the rules issued by the Obama administration, Reuters reported. A lawsuit challenging the rules says that they permit the destruction of human embryos, in violation of federal law.
The proportion of new faculty members at medical schools and academic medical centers who are hired on the tenure track has fallen to 25 percent, down from 46 percent in 1984, according to new data in Analysis in Brief, a publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The research found that the decline is not from academic medical centers dropping tenure altogether -- only a small number lack tenure systems and that number hasn't grown -- but from institutions increasing hiring off the tenure track.