The Nevada System of Higher Education last year, facing scrutiny over the state's community colleges, hired the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems to review the situation and write a report. But The Las Vegas Review-Journal, based on open-records requests, reported that the system didn't like the way the report raised criticisms, and so largely quashed the study. An email the newspaper obtained showed Constance Brooks, the system’s vice chancellor for government and community affairs, saying that the report cast the Board of Regents and the system in a "very negative light," adding, "I say we just take what we like out of the report and do away with the rest." The article suggests that's what the system did.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Pennsylvania State University announced Friday that its College of Liberal Arts experienced two cyberattacks. These attacks took place after enhanced security measures were adopted in the wake of a May attack on Penn State's engineering college network. Penn State said that its investigation of the new incidents uncovered "no evidence that personally identifiable information or research data were compromised."
Washington University in St. Louis has been widely criticized based on its relative lack of diversity compared to other colleges with highly competitive admissions and significant funds for financial aid. Many have suggested that the university's practice of offering generous scholarships to applicants with high SAT scores and grades, but not much real financial need, was responsible. The university announced on Friday that in part due to changes in admissions and aid strategy, the institution is seeking real gains in diversity of the freshman class, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Black students are expected to make up 9 percent of the freshman class, up from 5 percent a year ago. Latino freshman will make up 8 percent of the class, up from 6 percent. The percentage of low-income students is projected to be 11 percent, up from 8 percent.
Academic publishers and a team of Russian and American academics announced Saturday a major effort to translate up to 100 books of literature from Russian into English, The New York Times reported. Some works may be classics in need of new translations, but many will be modern literature that has yet to be translated. The books will be published by Columbia University Press.
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is preparing to offer Cheyney University, a financially troubled historically black institution, a $6.5 million line of credit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The university's finances have been in doubt for a number of reasons, including a 36 percent enrollment drop in recent years. The line of credit is believed to be sufficient to help the university manage through early 2016. The university system and Cheyney officials are also working on enrollment and financial plans to give the university more stability.
Albright College, in Pennsylvania, announced last week that it is suspending operations of its campus in Mesa, Ariz. Albright cited lower than projected enrollments. Mesa recruited five private colleges to start operating a higher education center there, on the theory that they could attract students to programs that were already doing well at home campus locations. But enrollments have lagged. Westminster College, in Missouri, last year announced that it was pulling out of Mesa.
Atlantic Union College, which suspended operations in 2011 due to a financial problems and a loss of accreditation, is planning to again admit students into some programs, The Worcester Telegram reported. The Seventh-day Adventist college in Massachusetts has received help from its church to deal with debt and is seeking accreditation again.
The University of the West of England is promoting its research on uses for urine by setting up a special area at a music festival where attendees may urinate and see their waste products used as a biofuel to generate electricity to light up the urinal. University researchers hope to take advantage of the typical shortage of bathrooms at outdoor music festivals to generate excitement about the project. Those who visit the special facility will also see materials about uses for urine that can promote sustainability and help those in refugee camps and elsewhere. University researchers refer to the product as “urine-tricity” or “pee power.”
Two neighboring performing arts colleges -- the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory -- are exploring a merger, The Boston Globe reported. Berklee, with an endowment of $321 million and more than 4,000 students, is the larger of the institutions. But Boston Conservatory -- with a $15 million endowment and enrollment of 730 -- has some academic strengths not in the broader curriculum of Berklee.