The U.S. Education Department has tapped the president of Southern Vermont College, Karen Gross, to advise it on issues related to college access, affordability and completion. In a news release Friday, Southern Vermont said that Gross had been granted a year's leave of absence from the presidency to serve as a senior policy adviser to Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter, with whom Gross and Southern Vermont had worked on several initiatives. Gross, who spent two decades as a law professor and expert on consumer debt before assuming the presidency of the small Vermont private college in 2006, has focused on the educational success of first-generation and low-income students, top priorities of the Obama administration. (She has written frequently for Inside Higher Ed.)
Higher Education Quick Takes
The board of Kean University is investigating allegations of false statements on the résumé of Dawood Farahi, the president, The Wall Street Journal reported. The faculty union at Kean has questioned whether Farahi falsely claimed to have written more than 50 articles, including some allegedly published in journals that do not exist. Professors at Kean have had numerous conflicts with Farahi, and have charged that he does not respect the faculty role in governance, and that his priorities don't reflect academic needs at the New Jersey institution. A statement from Farahi denied the allegations and said that they were motivated by "hate, prejudice and greed."
Vietnamese universities are pushing for more autonomy, Viet Nam News reported. The institutions want control over such matters as enrollment policy and administration. Government officials have said that some state control remains needed to assure quality.
Rick Santorum is accusing President Obama of "snobbery" for saying that all Americans need at least some higher education, The Wall Street Journal reported. "We are leaving so many children behind,” said Santorum, whose candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has been gaining ground of late, in New Hampshire on Saturday. "They’re not ready to go to [college.] They don’t want to go to college. They don’t need to go to college. I was so outraged that the President of the United States [said] every student should go to college." Added Santorum: "I have seven kids. Maybe they’ll all go to college. But if one of my kids wants to go and be an auto mechanic, good for him! That’s a good-paying job." As the article in the Journal noted, it is increasingly rare for political leaders to express that view, given that some higher education is now becoming necessary for many manufacturing jobs that once would not have required it.
Sterling College, a Christian liberal arts institution in Kansas, has announced an unusual gift. Someone left a boulder with a sword's handle sticking out of it outside a campus building. There was no note, but the boulder is engraved with "SC Warriors" on one side. (The college's athletic teams are known as the Warriors.) A statement from Scott Rich, vice president and chief financial officer, said, "The gift is professionally done, and it is clear that a lot of time and effort have gone into the project. We would like to know more information about the gift to properly thank those who donated it."
Twenty-one men from Haiti have sued Fairfield University over the sex abuse they suffered when they were children cared for at a charity in Haiti, The Hartford Courant reported. Fairfield is a target because, the suits allege, the university supported the charity (founded by an alumnus since accused of being a pedophile) and should have known about the abuse. A lawyer for the university said that the suit is incorrect in blaming Fairfield. The university did not have any supervisory authority over the charity, which was not affiliated with Fairfield, the lawyer said.
The French government has backed away from a proposed tightening of student visa rules that would have made it difficult for foreign students to stay in France after graduation, The Washington Post reported. The proposal had been strongly criticized by university leaders, who said that the restrictions would have been inconsistent with the country's values, and would have hurt the institutions' standing around the world.
Law students who switch law schools do well academically at their new institutions, despite generally having lower academic credentials than those who enrolled as first-year law students. That's a major finding of this year's Law School Survey of Student Engagement. The survey also finds that these students may not be fully integrated into their new institutions.