A union seeking to organize adjuncts has reached an agreement with Central Michigan University on an election that will decide on collective bargaining. The union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, has been complaining that the administration has been refusing to negotiate a reasonable deal on who could vote -- and protests were planned for Wednesday. Those events shifted after news of a deal on the vote. Under the agreement, those teaching the equivalent of at least one quarter time will be allowed to vote.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Phoenix plans to require all students who enter the for-profit institution with less than 24 hours of college credit to participate in a free, three-week orientation program aimed at ensuring that students are ready for college-level work, the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, announced in a quarterly financial report Wednesday. The company said it expected that the change -- which will expand a pilot program -- would, along with changes in its marketing strategy designed to focus on stronger students, hurt its 2011 enrollment levels, "net revenue operating profit, and cash flow. However, we believe that these efforts are the right thing to do for our students and, over the long-term, will improve student persistence and completion rates and therefore reduce bad debt expense and position us for more stable long-term cash flow growth."
The case of Saad Nabeel has attracted considerable attention in Dallas to the problems facing students without legal residency status -- and he has suffered another setback. Nabeel was brought to the United States as a young child by his family, and though he had been enrolled at the University of Texas at Arlington, he was deported to Bangladesh. Faculty members at Southern Methodist University helped him gain admission there, with the hope he could return, but The Dallas Morning News reported that his visa was rejected, and he was told that he can apply again in a decade -- unless he can win a waiver.
While many universities have suffered stock losses in the last two years, Louisiana auditors uncovered an unusual loss at Grambling State University. The News Star reported that the university lost more than $1 million on stocks that were purchased illegally because the funds were restricted to use on university facilities.
A new policy brief by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board outlines steps states can take to improve the college readiness of their students. Among the suggestions:
- The development and adoption of college readiness standards in reading, writing, and math -- jointly by K-12 schools and postsecondary education.
- High school assessments that measure students’ progress on the readiness standards.
- Public school curriculum that reflects the standards.
- Senior-year high school courses designed to raise students’ skill levels in reading, writing, and math.
- Professional development for current and aspiring teachers on using the readiness standards in their instruction.
- The use by colleges and universities of students’ performance on the high school tests for college placement.
Princeton University is facing demands for increased payments to Princeton, N.J., Bloomberg reported. Princeton provided $10 million last year, more than many other private colleges provide their localities, but local residents -- aware of the university's wealth in comparison to most of American higher education -- want more. Peter Kann, co-chair of Princeton Future, a civic organization, said: "The town budget is strapped and schools are looking at laying off teachers.... Then there is this enormously rich university. They give the appearance of being wonderful donors to the town, but compared with what they would be giving if they were paying property taxes it’s really trifling.”
The results are in for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for 2010. The annual award -- from the English department at San Jose State University -- honors the worst opening sentences for imaginary novels. This year's winner is from Molly Ringle of Seattle: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss -- a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil." The contest Web page features details on the winner and various runners-up and dishonorable mentions.
A final legislative budget deal for North Carolina minimized cuts to higher education, and also gave both the community college and university systems flexibility on where to make those cuts, the Associated Press reported. Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina, issued a statement in which he said: "Legislators really stood up for our university and our 225,000 students in these hard times when money is scarce. On a relative basis and particularly considering the economic climate, the 2010-11 state budget we received from the General Assembly was nothing short of remarkable. We knew there were going to be significant cuts in every part of state government, and the university took its fair share. But the legislature really worked hard to help us protect the quality of education we can deliver to our students."
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
To submit a listing, click here.
The University of California at San Diego will enroll 68 black freshmen this year, up from 50 last fall, and new black transfer students will number 87, up from 46. While the Los Angeles Times noted that those figures are still relatively low, representing less than 2 percent of total enrollment, the increases are notable because of racial incidents and protests in the last year that many feared would discourage new black students from enrolling.