Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 24, 2015 - 4:35am

Hillary Clinton, in the first major speech of her presidential campaign, specifically cited the problem of sexual assault on campuses. In an address Thursday at the Women in the World conference, Clinton said that "when women of any age, whether on college campuses or military bases or even in their homes, face sexual assault, then no woman is secure. Every woman deserves to have the safety and security they need. That means we have to guarantee that our institutions respond to the continuing scourge of sexual assault."

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:57pm

Bill Clinton is stepping down as honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, announced Laureate Education Inc., a for-profit that is among the world's largest higher education providers. Clinton concludes a five-year contract with the company.

His wife, Hillary, this month announced her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a result, scrutiny of the Clintons' many connections and roles has notched up in recent weeks.

Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, will assume a similar position with Laureate. Zedillo will be a presidential counselor with Laureate International Universities, which enrolls nearly one million students, with a heavy focus on Latin America. He will advise the company and its 80 institutions on academic innovation and private and public sector collaboration.

"Laureate students represent the next generation of leadership. I have seen a commitment to quality and leadership throughout the Laureate network, and I have enjoyed being a part of it," Clinton said in a written statement. "President Zedillo will be a remarkable ambassador. I am sure he will have a positive impact on the organization and, most important, on its current and future students.”

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

DeVry Education Group, a major publicly traded for-profit, on Thursday announced consolidations and a rebranding for its DeVry University. The company announced that it would close 14 campus locations, converting academic programs at those locations to online-only offerings.

Like most for-profits, DeVry's flagship brand has struggled with sagging enrollments and revenue. This quarter it reported declines of almost 16 percent in revenue and 15 percent in total undergraduate enrollment. However, the broader holding company has fared better of late -- its overall enrollment is up 18 percent. In Brazil, for example, DeVry enrolls roughly 40,000 degree-seeking students, company officials said.

Daniel Hamburger, the DeVry Education Group's president and CEO, said in an interview that the university chain's campus consolidations are part of a broad repositioning and an attempt to return it to growth. "We'll focus on the most competitive markets," he said. "This is a narrowing of our campus footprint."

DeVry also will focus on more targeting advertising in those areas, pulling back somewhat on national ads. The for-profit chain is seeking to reduce its tuition, to strengthen teaching and learning models, and to develop its ties with employers, Hamburger said.

"We're managing for the long term," he said.

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Guilford College has announced plans to eliminate 52 positions to close a $2 million deficit, The News-Record reported. Of the positions, 40 are staff posts and 12 are faculty positions. Most of the jobs are currently vacant.

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Thursday, providing an update on the White House's It's On Us sexual assault awareness campaign and urging college students -- especially young men -- to intervene when they witness gender and dating violence. More than 300 campuses have participated in the It's On Us initiative, the White House announced ahead of Biden's visit, and 75 nonprofit groups, entertainment companies and Greek letter organizations have now committed to supporting the campaign in some fashion. "No means no, and no exceptions," Biden said. "It's not only grounds for discipline and expulsion. You should go to jail if you engage in that activity."

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Florida and Emory University are investigating claims that members from their Zeta Beta Tau fraternity chapters insulted and spat on disabled veterans and ripped American flags off their cars during a spring formal last week. The veterans were at the same resort in Panama City Beach for an event called the Warrior Beach Retreat, The Gainesville Sun reported, when the fraternity members allegedly began accosting them.

“The incidents and behavior you and others have described [in letters and phone calls] and the offense to the wounded warriors and other guests are unacceptable,” Kent Fuchs, Florida's president, wrote in an email to the founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat. “We are pursuing an investigation of the matter to learn more about the involvement of University of Florida students and whether disciplinary action will be needed.”

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, announced this week that she will step down next June. The association, which includes 1,300 member institutions across a broad range of higher education, is the primary group with a focus on liberal education. Geary Schneider has led the association since 1998. Among other projects, she shepherded the creation of the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) Challenge, an advocacy and research campaign. In a written statement to announce her departure, Geary Schneider said LEAP "represents our shared view of the best way to make liberal education both empowering for every student and renewing for our society at large."

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

A new study says that the University of Alabama at Birmingham's decision to cut its football program for financial reasons was "ill-advised," as the program was actually making money for the university, and that surpluses are expected to increase over the next few years. The study also criticized the university's elimination of the rifle and bowling teams, saying that the sports at least broke even.

"We find that the three sports in question did not cost the university anywhere near the $3.75 million indicated on UAB's accounting statements," wrote Dan Rascher and Andy Schwarz, authors of the study and partners at OSKR, an economic analysis firm. "Instead, after making the sort of adjustments suggested by the economics literature, we conclude that the three sports were effectively break-even to slightly positive. Football and bowling showed a modest positive return for 2013-14, the last year for which complete data was available. Rifle showed a deficit, but the three-sport balance was positive to the tune of $75,000."

OSKR was originally hired by the university to conduct the study, but their work was canceled over conflict of interest concerns. Rascher and Schwarz were consultants for the plaintiffs in Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which paved the way for colleges to offer full cost-of-attendance scholarships. The university had cited the expense of providing full cost of attendance as one of the reasons to shutter the program. The firm's study was completed through funds provided by boosters, CBS News reported. The university has since hired another firm to conduct a separate study of the decision.

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

A Minnesota jury in 2013 ordered Globe University to pay $400,000 to a dean who accused the for-profit institution of using false job placement statistics -- and now Globe is finally paying the judgment after the last of its legal challenges failed, The Star-Tribune reported. Heidi Weber sued Globe under a state whistle-blower law, an appeals court upheld the jury verdict and the state Supreme Court rejected a challenge to that ruling in March, clearing the way for the payment.

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Drexel University accidentally sent 495 applicants it had rejected a congratulatory email meant for those it accepted, the Associated Press reported. The emails were intended to remind admitted applicants of the deadlines for accepting the offer. The emails arrived a few weeks after the rejected applicants were turned down, but some assumed that the university had let them in, after all. The university is apologizing for the mistake.

 

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