Higher Education Quick Takes
Faculty members at two California State University campuses -- East Bay and Dominguez Hills -- will strike for a day on Nov. 17 to protest a decision to withhold negotiated pay raises, according to the California Faculty Association. The association’s board of directors voted Monday to approve the strike. The raises, for the previous two academic years, were withheld after the state cut funding, according to the Associated Press. Informational picketing is being organized today and Wednesday on all Cal State campuses in the state.
New data from the World Economic Forum show that gender gaps in higher education leave some countries (including the United States and many other developed nations) with female enrollments significantly outpacing male enrollments, while other countries face the opposite situation. The female-to-male enrollment ratio is highest in Qatar (6.31 to 1), followed by Bahamas (2.70 to 1), Maldives (2.40 to 1), Jamaica (2.22 to 1) and Barbados (2.18 to 1). The United States ratio is 1.40 to 1. On the other end of the scale are (in order of lopsidedness) Chad, Gambia, Benin, Ethiopia and Nepal (which range from 0.17 female students to 1 male student, to 0.40 to 1). The full report (which examines gender gap issue on a variety of economic and societal statistics) may be found here. The data on postsecondary enrollments are in Appendix D, Table D9.
The vice chancellor (the equivalent of president) of the University of Queensland and his top deputy have announced plans to resign their positions amid a scandal over an admissions irregularity at the Australian institution. The official statement from the university praised both officials but said that they offered their resignations after an inquiry "confirmed an irregularity had occurred in the admission process for a student." While the statement said that no specific act of wrongdoing was attributed to the student or the senior officials, they still said that they would quit. The Australian reported that the student was a relative of Paul Greenfield, the vice chancellor who is resigning, and that this relative was admitted to a medical program. The newspaper also reported that a second investigation has started -- this one focusing on the admission to the dental school of the husband of an academic at the university.
An Abilene Christian University bus crashed Friday, killing a student and injuring 15 other students and faculty members, the Associated Press reported. The group was traveling to do service work at a children's home. The driver was a faculty member who apparently lost control of the bus as it was entering a bend.
The California State University System is facing a period of dramatic change in campus leadership, The Los Angeles Times reported. Five long-serving presidents have announced retirement plans. Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the system since 1998, said he couldn't remember a time when the system had as many presidential openings, and that there may be additional retirements within a year. The campuses where presidents have announced that they will retire are the Cal State institutions in Fullerton, Northridge, San Bernardino and San Francisco, and the California Maritime Academy.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is facing questions and criticism over its decision on Friday to remove from its Facebook page comments about the strike by faculty members at the institution. The university removed the comments after a number were posted that urged officials to settle the strike or that expressed sympathy with the faculty members. Rod Sievers, a spokesman for the university, said that the university noticed some comments that were "profane" or were "personal attacks," and that some of the comments were "pretty vile." He said that campus officials initially tried to delete only that type of material, but that the university has only a single person to monitor the Facebook page. "That person couldn't keep up with the profanity and personal attacks. So the university had to stop all comments," Sievers said.
The University of Colorado Board of Regents plans to reconsider a policy that generally allows tenured faculty members who are fired to remain on payroll for a year, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. It is rare for tenured faculty members to be fired, so the policy is rarely invoked, but the pay rule attracted attention when Ward Churchill was fired as an ethnic studies professor at the Boulder campus and he collected about $96,000 in salary after his dismissal. Under the shift being proposed, the board could determine whether a fired professor should be paid, and the board would consider recommendations on the issue from a faculty committee.
The presidents of public universities in Illinois have issued a joint letter opposing a pension reform plan that would give their faculty members -- and other state employees -- the option of paying more for current benefit levels, or of receiving smaller payments at various points in the future, The Pantagraph reported. "Reducing (faculty) benefits or forcing them to pay significantly more for benefits that were promised to them is likely to cause a significant migration of talented people out of this state," said the letter from the presidents. A spokeswoman for the legislator who came up with the plan said that "we encourage the university presidents and chancellors to tap into the talent at their universities and offer solutions, not just resistance."