Higher Education Quick Takes
The Los Angeles Community College District and the local district attorney are investigating spending by the director of a foundation that provides scholarships to needy students at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, The Los Angeles Times reported. Rhea Chung's expenses included more than $9,000 on golf outings, spending of $2,300 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a $1,500 monthly car allowance. Chung, who has been placed on leave, told the Times that the spending was an appropriate way to provide access to potential donors.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the University of Connecticut's donor records are not covered by the state's open records laws, The Hartford Courant reported. The court ruled that the exemptions in the law for trade secrets apply to these records.
Heather Munroe-Blum, principal (president equivalent) of McGill University, will be leaving her position -- among the most prominent in Canadian academe -- next year, The Montreal Gazette reported. McGill's research programs and fund-raising capabilities have grown substantially during Munroe-Blum's tenure, which started in 2003. The university faced employee strikes and student protests in the last year, but Munroe-Blum said that those incidents had not led to her decision. She said she decided some time ago to serve two terms, which she is doing.
Quentin Hanley of Nottingham Trent University has completed a study questioning whether several leading American for-profit universities should be called universities, Times Higher Education reported. Since 1993, he said, the University of Phoenix has produced fewer than 200 papers, which have been cited about 700 times. He found about 100 papers from Kaplan University, with a little more than 500 citations. "Their impact is on a par with a single medium academic at an approximately mid-ranked UK university," said Hanley, who was prompted to do his research by the growing interest of the British government in for-profit higher education. "Calling an organization with no meaningful scholarship a university is a bit like calling a muddy path through a forest a motorway." A spokesman for the Apollo Group said that Phoenix had pioneered strategies, such as the use of e-books, that are now used by many colleges and universities.
- ePortfolios as a Catalyst for Connections: Celebrating the Curious, Creative and Capable Learner, the AAEEBL 2012 Annual ePorftolio Conference, July 16-19, in Boston. Abstract due date: Feb. 17.
- Imaginatio et Ratio: A Journal of Theology and the Arts. Abstract due date: Aug. 1.
- "Service Learning in the Humanities" special issue, the fall issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities. Abstract due date: May 1.
- Spaces of (Dis)Location, interdisciplinary conference at the University of Glasgow College of Arts, May 24-25. Abstract due date: Feb. 9.
- Temptation and Redemption in Literature and Culture, the Carolina Emerging Scholars Conference, May 12 in Sumter, S.C. Abstract due date: Feb. 24.
- Women and Global Change: Achieving Peace through Empowering Women, an April 12-13 conference at Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Tex. Proposal due date: March 2.
California community colleges with the lowest student transfer rates to four-year colleges are "intensely segregated" or enroll high percentages of minority students, according to three new reports from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles, while a "handful" of two-year colleges that serve largely white, Asian or middle-class students are responsible for the majority of transfers in the state. The group's third report takes on California's master plan, and calls for some the state's top community colleges to be given the authority to grant bachelor degrees.
Millersville University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that it would discontinue three of its 22 sports teams because of budget constraints. Officials at the public institution, which like many colleges in the commonwealth has faced significant cuts in state funding, said the elimination of men's cross country and of indoor and outdoor track and field would save $200,000 -- funds that they said would balance the budget and help sustain the university's remaining 19 teams. University officials also said that the cuts would help bring Millersville into better compliance with the gender participation requirements of under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Michael Hogan, the president of the University of Illinois, is trying to build support for a more centralized approach to enrollment management in the university system. But e-mail messages between Hogan and his campus leaders -- obtained by The News-Gazette -- suggest that he has been pushing them to control faculty leaders who are dubious of the centralization, and that he has questioned whether chancellors have done enough to back him. An e-mail to Phyllis Wise, the new chancellor at Urbana-Champaign, called the faculty there "oppositional," and called on her to deal with a "defiant" Faculty Senate. Hogan also wrote that he was "not happy" with her "lack of leadership on enrollment management."
An e-mail from Wise disputed his analysis. "In fact, I have discussed enrollment management on the Urbana-Champaign campus in a nuanced manner to balance faculty (and my) concerns about the need to be able to manage campus level enrollment issues effectively vis-a-vis your and the Board of Trustees' concerns about diversity, articulation, and the effective use of financial aid. Thus, I would argue that I have exerted the kind of leadership that encourages an open discussion of the options before us," she wrote. "In my concept of leadership, it is extraordinarily important to pay attention both to the people who report to me, as well as those to whom I report."