The Maryland Higher Education Commission has declined to revisit its decision barring the University of Maryland University College from offering its community college leadership training program to Maryland residents, The Baltimore Sun reported. The commission acted at the request of Morgan State University, a historically black institution that argued that the UMUC program would duplicate one at Morgan State that the state was obligated to protect. UMUC officials argued that since their program is online -- and can be offered to those outside the state -- the decision didn't reflect the nature of distance education.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A former nursing professor at Tennessee State University falsified data and results in federally sponsored research on sexual risk behaviors among mentally ill homeless men, the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday. The agency, in a statement in the Federal Register, said that James Gary Linn, who was a professor of nursing at Tennessee State, had provided falsified data to the university and to a journal that published an article on his research in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He will be barred from involvement in any federal studies for three years.
Education Trust, which just two weeks ago released a report slamming flagship universities for not doing enough to enroll and graduate low-income and minority students, is drawing attention to some success stories. On Thursday, the organization released its analysis on colleges that have made notable progress in increasing minority graduation rates and/or narrowing the gap between minority and non-minority graduation rates. For example, the analysis notes that Georgia State University increased its minority graduation rate from 32.3 percent in 2002 to 50.7 percent in 2007. And the University of Wisconsin at Madison increased its minority graduation rate by 11.5 percentage points, to 60.4 percent.
An Illinois state representative, Monique Davis, announced Thursday that she will return to Chicago State University a $25,000 statue from the university that ended up in the lawmaker's office the Chicago Sun-Times reported. It remains unclear how the statue ended up in her office. Chicago State officials asked for it back, without success, but pressure grew on Davis to return it after a Sun-Times columnist revealed the situation last week.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is talking up his plan to provide an extra $100 million in funds to Florida's universities next year, but not everyone is convinced he has the money. The plan would focus the new money on degrees and programs that result in jobs for graduates or economic development for the state. While legislative leaders say that they like the theory, The Miami Herald reported that they are skeptical of the availability of funds. Crist's budget assumes growing sales tax revenues that will allow for $2 billion in new spending, but legislators are projecting deficits of that size, not extra money.
A report released today by the Data Quality Campaign assesses progress in state efforts to use longitudinal student-level data to gauge and improve students' progress through the educational system. The report concludes that states have made significant progress in building data systems (with a big financial and policy push from the Obama administration) but far less headway in using the data to change educational practices.
The Maricopa Community College District's board has authorized Chancellor Rufus Glasper to carry out a series of efficiency moves, The Arizona Republic reported. Among the possible shifts: increases in class sizes, greater reliance on adjunct faculty members, outsourcing of landscaping and a new information technology fee. The consultants who developed the options said that they could save the district up to $48 million a year.
Advocates for the student press are accusing Los Angeles City College of a series of actions to limit the rights of reporters on the student newspaper there, calling the incidents one of the worst patterns they have seen in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The incidents involve attempts to control content and to discourage reporters from covering various campus events. College officials declined to discuss specifics, saying that they needed to focus on other issues.
Thanks to leaks in the days leading up to it, there were virtually no surprises in President Obama's State of the Union speech last night. As expected, the president called for expanding the government's newly created Income-Based Repayment Program to reduce the payments of up to a million more borrowers with sizable loan burdens and comparatively low salaries. Obama also warned that, because of the country's burgeoning deficits, the administration would freeze most forms of domestic spending beginning in the 2011 fiscal year, for which the White House will release a budget plan in the coming days. That decision could have painful implications for some higher education programs and for scientific research. And in the section of his speech about college affordability -- which focused on exhorting the Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives in passing a student loan reform bill that would direct tens of billions of dollars to Pell Grants and community colleges -- the president issued a challenge to colleges: "And by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs -- because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem." The statement had the feel of a throwaway line, but whether it is that -- or the throwing down of a gauntlet that will be followed by policy in weeks or months to come -- is uncertain.
The recent publication of an anti-gay cartoon by the student newspaper at the University of Notre Dame has led to wider discussion of the way the institution treats its gay students and faculty members. On Wednesday, more than 100 people held a rally on the campus to demand the adoption of new policies to ban discrimination, WNDU News reported. The university says that it promotes equity and "inclusiveness" in ways consistent with Roman Catholic teachings.