Legislators in some states have taken aggressive steps to improve college success -- and the National Conference of State Legislators is drawing attention to their efforts in order to inspire and inform their peers elsewhere. "The Path to a Degree: A Legislator's Guide to College Access and Success," a new report from the group, contains a series of briefs on specific issues, such as financial aid policies, work force readiness, and college success.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Young English-speaking Canadians are much more likely than their Francophone counterparts to see higher education as essential, according to a new poll released by The Globe and Mail. The poll found that fewer than 20 per cent of 18- to 24-year-old French speakers said a university degree was essential for success, while 40 per cent of the English speakers said it was. The poll was released as Quebec considers steps it needs to take to lower high school dropout rates.
The American Association of University Professors on Friday announced an investigation into "issues of shared governance" at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While the AAUP did not detail the nature of its inquiries, RPI professors have harshly criticized the way the institute abolished and then reconstituted faculty governance, as well a dispute last year in which RPI shut down a controversial art exhibit.
Faculty members at Indiana University of Pennsylvania have voted overwhelmingly that they lack confidence in the leadership of President Tony Atwater, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Faculty leaders criticized the president's management style and spending decisions. Atwater, who attended the meeting, said that much of the faculty frustration was based on the difficulty of the decisions he has had to make and misinformation about them.
The California attorney general's office is investigating possible incorrectly handled gifts to California State University at Fresno, The Fresno Bee reported. The dispute appears to involve allegations that the the university accepted corporate matching gifts for athletic programs from companies with policies not to match gifts to athletics.
Mississippi's state higher education board has given initial approval to a plan to make it easier to dismiss tenured faculty members, the Associated Press reported. Among the changes: shortening the notice time that must be given to tenured professors, and including lack of funds as a reason for terminating tenure-track professors.
With some members of Congress pushing for a formal playoff system in college football, lobbyists are the sure winners. The Bowl Championship Series has spent $670,000 on federal lobbying since 2003, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. Additional lobbying money is being spent by those who broadcast the games, and other entities with interests in the outcome of the push to change the bowl system.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Thursday named his six appointments to the reconstituted National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the secretary on issues related to accreditation. The previous incarnation of the panel was disbanded by Congress as part of last year's renewal of the Higher Education Act, driven in part by Congressional concerns (shared by many college leaders) that the panel -- whose members all were appointed by the executive branch -- had become too politicized. Congress's answer: let us appoint some members, too; the new panel has 18 members, six appointed by the secretary, six by the Senate, and six by the House. Duncan's appointees are below; so far, the other two appointees are Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education (appointed by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada) and Cameron Staples, a state legislator from Connecticut (by Sen. Chris Dodd of, yes, Connecticut).
- Earl Lewis, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Emory University.
- Susan Phillips, provost and vice president for academic affairs, State University of New York at Albany.
- Jamienne Studley, president and CEO, Public Advocates Inc., and former president, Skidmore College.
- Aron Shimles, student, Occidental College.
- Frank Wu, professor, Howard University Law School.
- Frederico Zargoza, vice chancellor of economic and workforce development, Alamo Colleges.
Student organizations that perform "governmental" functions are covered by Wisconsin's sunshine laws with regard to open meetings and records, Wisconsin's attorney general has said in an informal ruling, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The ruling comes in a dispute between the student newspaper and student government at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.