Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:26am

A private investigator -- whose client has not been identified -- is looking into critics of New York University's Abu Dhabi campus, The New York Times reported. Among the targets: Andrew Ross, an N.Y.U. professor who has been an outspoken critic of the campus, and a New York Times reporter who has written critically of it. A spokesman for the university said that it had no knowledge about the investigator, but that "it’s reprehensible and offensive on its face, and we call on whoever is involved to desist immediately.”

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Education needs to do a better job of managing the federal grant program for teachers, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

The TEACH Grant program provides up to $4,000 a year for students who commit to teaching low-income school districts for at least four out of eight years after graduation.

Recipients who don’t follow through on that commitment have their grants converted into loans. About 36,000 of the TEACH Grant’s more than 112,000 recipients have fallen into that category, the G.A.O. found.

In some cases, though, those conversions were the result of the government's or its contractors’ error.

G.A.O. investigators found that between August 2013 and September 2014, 2,252 TEACH Grant recipients had their grants erroneously converted into loans by the company hired by the Education Department to manage the program.

The department said that it mostly agreed with the G.A.O.’s recommendations, which included establishing performance measures for the program and studying why so many TEACH Grant recipients fail to fulfill their service commitment.

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

Thousands of University of Wisconsin System advocates put together 12,000 pages of petition signatures and public comments that were submitted to a legislative finance committee considering massive cuts to the system, a group of system supporters said Thursday. The outpouring is just the latest sign of opposition to cuts proposed by Governor Scott Walker, a Republican with presidential ambitions. Walker proposed cutting the system's budget by $300 million over the next two years. The head of the university system, Ray Cross, has said he would resign if he cannot do something to reduce the size of the cuts.

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

Many press reports have indicated that the accreditation of Gordon College, a Christian institution, is in danger because of concerns the New England Association of Schools and Colleges has about the college's policies barring sex except between married heterosexual couples. But Barbara Brittingham, president of N.E.A.S.C., told CBN that Gordon's accreditation is not in danger, and that reports currently being prepared are "routine." Brittingham confirmed the statement to Inside Higher Ed.



Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

U.F. Online, the University of Florida's online arm, has after a yearlong search found a new director. Evangeline Cummings, director of the strategic management division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will replace founding director Elizabeth D. Phillips, who resigned two months after U.F. Online launched in January 2014. W. Andrew McCollough, associate provost for teaching and technology at the university, has served as interim director during the last 12 months. Cummings, who according to a LinkedIn profile received her bachelor's degree from U.F., will assume the position July 1.

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

The late Dean Smith, the legendary basketball coach who died last month, left $200 to each of the basketball players he coached over 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sports Illustrated reported. The players are receiving the checks with a note encouraging them to "enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith."

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is continuing to fund projects that tackle digital scholarship and publishing in the humanities, and on Friday the foundation announced another round of such grants. Among the recipients are university presses at the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Indiana University, Northwestern University and Pennsylvania State University, which will cooperate on developing a publication and preservation platform for digital scholarship. "The ultimate goal is to create a shareable, open-source solution for born-digital complementary monograph materials as well as a working model that maximizes the publishing strengths of university presses and the preservation expertise of libraries," a Michigan spokeswoman said in a press release.

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:24am

The University of Toronto and the union that represents its teaching assistants have agreed to binding arbitration on a contract, ending a strike that has been going on for a month.


Friday, March 27, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Ronald Johnson, professor of business management at American Public University, offers a profile and analysis of the developing new tools that make digital learning easier and more effective. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Apollo Education Group's revenue and enrollment slide has continued, according to a corporate filing released this week. The publicly traded company, which owns the University of Phoenix, had a net-revenue decline of 15 percent, or $223 million, during the six months prior to March. Phoenix's revenue was down 19 percent in this period. The university's degree-seeking student enrollment dipped by roughly 15 percent, to 213,800. The high-water mark for enrollment at Phoenix was 475,000 in 2010.


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